Monday, December 26, 2005


French Army faces inquiry on genocide in Rwanda

`One of the most controversial episodes in France’s recent history is to come under legal scrutiny after a judge opened a formal inquiry into allegations that the French Army conspired in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [..]

An estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the violence that followed the death of Juvenal Habyarimana, then the Rwandan President, in an aircraft crash. The majority of the victims were Tutsis, slaughtered by the rival Hutu tribe. The 2,500-strong French peacekeeping force sent to Rwanda by M Mitterrand is accused not only of failing to stop the genocide, but of actively participating in it. [..]

Although Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French Defence Minister, described the claims as outlandish, the prosecutor decided that two witnesses were sufficiently credible to warrant an inquiry.

One is Auréa Mukakalisa, who was raped by Hutu militia in a refugee camp set up and controlled by the French Army. “The Hutu militiamen entered the camp and designated the Tutsis, who were forced to leave the camp by French soldiers,” Miss Mukakalisa, who was 27 at the time, said. “I saw the militia kill the Tutsis who had left the camp. I saw French soldiers themselves kill Tutsis using knives.” Her brother, Felicien, was one of the victims at the Murambi camp. His body has never been found.’

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