Rwanda has issued a new report accusing senior French officials of facilitating the 1994 genocide, which is likely to escalate the tense relations with Paris.
The Muse Report, issued on Wednesday morning, was done by US Law firm Cunningham Levy Muse LLP, engaged by Kigali following the November 2016 decision by Rwanda to investigate senior French officials for their role in the 1994 tragedy.
It documents the role of the French military and government officials in abetting the massacres, which began on April 7, 1994.
Kigali and Paris maintain differing narratives on the 1994 genocide, with Rwanda insisting that France facilitated the killings.
Rwanda says The Muse Report “thoroughly investigated” the responsibility of France based solely on information available in the public record, which highlights the involvement especially by French officials, despite Paris vehemently protesting the accusations.
“The Muse Report finds that; French officials facilitated the flow of weapons into Rwanda in the build-up to the genocide, despite knowing about violent attacks against the minority Tutsi group in the country.
“Despite this knowledge of recurring massacres of the Tutsi during the early 1990s, French officials allowed génocidaires to meet within the French Embassy in Kigali and begin to form the interim government that presided over Rwanda during the Genocide,” the report says.
The report further says that private communications between French officials reveal that Opération Turquoise, which was presented as a humanitarian mission, in fact had the military objective of propping up the interim government responsible for the genocide, and preventing its removal by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, who eventuality halted the atrocities in July 1994.
It also says French officials provided safe harbour to suspected génocidaires and obstructed attempts to bring them to justice at various points during the 23 years since the genocide.
Rwanda says it has fully accepted The Muse Report recommendation that those facts merit a full investigation into responsibility of French officials in the genocide.
“The Muse Report exposes a damning summary of conduct by French officials in Rwanda during the 1990s and thereafter, and we agree with the report recommendation that a full investigation into the role of French officials in the Genocide is warranted,” Rwanda’s Foreign minister of and Government Spokesperson Louise Mushikiwabo said.
Mr Bob Muse, a partner at Cunningham Levy Muse LLP, who oversaw the report, said its purpose was not to reach final conclusions, but that calls for a full investigation into these matters should be conducted.
Kigali maintains that the genocide was planned and executed with the knowledge and support of France. Paris was yet to react to the new report.