Europe 'Ignoring French Role in Genocide'

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A damning report has accused France of knowing that a genocide was being planned as early as 1990. It also claims that French soldiers took part in rape, sexual harassment and torture during the period in 1994 when 800,000 people were killed in ethnic violence.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Rosemary Museminali, the Rwandan Foreign Minister, said that the people responsible for the murders still needed to be brought to justice.

Rwanda cut diplomatic ties with France two years ago after a prominent French judge indicted senior Rwandan officials for allegedly conspiring to shoot down the aircraft carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana - an act which triggered the genocide.

Yesterday, Miss Museminali denied that the 500-page report condemning France and released on Wednesday after a two-year investigation was prepared in retaliation for the indictment.

She said: "It is completely wrong to suggest that. Our report was commissioned in April 2006, and the French indictments were in November of that year.

"Throughout the report there is damning evidence and testimony about the French involvement on diplomatic, political and implementation levels. There is also evidence that the (French) army and intelligence groups were working with the Government.

"They armed them (the Hutu militias) and they supplied those who killed. For us it is important that this comes out and that people are tried."

But she is also despairing about the lack of acknowledgement of the French involvement at European Government level and makes an impassioned plea for the rest of the world not ignore what went on.

Miss Museminali said: "With Africa, European leaders are willing to talk about Darfur and Zimbabwe, but not, it seems, about Rwanda. European leaders need to be asked what they are going to do about this report as Africa's problems are not just Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

"People cannot be allowed to just say 'oh, this is just another African country.' Genocide is not just a crime against Rwanda, it is a crime against humanity and as such it should not just be about Rwanda fighting this battle alone."

The report painstakingly details alleged French involvement from before the genocide and during it. In its communiqué it refers to "ideological complicity" and states: "In the political sense, the French Government greatly helped Habyarimana's regime to prepare the course of the genocide."

It claims that the French portrayed the issues in Rwanda as "purely ethnic" and that Francois Mitterrand, the late former president, was among the French officials who "towed this line."

Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, is also among the 33 military and political leaders named in the document...

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