Macron to say France and allies could have stopped Rwanda genocide in 1994

Macron to say France and allies could have stopped Rwanda genocide in 1994

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has said France and its western and African allies “could have stopped” Rwanda’s 1994 genocide but did not have the will to halt the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis.

In a video message to be published on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the genocide, Macron will emphasise that “when the phase of total extermination against the Tutsis began, the international community had the means to know and act”, the presidency said on Thursday.

The president believes that at the time the international community already had historical experience of witnessing genocide with the Holocaust in the second world war and the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during the first world war.

Macron will say that “France, which could have stopped the genocide with its western and African allies, did not have the will” to do so, the official added.

The president will not be going to Kigali to attend commemorations of the genocide this Sunday alongside Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, but instead France will be represented by its foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné.

skip past newsletter promotion

Macron, during a visit to Rwanda in 2021, recognised France’s “responsibilities” in the genocide and said only the survivors could grant “the gift of forgiveness”. But he stopped short of an apology and Kagame, who led the Tutsi rebellion that ended the genocide, has long insisted on the need for a stronger statement.

A historical commission set up by Macron and led by the historian Vincent Duclert also concluded in 2021 that there had been a failure on the part of France under François Mitterrand, while adding that there was no evidence Paris was complicit in the killings.

Marcel Kabanda, president of the Ibuka France genocide survivor association, welcomed Macron’s message reported on Thursday. “It goes even further than the Duclert report or his message in Kigali [in 2021]. I’m overjoyed he is giving France this positive image of a country that recognises its faults and grows through recognising its history.”

In his video message Macron is to “reiterate the importance of the duty of remembrance, but also of developing and disseminating reference knowledge, in particular through the education of younger generations in France,” the presidency said.

Related Articles