Creation and historical background of the Commission
In 2004, Cabinet adopted the draft law establishing the Independent National Commission responsible for the collection of evidence indicating the role of the French State in the preparation and implementation of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, hereinafter called “The Commission.” Its creation was made public through a communiqué on 1st August 2004. Organic Law No. 05/2005 of 14th April 2005 established the Commission and gave it a six-month mandate that could be extended by a Presidential Order.
The Cabinet proposed members of the Commission on 5th April 2006 and they were conBrmed by Presidential Order No. 19/01 of 16th April 2006 which senate adopted in its session of 21st April 2006. The Order set the date on which the Commission would start its work on 16th April 2006 and the end of its mandate on 16th October 2006. The mandate was renewed twice in October 2006 and April 2007. Therefore the Commission carried out its work over a period of 18 months.
How the Commission understood its terms of reference
Considering the terms of reference as stated in the Organic Law establishing the Commission, especially Article 5, the general mission of the Commission was to bring out the role the French State played in the preparation and implementation of the genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994. SpeciBcally, the Commission was required to collect and examine documents, hear testimonies and any other evidence showing the involvement of the French State in the 1994 genocide as well as its role in the period after the genocide. This was particularly in the area of politics, diplomacy, media, judiciary and military. From its inception, the Commission re4ected on the content of its mission and how it would fulBll it in accordance wit the aforementioned Organic Law.
The Commission realised that the Law put emphasis on the collection of evidence and examining it without however explicitly going into investigations or research. Given the importance and sensitivity of its mandate and based on the fact that the Law stipulates that collected evidence should be examined, the Commission concluded that the purpose of its mandate was to scientiBcally establish the facts and analyse them. It then decided to carry out its research and investigations meticulously and only retain substantiated facts, which it deemed well founded and veriBable.