Contribution to the perpetration of the war

The Commission’s inquiry revealed that, contrary to o@cial declarations, France’s military aid in the perpetration of the war was multifaceted and often direct, like in the case of the collection of military intelligence, strategic and operational supervision of the war, contribution in artillery or in the laying of mines by French soldiers.

1.1. Support in military intelligence and telephone tapping

Between 1990 and 1994, France’s military and political aid to Rwanda was intense and visible. However, in other respects, it was discreet and clandestine, thanks to the close collaboration between the intelligence services of the two States and to the support given by French senior o@cials such as Paul Dijoud. In August 1991, Paul Dijoud promised to the Government of Rwanda, “that France is going to dispatch rapidly a discreet high level mission to carry out investigations on the exact location of RPF .

Documents show that starting from the end of 1992, there was a stronger high level cooperation between the French General Directorate of External Security, DGSE, and the Rwandan Directorate of External Security . Within the framework of this cooperation, Rwanda received the support of Col. Didier Tauzin (alias Thibault), who was a former employee of DGSE and who, from 1990 to the end of 1991, was a military advisor to President Habyarimana . This cooperation was also enhanced by the very close relations between the Head of the military assistance mission in Rwanda, Col. René Galinié, and the Head of military intelligence in Rwanda, commanding gendarme, Pierre-Claver Karangwa

French journalists and witnesses saw DGSE employees in Kigali between 1991 and 1993, at the time when the French Army was intensely training and arming the Rwandan Armed Forces . A French priest residing in Kigali in 1994 testiBed as follows:

“Some French who were here in 1994, I would like to see them again one day. (…) Particularly one Ambassador who obviously knew what was being prepared. The genocide had been planned! It is not possible that this Ambassador, the army o@cers and guys from the intelligence department did not know. (…) At the time, nothing could be done in Kigali without French employees being put in the picture by one or other person, even without them working behind the scenes ”.

General Jacques Rosier who commanded DAMI and who was the commanding o@cer of 1st RPIMA from 1990 to 1992, admitted to the presence of DGSE o@cers beside the Rwandan Armed Forces, but not frequently: “The Brst ones who came with wiretapping equipment in 1992 did not stay long. At the time when I was there, they were technicians who had come to strengthen the wiretapping capacities of the Rwandans ”.

The active presence of French intelligence o@cers in Rwanda was conBrmed by Augustin Iyamuremye, former Director of Rwandan Intelligence Services from 1992 to 1994. He told the Commission that “the French increased their support to the Government of Rwanda as RPF’s military pressure intensiBed. Much can be said about this French support during the war. France helped the Rwandan army in acquiring arms and ammunitions, training and collection of military intelligence. This latter activity was carried out by men who were working with DAMI ”

In practical terms, the collection of military intelligence for the Rwandan Armed Forces was carried out by o@cers from the 11th shock paratrooper’s regiment, the armed wing of DGSE, who were integrated with the sta= of Noroît, as well as “members of the commando unit of the 13th regiment of dragon paratroopers (RDP)”. That should enable one “to appreciate the nature of the aid given by this country to RPF Bghters ”. These o@cers trained and supported the Rwandan Armed Forces in the techniques of inBltration. They entered deep into the Ugandan territory behind the lines of RPF and intercepted radio communications of Ugandan and RPF regiments .

The intelligence services of the Rwandan Prime Minister reported in their Bulletin quotidien as follows:

“This morning 17 February 1993, RFI announced the Bndings of an investigation carried out by the French intelligence services in Uganda on the Rwandan crisis. According to this radio, these services are convinced that several Ugandan army units are behind the recent o=ensive of the guerrillas; they estimate that ten battalions deployed by the Rwanda Patriotic Front exceed largely the capacity of the Front since its forces are estimated at about 2500 men . In addition, the same services declared that the guerrillas are probably getting artillery support through the forest between Rwanda and Uganda”.

The French support was also through the provision of communications audio equipment to the Rwandan Army, namely two systems of radio monitoring , two TRC 195 radio direction Bnders, radio tactics and radio monitoring equipment , three radio monitoring equipment . According to Pierre Péan, this equipment enabled them to pick up RPF’s secret communications which were nevertheless considered as much protected:

“Other French soldiers broke through some secrets of Inkotanyi through the communications intelligence system installed on 2 March 1993, which complimented the taps provided every morning to Col. Maurin by Anatole Nsengiyumva, head of G2, the Rwandan military

intelligence department. […] The French stayed well informed of the activities of RPF through interceptions by the Rwandan Armed Forces up to the date of the assassination of the President ”.

Bernard Debré conBrmed the existence of communications taps of RPF, but he said that this was done by a Ministry which he did not mention . A note by the Belgian intelligence dated 28 December 1993, contained additional information that “French advisors who remained in Rwanda after the withdrawal of Noroît […] organised a campaign of denigrating the Belgian blue helmets (…)” and explained that two of them “put taps on the Kigali telephone exchange” more particularly “telephones in Embassies ”.

In reality, the deciphering of RPF communications was done by warrant o@cers Didot and Maîer, two French specialists who were training the Rwandan Armed Forces in the maintenance of the army’s radio stations and transmission techniques, including of course communications tapping. Didot and Maîer lived near CND where the RPF battalion was living, and some sources maintained that these two soldiers had chosen this place of residence in order to be able to tap better RPF communications coming from CND

French military technicians were also involved in analysing the war equipment seized from RPF during the Bghting in order to help the Rwandan Army to identify them and know them better and enable the Rwandan Armed Forces to buy appropriate arms for destroying those used by RPF. French soldiers were equally involved in teaching the Rwandan Armed Forces the techniques of mining and trapping. In this connection, Col. Canovas taught them how “to make use of the terrain by laying traps at cross roads, thawed con4uences and possible crossing points of the enemy”. This action was carried out “with the participation of the Noroît detachment” in the operational sectors of Byumba and Rusumo .

The other type of support o=ered by the French authorities to the Government of Rwanda was the perversion of military information obtained by the French Military Observers (MOF) . This event explains the nature of the conciliation e=orts by France in the con4ict, and yet this task required a minimum of neutrality from France.

MOF visited Rwanda and Uganda from 26 November 1991 to 10 March 1992. It was received by the Rwandan Minister of Foreign A=airs and Cooperation and the Minister of Defence on 28 November 1991, with Ambassador Martres in attendance. While there is nothing abnormal that representatives of a State speak in the defence of the policy practised by their government, the most astonishing thing was the bias

shown on this occasion by Ambassador Martres who, instead of showing neutrality, adopted rather the language of each of the two Rwandan Ministers. Minister Bizimungu gave an account of the position of Martres as follows:

“ In the same vein, the French Ambassador to Rwanda conBrmed also to his fellow countrymen that President Museveni was very cunning and that he was certainly going to try and show to the French military mission traces of his own army on the Ugandan soil to make them believe that those traces belonged to the Rwandan Armed Forces who violated his territory, or that he was going to show RPF Bghters on the Ugandan soil and make the mission believe that this was the Rwandan soil that RPF had seized. Mr Georges Martres told the head of the French military observers mission that the French Ambassador to Uganda had already gone to see all these scenarios and that he was well informed of the bad faith of RPF and the complicity of Uganda in the con4ict ”

Ambassador Martres continued to show his bias by violating the secrets contained in MOF inquiry reports, revealing them to the Government of Rwanda. The principle adopted when MOF was established was that its reports would in the Brst place be reserved for the French Government. The latter would then analyse them and, if necessary, convene a meeting of Rwanda and Uganda under the auspices of France. It was in such meetings that the Bndings of the investigations carried out by MOF would be communicated in order to contribute to the restoration of peace .

In the same style of secret operations, the French secret services helped the Habyarimana regime in inBltrating Hutu members of RPF to convince them to join the Presidential camp. These services undertook especially an operation for hijacking and abducting a well know Hutu opponent in Germany, Shyirambere Jean Barahinyura, who was a member of the Executive Committee of RPF and its Brst spokesperson in Europe in 1990. The team of specialists for this abduction operation consisted of Pierre-Yves Gilleron, former employee of the “anti terrorist cell in the President’s O@ce ”, his body guard Pierre Massé who also worked in the President’s O@ce, and his friend and associate, Pierre Péan . But the scheme was foiled thanks to the rapid intervention of the German police, the BKA of Frankfurt who had been alerted by Barahinyura himself. The French Rwandan journalist, Gaëtan Sebudandi who knew about this incident closely, told it in these words when he met the Commission in Born on 14 February 2007:

“I was told this incredible story during a private conversation with Shyirambere Jean Barahinyura himself towards the end of October or

the beginning of November 1990, in Frankfurt. He told me that two French agents had come to abduct him. At that time, I did not believe him much until ten years later when I read the same story in the book by Paul Barril with real names. Their mission was to hand him to Habyarimana. In order to convince him to follow them and leave RPF, they gave him a huge documentation of DGSE on RPF, containing the well known theories of Black Khmers, and they dissuaded him from cooperating with a movement of that type”.

It is true that Shyirambere Jean Barahinyura was a very important opponent of the Habyarimana regime to the extent that the Rwandan intelligence services and the Rwandan Ambassador in France and Germany had tried to approach him and proposed him huge sums of money so that he joins the government and gives Rwanda all the copies of his book in which he denounced the scandals of the regime

1.2. Strategic advice and tactical support
1.2.1. Attending the meetings of evaluation and strategic planning

At the beginning of the war, meetings were held regularly at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army. They were attended by more than ten o@cers, sometimes less, including the Belgians and the French. On reading some of the minutes of these meetings , one Bnds that French o@cers were often invited to attend. They were for example invited to the two meetings held on 31 October 1990, and to those held on 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th November 1990.

Judging by their frequency, these meetings looked like true crisis meetings. They were all devoted to the evaluation of the military situation on the ground: advances or withdrawals of the “enemy forces”, i.e. RPF; the recapture of locations or towns by the “friendly forces” whose composition was not mentioned; miscellaneous problems.

Under “miscellaneous problems”, it was stated for example in the minutes of the meeting of 31 October 1990, that “the friendly forces are continuing the search operation” in the combat zones .

The frequency of these meetings dropped with the brief lull on the various fronts after RPF withdrew and the Rwandan Army seemed to have won a momentary victory at the end of November 1990. They resumed with the resumption of the hostilities in February 1991, but this time at the headquarters of the Gendarmerie, and they assumed a more pronounced strategic and operation orientation. They were regularly attended on the Rwandan side by: Col. Pierre Célestin

RwagaBlita, Deputy Chief of Sta= of the Gendarmerie and chairman of the meetings; Lt. Colonels Pontien Hakizimana, Jean Ngayinteranya, Laurent Rutayisire from G3, G1 and G2 respectively at the Gendarmerie headquarters; and Commanders Jean-Baptiste Nsanzimfura and Christophe Bizimungu; on the French side, the most frequent at di=erent periods were Col. Galinié, Lt. Colones Canovas and Ruelle, and Major Robardey.

As an example of the topics discussed at these meetings, the discussion which Col. Galinié had on 13 February 1991, with the o@cers from the headquarters of the Gendarmerie and the units of the camp of Kacyiru (stronghold of the Gendarmerie) was about “the priority mission of the National Gendarmerie [which] consists in Bghting the ENI , Col. Galinié is ready to provide to the National Gendarmerie technical and material assistance to strengthen the operational capacity of the Corps”

It was also stated in the minutes that:

“With the Deputy Chief of Sta= of the Gendarmerie and the Branch Heads, he [Galinié] spoke of the problems and the di@culties the National Gendarmerie was encountering in the fulBlment of its missions of security, defence and Bghting for which it is not adequately prepared due to carrying out its normal duties, and he proposed a MAM assistance to meet this challenge which cannot be understood nor tolerated by the public opinion [our emphasis]. […] It is recommended that the defence of the city of Kigali be entrusted to the National Gendarmerie, and he undertakes to do everything possible to have this implemented e@ciently if the defence plan for the capital he intends to propose is accepted. […] This material and technical assistance will not however be restricted to Kigali city alone. It will be extended to the other camps and units”.

The themes of the meetings of the chiefs of sta= attended by French o@cers included the psychological state of particular units and the morale of the Rwandan Army as a whole, tactics and public security. The meeting held on 5 March 1991, dwelt much on the question of the insu@cient number of the forces. “In this connection, Lt. Col. Canovas stressed that this insu@ciency should be compensated by concentrating the defence around collective arms, the establishment of a decentralised intervention reserve force, the use of motorised patrols and patrols on foot, as well as observation and tapping posts”

At the end of 1991, a strong delegation visited Rwanda, consisting of Admiral Lanxade, Head of delegation, General Pidance, Principal Private Secretary, Colonel Delort from the Department of External

Relations, and Commissioner Dechin. The mission called on the President of the Republic and the Headquarters of the Rwandan Armed Forces where the Ministry of Defence (which, as indicated earlier, is headed by the Head of State), and explained that “the presence of Colonel Chollelt, the commander of DAMI, is desirable”

Shortly after, a letter from the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign A=airs informed the French Embassy in Rwanda that “with e=ect from 1 January 1992, Lt. Col. Chollet, Head of the Military and Training Assistance Department, will combine the duties of advisor of the President of the Republic, Commander-in-chief of the Rwandan Armed Forces, with those of advisor of the Army Chief of Sta=”. As advisor of the Head of State, his duties were the organisation of the defence and the functioning of the military institution, while with the Chief of Sta=, his duties were to advise him in the organisation of the Rwandan Army, the instruction and training of units and the use of the Forces .

The news about the appointment of Lt. Col. Chollet to these two posts spread very rapidly, raising a strong controversy. The Defence Attaché in Kigali tried to put this event into perspective by stating Brst that Chollet was to go back to France in March 1993, then by minimizing the importance and scope of a petition submitted by one of the big political organisations from the unarmed opposition, the Mouvement démocratique républicain (MDR), which had issued a strong protest, calling for a “Bnal end to colonisation”

On 3 March 1992 (which was a few weeks only after the momentary capture of the town of Ruhengeri by RPF Bghters), Lt. Col. Chollet was replaced by Lt. Col. Jean-Louis Nabias at the head of DAMI, and soon after, Jean-Jacques Maurin was appointed operational deputy to the Defence Attaché, as advisor of the Chief of Sta= of the Rwandan Army, among other duties. When he was interviewed by the Fact-Bnding Mission in 1998, Maurin explained “that in this capacity, he participated in the preparation of daily Bghting plans and in decision- making”

Another French o@cer, Col. Didier Tauzin, told the Fact-Bnding Mission that “French soldiers had to remind the Rwandan Army High Command the most elementary methods of tactical reasoning, teaching them how to make a synthesis of information, helping them to restore the logistics chain for food supplies to the troops, to prepare and give orders, to establish maps” .

According to many witnesses who saw him on the combat scenes, Lt. Col. Canovas appears to have been involved in the Beld most often, or at least he was the most clearly identiBed. Interviewed by the Fact-

Bnding Mission, he admitted that he had suggested “the establishment in sensitive zones of small groups dressed as civilians and disguised as peasants, in order to neutralise the generally isolated rebels” and “to make use of the terrain by setting traps at crossroads” .

The involvement of French o@cers in strategic, operational and tactical supervision of the Rwandan Armed Forces started with the war. In a Note Verbale to the French Ambassador to Rwanda , the Rwandan Minister of Foreign A=airs said that he appreciated “the moral, technical and tactical support which French o@cers, especially the Head of MAM, Col. Galinié and Lt. Col. Ganovas, have provided to their Rwandan comrades since their arrival in Rwanda, particularly during the October 1990 war.”

Besides the Head of MAM, other French o@cers who acted as advisors at di=erent periods were: Lt. Colonel Canovas for the Rwandan Army, Lt. Colonel Ruelle for the National Gendarmerie, Major Robardey for the National Gendarmerie (Judicial Police), Major Marliac for the Air Force, Major Refalo in the paratroopers units, and Capt. Caillaud at the National Gendarmerie College.

1.2.2. Direct participation in Bghting: 1990-1993

The issue of French soldiers participating directly in Bghting in a country with which France had no defence pact but only military cooperation agreements raises the question of the legality of such an intervention. And when one knows the criminal nature of the acts carried out by the regime being supported which moreover jeopardised the life of French citizens, the issue then takes on a moral dimension. A big number of former soldiers of the Rwandan Armed Forces explained that for them, the contribution in terms of strategic, operational and tactical advices as well as material support were as important as an occasional presence on the Beld of the French allies when they realised that the Rwandan Armed Forces were unable to contain RPF o=ensives.

As far as the Commission is concerned, these episodes of direct participation in Bghting must be viewed in the larger scheme of the French military intervention and one should consider the complementary nature of the various components of this intervention. This direct participation in Bghting was systematic at each one of the important o=ensives by RPF. It was seen in October 1990, in January 1991, from June to September in 1992 and in February 1993.

a) October 1990

There are strong assumptions showing that at the beginning of the war in October 1990, French pilots were 4ying combat helicopters which, according to French sources, must have contributed greatly to the crushing defeat of RPF. During his interview with MIP, Ambassador Martres, “pointed out that on 4th or 5th October 1990, a combat helicopter of the Rwandan Army destroyed more than ten RPF vehicles and four or Bve trucks carrying petrol and that, according to reports by French soldiers, this operation had been carried out by a Rwandan pilot, and that this pilot had been trained by the French. The instructor was moreover quite proud of the success of his student” .

General Varret was clearer as he explained that: “pilot instructors were on board Gazelle helicopters sent in combat zones with Rwandans and that they did not participate. Their presence was only to give instructions in shooting while 4ying. He further asserted that French troops did not stop RPF o=ensive in October 1990”.

One justiBably wonders whether the shelling of supply columns of an enemy who had attacked three days earlier and about whom it was not known whether he had anti aircraft missiles constitutes really a favourable context for dispensing instructions.

b) RPF attack on the town of Ruhengeri on 23 January 1991

After its defeat at the end of 1990, RPA got reorganised by withdrawing mainly to the volcanic region overlooking the whole northern part of the country. On 23 January 1991, RPA launched a surprise attack on the town of Ruhengeri and controlled it for a few hours before withdrawing, after freeing prisoners from Ruhengeri prison, some of whom were the main opponents of President Habyarimana. Two sections of Noroît then came to evacuate 300 persons from the town, 185 of whom were French. Ambassador Martres recalled the evacuation exercise in the following terms:

“The unit led by Col. Galinié did not go beyond the mission it had been assigned and intervened in the residential area as soon as the Rwandan paratroopers had retaken control of the town. The respect of the instructions given did not exclude some daring acts shown by the French paratroopers during the last two hours before the fall of the night. The expatriate population was in such a state of shock that it could no longer put up with another night of an armed clash”

Here again, taking into consideration the text as a whole, one may justiBably suppose that this “daring” referred to the direct engagement of French soldiers. The dispatching of a DAMI was decided after RPA’s raid.

c) Battles of Byumba: June – August 1992

The Brst of the two big o=ensives to which the French Army reacted by a heavy direct engagement was the battle of Byumba in June 1992. This was the Brst large scale o=ensive of RPF since October 1990. On 5th June, RPA occupied the town of Byumba for a few days. The Rwandan Armed Forces proved unable to respond to the o=ensive and through a series of inBltrations, RPA managed to seize a strip of land of about ten kilometres in the zone of Byumba, thus linking its positions in the North West and North East.

On 10 June 1992, a company of about 150 French soldiers based in Central African Republic was dispatched to Rwanda. O@cially, this was meant “to prevent any threat against the foreign community”. From 11 to 16 June, a French military evaluation mission was sent to Rwanda.

Between June and October 1992, Noroît was reinforced by troops from the 8th RPIMA, DAMI was reinforced through the establishment of an artillery DAMI which came with 105 mm batteries. This artillery was composed of soldiers from the 35th RAP. From June to November, it was Col. Rosier who at that time was the commanding o@cer of the 1st RPIMA who took charge of the Noroît contingent and DAMI.

General James Kabarebe, currently Chief of Sta= of the Rwanda Defence Forces, in an interview with David Servenay, explained how RPA had noticed the direct engagement of French soldiers in the battle of Byumba:

“Personally, the Brst time I had contact with the French was in 1992 in Byumba. They had brought a new 105 mm artillery battery. They were using it. It must have been a new weapon which we had never come across since 1990. This new weapon was supposed to Bnish o= the Rwanda Patriotic Army. (…) They came directly to the Byumba frontline. They shelled us all along this frontline from Ruhengeri to Mutara. They were very near the frontline because we could hear their communications. They shelled our trenches. When the French felt that they had shelled us enough, the Rwandan Armed Forces would advance to Bnish o= the work. But to their big surprise, when the Rwandan Armed Forces advanced, we would be waiting for them quite close to their trenches and we would Bre at them from the rear at close range. Many lives were lost. Those who escaped were often wounded. They withdrew to the place where the French were waiting. And there, I remember, the radio which the French and the Rwandan Armed Forces were listening to was just beside me: they told them o=… They were very harsh, calling them weak, useless. They were saying [in French]: “The Rwandan Armed Forces are weak, weak, how can you fail after

such a heavy shelling?”[…] The French had invested, organised and commanded these forces; they brought this system of weapons. They have done all they could: and the Rwandan Armed Forces have failed to play their role. But the angry tone of the French commander who was speaking on the radio, this anger….showed that he felt more concerned than the Rwandans themselves. That was his business”

According to Colonel Murenzi, a former member of the Rwandan Armed Forces, it was after the RPF assault on Byumba in June 1992, when they showed their military superiority over the Rwandan Armed Forces that the French became resolutely engaged. The French advisors from the “Beld artillery” which was usually stationed at Kanombe camp took part in the battle of Mukarange against the RPF positions. “For the Brst time in the history of the Rwandan Army, we used 105 mm canons. […] We did not have this type of weapons. […] » During the battles of Mukarange and Kivuye, these weapons helped us », added Murenzi. Concerning the battle of Byumba in 1992, the current General Rwarakabije of former Rwandan Armed Forces conBrmed the evidence of Colonel Murenzi. Between June and August 1992, the French took position in the region of Rukomo on a site of Amsar Company. There, they fought with their own weapons.

The participation of the French in the various battles fought in Byumba prefecture was conBrmed by an o@cial Rwandan report. During the same Byumba battle, but this time more eastward in Mutara region, a note by the intelligence unit commander, Augustin Iyamuremye, to the Prime Minister on the development of the military situation on the front, gave clear details on the French direct military engagement:

“Our soldiers, with the support of the French Brepower, liberated commune Bwisige on 19 July well before the beginning of the truce. But the enemy was still present in Mukarange, Cyumba and Kivuye communes and in Cyonyo sector of commune Kiyombe. In the course of 20th July, battles were reported in Mutara in the communes of Ngarama, Cyonyo, Kibali, Bwisige and Mukarange. In Mutara, our soldiers who were near Muhambo centre were 4ushed out in the afternoon of 20th July 1992 by enemy shelling. The enemy managed to take Ngoma bridge located between Muvumba and Ngarama communes, and it was feared that he could advance up to the o@ces of Ngarama sub prefecture, 10 km away from this bridge. The French intervention helped us to drive away the attackers on 22nd July 1992”.

Still in the east, Mwumvaneza , who is currently a Member of Parliament and was at that time a communal counsellor, tells of the circumstances in which he saw French soldiers intervene in the battle of Ngarama (seat of the commune with the same name) in July 1992.

RPF and the Rwandan Armed Forces fought there for six hours. When the latter su=ered heavy human losses, the French intervened to help them to recapture their position.

“These were young people who appeared to have hardly come out of their adolescence. They positioned their canons at Gituza on a football Beld, not far from the dispensary. There were eight canons. When the soldiers of Habyarimana had recaptured their position, the French soldiers advanced towards Kanero and once again positioned their canons at a place called Mashani, which is the trading centre of Kanero. If my memory is good, I think that there were eight canons Bring in the direction of Muvumba commune”.

Nkurunziza Elias, municipal counsellor also of Muvumba commune in 1990, di=erentiates indirect evidence with what he can relate as an eyewitness. First of all, he had heard soldiers bragging in their conversation: “henceforth, we are going to Bght Inkotanyi [RPF]. They will no longer be able to drive us away from our positions since we have the French with us” . This is how, he added, he and others had learnt that the canons that had been shelling RPF positions in 1992 in the various combat zones in Byumba prefecture were operated by the French.

d) February 1993

On 8th February 1993, RPF launched a widespread o=ensive from all its positions and within a few hours, it had captured a big section of the northern part of the country. They had even reached about thirty kilometres from the capital Kigali.

On 8th and 9th, France proceeded with the reinforcement of Noroît which comprised then a tactical sta= (EMT), three companies of the 21st RIMA, one company of the 8th RPIMA, Chimère and Rapas detachments and a reinforced (engineering) DAMI. On 23rd February 1993, the French Ministry of Foreign A=airs announced that two additional companies of French soldiers had been dispatched “urgently” to Rwanda “to guarantee the security of French nationals and other foreigners”. These consisted of one company of the 6th battalion of marine infantry (BIMA) based in Libreville and one company of French soldiers for operational assistance (EFAO) based in Bangui, all with a total of about 240 men. O@cially, the number of French soldiers rose to some 600 elite soldiers (for about 400 expatriates) .

Regarding the February 1993 battle, General Rwarakabije explained that the French engagement was even more determined than in June

1992. The advance of RPF up to the surrounding areas of Kigali, made people fear that the capital was falling. When RPF troops arrived at Tumba, the French were deployed at Ruyenzi and Shyorongi, linking up with the soldiers of the Rwandan Armed Forces to drive back their enemy. “The French distributed weapons and provided support Brepower”.

A former corporal of the Rwandan Armed Forces explained that he had served directly under the command of French soldiers along with other French soldiers during the battle of February 1993. That he had even operated pieces of the 105 mm artillery together with the French.

“The French with us at Kirambo used 105 mm guns. They had about Bfteen guns and we had been trained on how to use them. We were usually seven men operating one gun: four French and three Rwandans, including a leader called “detachment commander”. This type of equipment had been brought by the French. It was new to us. […] I was the « 15 detachment commander » and I received instructions from a French o@cer who, together with Colonel
Serubuga , were in command of the operations. I would take notes and forward them to a French corporal who, since he was conversant with the weapon, would adjust it, then another French would open the cover and a French together with a Rwandan (called “purveyor”), would push in the shell, and lastly a fourth French would activate the shooting device. All the guns Bred almost simultaneously. The Bred shells dug huge holes in the ground, which is why we called them “dimba hasi” (meaning approximately: dig deep in the ground) .

François Nsengayire was transferred to Jali Gendarmerie camp at the beginning of 1993. There, he found a section of French soldiers from the 8th RPIMA and severed as an interpreter. During the RPA’s attack on 8th February 1993, its Bghters came very close to the French position at Jali. He shortly described the event as follows:

“ The soldiers of the 8th RPIMA who had among them Beld artillery soldiers Bred 105 and 122 mm mortars and took position at Shyorongi from where they started shelling the enemy positions. I was with a group of French soldiers in an area called Kimaranzara in Mbogo, in a shrub. We were acting as advance observers guiding artillery Bre from Shyorongi. I was with the French acting as an interpreter. But on a hill a little further, there were RPA Bghters who I suspect had seen them. These [RPF] Bghters had recoilless guns. They Bred three shells and three French died on the spot and two others were seriously wounded.”

On 20 February 1993, RPF soldiers declared a unilateral ceaseBre while just 30 Kilometres from Kigali. From 25th February to 2nd March,

opposition parties sent a delegation to meet RPF representatives. At the end of the meeting, a joint communiqué was issued, calling for a lasting ceaseBre, the withdrawal of foreign troops and the resumption of the Arusha negotiations.

After considerable e=orts in supporting the Rwandan Army, its defeat on 8 February 1993 totally indicated the emptiness of the French support operations as evidenced from October 1990 and subsequently reinforced just after the RPF o=ensive from 5th June 1992.

On 19 February 1993, General Quesnot wrote to President Mitterrand informing him of France’s remaining three options in the wake of the RPA o=ensive on 8th February: “(1) evacuation of French nationals in the coming days if RPF maintains its intention of taking over the capital […]; (2) immediately sending at least two companies to Kigali […]. Even if it does not solve the substantial problem, this action would help to save time; (3) sending a more sizeable contingent to prevent the e=ective taking over of Kigali by RPF and enabling the Rwandan units to re-establish their positions at least along the previous cease Bre line. […] However, this would signal an almost direct involvement”

The second option was adopted and, as we saw earlier, it led to the direct involvement of French soldiers in the Bghting. In light of the failure of the French support strategy to the Rwandan Armed Forces and the diplomatic pressure against RPA, France and its ally President Habyarimana were Bnally resigned to accept the departure of the French troops from Rwanda, to be replaced by a UN peace mission demanded by RPF as a condition for peace.

The military defeat of the Rwandan Armed Forces despite the French support certainly played an important role in the alternative choice of a genocide as a resistance strategy to political change. Given the signiBcance of the French military engagement and assistance to the Rwandan Armed Forces, one wonders if France did not feel the defeat of the Rwandan Armed Forces as its own defeat and to what extent it might have contributed to the adoption of this genocide alternative.

2. Involvement in the training of Interahamwe militia and village vigilantes (civilian self-defence)

2.1. The Interahamwe

One of the most serious accusations levelled against France was its input in the training of Interahamwe militia who spearheaded the implementation of the genocide. Initially, this militia was a youth movement without any legal status which was a@liated to the

Presidential party, MRND. It started gaining prominence just after the introduction of multi-party politics in June 1991. Very rapidly, inter- party competition became intense and violent more or less all over the country. Di=erent political parties formed youth movements used as “shock troops” during meetings, demonstrations and rallies, intimidating supporters of rival political organisations or compelling the inhabitants in surrounding areas to come to their meetings or demonstrations. In Kigali, there was a territorial war amongst di=erent militia for protection of zones of in4uence. In rural areas, militia carried out 4ag wars and intimidated some burgomasters (mayors) of communes and made them run away. They even appropriated land from public land for cultivation in disregard to laws and procedures.

But besides these ordinary Interahamwe, another smaller group of Interahamwe with some military training started appearing in 1992, and one of its tasks was to carry out massacres and assassinations. Massacres, killings and assassinations between March 1992 and April 1994 within Government controlled areas were wholly or partly attributed to Interahamwe.

During the genocide, in the areas of Kigali, Kigali Rural, Kibungo, Byumba, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi and parts of Cyangugu prefectures, where MRND had in4uence, Interahamwe and their associates largely had a hand in the genocide. Subsequently, they spread into the prefectures where MRND had lost in4uence following the introduction of multiparty politics such as Gitarama, Butare, Kibuye. These are prefectures which had a sizeable Tutsi population and killings had moderately started.

2.2. Early stages of the village vigilantes « civilian self-defence »

Besides the existence of well trained Interahamwe, another process of military training and arming of civilians appeared; it was called the organisation of village vigilantes (civilian self-defence). Initially, this was a paramilitary training programme for Hutus living in areas neighbouring the front line in the north east of the country. Its mission was to patrol these areas in order to prevent inBltrations of RPF Bghters and to oversee Tutsi civilians living in such areas and, as we will see in this document, also to kill them at an appropriate time. After the Brst few weeks of the genocide, this village vigilante programme became systematic and was used as the structure through which the local administration completed the implementation of the genocide. Interahamwe were integrated in this scheme as a striking power .

At the end of April 1991, two events necessitated the involvement of civilians disguised as soldiers in the defence of the country. The Brst was the speech of President Habyarimana on 28th April 1991 and the

second was the advice given to the Rwandan Army by a French senior o@cer. While in Rwanda, Lt. Col. Canovas undertook an inspection tour of all the military operational units in 1991. In Ruhengeri, in order to Bnd a lasting solution to the insecurity of the population living south of the Volcano National Park caused by RPA inBltrations, he proposed “the creation in sensitive areas of small groups in civilian clothes disguised as peasants, in order to neutralise the generally isolated rebels” . What was recommended here was to use soldiers disguised in civilian clothes and not civilians with military training. The suggestion was therefore to use people who looked like civilians in the armed con4ict.

E=ective from the end of August 1991, the plan for revival and development of the village vigilante (civilian self-defence) commenced. On 25th August 1991, the security council of Ngarama sub prefecture in Byumba prefecture met in the o@ce of Muvumba commune. On the agenda, among other things, was an item on the village vigilantes called “people’s self-defence”. The meeting was attended by the commander of Mutara operational sector, Col. Deogratias Nsabimana, who later became the Chief of Sta= of the Rwandan Armed Forces. From the onset, Colonel Nsabimana raised the problem of lack of resources in terms of Brearms and lack of Military supervision for such a programme .

In a letter to the Ministry of Defence dated 29th September 1991 on “People’s self-defence”, Colonel Deogratias Nsabimana referred to the proposals made during a meeting held at the sub prefecture of Ngarama on 26th September 1991. The proposal was about the creation of a structure of a “people’s self-defence which would trickle down to the smallest administrative unit” called ‘Nyumba kumi’ . Members had to be at least 25 years old and not more than 40, preferably married and prove to be of “good” morals, be su@ciently patriotic, sociable and courageous. These civilians were to be trained by the army. Based on 10 weapons per cell, the four communes where the programme was to be launched needed 350 weapons for Muvumba, 580 for Muhura, 530 for Ngarama and 300 for Bwisige. The minutes of the report ended by stating that “(…) the participants recognise that the needs expressed above are very high and they are aware of the small size of the national budget” .

On 7th February 1992, during the meeting for Byumba prefecture security council held in the o@ce of Muvumba commune, attendants were informed of the progress made in regard to the issue of civilian self-defence in Mutara region after the Ministry of Defence had made available 300 weapons (without specifying the type). These weapons were distributed as follows: 76 for Muvumba commune, 40 for Kivuye commune, 40 for Kiyombe commune and 24 for Cyumba commune.

About Muvumba commune, a group of 250 persons chosen from its inhabitants at the discretion of the burgomaster and his communal council in charge of security were sent for training at Gabiro from 29th January to 5th February 1992, to learn how to operate Brearms

It appears that the French Military Attaché in Kigali, Colonel Cussac, was closely following this issue. MIP published an extract from a diplomatic telex dated 22nd January 1992, in which he explained in detail the above scheme of distributing arms to civilians. He mentioned the areas to be covered, the selection criterion for members and conBrmed the number of weapons as 300. He also explained that majority of these weapons were MAS 36 and expressed his concern on the risks of drifts in such a project .

Before the genocide, it was not easy for one to draw a line of distinction between village vigilantes/civilian self-defence and members of the Interahamwe. Individuals who received military training under the scheme of village vigilantes/ civilian self-defence used to refer to themselves – and were described by others – as Interahamwe. In both cases, it appears that the task assigned was to Bght the Tutsi enemy, starting with Tutsi civilians in their vicinity. However, a distinction should be made between Interahamwe “shock groups” who essentially were physically Bt young men, peasants or town dwellers without any speciBc professional employment, who could go for training far from their areas of residence and in the end be deployed elsewhere in other parts of the country, and Interahamwe who were given local training , including a number of few civil servants who could not easily be di=erentiated from members of the village vigilantes/“civilian self-defence”.

Finally, there were two types of accusations levelled against French soldiers in the training of Interahamwe. The Brst series of accusations maintain that French soldiers really trained these militia, but they exempt them partly on the ground that they did not know that they were training civilians, that in the training camps, it would not been easy to distinguish the civilians from the military recruits . The other type of accusation maintains that French soldiers knew that the civilians they were training belonged to the Interahamwe movement .

The evidence involving French soldiers in the training of Interahamwe covers di=erent training camps from Gabiro camp to Nyakinama University, Mukamira camp, Bigogwe camp and Gako camp. The only training which was linked to the village vigilante/“civilian self-defence” scheme was that of the inhabitants of Muvumba commune and the one carried out at Nyakinama University. Elsewhere, witnesses simply mentioned the training of Interahamwe.

2.2.1. Gabiro camp

Gabiro camp was located in the eastern part of the country in a savannah region which is almost desert. It is adjoined to Akagera National Park.

a) Village vigilantes/Self-defence in Muvumba

Despite reservations of Colonel Cussac expressed in his message of 22nd January 1992, concerning the training of civilians in the village vigilante/“self-defence” scheme , various testimonies maintain that French soldiers were involved in the initiation of the programme for residents of Muvumba commune and that the training was carried out at Gabiro camp.

Mumvaneza was at the time a communal counsellor in charge of one of the sectors of Muvumba commune which had launched the village vigilante/civilian self-defence scheme. He had his Brst contact with French soldiers in the o@ce of the Muvumba commune during a meeting of all the communal counsellors in charge of the sectors. French soldiers had come to see burgomaster Rwabukombe Onesphore .

“When I saw them, I did not know that they were Frenchmen. I saw white men in military uniforms who were strolling at the communal o@ce. They were four. Three of them had smeared their faces with some black material. This could have been shoe polish or charcoal. Only one of them did not have his face smeared. That was their chief, and I later on learnt that his name was Captain Jacques. I was told so by Lt. Kadali, a friend of mine who often spoke to him.

I found them in the communal o@ce chatting with the burgomaster. I wanted to enter the o@ce but was told that the burgomaster had visitors. We had come for a meeting of all the counsellors. I waited. When they Bnished their discussion, they came out and left. There was that white man Captain Jacques, commander Ntirikina who was based at Gabiro, and Colonel Rwabukwisi.

After their departure, we had our weekly meeting of counsellors held every Friday. The burgomaster told us that those French and Rwandan soldiers wanted to train the inhabitants in self-defence in order to Bght the threat of inBltrations by Inkotanyi in the countryside, because these people were distributing weapons to their Tutsi relatives for killing the population. That it was therefore necessary to adopt a strategy of training the inhabitants in the use of weapons so that they

may defend themselves when it becomes necessary to kill these people, be they accomplices or Inkotanyi. We took note of this and the burgomaster told us that he had been o=ered 252 places for the entire population of Muvumba. These places were divided among the communal counsellors. I was given 16, one of which was personally mine. A week later, we gave reports on the groups of people who would go for training, each counsellor presenting his own list. We left for Gabiro in several buses, and each counsellor had a list of his men.

We found Frenchmen at Gabiro. They were not more than four; they hid and had their faces covered. They did not want to be seen by the civilians. But for us counsellors, it happened that we sometimes went into the o@ce of the commander, or when we were discussing with high ranking soldiers such as lieutenants or chief sergeants, they told us that those were our white friends who had come to help us. We stayed there for one month or one month and a half. (…) Those white men and the captain often came to see us at about 1000 hours. Our instructors were supposed to know French, but I did not speak French myself. At times, Captain Jacques came with burgomaster Gatete, and at other times with Ntirikina or Rwabukwisi, and so on”.

On how the training was organised, the former counsellor explained that they slept in tents near Gabiro camp and that in the morning; they would go to a valley about 5 km away. They would leave on foot very early in the morning with other people. They would reach the training venue at about 0900 or 1000 hours, and would practise shooting until around 1400 hours. They would then go back to the camp for lunch. At around 1600 hours, they would attend “theoretical” classes. These lectures were given most of the time by Commander Ntirikina who was in charge of them.

“[They explained to us that] the weapons you have been trained to operate are to be used to Bght Inkotanyi. Inkotanyi like to hide, they like to go behind the lines of our soldiers and inBltrate the countryside, in your own sectors. They hide weapons in the homes of their Tutsi relatives. With those weapons which we are going to give you, you must Bght these Tutsis who live in the countryside. If you hear that these Inyenzi have brought weapons to the population, there is no other solution but to shoot at these peasants or kill them; they do not outnumber you”.

The counsellor explained that in his administrative constituency, there were 21 Tutsi out of 7900 inhabitants in his sector.

During theoretical classes, “the French would pass by brie4y from time to time. Lt. Kadali would act as an interpreter because the Frenchmen

did not understand Kinyarwanda. In the Beld, they would come to see if our shots went to the target. They would take a white sheet of paper, draw a circle inside which we had to shoot. When one shot accurately inside the target, the spot would be marked with a cassava ball so that it is not confused with the next or the preceding shot.”

The witness then explained that in fact, they did not sleep in the real camp, but their tents were pitched outside, very near the camp. He also explained that in their group, they were only civilians and that it was not possible to confuse them with the soldiers because they were dressed in civilian clothes.

When asked about the role of the French soldiers in the request to the burgomaster of Muvumba to provide civilians to train, the counsellor replied:

“[The burgomaster] told us that these white men supported us in the war we were Bghting and that they wanted us to help them…the food we ate while at Gabiro, it was them who gave it to us […] I am saying that it was the French who gave us food because we were asked to state precisely the maximum number of people which should not be exceeded. [The burgomaster had told us] Bring a small number of people because these white men told us that if we exceed the number, food will not be enough. You should come with the number of people agreed upon, do not exceed”.

The counsellor of Karama commune in Muvumba commune, Elias Nkurunziza , who was examined at Nyagatare prison by the Commission, conBrmed the presence of French soldiers at the time of requesting local leaders for people to train in the use of Brearms. He was referring to the same episode as the one mentioned by the preceding witness, the meeting of counsellors in the o@ce of Muvumba commune.

“In 1992, we were called to go to the commune and told to bring strong young men who were going to be taught how to use weapons. Not all sectors were selected for this scheme. In regard to my sector, I was asked to provide 50 people. […] We arrived at the commune at 0900 hours. The burgomaster had a meeting with the soldiers Brst. Colonel Muvunyi was among them. There was also a French soldier who had come in a Suzuki Jeep with two other white soldiers who had smeared their faces with shoe polish. [..] On the agreed day, we met at the communal o@ce. We went into buses which had been hired by Castar Nsabimana. We Brst went to Nyagatare and then to Gabiro where we stayed for ten days. We spent the nights at Gabiro. In the morning, we would be given sorghum porridge and would then go to a

place called Rwangingo. There was an airstrip which was no longer in use; this is where we were taught to use guns.

Munyandinda Sylvestre was a farm instructor living in Muvumba commune, which was then governed by burgomaster Onesphore Rwabukombe. The counsellor of the sector where Munyandinda Sylvestre, Kayijamahe Domitien lived was called to the communal o@ce for a meeting in which sector counsellors were asked to make a list of men of good reputation who were to go for training in how to use weapons. Around June 1992, Munyandinda Sylvestre was called to go to the commune. Eight to ten people had been called from each commune. Together, they were all more than a hundred who were to go to Gabiro to be trained in use of weapons. They went by bus. When they reached Gabiro, political parties representatives opposed the training because they did not want civilians to be trained in how to handle weapons. After three days of negotiations, an understanding was reached and the training started. Two Rwandan non commissioned o@cers were introduced to them, and they were told that these would be their instructors. They lived near Gabiro camp, but they received their training about seven kilometres away from the camp, at a place called Rwangingo. Munyandinda Sylvestre explained how he met French soldiers at Gabiro:

“In the evening, [Rwandan] high ranking soldiers would come to see how the day had been, how things were, and on other days, these high ranking o@cers would be with our instructors, asking them whether we were responding well to the training. Our instructors would tell them that things were not going well, that they had been given incapable recruits. […] Sometimes, these high ranking o@cers would come with two white men and sometimes with people who were neither whites nor Rwandans. […] There were people who looked black and used to come with the white men […]. They were stout in build. There was one Whiteman who came often with high ranking o@cers to see how the situation was. […] When they came, they discussed with our instructors. There was one young man who was said to be the best shooter. The instructors introduced him to the white men. They wanted to know whether he had been a soldier; he denied and said that he just did it like that, naturally”.

There was thus a long incubation period during which a number of Rwandan military and political leaders saw the need to put in place a “civilian self-defence” scheme but it could not be implemented because of lack of resources. According to di=erent testimonies heard by the Commission, French soldiers played a decisive role in translating this idea into practice. They contributed to its launching through logistical support, provision of food, and in training civilians in shooting

skills, as well as through discreet monitoring of the programme. In its early stages, the aim of the village vigilantes/“civilian self-defence” programme was to carry out patrols in zones near the military operations in order to thwart inBltration attempts by RPF Bghters, but later, there emerged a scheme of massacres.

b) Training Interahamwe

Another witness, Jean-Baptiste Dushimimana , was a full time Interahamwe who was trained towards the end of 1993, with the assistance of French soldiers. He explained that at the time, some MRND leaders living in areas of Gatenga, Kicukiro commune, started to contact young men belonging to this party. They told them that even if they were part of the MRND youth groups which participated in the demonstrations and meetings, this role had been overtaken by events considering the period to which the country was heading with the imminent arrival of RPF representatives in the Government. That is how Jean-Baptiste had received paramilitary training. He was Brst trained in a building called Technoserve located in a residential area close to the city centre of Kigali. But since the training was being done in the open, peoples’ attention made it necessary to shift and we were subsequently moved to Felicien Kabuga’s building located in Muhima residential area. Even there, rumours started circulating, and we were moved again to Kimihurura, in the house of General Ndindiriyimana, near Kigali night club.

In Kimihurura, those who trained them told them that they should be strong enough to Bght the enemy by learning how to use weapons because peace negotiations would yield nothing, and that in any case, they will have to Bght the enemy who was becoming increasingly strong every day. At that time, they were asked to give their full personal particulars in order to be sure about their origin. Young people with blood relations with Tutsis or Hutus from Nduga (the centre and south of the country) were sent away. Others were told that they were being taken to Gabiro to be taught how to use weapons and that this should be kept absolutely conBdential. Jean-Baptiste Dushimimana and his comrades boarded buses and were driven to Gabiro.

“On our arrival, we were received by guards, who told us that they worked for the Rwanda Tourism and National Parks O@ce (ORTPN) and that they were going to train us as park wardens. […] The uniforms we wore had been given to us by the French through ORTPN so that junior soldiers or any of us don’t understand the source because at that time, UNAMIR had started checking. […] Another thing, during the “cross” training which we called “petit matinal”, French soldiers would drive in a jeep along with us so that if one of us felt too tired, they would take

him back to the camp. […] In fact, the programme was well established because when we arrived there, we replaced other young men who too had come from the city of Kigali, but from Muhima residential area. We found Frenchmen there. They wore military uniforms. In Kigali, we knew French soldiers; there was no way we could be mistaken about them, because they had unique uniforms. […] It was not possible to confuse us with new military recruits. In that camp, there were three distinct groups of people being trained: Burundian Hutus, soldiers who were to go to the frontline to Bght, and MRND Interahamwe whose mission was to protect their party leaders in a new government that was about to be formed”.

On their return to town, Jean-Baptiste Dushimimana and his group were assigned di=erent duties according to their shooting skills. Jean- Baptiste Dushimimana was given the task of protecting a close relative of President Habyarimana, Séraphin Twahirwa, who was the leader of Interahamwe in Kigali city. Shortly before the genocide, his group was given weapons, grenades and even vehicles.

Jean-Baptiste Dushimimana did not remember the exact dates of this training at Gabiro where French soldiers were involved. He however gave some temporal landmarks such as the arrival of RPF in Kigali in view of forming the broad based transitional government and the early stages of the UNAMIR’s presence. In this way, it is possible to place the date of his training at between 8th October 1993 – arrival date for General Dallaire in Rwanda as UNAMIR commander and 15th December 1993, the departure date of the French soldiers from Noroît contingent.

Nsabimana Hassan was in the same group of Interahamwe as Jean- Baptiste Dushimimana. He said that he had been trained at Gabiro by Rwandan and French soldiers. He was taught how to assemble and dismantle a gun and how to shoot. In the mornings, they would run from Gabiro to Kabarore. During the shooting exercises, the French soldiers gave them marks. They would draw a man’s Bgure and show them where they should aim. Marks were given according to the part of the body shot at. Nsabimana Hassan explained that French soldiers brought them food in a helicopter with Colonel Nkundiye. After one month and a half of training, they were sent back to their respective residential areas. Like the preceding witness, he was among Interahamwe who were put at the disposal of President Habyarimana’s relative, Séraphin Twahirwa.

Mulindankiko Marine was also a member of the same group of Interahamwe as the two preceding witnesses, who were under the orders of Séraphin Twahirwa. He explained that he had been trained in

the building belonging to Kabuga in Kigali and at Gabiro camp. At Gabiro, they were under warrant o@cer Matabaro and two French soldiers. “During the shooting sessions, French soldiers gave us marks. They taught us how to use GP revolvers. We would shoot at a helmet hung on a stick. During the morning running exercises, they would come with us”.

Ngarambe Pierre Célestin was an Interahamwe who was trained for two weeks at Gabiro camp towards the end of 1993, with the assistance of French soldiers.

“When we arrived at Gabiro camp, we were introduced to Colonel Nkundiye who was the camp commander. We were shown instructors. The French would come with Ngirumpatse Mathieu in a helicopter. The French brought us ammunitions because we were not using those from the camp. They taught us to shoot at targets. They would draw a human head at which we would shoot. At other times, it would be the drawing of a cross. The French would give us marks and prizes according to our performance. They would give us alcohol. Depending on the marks obtained, we were promised a bottle of banana beer. We would train in the morning and in the afternoon, the French and Mathieu Ngirumpatse would give us lessons. They would tell us that what was important was to know well who the enemy was, that the enemy was the Tutsi. They would tell us that something was going to happen and that when that time comes, we should start by killing our Tutsi neighbours. When we heard the word kill, some of us started deserting”.

Ndindabahizi Emmanuel was a soldier in a company called Huye by the end of 1992. In that year, this company was based in Mutara region. Its members were stationed in the high mountains near Uganda. As for the French, they stayed at Gabiro. These were members of DAMI, who gave us training, taught Bghting without arms and military regulations.

“I took part in these training courses. What I noticed was that they recruited young men trained by the French, among others. But when they were through with the training, they went back home. Their training seemed like military training, but they were taught mainly to use traditional weapons. They had clubs, and they learnt how to throw a knife. The training lasted between two to three months, after which they went back home. To tell the truth, we did not know why they were being trained, sometimes we thought that they would join the army but at the end of the training, they went back home still dressed in civilian clothes”.

Ndindabahizi explained that although his unit was staying far from Gabiro camp, he was able to see everything because their company’s o@ce was inside Gabiro camp where he used to go regularly, either escorting the vehicle which brought supplies, or to have a bath because there was no water in the mountains. In his free time, he used to come there with others for a rest. When he was in the camp, he saw training sessions conducted by French soldiers for civilians, particularly during morning running exercises called “petit matinal”.

Ndindabahizi knew a person called Muyisere Christophe, who was trained at Gabiro camp by French soldiers. He lived in the former Taba commune. After his training as Interahamwe, he went to train Interahamwe in his commune. During one training session, he was shot and lost his leg.

“There were other people who were trained by French soldiers whose names I did not know butwhom I had become familiar with while at Gabiro. We thought they would become soldiers. But later, I saw them during the war [during the genocide] at check points in Nyamirambo, [a residential area of Kigali] and we greeted one another. Subsequently, I saw them again at check points, but this time they carried weapons”.

Kaburame Jean Damascène was a corporal in the second Muvumba battalion based at Gabiro camp in 1992. The witness maintained that in that camp, he saw French soldiers from DAMI train Interahamwe. At the end of the training, they would give clothes and arms. These Interahamwe had to Bght the enemy, and they were told that the enemy was the Tutsi in general. The French soldiers trained them essentially in dismantling and reassembling guns and in shooting. “I saw this with my own eyes; how the French trained Interahamwe and then gave them weapons. When the instructors left, Interahamwe came to tell us that we had to Bght the enemy”.

2.2.2. Nyakinama University Campus

DAMI soldiers started living at Nyakinama University on 29th March 1991 . Colonel Ndamage Martin maintained that he had seen more than forty DAMI soldiers staying at Nyakinama University under the command of Colonel Chollet .

Simugomwa Fidèle’s evidence mainly touched the region of Kibuye where he comes from. Simugomwa Fidèle mentioned the fact that when he was working at Nyakinama University, he personally saw French soldiers training civilians in 1991. He also explained that this was done under the civilian self-defence programme .

Bisengimana Elisée , a Member of Parliament told the Commission that between 1990 and 1991, he was a student at the National University of Rwanda, part of which had been moved to Nyakinama in Ruhengeri prefecture. A section of the University premises was occupied by French soldiers who trained Rwandan soldiers. This training took place in the football Beld of the campus as well as in the classrooms. Because of this, the students followed closely the training activities given by the French soldiers. The Rwandan soldiers who were being trained were all dressed in uniforms. But besides these soldiers in uniform, we could see people dressed in civilian clothes being trained from the football Beld. These people did not stay long and were quickly replaced by other groups in civilian clothes. The students were told that these were new recruits, but Bisengimana had the impression that these were peasants from the surrounding areas who were trained in a rudimentary manner.

Bisengimana explained also that French soldiers attended the meetings with local authorities. Nyakimana University was not too far from the communal o@ce. These meetings were regularly held and involved some prefectural and communal authorities, civilians including University professors and students, and all of them were Hutus close to MRND. French soldiers too attended. Bisengimana related these meetings to the unhealthy climate which started to appear at the University. Hutu students originating from the north of the country started forming groups which were claiming that they did not want Tutsis and Hutus originating from Nduga (centre and south of the country) to attend the University. In 1991, the climate of hostility became so oppressive that all Tutsi and Hutu students from the centre and south of the country escaped on foot at night. Bisengimana felt that French soldiers were partly responsible for the development of these ethnic and regionalised tensions because they attended those meetings. On the night of the 4ight of the students, they did nothing to calm things down.

Ndabakenga Gérard whom we have already mentioned in a previous testimony, was also a student at Nyakinama University between 1991 and 1993. During the summer holidays of 1992, French soldiers came and occupied University dormitories. He found them there when he came back from holidays to prepare for September examinations. The students lived in blocs A, B and C, and the French soldiers occupied bloc D.

« The civilians who were trained on the University football Beld in broad daylight were peasants who were taught the use of weapons or other military practices, like taking somebody with hands tied behind

his back or how to kill…And when the peasants had Bnished learning how to dismantle and reassemble a gun and taking people with hands tied, they went directly to the Beld to practise what they had just been taught. There was a Bring range in a place called Muko. We used to hear gun shots. […] We knew some among the recruits…Fungaroho, one Mihati and another called Makamba. […] Makamba worked at the University and he was in charge of the photcopying machine. You understand that I knew him well. Mihati ran a bar not far from the campus. This is where we used to go if we did not want to drink from the University canteen. The young Fungaroho worked in Mihati’s bar. That is why we knew them because we used to meet them during those drinking sprees. […] We could tell from the clothes who was a soldier and who was not. Soldiers wore uniforms while civilians wore folded up trousers, and this showed that they were civilians”.

2.2.3. Gako camp

According to MIP, Gako camp was the training venue for Rwandan soldiers by DAMI soldiers . It is in Bugesera region, south of the city of Kigali. During the Brst week of March 1992, Gako was the scene of one of the biggest massacres in the period preceding the genocide proper. Interahamwe who were trained locally and professional Interahamwe from Kigali were among those who carried out these massacres. A number of witnesses maintained that French soldiers living in Gako camp trained also Interahamwe militia.

Second Lieutenant Tuyisenge Jean de Dieu who was also an o@cial of the central intelligence services was sent to Gako camp to teach for a week during the last week of June 1993.

“The French played a very important role because they were among those who trained the people who were sent to kill. There was a group called ‘TURIHOSE’ [meaning we are everywhere] composed of Interahamwe and impuzamigambi. Impuzamigambi were CDR youth. This was the group which those who were not ethnically mixed could join, a group which had been trained to carry out special actions. [… ] At that time, the French were training the members of ‘TURIHOSE’ at Kibugabuga. What I am saying is that I saw them, even if I do not recall their names. There was a Frenchman who was working with a second lieutenant called Toussaint who was one of CRAP leaders. […] I knew him well. We had been at school together”.

Munyaneza Bernard became a soldier in 1992. Although he was Tutsi, he had managed to join the army. After the formation of the transitional government in 1992 headed by the opposition, a number of soldiers were recruited from the centre and the south of the country

without discrimination. Munyaneza was taken to Bugesera on 23rd June 1992 where he spent three months:

“In Bugesera, at Kibugabuga, we were taught how to shoot. There, we found French soldiers who were training Interahamwe. In July, these Interahamwe and the French soldiers went to kill people in Kanzenze; they killed many Tutsis. After they had left, the local people continued killing. Soldiers from Gako went to stop the massacres and came back with spears, clubs, machetes and billhooks. When the French left with Interahamwe, I saw them because in order to go from Kibugabuga to Kanzenze, one had to pass by Gako camp, and we did not live inside the camp. We slept outside the camp in tents pitched in the bush. I had a cousin called Nkurunziza Stanislas who was a corporal, and he lived in Gako. He came often to discuss with me. He would tell me that Tutsis were going to disappear because the French were training Interahamwe in Bigogwe, Nyungwe and Gabiro”.

Murejuru Claude lived in Bugesera and often went to water his cows near Gako camp:

“You see, Interahamwe from Bicumbi and Bugesera were trained in Ruyenzi. They were trained by the French and Rwandan soldiers. These things were known by everybody and did not require much investigation. They trained them in groups of 10, with three French soldiers. I never went to the place where the training was done because I could not. But they used to pass in front of me. In addition, I had a neighbour, a young man called Kayinamura, who participated in the training. […] They trained during the day and went home in the evening. Most of them were young men aged between 18 and 25, and men who were still strong, about 30 or 35 years old. I saw them often. They stopped training in 1993.”

Seromba Pierre Célestin lived in Bugesera. He was jailed in Gako camp in February 1992 like many Tutsis in the region, allegedly because he was an accomplice of RPF. Outside the camp, he saw French soldiers train Interahamwe. Since he was made to go and fetch water and do the cleaning, he often went out. Moreover, French soldiers interrogated him. According to him, French soldiers trained young men from three communes: Ngenda, Kanzenze and Gashora.

2.2.4. Mukamira camp

Nturanyenabo Jean-Paul joined the army in 1989 and Bnished his training in the Butare Non-Commissioned O@cers College in 1991. In February 1992, he was transferred to Mukamira camp in Ruhengeri

prefecture. While there, French instructors from DAMI trained him in the use of 81 and 105 mm mortars.

“There was another DAMI company responsible for training civilians. These civilians were taught how to behave with peasants, how to use light weapons, how to strangle somebody, how to Bght without weapons, and many other things such as the use of knives, machetes and other traditional weapons. I had the opportunity of knowing some of those civilians. There was a certain Mabuye who worked with Bralirwa .You can Bnd him in Gisenyi. There was also another civilian whose name I do not remember. We called him Perusi. You can Bnd him in Ruhengeri, he is notoriously known for the acts he committed during the genocide and by which he distinguished himself. There was a man called Nisengwe Orose, I knew him. Another was called Muhimana Jean Damascène, we came from the same commune. I saw these people. We, we were in our section where we were trained in the use of the arms I have just mentioned, but I used to go and visit them. They told me that they had come within the framework of political parties. These were young men who were being trained to form the group ‘TURIHOSE’. They were being trained to defend themselves. They were taught that the enemy was the Tutsis living inside the country and that when time came; they had to know how to Bght. At the end of their training, they Bnished before us, they were sent back to their respective communes. After the crash of the President’s plane, they were the ones who manned check points armed with machetes, Brearms, knives. Time had come to Bght the Tutsis and they started cutting them to pieces. It is for this reason that we saw civilians who were employed by companies like Bralirwa or elsewhere immediately take up Brearms. People were wondering where these people had learnt to use such weapons, but they had been taught this well before”.

Ntuyenabo explained that in Mukamira camp, soldiers and civilians were trained quite separately, but these civilians were so su@ciently near that the soldiers were able to recognise them during their respective training.

Nisengwe Orose conBrmed having met the witness mentioned above during his training as Interahamwe in Mukamira camp. He was a peasant who played in the football team of his commune, Kayove. Important personalities came to his commune to see the local authorities. At the end of their meeting, an announcement was made, asking strong young men to register themselves to go and learn how to use Brearms in order to defend the country. Candidates were selected at the sector level.

Nisengwe was recruited by the counsellor of his sector, Ngirumpatse Louis. Selected young men started learning the use of weapons in commune Kayove at Bugabo stadium. Arms had been brought by Nsengiyumva Anatole. The trainees were then driven to Gisenyi military camp in town, and then to Umuganda stadium. They were very many: six hundred young men, according to Nisengwe, who came from more or less all over Gisenyi prefecture, and they continued learning the use of weapons. After that, they were sent to di=erent areas of the country to continue their training as Interahamwe.

Nisengwe was sent to Mukamira camp in March 1992 where he met French soldiers who supervised their training. Their training in shooting continued, but they also learnt Bghting without weapons, killing without being seen, using a knife. They were taught ideological lessons from which they were made to understand that Tutsis were enemies of Hutus. At the end of the training at Mukamira, he was given a ‘TURIHOSE’ card, and the group was then sent again to Umuganda stadium in Gisenyi town. There, they were divided in smaller groups, some of them were sent to Kigali, others like Nisengwe returned to their respective communes where they set up check points during the genocide.

Muhimana Jean Damascène was a peasant. In 1993, he and other young men from di=erent areas in the region were trained under the direct supervision of French soldiers. He arrived at Mukamira camp in August or September 1993. The training took three to four weeks. He was with about 200 other young men who appeared to have been selected because of their build and their physical strength. Most of them were dressed in civilian clothes; others had either an old pair of trousers or a military jacket which they had obtained by their own means. All of them had to become Interahamwe. They were accommodated in the camp.

Since they were many, they formed smaller groups, platoons of about 30 men. Each platoon had a Rwandan instructor from the Rwandan Armed Forces. His instructor was called Habyarimana, a corporal. In the morning, Rwandan instructors started by going to get instructions in the o@ce of a French captain. These French soldiers gave out weapons to theses instructors every morning. There were three other French soldiers whose role was to supervise the Rwandan instructors.

The French captain was in command of the training of soldiers and civilians. Muhimana explained that this French captain monitored closely the training of his group. His class learnt how to use a Kalashnikov, an R4 gun and a 60mm mortar. They were taught also how to Bght without weapons. In the evening after the meal, they

would go into a big hangar where they were given lessons, particularly on the history of the country, by a Rwandan sergeant. He taught them what was “the Tutsi ideology” and their cruelty. In the evening, French soldiers would pass to see them in the hangar during study, or when they were practising traditional dances for pastime.

On completion of their training in Mukamira camp, they were given a card on which was written « TURIHOSE ». They were then sent to Gisenyi camp where they continued their training at Umuganda stadium.

“TURIHOSE » was a group of elite Interahamwe, men who had been well trained and who were mainly from Gisenyi prefecture, birth place of President Habyarimana. To be admitted to this group, a genealogical investigation was carried out Brst to ensure that the candidate had no Tutsi blood.

The second part of the history of this « TURIHOSE » group with French soldiers during the genocide will be expanded later in this document.

2.2.5 Bigogwe camp

Bigogwe military camp housed the commando training centre. It was in the north of the country, in a region where lived Tutsis whose name Bagogwe was derived from the name of this region. This Tutsi population was victim of many waves of massacres between October 1990 and January 1993 before the genocide. Members of DAMI carried out training activities in this region.

Nsekanabo Twayibu , a former Interahamwe, maintained that he was trained by French soldiers in Bigogwe and Nyakinama camps:

“We were recruited in 1992 while we were attending political meetings. Some of us were sent to Bigogwe military camp. We were told that we were going to become soldiers. We were trained for two days by instructor Minani and Corporal Je=, both of them Rwandans. They told us that it was not them who would train us but French soldiers. In fact on the second day, eight Frenchmen came. They called the man who was in command of the camp, sergeant major Gatsimbanyi. I do not know where he lives today. They discussed in French. They started by dividing us in groups and told us then to go to bed. We woke up a 0300 hours, and it is from then that we started being trained by the French. Among the things we were taught, there were: killing a big number of people in a little time without using weapons, the use of a thin rope, a knife, and a bayonet. When they were training us, they had their faces smeared with something resembling shoe polish so that it was not

possible to know that they were whites. We then went into the forest which was across Bigogwe camp to learn how to shoot. We were a group of 200 young men from di=erent communes of Gisenyi. There were eight Frenchmen. At the end of our training, we were sent to our communes of origin and were asked to go and train young men in our communes. Then in 1993, we went to Nyakinama University campus. We were about 1000 young men. Our training took two months. During all this time, the French who were training us would ask us insistently whether there were any Tutsis among us. They would ask our Rwandan instructors who in turn would ask us the question. They told us that we were “CRAP”, I would say, a group of killers, trained to kill without weapons. In Nyakibanda, they told that the people we were Bghting were Tutsis who wanted to introduce the English language in Rwanda. They asked us if we would accept it and we would say no. They said that we should Bght them. At the end of our training, they asked us if we knew who the enemy was and we all answered that we did. They told us that those who knew who the enemy was should stand aside, and they gave us a dagger and a grenade. But these were given only to those who were members of the “CRAP” group. They told us that we should Bnd the enemy and that he was living with us. We boarded ONATRACOM buses which took us to where we had come from. This was around 2100 hours, one evening in 1993. We in turn trained Interahamwe and CDR”.

Mbarushimana Juma was also a former Interahamwe. He explained that when he and others went to Bigogwe camp, they were a group of about Bfty young men. They were trained for a period of 15 days by Captain Bizumuremyi, assisted by two French soldiers.

Ntirenganya Adbumalk was a motorcycle taxi driver in Gisenyi town. He Brst received a paramilitary training at Umuganda stadium in Gisenyi town. He was then sent to Bigogwe camp where he too was trained by instructor Captain Bizumuremyi and a French soldier called Francisco: “We were taught how to Bnd the enemy; we were told that the enemy was the Tutsi. They told us to locate the enemy so that when the war started, we would be able to identify him”.

Nshogozabahizi Emmanuel was a peasant. After the introduction of multiparty politics, he joined MRND and later became Interahamwe. He received military training in Bigogwe camp by the French. His group was taught how to Bght without weapons and the history of Rwanda. They were taught who the enemy was, who had attacked the country from Uganda, and his accomplices. His training lasted three months, after which he and his comrades were sent to Mukamira camp where they were taught the use of heavy weapons, but without going deep. After the training, they went back home.

Bigogwe camp housed a Belgian military contingent who trained Rwandan paratroopers. One Belgian soldier who exceptionally did not want his name revealed, told the Commission that he had personally seen French soldiers train civilians in Bigogwe camp . The French had also an arms store which, according to the witness, were distributed to soldiers and Interahamwe who carried out massacres of Tutsis near the Mudende Adventist University.

Finally, the president of Interahamwe in Giticyinyoni sector on the gates of Kigali when one comes from the north and the south of the country, Joseph Setiba , told the Commission that at one time, there was a mass mobilisation of Interahamwe who were to be sent for training. A meeting had been organised at the seat of MRND by Mutsinzi, the permanent coordinator of Interahamwe. He had invited all the section presidents in order to set a training schedule for the best Interahamwe of Kigali. They were asked to make a list of the most able and most trustworthy so that they may be sent for training. Three sessions were to be organised for rank Interahamwe and a last session for sector presidents. One class was sent to Gabiro camp and, according to Setiba, it is possible it had from 700 to 800 Interahamwe. Another of about 250 men was sent to Bigogwe camp. Training in these two camps lasted more than two months. Among the Interahamwe he had sent from his sector, some came back before the end of the training. Those who had been sent to Gabiro as well as those sent to Bigogwe said that white men dressed in civilian clothes used to come to the Beld to supervise the training.

All the witnesses, except one, who were former Interahamwe or members of the civilian defence force who maintained that they were trained by French soldiers, and whose names have been mentioned here, have pleaded guilty for their part in the 1994 genocide. For the record, we should indicate that among these, some Interahamwe from Gisenyi prefecture met also French soldiers during the genocide in special circumstances which will be explained later in the document. 2.3. Additional information

Some witnesses indentiBed French instructors as soldiers from DAMI. All the military camps in which these soldiers worked as identiBed by the Fact-Bnding Mission were places where Interahamwe were trained by French soldiers .

Witnesses who were examined by the Commission explained clearly that there was no possible confusion between Interahamwe militia in training and possible recruits of the Rwandan Armed Forces, for the simple reason that the former were always dressed in civilian clothes

and the latter always in military uniform. In the training camps, the two were clearly separate in terms of space and were not given the same type of training. This was indicated by Thiery Prungnaud, gendarme and member of the elite corps of GIGN who, in 1992, was in Rwanda training the security response team of the Presidential Guard within the framework of the French military cooperation. Below is an extract of his interview with the French journalist, Laure de Vulpain on the public radio, France Culture.

Extract of Thierry Prungnaud’s interview by Laure de Vulpain on France Culture on 22nd April 2005

Thierry Prungnaud: There were also training sessions of civilian mercenaries during the training sessions which I conducted with my trainees, where I saw French soldiers train Rwandan civilian militia in shooting. Well, this was done several times, but the only time I saw them, there were perhaps about thirty militia being trained in shooting in Akagera park.

Laure de Vulpain: This was quite an isolated place…

Thierry Prungnaud: Exactly, yes, this was even prohibited. It was a place which was out of bounds for soldiers and tourists

Laure de Vulpain: You are categorical; the French were training militia in 1992?

Thierry Prungnaud: Yes, I am categorical!

Laure de Vulpain: You saw them with your own eyes, and you do not have any other proof?

Thierry Prungnaud: No, I saw them, that is all. I can’t say more. Laure de Vulpain: Were the militia already in existence at that time?

Thierry Prungnaud: Apparently, yes, since these were civilians who had been trained.
Therefore, these were bound to be the militia. The soldiers were all in fatigues. These were civilians.

Laure de Vulpain: Those French soldiers, who were they? From which branch of the armed services?

Thierry Prungnaud: I think from 1st RPIMA since this was the unit which was there. It was therefore they who trained them. […]

While refuting that French soldiers trained Interahamwe, Colonel Etienne Joubert, head of DAMI-Panda from 23rd December 1992 to 18th May 1993, ruled out too the presence of new Rwandan Armed Forces recruits in Gabiro camp. “All the Rwandans who went through this camp were therefore soldiers who had already been trained or, one would say, who were specialists, and in no way were they recruits among whom militia could have “discreetly” sneaked into. In Gabiro, DAMI men did not train but exclusively upgraded Rwandan Armed Forces soldiers ”.

Without revealing the identity of Interahamwe’s instructors, the preliminary report of the UN Experts Commission on the violations of international laws, including acts of genocide in Rwanda, conBrmed in paragraph 51, that Interahamwe were trained in Gabiro camp. “Subsequently, a training camp for Hutu militia (Interahamwe) was set up in Mutara. Each training took three days and included indoctrination of 300 men in ethnic hatred against the Tutsi minority. The training sessions included also learning the methods of mass massacres ”.

Finally, the implication of French soldiers in the training of Interahamwe and the existence of death squads which prevailed at that time were revealed for the Brst time by a reformed leader of Interahamwe called Janvier Africa in the following words:

« At the beginning of 1992, we carried out our Brst massacre. We were about 70 men who were sent to Ruhengeri to kill Tutsis of the Bagogwe clan. We killed nearly 10 000 people in one month from our base in Mukamira military camp. French soldiers taught us how to capture our victims and tie them. This was done at one base in the centre of Kigali. This is where we tortured people and where the French military authorities had their headquarters… […] In that camp, I saw the French teach Interahamwe how to throw a knife and assemble guns. We were trained by the French – one French commander – during several weeks in a row, four months of training in total between February 1991 and January 1992 .

Janvier Africa was jailed. Augustin Iyamuremye, former head of intelligence in the Prime Minister’s o@ce from June 1992 to April 1994 and at that time member of PSD opposition party, told the Commission how French soldiers working in the Criminal Investigation and

Documentation Centre prevented him from interrogating Janvier Africa. At the time when Iyamuremye was appointed to the intelligence services, the question of the death squads was the main topic in the press. When he wanted to interview Janvier Africa who was in jail in Kigali central prison, he contacted an o@cial in the Ministry of Justice who was working in that prison called Justin Niyongira. On the agreed day, Mr Iyamuremye went to the prison where he was told by his friend Niyongira that the French gendarmes had just taken Janvier Africa away. He felt that that was not due to unforessen chance: “This shows that those French who were working in the Criminal Investigation and Documentation Centre were very much informed and that they monitored what we were doing and that, if necessary, they would not hesitate to prevent it ”.

2.3.1 In 1992-1993, Interahamwe committed acts of genocide

Testimonies received show the systematic character of Interahamwe training by French soldiers between the beginning of 1992 and end of 1993. On one hand, this training comprised of di=erent methods of killing using bullets, knives and traditional weapons and even bare hands. On the other hand, they included ideological methods of identifying ethnic Tutsis and particularly civilian Tutsis. “In time, it’s the armed militia especially those of MRND who took on the main role on the scene as executioners. That is how there were collective killings like assassinations of individuals.”

From these massacres in Bugesera, during the Brst week of March 1992, about 300 deaths were registered and Interahamwe played the biggest role. During the months of April, May and June, the Belgian Ambassador Swinnen sent a cable to Brussels in which he identiBed 3 principle groups of killers in Bugesera constituting:

“A commando unit recruited from among the students of the National School of Gendarmerie in Ruhengeri, who had been trained for this purpose (…); an “Interahamwe” militia group recruited from outside Bugesera, who had been trained for weeks in various military camps; another bigger group of “Interahamwe” from the MRND recruited locally, given the task of plundering, arson and acting as guides. The presence of this group made it possible to bring about confusion and make the unwary observer think that some kind of riot was going on.”

The Belgian lawyer Eric Gillet, a member of the Brussels bar and the executive committee of the FIDH, in a hearing before the French Parliamentary Inquiry (MIP) “gave details of the methods used at the time of the massacres in Bugesera in March 1992. They served as a precursor to the genocide of 1994 ‘because it was obvious four months

before their outbreak that the victims had been identiBed beforehand, justiBcation given for the killings, attacks against individuals, distribution of propaganda lea4ets, use of radio to announce false threats from Tutsis to murder Hutus.’ M. Eric Gillet also stressed that, then as in 1994, ‘the representatives of local government (burgomasters and préfets), the army and the gendarmerie as well as Interahamwe militia from the MRND youth groups under the supervision of the party’ participated in the massacres.”

At the time, the ambassador of France, George Martres publicly denied the massacres had taken place and dismissed them as “rumours”. He had also refused to join the diplomatic representatives of the OECD countries in a delegation to president Habyarimana to express their concern regarding the new wave of violence. Later, before the French Parliamentary Inquiry (MIP) ambassador Martres admitted that a member of the embassy who had gone up country to check on the situation conBrmed that the massacres had taken place. On the same occasion, “he acknowledged that he might have referred to the massacres as “rumours” “at a time before they were conBrmed.”

In his diplomatic telegram of 9th March 1992 entitled “The events in Bugesera”, the French ambassador presented the facts as a spontaneous attack by Hutu peasants against Tutsi peasants, whose animosity had been revived by the propaganda of PL Party which was attracting many Tutsis. In a second telegram on 11th March, he explained that “the interethnic troubles in Bugesera” could not be contained by the overwhelmed local authorities “with hardly any authority over the people”. The purpose of this telegram was especially intended to explain the killing, the day before, of an Italian nun working in the area, by a Rwandan gendarme. “Whether she was a victim of misunderstanding according to the o@cial version or of premeditated murder as rumour had it, the nun concerned was known for her Brm stand against the highly controversial burgomaster of the commune. In addition, her statements on RFI had been rather embarrassing and undoubtedly unwelcome.”

In her telephone interview with RFI, Antonia Locatelli had tried in vain to denounce organised massacres, which contradicted the o@cial version of spontaneous violence by local people. Ambassador Martres, undoubtedly trying to tone down the indignation caused by his attitude of direct support to the authorities, ended his telegram by proposing that a symbolic humanitarian gesture should be made to the survivors of the massacres by quick distribution of food, drugs and blankets by the soldiers of Opération Noroît.

But how could the French embassy in Kigali, whose sta= were closely following all the main political events in Rwanda, be completely unaware of what was going on, while at the same time it was well- known that there were French o@cers working with the Criminal Investigation Department?

On 22nd November 1992, Leon Mugesera, a long time faithful follower of President Habyarimana, made an in4ammatory speech in which “he urged the Interahamwe to kill Tutsis and political opponents. The following day, the surrounding communes of Giciye, Kayove, Kibilira and others were 4aring up again.” These killings, which went on until the end of January 1993, were actually carried out mainly by the Interahamwe, and took at least 137 lives. A summary report from the Intelligence service in the O@ce of the President indicates that police investigators from CRCD in Kigali went there to help the gendarmes in the investigations. This conBrms the statements of the witness gendarme, who worked with the French in the CRCD, asserting to the Commission that French gendarmes went to the north to inquire into the killings towards the end of 1993.

These two waves of killings, the one in Bugesera at the beginning of March 1992, and that targeting the Bagogwe Tutsis in the north between the end of November 1992 and the end of January 1993, took place at the time French soldiers were training Interahamwe. In March 1993, the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry raised the question whether the killings from October 1990 to January 1993 can legally be described as genocide. Noting that the Bgures cited in the report for the number of people killed could be challenged by some lawyers as being lower than the legal threshold required, the International Commission of Inquiry concluded that “whatever the legal arguments, the reality was tragically identical to genocide. (…)” Five months later, in August 1993, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Commission, Waly Bacre Ndiaye, analysed the same events and conBrmed that the description of genocide as stipulated by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide could be applied to the cases studied.

Extract from the Special Rapporteur’s report of the UN Humans Rights Commission, Mission to Rwanda from 8th to 17th April 1993

78. The question whether the massacres described above may be termed genocide has been often raised. It is not for the Special Rapporteur to pass judgment at this stage, but an initial reply may be put forward. Rwanda acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in April 1975. Article II of the Convention reads:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intention to destroy , in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as:
(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group ;”(…)

79. The cases of inter-communal violence brought to the Special Rapporteur’s attention indicate very clearly that the victims of the attacks, Tutsis in the overwhelming majority of cases, have been targeted solely because of their membership of a certain ethnic group, and for no other objective reason. Article II, paragraphs (a) and (b), might therefore be considered to apply to these cases.

Source: Blue Book, document 20.

Through the press, the reports of human rights organisations and investigations carried out by the French gendarmes working within the CRCD, the French Army was perfectly well informed that the Interahamwe it had trained were guilty of massacres and killings which, in 1993, could be described as acts of genocide.

2.3.2. IntensiBcation of the training of the Interahamwe in preparation of the genocide of 1994

Towards the end of 1993, the training of the Interahamwe was intensiBed, with the participation of French soldiers. It should be remembered that they did not o@cially leave the country until 15th December 1993.

Not only was the training intensiBed, but it also focussed on providing further training to hard-core Interahamwe, particularly in the camps of Mukamira, Bigogwe and Gabiro. The witness Nsekanabo Twayibu, after training in the Bigogwe camp in 1993, received further training at the university campus of Nyakinama. The Interahamwe Jean Damascène Muhimana, after receiving three months training, got further training from the French in September 1993. As Jean-Baptiste Dushimimana, a hard-core Interahamwe, explained above, he had learnt that, at the end of 1993, when his group from Gatenga Sector in Kicukiro District (Kigali City), was training at the Gabiro camp, another group of Interahamwe from Muhima Sector in Kigali had just completed its training. The Interahamwe leader, Joseph SETIBA, told the Commission

that by the end of 1993, about 1,000 Interahamwe had been trained in Gabiro and Bigogwe, with the participation of French soldiers. General Dallaire estimated that there were at least 3,000 Interahamwe in Kigali City at the beginning of 1994. The historian René Lemarchand estimated at 30,000 the number of Interahamwe in the whole country during the genocide .

The rise in power of the Interahamwe movement, in numbers, “skills” and aggressiveness at the end of 1993 and the beginning of 1994, is regarded as one of the factors indicating the process of planning the genocide of April-July 1994. In a hearing by the Belgian Senate, the former public prosecutor, François-Xavier Nsanzuwera, explained that: “From January 1994, everyone felt that the war was going to resume because the Interahamwe movement was becoming increasingly more powerful. (…)”. Again, within the context of the Belgian senate inquiry, René Degni-Segui, former Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Commission and author of the Brst preliminary report o@cially describing as genocide the massacres which began in April 1994, said his report had found four indicators showing the genocide had been planned. The second indicator reads as follows: “- the distribution of weapons from arms depots; moreover, the Interahamwe militia were trained;”

This intensiBcation of the training of militia with the participation of French soldiers took place between January 1993 and March 1994, at the time when extremist circles imported 581.000 machetes, double the quantity imported in previous years. The main importer was Félicien Kabuga, who is considered to have been the Bnancial sponsor of the genocide. He is currently sought after by the ICTR.

With regard to events at the end of 1993, the humans rights activist, Alison des Forges, told the Belgian senators: “Between August and the end of 1993, the Interahamwe bought a lot of machetes in Kigali. A businessman and big Bnancier of the extremist RTLM radio sponsored the importation of 25 tons of machetes. It is thus clear that there was already a plan to start the war again, this time targeting civilians.”

What should be retained as the truth?

From February 1992 French soldiers, probably elements of the DAMI, participated in the launch of the “civil defence” program whose purpose was to train a civilian militia with the objectives of preparing them to kill Tutsi civilians in their locality. At the same time, they also started training fulltime Interahamwe, especially the members of the elite group “TURIHOSE”. The training of the Interahamwe with the active participation of French soldiers was systematic. It was carried

out in all the military camps where the elements of the DAMI worked, and it seems to have been continuous from the beginning of 1992 until the end of 1993, the time the French troops left Rwanda.

This training had two components: 1) the Brst consisted of training in various methods of killing, with Brearms, bayonets or knives and without weapons; 2) the second consisted of indoctrinating the militia to ethnic hatred and psychologically preparing them to kill Tutsi civilians in their neighbourhoods. The testimonies collected by the Commission could not determine clearly whether the French soldiers responsible for training the militia were informed of the ideological content of the training. Some witnesses assert they were, but there is no irrefutable evidence. Taking into consideration the number of groups trained in the Bve main places mentioned above, it can be realised that the French soldiers took part in the training of thousands of Interahamwe.

From February 1992, the Interahamwe played a dominant role in the massacres, killings and murders perpetrated in the country, particularly in Bugesera at the beginning of March 1992, and in the north of the country from the end of November 1992 to the end of January 1993. These massacres were described, in March 1993 and August 1993, as acts of genocide by various human rights organisations. In spite of that, the French soldiers continued to train the militia and took part in the intensiBcation of their training towards the end of 1993. It appears therefore that this intensiBcation in the training of Interahamwe is one of the factors in the preparations of the genocide of April-July 1994.

The French soldiers share some responsibility in the killings and massacres described as acts of genocide committed by the Interahamwe between March 1992 and December 1993. They supported the Interahamwe institution in full knowledge of what it stood for in terms of logistics, training, and supportive follow-up. The nature of the training, the type of trainees as well as the continuation of the training in spite of repeated massacres committed by these Interahamwe show that they were not unaware of how the training they provided was being put to use. It can therefore be objectively concluded that the French soldiers have a share of responsibility in the preparation of the 1994 genocide since they contributed to the intensiBcation of the training of the Interahamwe who were the spearhead. Finally, it can be objectively concluded that the French soldiers have a share of responsibility in the massacres committed during the genocide itself since a number of the Interahamwe had been trained by them.

This is all the more convincing since the nature of the acts committed during the genocide is not basically di=erent from those committed in Bugesera and the north of the country between March 1992 and January 1993, at the time when the French Army was continuing to train the Interahamwe. There was not, at the time, any direct evidence to prove that the French soldiers knew that the training they were giving the Interahamwe, in particular after the signing of the Arusha Peace Agreements of the 4th August 1993, was intended for committing the genocide that began in April 1994. At the end of 1993, while the French soldiers were taking part in the intensiBcation of the training of the Interahamwe whose numbers were then in thousands, one has the right to wonder about the reasons for such intensiBcation. The question is all the more disconcerting since the French military authorities knew the nature of these Interahamwe militia. What type of combat or war did the French then think they were training them for?



Involvement in the training of Interahamwe militia and village vigilantes (civilian self-defence)

Criminal Investigation Department

3.1. The action of the French gendarmes in the centre for criminal investigation and documentation (CRCD)

French military aid extended to the criminal documentation and Research centre for criminal investigation and documentation, the gendarmerie department responsible for criminal investigations (CRCD). French military co-operation had deployed 4 instructors in this institution and put Lieutenant Colonel Robardey, in charge of this unit, which had already been operating in Rwanda since September 1990. The French instructors took control of the institution and protected the criminal acts of the regime through misinformation or silence, whether the acts were ethnic massacres or some acts of terrorism. The Bnal question is whether they computerised the central database without knowing that it would be used to index the Tutsis and political opponents?

This institution, commonly known under the name of “criminology”, but whose o@cial designation before the arrival of the French instructors was “central database”, had a very bad reputation. Routinely, even before the political and military crisis of October 1990, its agents used torture during interrogation of the people arrested. The day after the sham attack on Kigali City, on the night of 4th to 5th October 1990, many people were arrested and there were a lot of persistent rumours that they were tortured in this institution.

The CRCD consisted of about thirty Rwandan gendarmes. Its task was to carry out investigations into serious criminal activities and keep records of people arrested, suspected or wanted.

In June 1992, at the request of the Minister for Defence, James Gasana, and with the support of the French ambassador Martens, it was
decided that a DAMI (Département d’Assistance Militaire et Instruction) be created in the Criminal Investigation Department (DAMI-PJ). Initially, it was for Bghting against terrorism and armed robbery because of the many attacks perpetrated at the time, evidenced by explosion of mines and grenades in public places.

The setting up of the DAMI-PJ in June 1992 followed closely the creation of political parties in opposition to the transitional government led by a Prime Minister from the MDR party. One of the tasks that the new government had given itself was to abolish the practice of torture, especially within “criminology”. The start of French technical aid to this institution was to correspond with abandonment of the practice of torture. The department was renamed Centre for Criminal Investigation and Documentation (Centre de Recherche Criminelle et de Documentation, CRCD). It would seem that this was done on the initiative of the French counterpart.

In June 1992, the Minister for Defence informed the Prime Minister of the arrival of four French co-operants gendarmes, come to set up a “Criminal Research Unit”. The newcomers were: Major Colliere, the Regimental Sergeant Major Nicolas, the Regimental Sergeant Major Colle and regimental sergeant major Salvy. These four gendarmes were placed under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Michel Robardey, technical adviser in charge of judicial police issues at the Rwandan gendarmerie headquarters. Robardey had been working since the second half of 1990 and left o@cially in 1993. The four newly arrived gendarmes had an o@ce in the buildings of the CRCD.

O@cially, the four French instructors were to carry out three types of activities: training their gendarmes colleagues in the techniques of judicial police work and professional ethics, carrying out investigations on terrorist attacks, as well as the computerisation of the central database.

3.1.1. Training in techniques and professional ethics of Criminal Investigation

According to reports probably written by the French instructors, various courses were o=ered, like the professional ethics of the gendarme, observations and Bndings, hearings, arrests and questioning, the right to use arms, etc. Written procedure manuals were produced and training in criminal procedures was given to Rwandan prosecution o@cers.

3.1.2. Conduct of investigation

The French instructors did not conBne themselves to instruction of their Rwandan colleagues. They replaced them by taking the dominant share in the various criminal investigations: criminal acts, attacks using anti-personnel mines or grenades, murders and massacres. This was to such an extent that informed observers like General Rwarakabije, former G3 at the gendarmerie headquarters, or Senator Augustin Iyamuremye, who was at the time head of the Intelligence service in The Prime Minister’s O@ce between June 1992 and April 1994, told the Commission that the French instructors were in fact directing the CRCD.

According to a gendarme who was trained and worked closely with them, the French gendarmes made an active and systematic collection of information. They very often went in the Beld and set up signiBcant networks of informers in various Rwandan circles. As they did not have a family or housing equipped for cooking, these gendarmes would often get themselves invited to dine with Rwandan families, even relatively modest ones, but in general well placed in various networks: government o@cials, journalists, soldiers etc…. Thus, during the third wave of massacres of the Bagogwe in the prefecture of Gisenyi, between the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, they had gone in the Beld to carry out investigations. In general, in the event of attacks, they quickly got to the scene.

An incident involving the French instructors was widely talked about in February 1993 and could have cost a Rwandan his life. French soldiers had their photograph taken, manning artillery pieces in the bush. The photographs seemed to show that they were activating mortars. These soldiers gave the negative to “Photolab” studio in Kigali to develop them. A few days later, the newspaper “Le Flambeau”, which constantly criticised the regime, published the photographs stressing that they were proof of direct participation of French soldiers in the Bghting. A few days later, a Rwandan lieutenant from the CRCD came looking for the people who worked at the “Photolab” in order to take them for questioning, but not before inquiring about their ethnic origin. Thus, Japhet Rudasingwa and Anne Marie Byukusenge were taken along to the CRCD.

After questioning Byukusenge for 30 minutes, it was Rudasingwa’s turn to enter the o@ce of major Colliere. The major asked him whether he could speak French and he answered in the a@rmative. After checking the ethnic origin indicated on the identity card, Colliere took him by the throat and shook him violently, took out his gun and hit him on the

temple, ordering him to say the truth because, he said, it was a serious issue involving the president of the Republic and France. Rudasingwa swore by all the gods that he did not have anything to do with the publication of the photographs. He was taken to the cells of the nearby gendarmerie station in Muhima, where he spent a day and a night. His fellow prisoners, after hearing the reasons for his arrest told him that he was among those who were going to be taken away at dawn, without further speciBc explanation.

Among his fellow prisoners, there was a young man called Rasta who had lived in Burundi. Very early in the morning, Rasta was taken away by the gendarmes. The fellow prisoners of Rudasingwa then told him that he had better make his plight known to the opposition parties, or else he would leave like Rasta without any hope of return. During the morning, a representative of the international Red Cross, alerted by his friends outside, came personally to check on what had happened to him. In the following days, opposition newspapers wrote about the matter and the intervention of the Red Cross. Rudasingwa was released soon thereafter and he stressed that he owed his life to the intervention of the Red Cross.

Within the same context, major Colliere went to the o@ces of “Le Flambeau” newspaper with four other French soldiers, heavily armed. The journalists, who, for security reasons, always worked with the main door locked, did not let them in at once. They Brst called the RPF members of the Neutral Military Observer Group of the Organisation of African Unity who were in town. Once inside the o@ce, major Colliere began to threaten the editor of the newspaper, Adrien Rangira, but the o@cers of the RPF arrived soon and the French soldiers had to withdraw.

With regard to the investigations of terrorist attacks, according to the former head of the intelligence service in The Prime Minister’s O@ce, Senator Augustin Iyamuremye, the French gendarmes of the CRCD systematically sought to put the blame on the RPF. They wrote a report analyzing the various acts of terrorism perpetrated between February 1991 and May 1993. Of the 53 cases recorded and analysed, only two indicated that “the suspected people were Tutsis living outside the country.” Nevertheless, this led the writers of the report to conclude that “evidence points categorically at the RPF as the sponsor of these attacks.”

On 14th September 1992, under the aegis of the Prime Minister, it was decided that an ad hoc committee formed by the National Security Council be set up. This committee included the head of the intelligence service in the Prime Minister’s O@ce, Augustin Iyamuremye, the

Prosecutor General at the Kigali Court of Appeal, Mr. Alphonse Marie Nkubito, as well as Major Venant Hategekimana from the Directorate of External Security at the Ministry of Defence. At the end of its work concerning the terrorist attacks, the Committee arrived at a conclusion di=erent from that of the French. Referring to the report of the French gendarmes at the CRCD, it concluded that its investigations had not been able to identify with certainty the perpetrators of the attacks and their motives.

When the intelligence services in the Prime Minister’s O@ce called upon the CRCD for identiBcation of the traces of explosives, grenades or mines, the French gendarmes put hindrances to this request for collaboration, treating those who made it as partisans of the RPF. Moreover, when the French of the CRCD arrived Brst on the scene of attacks, they removed all the signs of evidence. On the other hand, in cases where the intelligence service in the Prime Minister’s O@ce had evidence indicating that an act had been carried out by government security forces, the French gendarmes preferred to accuse the RPF.

Senator Iyamuremye reported before the Commission of a case in the prefecture of Gikongoro, where people called upon his services in connection with gendarmes who had given mines to peasants in order to trap Minister Nzamurambaho, the head of the opposition party, PSD. Agents in his service went to Gikongoro, and, thanks to their informers, succeeded in defusing the mines in question. They brought them back to Kigali, and took them to the CRCD for identiBcation. The French gendarmes never made a reply to their request. The peasant who had revealed the plot was imprisoned in Butare. The gendarme accused of being the instigator took him out of prison and made him disappear.

A gendarme who worked with the French instructors conBrmed the above incident. He reported that at a checkpoint on the road from the prefecture of Byumba, a soldier, native of Gisenyi and cousin to one of the big personalities in the regime, was arrested with ten antipersonnel mines in his possession. He was coming from the war front and was on leave, going to Kigali. The gendarmes arrested him and took him to CRCD. His arrival at the CRCD o@ces caused some commotion and the gendarmes rushed to the o@ce where he was to see Major Colliere, who soon arrived and sent them all away, chiding them. After that, he was locked up in conversation with the soldier in question, obviously making it a point to stop the other gendarmes from dealing with the matter.

3.1.3. The computerisation of the central database

Various data banks of the CRCD existed in the form of hardbound cards. In his letter to the Prime Minister on 27th June 1992, the Minister for Defence, James Gasana, announced the setting up of the research unit, stating that computerisation of the CRCD was among the tasks of the French instructors.

As soon as this unit was created, the French gendarmes computerised the various Bles of the CRCD. The Bles created included a Ble on all people who had ever been arrested and questioned by any gendarmerie unit in the country. Another Ble was on all wanted people and those to be put under surveillance (PRAS), and another for stolen property as well as one on informers. They also created other data Bles: people who had ever been prosecuted for narcotics o=ences, stolen vehicles, arms and ammunition hidden or stolen by deserters. The French gendarmes proposed that a radio station and a direct telephone line be installed near the computers so that the gendarmes could consult any Ble by radio or telephone and receive a response in good time. They also proposed a 24-hour service to receive and respond to requests at any time.

3.1.4. Was the computerisation of the central database used for making lists of the people to be killed?

The strategic importance attached to computerising the Bles of the CRCD, particularly the Ble of wanted people and those to be put under surveillance (PRAS), can be seen through the following exchange of letters.

In an undated note to the chief of sta= of the national gendarmerie, Colonel Augustin Ndidiliyimana, Lieutenant Colonel Michel Robardey wrote:

“I have the honour to bring to your attention the project to computerise the Bles of wanted people and those to be put under surveillance (PRAS.) It was developed by the military assistance and instruction unit at the CRCD, in accordance with your directives transmitted by note in reference. This computer Ble is from now on operational and the personnel likely to use it have been trained. It will now be possible to gain time by quick access to information without having to go laboriously through a Bling system of carton cards whose usefulness is not always assured. It allows direct and operational radio exchanges with all the units in the Beld so that queries receive an immediate answer. All it needs to be put into operation is your approval.”

To this note, Colonel Ndidiliyimana replied by letter on 28th October 1992 with the title “Computerisation of the Ble of wanted people”. The letter continued:

“With reference to the letter of 14th October 1992 of Lt-Col. Robardey informing me that the Computer Ble is operational and awaiting my approval to start using it, I hereby give my assent. 2/I ask nevertheless that the personnel of the judicial police and detachments exploit this tool to the maximum.”

TThe time before April 1994 was characterised by systematic suspicion of Tutsis and the opposition, ethnic massacres and political killings. This led, during the Brst days of the genocide, to the use of pre- established hit lists of political opponents and prominent Tutsis and their families. There is reason to wonder whether the computerised lists at the CRCD were not put to such use. General Jean Varret, head of the military co-operation mission from October 1990 to April 1993, provided the beginning of an answer. It should be recalled that this mission was under the supervision of the Ministry of Co-operation which was in charge of technical military assistants (ATM) and personnel of the military technical assistance teams (DAMI). It is General Varret, therefore, who had initiated DAMI-PJ in the CRCD.

He explained to the parliamentary Inquiry that after the o=ensive of February 1993, he had heard rumours according to which the DAMI- Panda had exceeded its training mission. General Varret stated that at a meeting in Kigali, he had reminded the DAMI that he was “determined to take disciplinary action against any acts that exceeded the strict deBnition of the mission”. Soon after, his minister, having bean cheated by other people, “had informed him that his instructions had been erroneous and that he had been relieved of the command of the DAMI.”

With regard to the actions of the French instructors in the CRCD, it is worthwhile to quote an extract of the exchange between General Varret and the MP Bernard Cazeneuve during his hearing before the Parliamentary Inquiry.

Extract from the hearing of General Varret before MIP

General Jean Varret recalled that (…) after various killings, the gendarmerie, with the support of the ambassador, had asked for the training of judicial police o@cers (OPJ), in order to be able to carry out e=ectively investigations within the country. He speciBed that he had

sent only two gendarmes because he had realised that these investigations were used to track down Tutsis, those Colonel RwagaBrita [the predecessor of Ndindiliyimana at the post of chief of sta= of the gendarmerie] called “the Bfth column”. This training activity thus failed.

Mr. Bernard Cazeneuve wondered whether it was to be understood that the wish of the Rwanda government to train judicial police o@cers was in fact motivated by the desire to put Tutsis on Ble.

General Jean Varret conBrmed that it was actually what he thought, and that it made him slow down co-operation with the Rwandan gendarmerie, which was kept at a superBcial level.

The statements of General Varret are not exactly true on two points: Brst, DAMI-PJ did not have 2 French gendarmes but 4, without counting Lieutenant colonel Robardey. Secondly, collaboration between DAMI-PJ and the CRCD was not superBcial, and the computerisation of the database went on well. As General Varret had already been sidelined with regard to instructions to be given to the DAMI, perhaps the head of the assistance mission and military attaché, Lieutenant-Colonel Galinié, and Lieutenant-Colonel Robardey, had decided that it was not good to give him an update on the issue.

The interest the chief of sta=, Ndindiriyimana, had for the computerisation of the Ble of wanted people and those to be put under surveillance must be considered in the light of his lack of interest in the Ble of people with a criminal record. If account is taken of the feeling expressed by General Varret regarding the purpose of this project, one must wonder whether this project controlled by the French gendarmes did not contribute to the production of lists of people to be killed, which constituted one of the main factors in preparing the genocide. The possibility that the CRCD Ble was used for compiling those lists cannot be excluded. This Ble, fed with information from all the units of the gendarmerie, involved tens of thousands of operatives whose organisation was conceived to build a central database. Its computerisation was of great operational importance. The combination of these two factors could not be found in other Rwandan institutions at that time.

On the other hand, what was certain was the advantage that the presence of the French gendarmes within CRCD o=ered to the French side in gathering information. The two privileged witnesses referred to above agree that these gendarmes were very well informed. A

Rwandan gendarme who worked with them explained to the Commission that these French gendarmes wrote daily reports that were sent outside of CRCD. The former head of intelligence services in the Prime Minister’s O@ce corroborated this information, which had been reported to him by a gendarme informer.

The existence of this facility makes it possible to conclude in a convincing way that between June 1992 and the end of 1993; French authorities were at least well informed on what was happening in the country. They must also have been especially well informed on ethnic massacres orchestrated by government agents, such as those at the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993 in the north of the country, the terrorist attacks and the political assassinations. Instead of using the information collected by the instructors of DAMI-PJ to restrain the criminal actions of the Rwandan regime, the French used it to protect the regime and propagate misinformation. Finally, the French gendarmes contributed willingly to the production of a computerised list of political and ethnic suspects who would be massacred during the genocide.

Acts of violence on roadblocks

With the outbreak of war on 1st October 1990, Rwanda government declared a state of siege and took several measures restricting the exercise of public freedoms. Some of these measures were very repressive while others could be seen as being security measures. On the main road axes leading to the capital and in the main towns of prefectures, roadblocks were set up with the aim of seeking out possible inBltrators or accomplices of the RPF. The Commission collected a number of testimonies showing the humiliation and violence undergone by Tutsis at these roadblocks, sometimes committed directly by the French, more often by Rwandans in full view or knowledge of the French. Some people arrested at roadblocks manned by the French were reported missing; others were taken to military camps and killed. The alleged acts were mainly committed during the period 1990-1993.

4.1. Ethnic segregation and arbitrary arrests

Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, former head of programmes at Médecins sans Frontières – France (Doctors without Borders) stated before MIP that he had been “particularly shocked by French soldiers taking up police functions in the country, especially at road checkpoints at the northern exit of Kigali “. He saw these soldiers “either carrying out checks themselves, or observing from their sentry post their Rwandan colleagues doing it”.

Major General Paul Rwarakabije reported that the French manned a roadblock at the entry to the gendarmerie camp at Mount Jali. The camp served as a barracks for gendarmes trained by the French. At this roadblock, Tutsis could not pass without being insulted or molested:

“In 1993, the French soldiers had a position at Mount Jali in the gendarmerie camp for the Mobile Intervention Group, which they trained in road security techniques. I remember holding in my hands a report by the camp commander on the screening and arrests carried out at this roadblock by French soldiers. It was in 1993, at the time of the capture of Ruhengeri. The report pointed out that if someone was a Hutu, they let him pass, and when it was a Tutsi, they kept him, abused and insulted him in such humiliating terms: “you stupid Tutsi, cockroach!’”, etc. Tutsis underwent very tight questioning there. I even think that the Rwandan gendarmes sometimes beat them up.”

On several occasions, MP Elisé Bisengimana saw the French checking identity cards on roadblocks and retaining Tutsis for questioning: “What was visible is that when one was Hutu, they let him pass without a problem, and if he was Tutsi, he was retained at the spot and had to give further explanations”. Yvonne Mutimura supported this, saying that when she was passing the roadblock at Shyorongi with her sister they were arrested by French soldiers who made ethnic, aggressive and insulting remarks: They told us: “Show us your papers”. One of us asked: “But why are you checking us? This is none of your business; it is a Rwandan matter and no concern of the French.” They answered: “Ladies, we are sorry, but we must check you to see who the enemy is”. Again, one of us asked them: “When you see our cards, how do you tell who the enemy is?” They said: “We know very well that Tutsis are the enemies.”

Other witnesses added that people belonging to the Hutu ethnic group who looked like Tutsis could not easily cross the roadblocks manned by French soldiers. Such was the case of Ambassador Amri Sued Ismaïl, at that time Director General in charge of State Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign A=airs, who witnessed on several occasions the physical and verbal assault meted out to Tutsis by French soldiers who manned the roadblocks between Kigali and Ruhengeri:

“I went to Ruhengeri almost every week with my wife. More than once, I was stopped by French soldiers at the roadblock in Shyorongi. When they saw my wife, one of them asked his colleague who had taken her identity card: “Is she a Hutu or a Tutsi?” Before even looking at her identity card, the other answered: “It is obvious that she is a Tutsi!”

They did this so often that I cannot tell you exactly the number of times that I lived through it. I also witnessed a scene where they had made people sit on the ground at a roadblock they controlled in Nyirangarama. They were insulting them enthusiastically”.

Such misfortunes did not spare expatriates who transported Tutsis in their vehicles. Michel Campion testiBed thus:

“One day, I gave a ride to a Tutsi student. On arriving at the bridge over the Nyabarongo River, he was checked by a French soldier who asked him for his identity card. When the soldier discovered that he was Tutsi, he told him: “Get out of the car and go sit with your brothers over there at the edge of the road.” There were approximately twelve boys and girls, apparently Tutsis, who had been detained by the French soldiers. I stepped in and told these soldiers: “Listen, really I do not understand your position; it is not for you to do that. The Rwandan gendarmes should carry out these checks. Where do you believe yourselves to be? Is this a French overseas territory?” I said: “You are in an independent state and you come to screen citizens in their own country?” I added: “I will not move from here, and this boy will not leave this vehicle. I asked them to call the o@cer in charge. They brought a second lieutenant who, after listening to my protest told me that was not my business. I answered him that it was my business because I had a passenger they wanted to get out of my car. In the end, the second lieutenant told me: “Liisten, go on, just leave…!”

At some roadblocks, the French were alone, while at others, they worked with Rwandan gendarmes or soldiers. The crossing of the roadblocks theoretically required not only a valid identity card, but also a movement permit from the burgomaster of the commune of origin. Legally, this permit was supposed to be delivered to any Rwandan citizen, without ethnic distinction. In fact, some burgomasters refused to deliver this document to Tutsis, which resulted in conBning them to their homes, without the possibility of exercising their right to travel.

The examination of the o@cial reports of arrests after October 1990 shows that people were arrested without charge or evidence to support the alleged charges. As an example, of the 80 people arrested and held at the brigade of Nyamirambo between the 1st and the 18th of October 1990, 31 were held on identity card issues, 20 for complicity with the enemy with the charge: “Denounced by the public”; 13 did not have any charges. One practically found the same reasons in most Bles presented by the brigades of Gikondo and Nyarugenge.

At the entry to Kigali, the main roadblocks manned by the French were placed at Shyorongi, Giticyinyoni, Nyabarongo Bridge, Nyabugogo,

Kabuye, Karuruma, Nyacyonga, Kabuga, Remera and Kanombe. If the geographical location of each one of these places is considered, it can be seen that the roadblocks at Shyorongi and Giticyinyoni were for controlling the people who came from Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. That on the Nyabarongo Bridge controlled people coming from Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Butare, Gitarama and Kibuye; those at Nyacyonga, Nyabugogo, Kabuye and Karuruma controlled people coming from Byumba; those of Kabuga and Remera (Giporoso) aimed at controlling the people coming from Umutara and Kibungo.

All the entry points to the capital were therefore closely supervised. Within Kigali City, witnesses said that the French manned roadblocks in Kiyovu (residential area), Kanombe airport and Gikondo in the direction of Rebero, where meetings of MRND executives and those close to the regime were frequently held. French soldiers kept the roadblock to ensure the security of these dignitaries.

One Setiba, a former leader of the Interahamwe in the prefecture of Kigali rural, conBrmed to the Commission that some Tutsis, who were screened and arrested at the roadblocks manned jointly by French and Rwandan soldiers and militia, were taken to an unknown destination. The witness was involved in taking away some people from the roadblock in Shyorongi. He lived in this sector and as a head of the local militia; he was frequently at this roadblock. He stated that the French were very active in the screening of civilians who would later be taken to an unknown destination: “The French manned a roadblock located at Shyorongi, in Kanyinya sector. They asked for identity cards from all passengers. Those who were recognised as Tutsis were taken to tents for questioning. Afterwards, they were taken to Kigali and onwards to a destination I do not know”

Cyprien Katarega, an ex-militiaman imprisoned for genocide at the central prison in Kigali, gave an identical account in connection with what occurred at the roadblock in Shyorongi at the same period:

“In 1992, I gave a lift to two people, who were known to my boss. On arrival at Shyorongi in Kanyinya sector, there was a roadblock manned by four Rwandan gendarmes and two French soldiers. They stopped us and asked for our identity cards. They said they suspected my two passengers of being accomplices of the RPF (Inkotanyi). They chided me for having taken them in my vehicle. A Rwandan gendarme and a French soldier led us to the communal o@ce in Shyorongi and put us in the detention room. Towards 1500 hrs, they released me. When I arrived at Rushashi at my place of work, I reported the incident to my head. He went at once to the commune of Shyorongi to see what had happened to them. The two people had disappeared and those who

had arrested them were not willing to tell him where they had been taken “.

Charles Bugirimfura, former Para-commando in Kanombe from 1982 to 1994 reintegrated in the Rwandan Defence Forces until his demobilisation in 2002, testiBed before the Commission that he knew of people arrested on other roadblocks where there were French soldiers. Bugirimfura worked with the French at the roadblocks in his capacity as a soldier:

“When the Tutsis we detained at the roadblocks reached a signiBcant number, the French and Rwandan soldiers made them climb into military vehicles and took them to the regional stadium in Nyamirambo. I took part in this kind of operation in October and November 1990. I do not know what happened to those people because, after handing them over, I immediately went back to the roadblocks for another load. One day, we arrested Tutsi girls. The French and Rwandan soldiers decided to take them away to their camp at Kanombe. I did not get to know what happened to these girls afterwards.”

During the screening carried out at roadblocks, even when they presented all the required papers, Tutsis had di@culty in crossing the roadblocks without getting arrested, insulted or beaten up. This must be what made the special correspondent of Le Monde newspaper note that there seemed to be “an o=ence of identity” whereby people who carried an identity card with the mention Tutsi were more suspect than those whose identity was Hutu or Twa.

4.2. Disappearance of arrested people

Various testimonies reported that the French soldiers had an important role in checking identity cards at roadblocks, an activity often accompanied by acts of violence and even of disappearances. Because of the di@culty in proving cases of disappearance, the Commission retained only testimonies of witnesses who were relatives, friends or who had any other kind of relationship that put them in a position to say that after screening and detention at the roadblocks, such and such a person was never seen again by family, close relatives, friends and acquaintances.

In the Rwandan context with strong social bonds, it would be almost impossible for people to disappear without trace for the rest of their life. It is, therefore, more likely that the people who were arrested at roadblocks and were never seen again by their families can be

considered as having disappeared. Testimonies collected show various cases of disappearance in the years 1990-1993.

Vital Mucanda claims to have lost his close relatives on two roadblocks manned by French soldiers, one in Shyorongi, the other near Rulindo at a place called “Ku Bashinwa” [Chinese Place] on the Kigali-Ruhengeri road:

“The French had a roadblock at Kanyinya (Shyorongi), another in Rulindo (Chinese Place). When they found a Tutsi, they detained him/her. A good example is that of my two cousins Ngangure Gaëtan and Uwibambe Dative, and my aunt Mukasine Immaculée. Together, we were on our way from Bugesera, to visit relatives in the North. Mukasine and Uwibambe were arrested and held by the French at Kanyinya, while Ngangure was arrested and held in Rulindo, ‘Ku Bashinwa’ (Chinese Place). We never saw them again. I survived those French soldiers only because I had a card showing I was a member of the Interahamwe.”

Similar testimonies exist for other roadblocks too. Emmanuel Nshogozabahizi, a former member of the PSD party, who later joined the Interahamwe militia in 1993, told the Commission that he lost his Brst cousin, a Tutsi, who had been arrested at a roadblock manned by the French in Mukamira on the Ruhengeri-Gisenyi road:

“In 1992, I was in a minibus on the way from Kigali with my cousin Mudenge Jean-Baptiste who worked with the Brewery at Kicukiro. On arriving at Mukamira, towards 19h00, the French stopped the minibus and asked us for our identity cards. Noting that my cousin was Tutsi, they made him get o= and detained him. I have not seen him ever since. Yet I had immediately started searching for him, and my membership to the Interahamwe enabled me to go anywhere, which means that if he had stayed alive, I would certainly have found him. I have never known his fate”

The active participation of the French in the screening of Tutsis and the supposed accomplices of the RPF at the roadblocks, followed by disappearances, is also underlined by the former head of intelligence services in the Prime Minister’s O@ce, Senator Augustin Iyamuremye. He stated before the Commission: “At the roadblocks, the people who were caught without their identity cards and were described as Inkotanyi, disappeared. The French and Rwandan soldiers collaborated in this kind of operation. At Giticyinyoni, they worked together. I do not think they let go anybody they arrested under the charge of being an Inkotanyi.”

4.3. Physical intimidations and violence

In addition to screening, detention and transportation of detainees to known or unknown destinations, several testimonies revealed that at the roadblocks there were often acts of intimidation, harassment, physical violence, ill treatment and torture of civilians, mainly Tutsis.

Bernard Munyaneza, a former soldier of the FAR from1992 to 1994 and of RDF [ Rwandan Defence Forces] from 1994 to 2002, reported to the Commission having seen French soldiers checking identity cards and committing acts of violence against Tutsis at two roadblocks, one in Kisenga, near Rushaki (ex-prefecture of Byumba), the other in Shyorongi. “The French carried out unworthy acts. I knew an old lady who lived in Rulindo. In February 1993, she came across French soldiers. When they discovered that she was Tutsi, they kicked her so much so that she no longer could walk.”

Emmanuel Nkuliyingoma worked in Gisenyi after being transferred from Kigali. In 1992, he was detained and underwent ill treatment by French and Rwandan soldiers for three days at the Shyorongi roadblock. He also saw a Tutsi girl, named Brigitte Umulisa, who underwent the same treatment at the same roadblock:

“French soldiers and Rwandan gendarmes asked us for our identity cards. They noticed that I had two residence permits, one for Kigali and another for Gisenyi. They held me, saying that this was proof that I was an Inyenzi. They started to torture me. First, they placed beer bottle tops on the ground and forced me to lie down on them, on my belly, and to put my two elbows on the bottle tops. They then gave me blows. Afterwards, they made me get up and ordered us (me and Brigitte) to dig a large hole. When we Bnished, they forced us to lie down and put our arms in the hole. They reBlled the hole to our elbows. We spent three nights there in that position, and they beat us as often and as hard as they pleased.”

Marcel Karangwa, a resident of Rugarika in Kamonyi District, was a victim of assault at the Nyabarongo roadblock, and reported it as follows:

“On October 15, 1990, I went to Kigali. On arriving at the Nyabarongo roadblock, I found French and Zaïrian soldiers who were stopping vehicles. After checking my identity card and discovering that I was Tutsi, the French made me get o= the vehicle with my luggage. They gave me kicks all over my body, but the blow that hurt me the most

was that which they gave me in the lower belly. I was also wounded at the knee. Then, they subjected me to a long interrogation requiring to know the reasons for my journey to Kigali. They prevented me from continuing and forced me to go back to Gitarama. They kept all my belongings, including my identity papers. There were three Frenchmen and two Zaïrians.”

Twayibu Nsekanabo, an ex-Interahamwe militiaman imprisoned in Gisenyi for genocide, reported a scene of violence at the roadblock in Shyorongi:

“In 1993, I was in a minibus which was going to Kigali. In Shyorongi, the French stopped us and asked us for our identity papers. French and Rwandan soldiers were doing the checking together. A Rwandan gendarme found among us a young man who had an identity card marked Tutsi and showed it to the French. One of them took the young man to their tents on the lower side of the road. We then heard screams which made us think that he was undergoing violent beating. We left without him reappearing.”

4.4. Sexual assault and rape

Testimonies from various sources give a report of physical assault and rape undergone by Tutsi girls arrested at the roadblocks, in particular at those set up around the capital.

Emmanuel Nkuliyingoma stated that he was sexually abused by French soldiers at the Shyorongi roadblock. He was forced to have sexual intercourse with a girl they had just raped. Both had been arrested at the roadblock:

“The French stripped us. They then took along the girl in their tent. On her return, she was crying and told me that they had raped her in turns. The following day, they obliged her to lie down and ordered me to have sexual intercourse with her. Sometime later, they made me lie down in my turn and forced the girl to go on top of me.”

Herman Afrika, a former Interahamwe imprisoned in Kigali for genocide, explained that he was in Kigali in 1990 and saw French soldiers engaged in acts of physical assault and rape of girls detained at the roadblocks they controlled:

“During the war in 1990, the French were guarding Kanombe airport. These French soldiers used to beat up Tutsis whom Rwandans brought to them after rounding them up during searches for accomplices of the RPF. They took the pretty girls and raped them in their tents. The

screening was primarily carried out at two roadblocks that they controlled in Kigali. One was in Remera, at a place called Giporoso and the other was at a place called Cumi Na Kabiri (12 Kilometres).”

Yvonne Mutimura testiBed to having seen French soldiers in a drunken state engaged in collective rape in public:

“The Nyacyonga roadblock in Kabuye was the most scandalous; sometimes French soldiers were more than ten, drinking beer. They were drunk all the time. And when they were drunk, they were engaged in raping […] there were girls who were raped by the French soldiers. I saw that in Kabuye, Kacyiru, (approximately 6 km from Kigali airport and next to Hotel Chez Lando, whose owner was once a Minister for Social A=airs […] One evening, on my way home from there with friends, we saw French soldiers raping girls on the road. The girls were screaming. The soldiers were in uniform and no one could do anything about it. The Rwandan soldiers could not be called upon to help because they were allies of the French”

Lucien Nibaseke also gave an account of rapes committed by the French in the following terms:

“The French had a place at Giheka cya Batsinda, near Kagugu on the outskirts of Kigali. They had built their tents in the wood belonging to my paternal uncle, Kagoyire Philibert. They gave money to the Interahamwe who brought them beautiful Tutsi girls by force, whom they raped. Among the girls raped like that, I can remember those from Mi’s household in Batsinda, who were stopped and raped on their return from Sunday mass at Kabuye. They were caught by Interahamwe in this forest, who delivered them to the French soldiers. The French took them to their tents and raped them. They came back in tears, and people who were around were mocking them.”

Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge, a former gendarme warrant o@cer in the FAR and ex intelligence agent of the Habyarimana regime testiBed to having seen French soldiers raping a girl called Julienne whom they had detained at the Giticyinyoni roadblock:

“The French detained her after discovering that she was Tutsi. I was there. They led her to a disused garage near the roadblock. Sometime after, they returned with her. She was weeping. Finally, I learnt from her friends that the French soldiers had raped her. She was then taken to the detention centre by a gendarmerie vehicle. I do not know what followed.”

Wellars Kayiranga told the Commission of a rape case committed by French soldiers on a young girl of 10 or 11 years:

“In 1992, the French had four roadblocks on the Kigali-Byumba road. One of them was in Karuruma near REDEMI next to the home of Rurindababisha John. The French raped there a very young girl whose father was Ruzindaza Jean-Baptiste. They raped her in turns until her legs could no longer return to their normal position. The young girl was a primary school pupil in fourth grade. Her father was head of a garage at the Kabuye sugar reBnery.”

Justin Rutareka, a resident of Kinyinya, also gave an account of acts of rape by French soldiers:

“I remember seeing French soldiers setting up camp near the sugar factory in Kabuye on 25/01/1993. These soldiers raped the girls inside the tents where they lived. I personally know three girls who were victims of these acts: Mukak, Muka and Mukam. I still remember that Mukak was even, one day violently beaten up by a French soldier. I learned that the reason for this violence was the fact that her rapist had contracted a sexually transmitted disease. That day, I met her in the trading centre weeping and she told me what had happened to her.”

Bela Mu, another resident of Kinyinya, was sexually assaulted by French soldiers stationed at Nyacyonga in 1993. When she was giving her testimony to the Commission, her memories seemed to put her in a state of both anger and anguish:

“I lived near a place where the French had set up their tents. One of them had completely taken me as his wife against my will. He did to me as he pleased. He raped me whenever he wanted. Sometimes he penetrated me; sometimes he subjected me to acts of fellatio or sodomy. Sometimes he took me to his comrades in their tents where they kept me for days without letting me go out. Whoever wanted forced me to sleep with him. They should come and see the state they put me in. They did so much evil to me. I will never forget that. Could you imagine forced fellatio? It was the Brst time that I went through that and I still get shivers when I think of it. You have not done well to remind me of it.”

During her testimony, Bela Mu told the Commission that the French raped other girls and that they worked with Interahamwe who brought the girls to them:

“I am not the only one who was raped by French soldiers at that time. There were others who su=ered the same fate as me, but many are now dead. I remember one of them who was my neighbour. She was called Mukak. She had become like their wife. The French used to send an Interahamwe by the name of Muriro to look for girls for them. Muriro brought the girls by force. He was a very fearsome Interahamwe and he killed many people during the genocide. He is today in prison.”

She added that the French took stimulants to make the act last: “In the evening, a little before forcing me to have sexual intercourse, these French swallowed products which transformed them enormously. They became very energetic, as if doped and hardly ever reached orgasm. Once, they contaminated me with a disease and gave me drugs. When I took them, I became almost blind; It is only recently that I recovered the will to go on living.”

The rape committed by French soldiers at the same place and the same time are recounted by another witness, Béa Muk who reported them as follows:

“In 1993, the French soldiers had set up their tents in the wood of my brother-in-law, Kagoyire Philbert. They caught the girls in broad daylight and took them to their tents. I have friends who were raped in this way. One of them was called Mukak, the other was Ha, and Bnally Muka. Unfortunately, they were killed during the genocide, except Mukak who died a few years after the genocide. These French soldiers collaborated with Interahamwe such as Nsabimana and Simpunga; it is these two who brought girls to the soldiers, to be raped. The Brst one is in prison for genocide and the other one died.”

4.5. Participation and assistance in the killings

The Commission sought to know some more about some people arrested on the roadblocks and some who were reported missing. It appears that these people were led to various places: in military camps of Kanombe, Kigali, Gako, Bigogwe, Mukamira and Gabiro; others still were taken to the various gendarmerie brigade posts for interrogation followed by imprisonment; others were brought in the cellars of the criminology department directed by the French or to the central Intelligence Service based at the presidency of the Republic. According to information provided by the senator, Augustin Iyamuremye, and by Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge, they were tortured there under the orders of Captain Simbikangwa Pascal. At these various places of detention, the arrested people often underwent interrogation under cruel and degrading conditions, sometimes followed by killings committed by Rwandans within sight of the French. The French were also directly involved in killings of civilians.

4.5.1 In military camps and other places in Kigali

In most of the military camps where acts of violence were committed, the French advisers and instructors were present supervising and training Rwandan soldiers within the framework of military co- operation. In 1993, in the gendarmerie camp at Jali, French instructors who trained the anti-riot unit of the gendarmerie took part in night operations of hunting for Tutsis and, according to witnesses, killed people caught in these raids, accusing them of being accomplices of RPF. François Nsengayire, former gendarme, having lived in this military camp, attests to having been eyewitness of this type of acts committed by the French:

“I lived with the French at Jali from 1993 until our escape from Rwanda in July 1994. Among the French was an adjutant called Philippe and another regimental sergeant major called Roy. They were our instructors. After the RPF attack on Ruhengeri in February 1993, a French unit of the 8th RPIMA arrived in Rwanda as reinforcement and had its positions near the primary school of Jali. I was assigned to them as their interpreter. Their mission was to teach the Rwandan soldiers the techniques of Bghting inBltration and the methods of identiBcation and pointing out of unwanted people. The object of this training was due to the fact that RPF, which was not far from Kigali, had to be identiBed and the people who entered town located so as to identify possible inBltrators into the capital. The practical part of this training was done on the inhabitants of Jali and Rubingo who were accustomed to going to the market of Kigali at dawn to sell their goods. The French arrested these people and sorted out Tutsis, following the instructions given to them by colonel Ndindiriyimana according to which, to recognise Tutsis, it was necessary to refer to their size, which is in general slim. The Frenchman who directed this unit was a black who was called Bob, a borrowed name because the French never revealed their true names to us. They had set up a roadblock near the camp. They checked all the passers-by. They held those who were identiBed in a makeshift shelter. After that, they executed them and transported the corpses towards a place I do not know.”

François Nsengayire also attests to having been witness to killing by the French of a group of twelve Tutsis, to avenge three of their colleagues who died in the engagements against RPA in February 1993. Ten of them were taken out from among the displaced persons who were in Mbogo, while two others were caught near Jali:

“When RPA took ETO Tumba and Rulindo, we left in reinforcement with the French. We were with a unit of Beld artillery of the 8th RPIMA who used canons of 105 mm and 122 mm. These were positioned in

Shyorongi at a place called Kanyinya, and I was with the French in an advance party and we were in the eucalyptus woods at Mbogo near the home of Kimaranzara. We Bred on the ETO Tumba to dislodge RPA. There was violent exchange of Bre. Three French soldiers were mortally wounded. Two others were seriously wounded. Their comrades were very angry. On arrival in Mbogo trading centre, they found war displaced people who had taken shelter in a school. They entered and took ten Tutsis. They brought them to Jali. On arrival there, near the football Beld, they took two other Tutsis and put them with the other group. They entered the camp and discussed with a Rwandan captain named Bizumuremyi who was very cruel. They told him that they had lost three of their comrades; they had also caught some of the Inkotanyi who had inBltrated among war displaced people. Bizumuremyi and the French took these people to their headquarters and shot them. I do not know exactly where they put the corpses, but I believe that they went to bury them in the military camp at Kanombe. Out of curiosity, I asked them where they had taken the bodies and they replied that it was none of my business “.

The Commission endeavoured to check the consistency of this testimony but was not able to Bnd witnesses conBrming or nullifying the statements of Nsengayire François.

Murders of Tutsi civilians were also reported in the military camp of Kanombe. They were committed by Rwandan soldiers in the presence of French instructors who were providing training to the various units in this big barracks.

Vianney Mudahunga, a former Para commando from 1987 to 1994 and member of CRAP, testiBed that “during the time from 1991 to 1992, many civilians suspected of being Inkotanyi were taken to the Kanombe Camp by soldiers. They were locked up in the dungeon of the camp and subjected to interrogation. They underwent a lot of maltreatment; some were killed, others disappeare “.

Charles Bugirimfura, a former soldier in Kanombe, also testiBed about people who were killed and buried in a common grave in Kanombe camp after having been arrested at roadblocks, particularly that of Nyacyonga, where he worked with the French: “The Rwandan soldiers, in complicity with the French, suspected any Tutsi to provide information or funds to RPF. Between 1991 and 1993, the French were involved in large-scale detention of Tutsis. Among those who were detained, some were killed. Some were buried in a mass grave inside the military camp at Kanombe “.

The witness gave the names of two victims; one was killed directly by the French at Kanombe and the other was killed while they watched, after his arrest in his residence:

“I remember a Rwandan ex-captain named Karanganwa, native of Runyinya, who had been wrongfully dismissed from the army. He was arrested at a roadblock near the airport, and then killed at the military camp of Kanombe, by the French with the help of a Rwandan adjutant called Gasutamo. I also know a certain Munyakayanza who was arrested at his place in the Kanombe area. He was also brought to our military camp and killed by Rwandan Para commandos, in the presence of the French without them doing anything. He was buried in the same wood. In short, there were many people killed in this way; I cannot remember all the cases “.

A di=erent witness, Tatien Sibomana, a former Para commando from 1976 to 1994, conBrmed the murder of Munyakayanza by the people cited by his ex-comrade, Charles Bugirimfura. He added that he, too, remembered the murder of an agronomist whose name he could not remember, but who worked in the military camp of Kanombe as a civilian. In addition to the cases cited, Tatien Sibomana testiBed that between 1990 and 1994, many unidentiBed civilians who were killed in Kanombe camp at the place appointed as ‘the ammunition dump’ and that the French instructors who lived in this camp knew that these murders were committed by soldiers they trained. Charles Bugirimfura speciBed that these killings were committed by Para commandos of the CRAP unit, created, supervised and trained by the French. Samuel Kayombya, a former member of the CRAP, conBrmed these facts before the Commission by testifying that between 1991 and 1993, civilians were brought to the Kanombe camp, killed and buried in the wood located in this camp.

These testimonies are essentially corroborated by investigations carried out by Amnesty International in 1991, by the international Commission of enquiry of 1993 and Rwandan human rights associations. Amnesty International indicated it had “information concerning the death of several former prisoners shortly after their release at the end of February 1991.” It speciBed that “two people who had been arrested in the aftermath of the October 1990 attack and then released on February 27th, 1991, had been re-arrested by members of the national gendarmerie at Kanombe Military Camp, shortly after their release. One was Munyakazi Jean, a driver at the military camp at Kanombe (…) and Niyonzima Apollinaire, an agronomist. These two people were killed thereafter by those who had arrested them and buried clandestinely in the Bring range of Kanombe military camp “.

These killings and murders continued for the period 1992-1993. Indeed, the international Commission of Inquiry noted in January 1993 that: “Some people had been arrested by soldiers and at least a score of them were killed. It is known from a sure source that corpses were dumped by soldiers at the Kigali General Hospital. [… ] Eight bodies were buried in a mass grave on Saturday February 13th, 1993, and eleven others on Monday February 15th, 1993, at the cemetery of Nyamirambo in Kigali. Other bodies were buried in the military camps of Kigali”.

In February of the same year, Bve major Rwandan human rights associations denounced these killings of civilians by soldiers:

“Our Associations have learned that the so-called rebels are taken to Camp Kigali, tortured, then killed by the soldiers […] and thereafter dumped at the mortuary of the Kigali General Hospital before being buried by prisoners in mass graves in the cemetery of Nyamirambo. It is soldiers who dump them at the hospital and go away, without explaining the circumstances of their death “.

4.5.2. In the other prefectures

Cases of killing people arrested at roadblocks, in which the French were involved in one way or another, were not were not restricted to Kigali. They were reported also in the prefectures of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Byumba and Kigali rural, especially in places near military positions, or in military camps where French instructors lived.

Information from several sources gave the military camp in Byumba the reputation of being a death camp. According to the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry (ICE) of 1993, a group of eighteen people was brought there by the burgomaster of Murambi, Jean- Baptiste Gatete, and none of them left the camp alive. Major Pierre Ngira who commanded the military zone of Byumba from 1983 to 1991 admitted to the ICE “that he personally ordered that these people be put in a hole which had been dug in the military camp for construction of public toilets “.

Various people conBrmed that French soldiers controlled a roadblock at the entry of the Byumba military camp and that Tutsis arrested there were taken inside the camp where they were held, then killed. The Commission could not establish with certainty whether the French soldiers themselves carried out these killings or stood by while they were taking place.

Apollinaire Nsengiyumva, a former prosecutor in Byumba from 1990 to 1991, testiBed before the Commission that he had carried out arrests of Tutsis on the orders of the Byumba prefecture authorities and intelligence service, but was unaware of the lot reserved for them. The former prosecutor does not dismiss any assumption, including that of the killings, but justiBes the uncertainty of his testimony by the fact that he was only one small link in a chain and, according to him, did not have any control on the Bnal fate of the people that he arrested. A similar account was given by Jean-Marie Vianney Mugemana, the Minister of Interior A=airs at the time these events took place. However, he told the Commission he did not know anything about killings committed directly by the French in Byumba.

Other witnesses remember, however, what happened in Byumba, as Anaclet Butera, one of the prominent Tutsis, who was arrested in early October 1990 by prosecutor Nsengiyumva. He testiBed before the Commission that he spent nearly two months in detention under extremely hard conditions, and that throughout his detention, he saw soldiers coming to screen people on lists after which they took them to the military camp of Byumba where they killed them.

Jean Damascène Kaburame, ex-FAR from 1990-1994, claims to have seen French soldiers manning a roadblock in the centre of Ngarama trading centre:

“In 1990, I was a soldier in the 2nd battalion Muvumba. The French installed a roadblock in Ngarama trading centre. We controlled this roadblock with them. They checked the identity cards of all passengers. When they saw the name Tutsi, the person was put aside, and when the number of arrests became large, they were put on army trucks and taken, inter alia, to the Byumba military camp

This testimony is corroborated by that of Twagirayezu, another inhabitant of Byumba, who claims to have been a witness of checks and arrests carried out by French soldiers at a roadblock they had placed near the o@ce of the prosecutor in Byumba, at the entry of the military camp, shortly after the attack and capture of the town by the RPF: “The French were stationed there with Rwandan soldiers. They asked us to produce our employment and identity cards. Tutsis were detained there, and then taken to the Byumba military camp. I do not know what happened to them, but I think that they were killed because their close relatives never saw them again ”.

Identity checks on the roadblocks followed by detention and killing, also took place in the military camp of Gako, Bugesera, in 1992, at a time when Tutsis in the area were victims of massacres. Jean-Claude

Murejuru testiBed that he narrowly escaped death at a roadblock controlled by French soldiers. To earn a living, he used to sell milk, which made him frequent the communes of Kanzenze, Ngenda and Gashora, which formed the sub-district of Kanazi in Bugesera. On arrival near the Gako camp on the path where civilians usually passed, French soldiers who controlled the roadblock arrested him and handed him over to the Rwandan soldiers for the only reason that he was Tutsi. He would have been killed and was only saved by a Rwandan soldier who recognised him and organised his escape:

“A Rwandan soldier and a French soldier controlled the roadblock at Gako. The Rwandan was used as interpreter to the French. This latter asked me for my identity card. When he saw that I was Tutsi, he exclaimed `Tutsi’! Immediately, the Rwandan soldier asked me to show my card for participation in compulsory Community work ` Umuganda ‘, as well as a receipt showing my contribution in support of FAR. The French soldier read the documents. When he saw the mention “Umuganda”, he misinterpreted it to mean “Umugande ” and at once ordered that I be taken to the dungeon inside the military camp. I implored the Rwandan soldier to explain the di=erence between the two words to the French one because I was innocent, but he ignored me. Near the dungeon, I came across a Rwandan soldier named Alphonse Ngenzamaguru, who was a childhood friend. He approached me and I explained my problem to him. He told me that he was going to help me, but that I was to have patience. I was locked up in the dungeon. Many civilians had bee locked up there for a few days. They told me that each day; the soldiers came to take away those who were to be killed. Towards 1630 hrs, I was able escape the fate reserved for the others. [……. ] When I again saw Alphonse Ngenzamaguru at his place a few days later during his leave, he told me that I had been lucky because all my fellow prisoners were killed after my escape. I would like to stress that at this roadblock in Gako, it was the French soldiers who stopped and questioned civilians, and decided on their detention. Rwandan soldiers intervened only when the arrested person did not speak French. The French sorted people by looking at the faces initially, then their identity cards. They put them in Indian Ble and selected those to be detained on the basis of these criteria”

Another testimony threw some light on the degree of participation of the French in the crimes committed at the roadblocks. Immaculée Cattier, whose maiden name was Mpinganzima, had been imprisoned in Gisenyi at the outbreak of war in October 1990, and had just been released,. Having nowhere to go, she sought shelter with Canadian missionaries who proposed to accompany her to Kigali. On arrival at Ruhengeri, she was stopped at a roadblock manned by the French who delivered Tutsis to the Interahamwe militia:

“(…) some of the soldiers there were French and they also asked for identity cards from Rwandans. The cards indicated the ethnic identity of the holders. Tutsis were made to get out of the vehicles and the French soldiers handed them over to the militia who cut them with machetes and threw them in a ditch at the edge of the asphalted main road. [… ] I saw a Tutsi who had been made to leave a car a little further on from ours. After checking his identity card, a French soldier and a Rwandan o@cer delivered him to the militia who immediately began, in front of these cars, to strike him with their machetes and all kinds of weapons that they had, like Ntampongano (clubs), and threw him into the ditch afterwards. When I saw that, I looked in the drain and saw some bodies there lying still, without a sound “. (…)

Acts of violence away from the roadblocks

The testimonies collected by the Commission show that the roadblocks were not the only places where the French soldiers committed acts of violence. In their everyday life, civilians su=ered physical and sexual assault from French soldiers, in public and in private, and these acts often targeted Tutsis because of their ethnic origin. Often, the French military hierarchy was informed and consistently acted to protect the soldiers involved. There are many instances illustrating these facts. 5.1. Ethnically based physical or verbal violence

Various acts of violence committed by French soldiers were reported to the Commission in various areas of the country. Silas Ndagijimana was a direct victim of a brutal assault committed by French soldiers, near Pfunda tea factory. This was during the persecution of the Bagogwe in Gaseke commune. The latter had taken refuge in the neighbouring commune of Kayove after the massacre against them in the aftermath of the attack on Ruhengeri by RPF in January 1991. The burgomaster sent them to the prefecture o@ce in Gisenyi. On the road opposite the tea factory, they met Rwandan and French soldiers going to Ruhengeri to give support to FAR who were trying to take back the town from RPF. The Rwandans and the French made them get out of the vehicle and violently beat them. Silas Ndagijimana testiBed as follows:

“A young boy was ordered out of the vehicle by the French. A French soldier caught him by the arm and gave him a kick in the low belly. This blow caused gave him health problems that he never recovered from. He urinated blood and pus and later died. Another young person was struck on the head by a French soldier with the butt of a ri4e. Since then, the victim has su=ered from permanent mental disorder. He is sick for the rest of his life. As for me, a French soldier gave me three bayonet blows on the thigh. Here are the scars. “.

Again in Gisenyi, in the Kanama commune at a place called Mahoko, the witness Jean-Baptiste Nzitabakuze saw French soldiers present at the killing of a civilian by militia who were accusing him of being an Inkotanyi:

“I saw French soldiers at Kanama at the market of Mahoko. Hutu peasants brought a Tutsi civilian they had caught in Gishwati. The French asked what happened and got the explanation that that the peasants had caught a Tutsi suspect. They Blmed the scene. Suddenly, somebody took a club and struck the person on the head. Another poured gasoline on the victim and set him on Bre. He burnt to death in front of everyone. The French Blmed the whole scene and went away. There were also Rwandan gendarmes present. It was the burgomaster of Kanama, named Marius, who came later to make arrangements for his burial “.

Gerard Ndabakenga, a former student at the national University of Rwanda, at Nyakinama campus, testiBed to acts of racism, ethnic segregation and violence committed by French soldiers during their stay on this campus:

“I saw the French at Nyakinama in 1992. As lectures had been suspended due to holidays and the war, we were only a few students staying in the campus halls of residence. The French were lodged in ‘Home D’ . We lived next to them and could see what they were doing, whether it was day or night. They trained the Interahamwe in the football Beld. When they were lined up in the corridor of their hall, we could see them. [… ] The French got along well with the war displaced people: the Bakiga from Byumba and Ruhengeri, who were regarded as the only pure Hutus, treating the others as Banyanduga They had taught the French to distinguish Hutu from Tutsi according to morphological criteria. [… ] A certain familiarity had been established between these ‘pure’ Hutus and the French soldiers, to the extent that sometimes the soldiers bought drinks for the students. Among the students, one who had a nose or teeth considered characteristic of Tutsis was not allowed to sit near them. The French said such a student was ‘an enemy of the country’, while the Hutu students would try to assure them that ‘he is not an enemy he is a true citizen’. [… ] Before the war, the students were all in an association called “Assemblée Générale des Etudiants de l’Université du Rwanda’ (AGEUNR). However, between 1992 and1993, they split into two camps: the Bakiga and Hutus known as pure because they could be traced by history or relationship to the former Parmehutu party , and the remaining Hutus’ claim to this quality was disputable or doubtful. Those of the Brst group, Bnancially supported by the prefecture

authorities and the French, broke away from the other students. [… ] One evening, after receiving our monthly allowance, we went to have a good time at the campus canteen. Then, in a drunken state, two French soldiers arrived one of whom was a sergeant, with a FAR captain from Ruhengeri, the businessman Gaston, also of Ruhengeri, and the burgomaster [mayor] of Nyakinama. The French sergeant walked around the canteen while saying: ‘this campus shelters many enemies of the country. Why?’ He was addressing the question to the burgomaster. The latter answered: ‘they have been able to inBltrate because they certainly corrupted the civil servants who grant bursaries’. […] This dialogue between the French sergeant and the burgomaster, in front of the Rwandan captain, threw the room into disorder. Tempers were heated up and the soldiers insisted that Tutsi students go out, saying they did not want to share anything with ‘cockroaches’. They ordered the barman to stop serving the enemies of the country. When some students tried to protest, the French sergeant drew his revolver and shot into the canteen ceiling. At the Brst shot, most of us left running. They stayed alone. ”

Michel Campion, the owner of Ibis hotel in Butare, witnessed a clash between French soldiers and Tutsi students from the National University of Rwanda in 1992, during which the soldiers violently beat up the students and damaged hotel furniture:

“In 1992, there was a rather active military presence in Butare at the army cadet academy in which there were between 100 and 120 permanently stationed French soldiers who were there to intensify the training of soldiers who were going to war. And I can give you the actual number of those people because they ate regularly at Ibis Hotel. One day, a brawl erupted in the establishment. The Tutsi students had been very upset by this French military presence that permanently occupied the outdoor tables; they were no longer able to come and have a glass of beer with ease.

One day, there was an American who gave them a little encouragement to confront the French soldiers and a scufe erupted. It was so violent that they practically turned the entire out door café up side down […] I walked out to try and calm the people down, but imagine a situation where100 muscular soldiers are pounding students! I overheard one of them literally say: Finally, one will be rid of the Tutsis. In fact, the poor fellows, I found them lying in the garden. Some had broken arms; others had taken blows to the head. It had lasted Bve to ten minutes. The soldiers then got into their trucks and returned to their army cadet academy. I never again considered them as my customers “.

In his testimony, Michel Campion stated that the following day the French defence attaché came with their Ambassador to investigate the incident. They paid for all the damage and insistently urged the owner not to divulge the information.

Michel Campion’s testimony was conBrmed by two o@cial documents, one was a Rwandan intelligence report, the other a record of the minutes of a Butare Prefecture security committee meeting. The Brst document contains interrogations regarding the real motives of the French military presence in Butare. The document speciBes that the local administrative authorities were not aware of this presence and implicitly reveals the strategy of French persons responsible for this cover-up.

Another witness named Yves Rurangirwa reported to the Commission that he was victim to insults and death threats from French soldiers claiming that a Tutsi was not permitted to frequent an establishment like “Kigali Night” which belonged to Jean-Pierre Habyarimana, the son of the president.

Acts of this nature had reached such a point that, in February 1993, a Rwandan newspaper did not hesitate to use the headline: “Interahamwe z’Abafaransa zikwiye kwamaganwa [the French Interahamwe should be condemned]”.

5.2. Rape and sexual assault

Various testimonies acknowledged repeated incidents of the involvement of French soldiers in acts of rape and violent sexual assault towards Rwandan girls and women and that these violent acts often targeted speciBcally Tutsis. In one of these cases the violent acts led to the death of the victim. On the night of 6th February 1993, a young Tutsi girl named Jeanne Mukarusine, aged 20 years at the time, was sexually assaulted very violently by French soldiers of Opération Noroît who were guarding Kanombe airport.

The French soldiers caught the girl leaving a nightclub, «Kigali Night” which belonged to the son of the former Rwandan President. They demanded that she leave with them and she refused. The French soldiers then forced her into their car and began striking her and tearing her clothes o= using bonnets. They violently inserted their Bngers and a knife into her genitals then smeared the blood that 4owed from her genitals on her face.

When they reached Remera Guest House, which belonged to Murindahabi where she was staying, the French soldiers threw her out

on to the ground, naked and in critical condition. The police, led by Lieutenant Mugabo of Remera police station, were alerted by a security guard of the neighbouring house and came to investigate the incident. They then took the bleeding victim to Kigali Central Hospital where she was admitted for an entire week. The medical examination revealed a severe wound as deep as her uterus as well as several other body lesions.

Before her discharge from the hospital, Lieutenant Mugabo along with French military o@cers approached her and explained to her that they did not wish this matter to become public in Kigali. They then o=ered her Bve hundred thousand Rwandan Francs and ordered her to remain silent about what she had endured and to leave Kigali and return to her native village in Mugusa (Butare). She was not to make any complaint or reveal the incident to journalists or human rights associations. Lieutenant Mugabo extracted a statement from her and she was given the money and ordered to leave Kigali immediately. The girl returned to her home village on 14th of February 1993.

Investigations conducted by the Commission revealed that Jeanne Mukarusine Bnally died in Butare of the wounds she had sustained and the damage to her genital organs. Her death was reported to the Commission by a witness named Daphrose Mukarwego, the spouse of Mulindahabi, the owner of the Guest House in which the victim was living:

“Our night watchman told me that on the morning of the incident, Jeanne had su=ered a violent assault by French soldiers stationed at Kanombe airport and that she had ended up in Kigali Central Hospital. He explained to me that the soldiers were drunk and very violent. I asked one of the victim’s friends named Daria to go and inform her family. She left and returned with the victim’s brother. The police and the French threatened them and o=ered them money to remain silent and return to their village. They had no choice but to accept in the interest of self-preservation. A few days after her return, Jeanne died of her wounds.”

Gerard Ndabakenga, whose testimony has already been partly cited above, stated that he witnessed French soldiers raping two Tutsi students. According to his words the soldiers were staying at Nyakinama University campus in 1992 and their daily activity consisted in giving Hutu Power militia Brearms training. During evenings and on their days o=, they shared beer with extremist Hutu students in the university canteen and even with Ruhengeri authorities who were known to be the radicals of the regime. They refused to associate with

Tutsis or even Hutus from the Southern or the central parts and they raped two Tutsi students within the campus compound.

“Two Tutsi students named Ber and Y, who originated from Kibuye were there for their supplementary exams and were raped by French soldiers inside the campus. They were betrayed to these French soldiers by Hutu extremist students, originating from Gisenyi and Ruhengeri in collusion with others from Byumba who were referred to as `war displaced’. The two girls were headed to the restaurant and passed through the corridor in front of the rooms of the French soldiers. This was the only possible exit they had. The French soldiers surrounded them and forced them into their rooms. We could hear them cry but no one among us could dare go to their rescue. It was Muramutsa, my friend and a friend of Yvonne, who revealed to us that Yvonne had conBded to her about these rapes. She told him the French soldiers had terrorized and threatened them with violence if they mounted any resistance” .

5.3 Support and assistance in perpetration of violent acts

From 1990, French soldiers assisted in the perpetration of violent acts carried out by Rwandan militia against Rwandan civilians or watched without intervening. A Belgian journalist, Jean – Pierre Martin, was witness to this:

“It was in November of 1990 when I Brst met the French soldiers. What surprised me most was in addition to the brutality used in suppressing the minority of the population. The French army was not only complacent but even participative. On three occasions, I witnessed French soldiers stand by as raids and assault were being mounted on Rwandan citizens. That was at the roundabout next to the military head quarters, it also occurred near Chez Lando, and at the large roundabout at the centre of Kigali. These brutalities toward Rwandan citizens and these raids on people who were being mounted onto jeeps or trucks all happened in the presence of French soldiers”

Jean-Pierre Martin speciBed that the minority group of which he spoke were Tutsi civilians, and that the French soldiers did not only watch passively, but seemed to be directly participating in the organisation and implementation of these violent acts:

“One got the clear impression that it was the French who organized the entire operation that made the laws and controlled the operations where these raids were carried out in Kigali. I remember two cases in which two people were beaten with the ri4e butt of a FAR soldier right

beside French soldiers. One simply had to question the attitude of these soldiers who were obviously not reacting”.

In the same report, Jean-Pierre Martin continued, saying: “I also have images in my memory that I will never forget, in one particular incident, there was a pregnant woman who was being torn apart 100 m in front of me. There was a jeep with two French soldiers who were laughing, just 50 m away from where this was happening. It was two Belgian soldiers passing who went to disperse the killers “.

Jean de Dieu Rucamayida, who was formerly in charge of the branch of the French Cultural Centre in Ruhengeri, was arrested on October 2, 1990. He was held and accused of being an RPF spy. In Ruhengeri, he was interrogated by Lt-Colonel Jean-Marie Vianney Nzapfakumunsi who was the head of the national police academy, and Captain Michel Caillaud, a French instructor at the same academy. Rucamayida reported to the Commission that he was tortured by these two o@cers:

I was taken into Nzapfakumunsi’s o@ce, who was with Captain Caillaud. He wanted to recover the keys to the Cultural Centre and I refused to give them up to him. Nzapfakumunsi gave the order to a Rwandan corporal to bind my hands to the chair and handcu= me. Captain Caillaud then started brutality interrogating me about my supposed connections with RPF. When he was not satisBed with my answers, he gestured to Nzapfakumunsi who in turn ordered the Rwandan corporal to strike me. The corporal obeyed their orders and struck me hard on the chest and shoulders “.

Since his escape from Rwanda in 1994, Lt-Colonel Nzapfakumunsi lives in exile in France where he has the beneBts of political asylum despite attempts by French human rights organisations that alerted the French O@ce for the protection of refugees and stateless people (ORPFA) in 1997, regarding the criminal past of this former police o@cer.

Violent interrogation of RPF prisoners of war

Several testimonies received by the Commission pointed out that RPF Prisoners of war were subjected to interrogation with torture, ill treatments and execution, especially at Kigali military camps. Some executions were carried out in the presence and with the participation of the French; others were carried out in their absence but witnesses state that the French were aware of their existence and seemed to condone them. Bodies of executed victims were often driven to Kanombe Military Camp to be buried there.

6.1 Threats and ill treatments

Former RPF prisoners of war reported that interrogations carried out by French soldiers were often associated with threats, verbal harassment and physical violence. Sometimes, these threats and violent acts were carried out against soldiers who were still minors who deserved a special treatment adapted to their age. Francis Bazimya was 14 years old at the time he was captured on the frontline at the end of 1990 in Nyakayaga, and then held at Kigali military camp and at the central prison. He was interrogated with intimidation by Lt-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, the head of FAR military intelligence in the presence of a French soldier:

“Nsengiyumva interrogated me in his o@ce regarding the number of RPF soldiers, the types of weapons we used, names and ranks of our military o@cers, etc. There was a French o@cer present during this interrogation. Nsengiyumva insulted me calling me a little cockroach and intimidated me so as to provide him with answers regarding the organisation of the RPF. When they were not satisBed with my answer even when it was true, Nsengiyumva ordered his bodyguards to strike me, and they did. The French soldier was watching without reacting “.

Pelagie Mutibagirwa, aged 20 at the time of her capture, also went through an identical experience to that of Francis Bazimya. She was captured in Gabiro at the end of 1990 and was driven to Kigali camp where she was interrogated by Rwandan and white soldiers:

“During my detention at Kigali Camp, I was beaten with sticks and ri4e butts along with my fellow-prisoners until some of them, whom I met again later, had become crippled. I spent over one week there. My interrogation was carried out by a Rwandan o@cer with a white soldier in uniform by his side. The Rwandan soldier interrogated me and translated to the white soldier what I said. They exchanged words between them after which the Rwandan soldier resumed his questions or made me repeat what I had just said. Before starting my interrogation, they intimidated me by threatening me with death if I did not tell them the whole truth. When I did not give the answer they wished to hear about the RPF, or when I remained silent to think, they insulted me “.

Jean-Paul Gasore, an RPA mechanical engineer, was captured on the frontline on 28th November, 1990 at Nyawera, in the former district of Rukara while manning a reconnaissance position. After his capture, he was driven to Akagera hotel, then to the military headquarters of FAR in Kigali camp. He was interrogated on several occasions by Lt-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, the head of military intelligence alongside French o@cers:

“The very Brst time I saw French soldiers was at the banks of Lake Ihema after my capture. The Rwandan and French soldiers interrogated me there, then at Akagera hotel. The second day, I was transferred to the military headquarters of the Rwandan army and handed over to Lt- Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva. He sat beside a French o@cer and a Rwandan gendarme with the rank of Commander. They interrogated me about the number of RPF soldiers, their sources of funds, their operational capacity, the types of weapons they used, particularly anti- aircraft weapons, the origin of these weapons, the types of communication equipment, the names and ranks of highranking o@cers, the sources of logistic and food supplies, etc. I refused to answer these questions. Nsengiyumva then ordered the Rwandan soldiers to strike me. They bound my arms behind my back then they violently hit me with clubs and sticks. They alternated the blows with electrocution with wires attached to various parts of my body to make me su=er. The French o@cer observed what occurred while discussing with Nsengiyumva “.

Jean-Paul Gasore stated to the Commission that his interrogation by the French continued for one week at Kigali camp then at the central prison where he was held until July 17th, 1992. In prison, the same French o@cer came to conduct further interrogations along with a Rwandan lady gendarme who was an interpreter. For one week two other French soldiers in uniform came one after the other to conduct interrogations while carefully taking notes. In January 1991, when RPF took over Ruhengeri, a French o@cer returned to the prison to question Gasore: “he asked me very precise questions about the type of military training of RPA troops and the locations where they received training in guerrilla warfare”. After getting exhausted by these repeated interrogations, Gasore took advantage of an opportunity involving CICR workers who were passing through the prison and he made his complaints to them. The head warden informed the French about it and they did not return any more.

Paul Rugenera, who was the supervising head of Kigali central prison at the time of the alleged incident, acknowledged having seen four French soldiers in 1991 conducting interrogation of RPF prisoners of war, including Gasore, in the o@ce of the head warden. Paul Rugenera stressed that these prisoners were in a delicate state of health particularly due to serious wounds su=ered since their capture and that they received no medical care from the prison authorities. The French did not seem concerned with it, they were more interested in the information they sought to obtain.

Ananie Habimana, another former RPF prisoner of war, stated that she was interrogated by French and Rwandan soldiers and su=ered violent acts: “I was captured in February of 1991 and was driven to the district o@ce of Kinigi. Rwandan soldiers were stationed there with the French. White soldiers photographed and interrogated me. Colonels Ndindiriyimana and Nsengiyumva took part in it. They asked me questions regarding the positions of our troops, our organisation, the types and the origin of our weapons, etc. I was then transferred to Ruhengeri central prison, where I was beaten “.

After one day of incarceration in Ruhengeri prison, the witness was transferred to Kigali camp, where the interrogation continued with the participation of the French:

“The white soldiers spoke with the Rwandan soldiers and decided to send me to Kigali. They forced me to lie in the back of a pick-up and put two 50Kg bags Blled with potatoes over me. At Mukungwa bridge, they stopped and the soldiers told the curious peasants who were watching that I was an inyenzi and gave an old lady a stick to strike me with. She struck me hard and drew blood. I arrived at Kigali Camp on the 18th, still bound at the hands and feet. I spent the night there. The following day, Ndindiriyimana and Nsengiyumva arrived and interrogated me. After about one week, two French soldiers in uniform also came to interrogate me. They asked me questions about my personal history, the place I was captured, the real reasons why the RPF had began an armed struggle, the origin of our weapons and ammunition supplies, the types of weapons and vehicles we used, etc. They interrogated me in the presence of a Rwandan translator. After one week, the same French soldiers returned. They brought a weapon with them and asked me whether RPF had this type of weapon. I swore that RPF had no such weapon and that it rather had to be a weapon of FAR. They told me I lied and that they would forcefully make me admit that RPF possessed the weapon “.

The Commission also interviewed Rwandan witnesses and expatriates who had information about interrogation of RPF prisoners of war. The commission gathered accounts from former FAR soldiers who explained the severity of the ill treatments su=ered by these prisoners. Jean-Paul Nturanyenabo, formally a second lieutenant in FAR from 1989 to 1994, trained at Bigogwe as an instructor by the French in April 1991, stated that he witnessed and participated in acts of torture in the operational sector of Ruhengeri:

“We captured RPF soldiers at Butaro, toward the end of 1991. We drove them to Mubona camp. The French photographed them and we locked them up in a cell at the camp. We then presented them to Colonel

Bizimungu who interrogated them along with some French soldiers who were stationed at the camp or others from Mukamira “.

The witness continued to explain that the RPF prisoners of war were presented to Colonel Augustin Bizimungu and the French soldiers after a torture session in4icted upon them by the ex-FAR soldiers who had captured them on the frontline and the guards of the military camp who had received these prisoners: ” Often, before presenting them to Bizimungu, we had fun practicing violent acts on them”. In response to the question regarding whether the French were aware or had reason to believe that the prisoners of war were being subjected to acts of torture, the witness responded categorically:

“Of course the French were aware of our actions. They were screaming as we tortured them and their cell was not far away from the o@ce where Bizimungu worked with the French. Besides, when we brought them for interrogation, the French and Rwandan soldiers who questioned them could obviously see the degradation of their physical state. They received violent beatings. In most cases their injuries were visible to the naked eye.”

In order to clarify the nature of the torture in4icted on prisoners of war, Nturanyenabo gave the following precise details:

“I remember an RPF corporal who refused to speak during the interrogation conducted by Bizimungu and a French o@cer. Bizimungu was very irritated and ordered us to deprive him of food until he agreed to speak. Four days elapsed and he still had not spoken a single word despite the deprivation of food. He was clearly in a state of physical weakness. The French o@cer and Bizimungu had the soldier brought from his cell and tried to question him but with no success”.

As for the manner of interrogation and the exact role of the French, the witness added that: “it is Bizimungu who translated the answers of the prisoners of war to the French who in turn communicated questions for him to ask”. So as to force them to speak “they were forced to endure various ill treatments and acts of torture like denying them access to toilets, keeping them in the cold because the weather was very cold in Ruhengeri, preventing them from washing their clothes, striking hands and feet… the French were aware of all that.”

These various testimonies of Rwandans are corroborated by Lawyer Eric Gillet, who carried out a mission of work in Rwanda from 12th to August 20th, 1991 within the framework of the “Project of legal aid with the Rwandan political prisoners”. He collected information attesting to the participation of the French in the interrogation of RPF

prisoners. The most important testimony that it reported is that of “Major ” Jean Bosco Nyiligira, who announces that RPF prisoners had been questioned continuously for several days during the Brst week of August 1991, by French military o@cers in uniform. These interrogations had initially proceeded within the Rwandan Army Headquarters in the Kigali camp, then in administrative pavilions of the central prison of Kigali.

Lawyer Gillet gave a testimony about Nyiligira in which he said: “I met Nyiligira Jean Bosco at Kigali central prison on Monday August 19th […] He was interrogated in March [1991] by the prosecutor, then again by several French o@cers two weeks before our conversation. He was visibly very unhappy. The interrogations were prolonged in three two- hour sessions, conducted over three days.”

Jean Bosco Nyiligira revealed that he was imprisoned along with 17 other RPF members in Kigali central prison, and that they were all interrogated in the same way by French o@cers. During his investigations, Eric Gillet managed to gather other testimonies corroborating Nyiligira’s account: “the participation of French o@cers in interrogation was later conBrmed to me by a university student in Kigali who saw them himself while visiting the convicts on a Friday in January. He told me the interrogation site was guarded by French soldiers. All the RPF prisoners were questioned in this manner.”

Nyiligira and several of his companions endured interrogation in a very delicate state of health; they had untreated wounds that they had sustained during their capture.

Documents analysed by the Commission indicate that senior French Army executives present in Rwanda received regular feedback from their Rwandan counterparts about results of these interrogations. A document of the Rwandan military headquarters of October 30th, 1990 indicating the minutes of a meeting chaired by Colonel Serubuga, head of the joint military headquarters of FAR, in which three French o@cers took part, Cdt Caille, Cdt Refalo and Capt. Rodriguez, pointed out that results of an interrogation of an RPF prisoner of war had been delivered to them. The same type of information was delivered to the French in a meeting held on 1st November, 1990, held at the military headquarters conference room and chaired by Lt-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva. Two French o@cers participated, Capt. Rodriguez and Second Lt. Jacquemin. It is stated in this document that “the G2 EM AR informed the participants of the existing situation in the combat zone based on information provided by our forces on the frontline as well as by captured prisoners “.

6.2 Execution of prisoners of war

RPF prisoners of war were executed by Rwandan soldiers in view and with the knowledge of the French, and in one speciBc case, the French soldiers directly took part in the execution of prisoners.

Francis Bazimya described an execution process in which the French took part:

“One day, the soldiers who were guarding us took four prisoners around 1000 hrs. They dressed them in military uniform and began to strike them violently. We watched the scene through small holes that were in the walls of our cell. Throughout this gruesome scene, four French soldiers assisted in the process. They were in uniform, with pistols and bayonets on the belts of their trousers. They surrounded the area in which the torture was being committed and supervised what was happening. One of the victims tried to 4ee but a French soldier caught him and handed him back to the Rwandan soldiers. They intensiBed the beating until the boy fell to the ground and could no longer rise up at all. The scene lasted a long time. They kept striking them then resting under a nearby shade where they could watch their victims after which they resumed their work. The last victim died at around 1300 hrs. The killers performed their acts with a form of sadism that I found quite rare. For example, I saw one soldier trampling a victim who was in agony saying: “ poor cockroach, lets see if you will resurrect ! “.

Jean-Paul Gasore, a fellow prisoner of Francis Bazimya, conBrms the account of Bizimana while giving a more general description about the level of knowledge the French soldiers had, regarding these executions:

“RPF soldiers were executed at Kigali camp, in the place called `Guard corps ‘. Some were killed during the day while others were killed at night; we watched this through holes in the wall of our cell, and we heard their cries. The French witnessed the execution of a group of prisoners killed during the day. Often some prisoners were killed by the Rwandan soldiers after the French had left. Army trucks transported their bodies to Kanombe camp around 0600 hrs in the morning. I believe the French were aware of this. Since they took part in our interrogations and in registering in the military intelligence Bles, how is it that in the morning after they returned to Kigali camp they could no longer Bnd some of us, but they did not ask anything? Couldn’t these French soldiers see that there were some prisoners missing among us? ”

Pelagie Mutibagirwa also reported the beatings she su=ered during her period of captivity:

“I was beaten violently but luckily I survived. Some of my fellow prisoners were killed. They used to take some of us and leave others; I am not aware of their reasons for this. The French soldiers who came to see us had to be aware of what was happening. They came so frequently to Kigali camp that they could possibly not know what their Rwandan counterparts were doing “.

Ananie Habimana added:

“Where I was held at Kigali camp, people accused of wanting to join RPF were killed. I am not saying that it was the French who killed them directly, but they knew about it. I remember one case of a young boy who was killed on the day devoted to FAR. He belonged to a group of young people who had been arrested in Kibungo prefecture. I learned that they were killed in Kanombe. These acts were committed regularly at Kigali military camp. The soldiers killed people, then put them in sacs and transported them in trucks to a destination that I did not know. I later on learned that they were buried in a pit at Kanombe military camp “.

Jean-Paul Nturanyenabo reported the execution of prisoners of war at Mubona camp in Ruhengeri:

“Certain RPF soldiers imprisoned in Ruhengeri who had been interrogated by the French were killed by Lt Niyonsenga Pascal in full view of everyone. Neither the French nor Bizimungu bothered to inquire about the reason for these killings. Their silence leads me to believe that they were not bothered but certainly aware and even condoned the acts of Lt Niyonsenga. ”

Support for a policy of mass murder

Towards the end of the 1980s, and especially after the start of the war, the regime’s criminal inclinations were as clear as day, they were marked by massacres that were instigated by high government o@cials over the radio. Reports that originated from French diplomats stationed in Rwanda, the Rwandan civil society and international non- governmental organisations, pointed out with ample clarity to the regime’s criminal nature and worries about its genocidaire inclinations.

Between 1990 and at the onset of the genocide of Tutsis in April 1994, many massacres occurred at various locations in Rwanda, often with the complicity of the authorities and the army: Kibilira (October 1990),

Bigogwe (February 1991), Bugesera (March 1992), Kibuye (August 1992), Shyorongi (December 1992), Gisenyi, Ruhengeri and Kibuye (December-January 1993), Mbogo (March 1993) and in many other areas of the country. Documents of the old Rwandan administration regarding these massacres consulted by the Commission showed that the Rwandan authorities estimated the count of human victims and amount of property damage caused by these massacres, which clearly proves that they were not unaware of the perpetration of these acts.

A document of the Minister of Internal a=airs and Community Development of 17/07/1991 relating to the massacres committed in the prefectures of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Byumba and Kibungo between January and June of 1991, stated the count of victims: 1481 dead, 302 disabled, 633 widowed and 2274 orphaned. Another document of 6th July 1991 relating to a massacre in Bigogwe in 1991 in the prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi indicated a record of 286 people killed in Ruhengeri prefecture and 86 people killed in Gisenyi. They included the names of the victims, their villages, sectors and districts of residence.

The repeated massacres were condemned in many internal and international reports, including the reports of French diplomats and their defence attaché based in Kigali. However, the attitude that prevailed in Paris was one of silence regarding the genocide ideology of the Rwandan regime on one hand, and the serious human rights abuses that were being committed on the other. Whenever the French authorities issued statements regarding the subject of these massacres, they either minimised their severity, or defended the regime that was orchestrating them. The following table illustrates a summery of the extent of these massacres committed between October 1990 and January 1994.


Events Facts Date Place Presumed perpetrators Source

Massacres in Mutara and Byumba regions
in October 1990 300 Tutsi civilians killed, men, women and children October 1990 Mutara region FAR, militia Amnesty International (A.I.) Report, May 1992
18 Tutsi civilians brought from Murambi by Gatete

7th October 1990 Byumba military camp FAR International Commission of Inquiry, (ICE) p.57

150 RPF prisoners of war October – November 1990 Ryabega
(Byumba) FAR ICE, p.61
Between 500 and 1000 civilians from the Hima clan

8th October 1990 Mutara (Byumba) FAR ICE, p.62

Massacres of Bagogwe in October 1990 and 7 Hutus
October 1990 Commune Kibirira (Gisenyi) Local authorities, militia


20 Tutsi civilians killed
October 1990 Cummune Satinsyi
(Gisenyi) Local authorities, militia
120 Tutsi civilians killed
October 1990 Commune Kibirira
(Gisenyi) Local authorities, militia, government agents ICE, p.21 160 Tutsi civilians killed

October 1990 Ngororero Sub-district
(Gisenyi) FAR and Militia, with encouragement from local authorities

AI Doc. I

352 civilians killed, 345 Tutsis SRS Ngororero II
SRS Ngororero II

Massacre of Bagogwe, end of January to February 1991 14 Tutsi civilians killed, members of 4 families 23rd January 1991

Commune Kanama
(Gisenyi) Securiry forces and local militia AI Doc. I
Between 500 and 1000 Tutsi civilians killed, men, women and children of the Bagogwe 23rd January – mid-February 1991 Commune Kinigi (Ruhengeri)Local authorities, FRA and armed vigilantes AI Letter to Nsanzimana
2 Tutsi brothers killed, with their 2 uncles 25th January1991 – 2 February 1991 Commune headquarters, Busogo
(Ruhengeri)Local government o@cials and FAR AI Letter to Nsanzimana
30 Tutsi civilians killed 23rd January – mid-February 1991 Commune Nkuli
(Ruhengeri)Militia and forest guards of the Volcanoes National Park

AI Letter to Nsanzimana
14 Tutsi civilians killed, members of one family 4th February 1991

Kanama, Buzizi Sector, Kibuye village Soldiers from Gisenyi military camp AI Letter to Nsanzimana
370 Tutsi civilians killed January – March 1991 Kibirira, Gisenyi Local authorities, FAR, Hutu militia IMBAGA newspaper
372 Tutsi civilians killed January – July 1991 Prefectures of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri Not speciBed Rwandan Ministry of Internal A=airs (Document dated 6 July1991)
Compilation of a list of victims of massacres in northern and eastern regions, January – June 1991 1481 civilians killed January – June 1991 Prefectures of Byumba, Kibungo, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi Not speciBed Rwandan Ministry of Internal A=airs (Document dated 17/07/1991)

Massacres in Bugesera, March 1992 52 persons killed Between 5th and 17th March 1992 Kanzenze Not speciBed MININTER

64 persons killed (Kigali rural)
36 persons killed (Kigali rural)

Between 5th and 17th March 1992 Gashora Not speciBed Idem
Between 5th and 17th March 1992 Ngenda Not speciBed Idem

62 persons killed March – May 1992 Kanzenze MilitiaKigali Prefecture Commission
84 persons killed March – May 1992Gashora MilitiaKigali Commission

36 persons killed March – May 1992Ngenda MilitiaKigali Commission
300 Tutsi civilians killed, men, women and children Beginning of March 1992Commune Kanzenze (Kigali rural) FAR, Militia AI Letter to Nsanzimana
300 persons of Tutsi origin killed March 1992Bugesera Local authorities, FAR, Militia Rwanda Rushya Newspaper
Massacres in Kibuye, July – August 1992 85 persons killed July – August 1992 Commune Gishyita and Rwamatamu
(Kibuye) Local authorities, FAR, Militia ADL
Massacre of Bagogwe, end of 1992, beginning of 1993 137 persons killed on the basis of their ethnic origin End 1992 – beginning

1993 Gisenyi Prefecture (Communes not speciBed) FAR, Militia SRS Gisenyi

130 Tutsi civilians killed January – February 1993
Ramba (55)
Kibirira (1)
Gisenyi Prefecture Local authorities, militia
Compilation of the number of victims 1481 civilians killed

January – June 1991 Prefectures of Byumba, Kibungo, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi UnspeciBed Rwandan Ministry of Internal A=airs (Document dated 17/07/1991)
Compilation of the number of victims 2000 Tutsis killed 1st October 1990 to mid-mars 1993 Gisenyi, Bugesera, Ruhengeri, Byumba Local authorities, FAR, militia ICE, p.48
Compilation of the number of victims 2300 civilians killed

October 1990 – end of 1993 Various communes in Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Kibuye, Kigali, Byumba, Kibungo Local authorities, FAR, militia Amnesty International


According to local and international human rights associations, UN institutions and the press, these massacres were not spontaneous but rather a political and security strategy of the regime. Information about these massacres spread very quickly. In addition, the local and international opinion, more particularly the diplomatic community in

Local authorities,

Satinsyi (74)

SRS Ngororero II

Kigali, was well informed about it. The possibility of genocide against the Tutsi minority was mentioned quite early, and more speciBcally in internal French diplomatic telegrams and reports. Knowledge of the possibility of a genocide was illustrated in the Brst reports published in 1990 and increased during the entire period preceding the ultimate genocide of April – July 1994.

7.1. The Internal French Reports

During the Brst days of the con4ict in October 1990, the Defence attaché stationed in Kigali, Colonel Jacques Galinié, sent several messages to his superiors in France, requesting increased military support for the Rwandan army , but also mentioning the possibility of a genocide against Tutsis.

In a telegram of October 15, 1990, Colonel Galinié wrote: “Certain Tutsis (…) are of the opinion that there is reason to expect the occurrence of a genocide if the European forces (French and Belgian) are withdrawn too early and do not prevent it simply by their presence.” Other military dispatches protected by defence conBdentiality that were accessed by Patrick De Saint-Exupéry show that France knew about the risk of mass massacres against Tutsis that occurred in October 1990. The Brst of these messages announced that “Despite the uncertainties and due to nervousness, repression was going on in Kigali. Very many suspects were arrested, imprisoned, interrogated and sometimes shot. The population that was now at risk of food shortages readily denounced the victims. Aggravation of this hunting could escalate into a slaughter.”

The second dispatch pointed out that “Hutu peasants mobilized by the single party intensiBed their search for Tutsi suspects in the hills. Massacres were mentioned in the Kibirira area [sic!], twenty kilometres North-West of Gitarama. The already mentioned risk of generalised confrontation could therefore become a reality.” The last dispatch reported that “there was a possibility of serious violence against internal Tutsi populations that would either be spontaneous or directly encouraged by most radical of the regime who were playing their end game.”

The correspondence of Ambassador Martres gives a similar account and also mentions the risk of genocide. In a letter of October 15th, 1990, sent to the Foreign Minister and to the Chief of Sta=, particularly President Mitterrand, George Martens wrote that: “the Rwandan population of Tutsi origin believes that the military campaign had failed on the psychological front. They still counted on a military victory, thanks to the support in men and resources from the Diaspora. The

military victory, even partial, would enable them to escape the genocide”. George Martres conBrmed this information before the MIP by declaring that in 1990, “the genocide was already foreseeable by this period (…). Certain Hutus even had the audacity to insinuate it. Colonel Serubuga, Assistant Head of the military of the Rwandan army had been delighted by the RPF attack, which would be used to justify the massacre of Tutsis. The Tutsis were constantly fearful about genocide.”

7.2. Reports of Non-Governmental Organisations

In May 1992, Amnesty International made an assessment of the human rights situation between 1990 and 1992. It stated that “representatives of the Rwandan government as well as members of the security forces belonging to the Hutu ethnic majority continue to condone and to commit human rights violations directed primarily against the Tutsi minority with impunity.” Among the most serious cases, Amnesty reported “the extra-judicial execution of 1000 Tutsis; the generalized application of torture and other forms of ill treatment su=ered by prisoners; tens of disappearances; and the imprisonment of over 8000 people among whom most were political prisoners and the majority of imprisonments had no indictment or process.”

In March 1993, an international Commission of enquiry into human rights violations in Rwanda since 1st October, 1990, consisting of four non-governmental human rights organisations, conducted Beld enquiries on the ground from 7th to 21st January 1993. It published its report on 7th March, 1993, that drafted the assessment of human rights violations in Rwanda and revealed the mechanisms of a system of massacre of civilians based on ethnicity. It pointed out the implication of the highest government authorities in the preparation and implementation of these massacres and emphasized the existing risk of a genocide against Tutsis. Among the implicated persons, the Commission named President Habyarimana and his spouse, the Minister of Internal A=airs, Jean Marie Vianney Mugemana, the Minister of Labour, Joseph Nzirorera, Colonel Elie Sagatwa and the Mayor of Ruhengeri, Charles Nzabagerageza.

This report was widely publicised by the media, and several governments used it to draw conclusions about their relations with Rwanda. In the evening of 28th January, 1993, Jean Carbonare, head of the Commission, was invited by a reporter named Bruno Masure to France 2 television news upon his return from Rwanda and he broke into tears on live television condemning “the magnitude and systematisation of the massacres of civilians” which had nothing to do with “ethnic con4icts” but rather involved “an organized policy” in

which “the level of power implicated in this genocide, this crime against humanity was strikingly high – we emphasise these words.” The inquiry of Jean Carbonare was marked by images of a mass grave of human bones found by the investigators in Mutura (Gisenyi) and Kinigi (Ruhengeri).

Jean Carbonare was received in Rwanda by Ambassador Martres to whom he gave a detailed description of the gravity of the facts uncovered by the Commission he had headed. After that discussion Martres addressed a letter to Bruno Delaye which illustrated that he was well aware of the gravity of human rights violations that prevailed in Rwanda, without expressing any desire to force the Rwandan regime to put an end to it:

“Mr Carbonare […] informed me of the results obtained so far by this mission […] They collected an impressive amount of information on the massacres that occurred since the beginning of the war in October 1990 and more particularly on those of Bagogwe (a group of ethnic Tutsis) after the attack on Ruhengeri in January 1991. Regarding the facts, the report […] only adds horror to the already known horror. […] The massacres were instigated by President Habyarimana himself during a meeting with his close collaborators. […] During this meeting, the operation was planned with the order to proceed to a systematic genocide, if necessary by using the pretext of the military campaign and by implicating the local population in the killings with the obvious purpose of rendering them more determined in the Bght against the enemy ethnic group “.

7.3 Reports by the Rwandan civil society

On February 24th, 1993, Bve major Rwandan human rights associations wrote a letter to President François Mitterrand reporting an “Ongoing cycle of violence in the country” organized under the orders of “death squads” composed of “about Bfteen people, with important positions and with close ties to the President” from “his party, the MRND “. In their report of the situation, these associations speciBed that the criminals perceived “the reinforcement of the French contingent as support for their partisan cause”.

They were indignant at the fact that the report of the International Commission of inquiry of 1993 had triggered no consideration among the French authorities, and found it “surprising at the very least that French o@cials considered the testimony of Jean Carbonare on France 2 to be an exaggeration “. They concluded their letter by asking President Mitterrand not to continue supporting a “shameless villain of a Bghter”, and “to use all the possible means […] to thwart the

bloodthirsty regime of President Habyarimana, executed by his organising group of death squads, members of his party, MRND, and its ally, CDR [… ].”

An identical alarm was also expressed by the main Rwandan opposition political parties in a “Letter to the President of the Republic regarding the security problem” of May 24, 1993, with copies sent to all the diplomatic missions and consulates stationed in Kigali. In this correspondence, the party signatories condemned the increasing political assassinations and “other wretched crimes that shamed Rwanda before all other Nations and plunged the Rwandan people into desolation and despair” in which the Rwandan regime was implicated.

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7.4. UN Reports

During this same period, reports from international organisations and those from UNAMIR corroborated the facts revealed in other reports and a@rmed with no ambiguity that the regime was implicated in the organisation of the massacres. In addition, a special reporter of the human rights Commission, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, conducted a mission in Rwanda in April 1993 to disclose human rights violations in the country.

In his report, he stated that the aforementioned violations were especially carried out by the militia and squads organized by the MRND and CDR parties, often trained by the local authorities and by members of the army or gendarmerie. As already mentioned above, the report clearly indicated the massacres in question

7.5 The repeated perpetrations of massacres and the reinforcement of French military support

Despite the grave extent of the massacres towards the Tutsi minority perpetrated between October 1990 and March 1993 and the fear of an actual genocide mentioned by various observers, including French o@cials, France still continued to provide unconditional military support to the regime that orchestrated them, in particular by increasing its supply of weapons and ammunition, and by providing reinforcements of troops each time the Rwandan army failed to contain o=ensives of the RPA. It is illustrated in the following graph.

In order to analyse these two graphs, one can begin with the speciBc tasks of the two army contingents. There was Brst the o=ensive intention of the DAMI reinforcements that came to support combat capacity of FAR and, in at least two cases, fought side by side with them in June 1992 and February 1993. Then, Noroît contingents came to support and control strategic positions like Kigali city and the airport.

The numbers of Noroît were increased with each signiBcant o=ensive of the RPF then stabilised or decreased when the o=ensives ended. On the other hand, the numbers of Noroît were a=ected by the occurrence of massacres.

The numbers of DAMI were constantly increased almost over the entire period. They increased each time there was an RPF o=ensive and did not decrease. There was an exception at the end of 1992 when there was a decrease in their numbers. But it should be noted that this decrease was not caused by the massacres of Gisenyi in December 1992 because they had began before. Moreover, there was no documentary evidence indicating that there was a decrease in the number of DAMI troops due to massacres. Generally speaking, there was an increase in the numbers of DAMI troops over the entire period despite the massacres.

However, there was an evident change in dynamics regarding the relation between the massacres and the RPA o=ences. Whereas the Brst two great massacre incidents (October 1990 and January-March 1991) closely followed two signiBcant RPA o=ences, the other two great massacre incidents (Bugesera in March 1992 and Gisenyi in December 92-March 1993) occurred in the absence of any RPA o=ences.

There were four repeated co-occurrences between French reinforcements and military intervention and the massacres that occurred just before, during or just after massacres expressing French military support that was in no way in4uenced by these mass crimes. On the other hand, there is reason to believe that the repetition of the massacres was not completely independent of this military support that was renewed regardless of the massacres. Regarding this relation between military reinforcements, the massacres and its consequences before the genocide, Gerard Prunier wrote that: “This blind engagement would have catastrophic consequences because, as the situation worsened, the Rwandan government would believe that, no matter what they did [it is not we who underline], they could always

count on the French. And nothing contradicted this.” It would not be unlikely to believe that by underlining “no matter what it did”, Prunier was referring to April-July 1994 genocide.

Diplomatic support for the Rwandan regime

In the course of the disputed context of the French military intervention in Rwanda and because of the nature of the Habyarimana regime and the internal war launched by RPF, France had to accompany its intervention with vigorous diplomatic action. They did, throughout the three years that their intervention lasted. In the bilateral regional African and international scene, they did not hesitate to represent Rwanda so as to defend it. The main strategy of this French diplomatic action was to give the impression that they were seeking a negotiated resolution to the crisis even as a mediator between the Rwandan warring parties while secretly supporting its ally, Habyarimana. The French diplomacy was mainly directed toward four axes: a Belgian and an African axis at the beginning of the war, when France believed that it alone could manage to convince that axis; a Western alliance when the con4ict proved to be complex, an axis centred on the Arusha negotiations and other peace talks; and Bnally, an international axis when it became obvious that the UN was the last resort.

8.1. Actions alongside Belgium and African States

At the very beginning of the war, the French believed that they were able to coordinate their action with Belgium presuming that this would be judicious so as to ensure the success of its diplomacy in favour of Rwanda. The intention was to initiate “preliminary contact with Belgium so that our attitude is not perceived as an a=ront or an aim to oust Brussels.” But they underestimated the complexity of the coalition that Belgium had built with most of the government as well as the general awareness that the Belgians attached towards events that occurred in their former colonies. The Belgian intervention of October 1990 in favor of the Habyarimana regime under the context of massacres and other serious human rights violations caused protests in Belgium.

The debate occurred in Belgium, hardly one month after the landing deployment of the Belgian troops on Rwandan soil, and pushed the government to make the decision to withdraw them by 1st November 1990. This reversal was embarrassing for France.

Faced with the risk of insulation, especially if Belgium pushed for a discussion regarding this issue within the European Community, the president’s advisor, Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, proposed that they

shift the attention of the matter towards the regional countries. “It would perhaps be necessary to organise a mission headed by Mr. Pelletier in the regional countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda) in order to express our support for the initiation of regional dialogue to allow us to reach ‘an African’ resolution to the con4ict. President Museveni is already petitioning for it as well as Rwanda”

“In any event,” added Claude Arnaud, French Ambassador responsible for the mission to the president of the Republic, “it is through regional dialogue (and not the twelve the Belgians seem to have opted for) that the Rwandan problem will be resolved. Tanzania is less involved than Uganda, Burundi, or Zaire and would undoubtedly be the most reasonable mediator given that the Secretary-General of the OAU is himself Tanzanian.”

It was for this reason that from the 6th to the 9th of November 1990, the Minister for Co-operation and Development, Jacques Pelletier, headed a mission in the regional countries in which Jean-Christophe Mitterrand participated, an adviser of the President of the Republic. This approach of meetings between the regional Heads of State (who were functioning in the context of the OAU) and French diplomats organised a regional conference focused on the refugee problem, planned for the 7th to the 15th of February 1991. The regional countries (Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zaire) were most concerned because they hosted the largest majority of Rwandan refugees.

In a letter addressed to the minister of State for Foreign A=airs, it was proposed that France should ensure that the European Community puts pressure on the various regional Heads of State such that each one is delegated with a particular task to contribute to the success of the conference on Rwandan refugees.

In preparation of this conference, Paul Dijoud and General Huchon went to the region and to Rwanda where they met President Habyarimana on 19th July, 1991. The trip of the French emissary to Rwanda was followed by a meeting organized on 14th August, 1991 in Paris between the Rwandan and Ugandan Foreign A=airs Ministers with Paul Dijoud and Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who also received Paul Kagame on 21st September, 1991 as a representative of the RPF. These meetings were the subject of a report delivered to the Ambassadors of France to Uganda and Rwanda.

The French mediators had agreed that RPF could no longer be shielded o= if they were to clear the controversy surrounding French policy in Rwanda but RPF remained convinced that they still represented

President Habyarimana. First of all there was the incident in which the French, through Mrs. Catherine Boivineau, refused to receive Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe, the RPF chairperson in the delegation under the pretext that he belonged to the Habyarimana government before going into exile and rallying with the RPF. Kanyarengwe was a Hutu from the north like Habyarimana and the attitude of the French was interpreted to be in alliance with the principals of Habyarimana who preferred ethnic polarization between Hutus and Tutsis.

In order to tackle the refugee problem, Paul Dijoud proposed that the world must come together to solve it, but the French diplomats adopted the course of the Rwandan authorities and sought to dissuade RPF from pursuing political claims, but rather to accept a “humane” return to the country. Addressing representatives of RPF he said “how can RPF change from a military movement into a civilian organisation? It would be necessary to Bnd civilian occupations for RPF soldiers because their integration into the Rwandan army would pose a di@cult problem.” Then he continued to say, “can places be found for you in the interim government? There are three things that prevent the Rwandan authorities from doing that: i) the Rwandan people are against you; ii) the opposition parties are against you; iii) and it is not in your interest to get integrated because you would be a minority and your resolutions would never be adopted.”

It was in this light that Paul Dijoud suggested that Rwandan passports be distributed to refugees in order to “show them his determination to solve their problems and restore their conBdence in the Government.”

During all of 1991 and part of the following year, it was France that oversaw the diplomatic process surrounding the Rwandan con4ict. During this period, they also exercised control over the Uganda Rwandan borders to assess the degree of Uganda’s involvement in the con4ict; this role was carried out by the “French Observers Mission” (MOF) which was mentioned above.

8.2. Partiality in the peace talks

During the various phases of the con4ict and the reconciliation e=orts between the parties, France wanted to play the role of either direct mediation between the Rwandan government and RPF or take part in the negotiations as an observer like the other African and Western countries especially as part of the Arusha peace talks. In these two roles, they were supposed to show impartiality. To the contrary they instead used this opportunity to extend their unconditional support to the Habyarimana regime.

In an account given by minister Casimir Bizimungu to president Habyarimana relating to the process of a tripartite meeting between Rwanda, Uganda and the RPF that had taken place in Paris under the auspices of France on 14th August, 1991 revealed that before the aforementioned meeting, Paul Dijoud held a secret meeting with minister Bizimungu and “conceded to him that France which is considered to be a friend and ally of Rwanda in the war must also contribute to the stability of its diplomatic position”

Minister Bizimungu stated that during this meeting, Paul Dijoud: “said to the Inkotanyi that the French military presence in Rwanda would not allow for their military victory [RPF]. He made it clear to them that their military escapade was doomed to fail. While accepting the fact that the Inkotanyi were capable of doing damage, he still ruled out the possibility that they would seize power in Kigali. […] France explained to them that they obviously could not win the elections since they were a small minority […]. And that they must consequently agree to be ordinary citizens.”

As soon as the meeting was concluded, Paul Dijoud secretly met again with minister Bizimungu to o=er him a guarantee of French support in the war Rwanda was engaged in against the RPF. In his own words, Minister Bizimungu stated that: “Mr Dijoud wished to meet me after the departure of the Ugandan delegation to reassure me of the unconditional French support to Rwanda.” In concluding his report, Minister Bizimungu said that he was “persuaded of the determination of France that was considered a friend and ally. Mr Dijoud had o=ered reassurance of France’s availability to support us to e=ectively face this aggression […]. My meeting with Mr Dijoud also convinced me that France […] was behind us.”

The role played by France in these reconciliation initiatives was also evident through the violent and aggressive behaviour expressed by French o@cials toward RPF leaders. In January 1992, France invited an RPF delegation to Paris for a meeting with representatives of the Rwandan government. The delegation included the military head of RPF, at the time, Paul Kagame, his adviser Emmanuel Ndahiro, and other RPF leaders, Patrick Mazimpaka, Jacques Bihozagara and Aloysie Inyumba.

The day before this meeting, the RPF delegation was subjected to an intimidation attempt. They were accommodated at the Hilton hotel when they realised at some point that Emmanuel Ndahiro was missing. They looked for him in vain until dawn when a police patrol arrived accompanying him in handcu=s. The police o@cers ransacked and rummaged through the rooms of the members of the delegation, then

arrested Paul Kagame and Emmanuel Ndahiro and placed them in police custody in a Paris jail from 0700 to 1800 hrs.

After the French side o=ered their apologies, the delegation was received by various persons, in particular Paul Dijoud, then Jean- Christophe Mitterrand and Catherine Boivineau in charge of human rights and humanitarian a=aires. During their discussion, Paul Dijoud endeavoured to make it clear to the RPF delegation that they were to give up their armed struggle and political ambitions.

In response to the resolve of the RPF delegation, Paul Dijoud was irritated and mentioned the following words: “if you do not end this war, if you continue and seize power in the country, you will not Bnd your brothers and your families, because they will all have been massacred.”

On another occasion in a meeting between the Rwandan government and RPF organized in Paris from the 23rd to 25th of October 1991, Paul Dijoud, who had returned from Kigali where he had been received by President Habyarimana, made remarks that RPF understood to be an expression of partiality from the French government:

“A movement such as the RPF can hold negotiations with the Government, but you must keep in mind that you are not on equal footing, since the Rwandan government exists; it is legally recognized internationally and exercises all the responsibilities of a government. You on the other hand are not a state. [… ] You must give up this spirit of revenge: that is no longer practiced in modern world where all problems are resolved through democracy. [… ] When a Government agrees to hold talks with a movement such as yours, it is proof that it practises democracy. [… ] The issue here is not to determine whether Mr. Habyarimana is good or bad. You must recognize that he is the head of State and it is necessary to negotiate with him; and that the war will lead you nowhere, it is causing problems for Uganda and is ruining your country” .(source?)

8.3. Contribution to the ethnic radicalisation of the con4ict

As mentioned in earlier parts of the text, we saw that the French military and political actions in Rwanda were characterized by systematic hostility towards Tutsis, and that in the most serious cases it involved the training of Interahamwe militia mobilised for the killing of Tutsis, the killing of Tutsis committed by the French soldiers themselves or the great tolerance toward the policy of massacres of civilian Tutsis. The question posed by the Commission was to clarify whether these were over4ows or errors originating from the Bght

against the politico-military RPF movement or if it was about adoption of the ethnic and racist point of view of the Habyarimana regime that had obviously opted for an ethnic war.

8.3.1. JustiBcation of ethnic based speech

The recordings of various declarations and standpoints of French political and military leaders between October 1990 and December 1993 and even after the events indicate a primarily ethnic character of the con4ict.

From the beginning of the war, Ambassador Martres described the con4ict through an ethnic point of view:

“The worsening of military engagement on the ground shows […] that the war is radicalised and that the ideological and clan di=erences have been erased by the traditional opposition between the two ethnic groups of Rwanda: on one side there are the Tutsis who seek to recover the power they lost 30 years ago through armed force, and on the other side are the Hutus who Bght to preserve their freedom. The Tutsis in the interior secretly wish for this armed struggle to succeed but they realise that in the event of failure, it would only have succeeded in delaying the distant hope of a day when Rwanda will experience harmony between the races. In this context, one must admit that the Western media continues to be manipulated by a Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Diaspora with proof of the fact that all the o@cial anti- government statements addressed to this embassy from various countries are signed by the members of this ethnic group.”

He described the con4ict as primarily consisting of a confrontation on one side comprising Tutsis outside, RPF soldiers, the refugees and Tutsis of the interior. However, for the latter, he had to make a presumption that “deep in their heart” they wished for the victory of the RPF though none of them had confessed it to him. On the other hand, he put all the Hutus in the same political camp based on ethnicity. By doing this, he completely ignored the rising challenge to the regime among some Hutu circles.

This black and white perception could be attributed to the shock e=ect caused by the RPF attack on October 1st 1990. Although this perception only lasted the very Brst days, thereafter, president Habyarimana took advantage of the occasion to imprison not only known Tutsis but also Hutus who opposed him. Thus, more than thirty- three intellectuals of mainly Hutu ethnicity who had written an open letter to president Habyarimana in September 1990 to assert political pluralism were victims to this wave of random arrests. In addition,

many Hutus who were regarded as guilty of moderation by the regime and those originating from di=erent regions from that of the president’s clan were also victims to that blind repression. From that moment, while taking account of the ethnic dimension of the con4ict, many analysts were also able to discern a fundamentally political problem. It was for this reason that all the actions of the political opposition were mainly focused on e=ecting the introduction of the multiparty system in the months that followed. In fact, the political or ethnic perception of the con4ict constituted one of the major political stakes in the con4ict, and France, by adopting the ethnic point of view, took sides with the camp of President Habyarimana who had refused the change.

However, that simple ethnic point of view was likely to endorse the theory of a war that was of a primarily internal nature between groups of the same country. Nevertheless, according to the standpoint of the regime, as pointed out in a letter by the French political and military leaders, which interpreted the con4ict as an external Ugandan aggression before anything else. The aggressors were not simply presented as Rwandan Tutsis but rather as representatives of a trans- regional Tutsi-Hima ethnic group. Four months after the onset of the con4ict, shortly after the RPF o=ensive on Ruhengeri, Ambassador Martres gave an account of a discussion he had had with President Habyarimana during which the latter explained to him about the complexity of the con4ict:

“I admit that on one hand the problem was mostly dominated by its ethnic considerations since almost all the aggressors belong to a Tutsi- Hima group of the Great Lakes region in which President Museveni is. I realised that it mainly resulted from the conquest of power by the Hutu majority in 1959 that was called into question by a rival ethnic group that is a minority in Rwanda but powerful in the region.”

The justiBcation of the ethnic speech of the political leaders was based on the fact that Tutsis were a very small minority as expressed here by the Minister for Cooperation from May 1988 to May 1991, Jacques Pelletier. “In 1988, when I arrived at Monsieur Avenue, Rwanda was not a priority of the Ministry; its reputation was rather good. It had a peasant-president who had been in power for Bfteen years. He was from the Hutu ethnic group that was a large majority of over 80%, the country was said to be a little like the Switzerland of Africa […].”

Hubert Vedrine, the former secretary-general of the Elysée, who was in direct collaboration with President Mitterrand, raised the same idea before the Mission of Information: “President Habyarimana had managed to alleviate the Hutu/Tutsi problem, and had a good

reputation in the international community. There was no question of letting a government of this kind be overthrown by a minority faction supported by a neighbouring country. That would have awakened old antagonisms and led to new massacres.”

However, this ethnic-based democracy was challenged by a large part of the Rwandan political community, particularly by members of Hutu opposition parties who refused to accept that President Habyarimana was the “legitimate representative of the Hutus” and instead criticised the politics and the governance of the country. This led to “an ethnic clariBcation”, especially on account of the e=orts of the French political and diplomatic leaders in creating the “Hutu power” coalition.

Based on this ethnic democratisation, the French political leaders had a “racial essentialism” inherited from 19th century anthropology and history of the races that considered two groups of the same population that had lived under the same economic, social, cultural and political conditions for centuries as fundamentally di=erent. This essentialism was expressed through many Declarations. It was very clearly asserted by Robert Galley, another former minister of Co-operation (1976-81) and who, for a period, was the chairperson of “Parliament Franco- Rwandan friendship group” which was in4uential in the France- Rwandan relations during the 1990-1993 period:

“In this country, there is an aristocracy and slaves. There has been a regime of this kind in Rwanda for centuries. This Tutsi aristocracy left many souvenirs among the Rwandan population. The German colonialists found it convenient, when they arrived, to consolidate the Tutsi administration over the Hutus. It was the same for the Belgians when they took over the mandate. Until the beginning of the 1960s, Tutsi administration dominated the country with the image of the feudal power that reigned in Europe during the year 1,000. During 1962, a referendum took place in Rwanda. It involved one huge Hutu majority that became aware of their potential. The Tutsis then left for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. A movement of immigrants was created, which led to the creation of the RPF. This also presented the opportunity of a minority of intelligent people with great potential to establish a Diaspora in the United States, Belgium and in Canada. These networks were the source of considerable contributions in funds that were used to Bnance the RPF later.”

Further down, Robert Galley concludes his judgment thus: “The success of the Tutsis in the United States, in Europe and in Rwanda shows that they are a people of extreme intelligence and pride. They are good and disciplined warriors who have nothing in common with the hordes of the poor Bantu. I do not mean to say that there were no

suitable people in the Rwandan army (or even in the Zaïrian army during the Kolwezi event, but they were a precious few). But the quality of Bantu soldiers was no match for the Tutsi soldiers who came from abroad. I might have overstressed a little. I realise that all this business requires more restrained terms.”

This essentialist vision was expressed once again before MIP by Paul Dijoud, who considered himself directly in charge of the Rwandan situation: “The failure to obtain peace can ultimately be attributed to the RPF, a movement predominantly comprising Tutsis, an intelligent and ambitious Nilotic people inhabiting deep Africa.”

8.3.2. Support to ethnic radicalism

The French political leaders and diplomatic representatives not only adopted the anti-Tutsi ethnic hostility of the Habyarimana regime, they even sought to worsen it. It was with this intention that they o=ered their support to the very extremist party, the Coalition for the defence of the republic (CDR) on one hand, and on the other hand, they encouraged the Hutu political opposition forces to join president Habyarimana and form a coalition to carry out the ethnic war led by the regime.

The CDR was created in March 1992. It was a “Radical and racist Hutu party, [That] was at the right-hand side of the MRND, that it accused as well as the regime of their supposed “softness” towards the RPF and its democratic ibyitso (accomplices)” From its beginnings, the CDR advocated for a total ethnic war whose target would be all Tutsis and the Hutu opposition, traitors to the Hutu cause, according to them. The CDR militia “impuzamugambi.” were along side the Interahamwe, at the forefront of the genocide.

On August 20th 1992, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, leader and ideologist of the CDR sent a petition to François Mitterrand thanking France for its political and military contribution to Rwanda. President Mitterrand delegated Bruno Delaye with the task of o=ering a response in which he expressed the president’s satisfaction in Jean Bosco Barayagwiza in these terms: “the President of the Republic, Mr. François MITTERRAND, took interest in your open letter of 20th August 1992 accompanied with 700 signatures of Rwandan citizens, in which you thank France for her support in the democratic process underway in Rwanda and the French Army for its co-operation with the Rwandan army. The President asked me to convey his thanks to you as I am doing presently.”

Due to the extremist position of the CDR, the RPF had refused to accept its participation in the power sharing protocol for the future

broad based transition government that was to result from the peace accords. This refusal was particularly justiBed by the fact that its declared political program and its asserted schemes did not allow the CDR to be considered as compliant with the protocol relating to the rule of law signed on 18th August 1992 between the Rwandan Government and the RPF, stipulating in article 8 that “both parties resolutely reject and commit themselves to Bght against: – political ideologies based on ethnicity, region of origin, religion and intolerance that substitute national interests with ethnic, regional, religious or personal interests.”

After the inauguration of the multi-party system in June 1991, the internal opposition succeeded in persuading president Habyarimana to head the transition government, under Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye of the MDR. The priorities of this government, formed in April 1992, included engagement of peace negotiations with the RPF. On the negotiation table in Arusha, the positions of the internal opposition were often closer to those supported by the RPF than those supported by the presidential party. The extremist Hutus condemned the standpoint of the political opposition as weakening their ethnic group. This state of a=airs irritated the French political and diplomatic leaders who were completely allied with president Habyarimana’s positions.

After the setbacks encountered by the FAR during the generalized o=ensive of the RPF of 8th February 1993, that forced France to renew strong military intervention, the latter seemed to opt for ethnic radicalisation of the con4ict. Three weeks after this o=ensive, the French Minister of Co-operation and the Development, Marcel Debarge went to Kigali on the 28th of February 1993 to push the opposition political parties to “make a common front” with president Habyarimana against the RPF. A note of Dominique Pin to President Mitterrand relating to the course of this visit said this: “After the clear and severe warnings from Mr. Debarge (urgency to arrive at political compromise and present a united front against the RPF in near future (…), the President and the opposition have agreed to collaborate and deBne a common position that will be defended by the Prime Minister during his meeting with the Head of the RPF in Dar-es -Salaam on 3rd March; a meeting that could allow for the resumption of the Arusha negotiations [ emphasis not ours].”

In a more anecdotal note, witnesses reported facts that demonstrated the hostility towards Tutsis among French political and diplomatic hierarchies. The “Common front” demanded by Mr. Debarge, was instituted against the Tutsis by all French diplomatic representatives in Rwanda.

Ambassador, Amri Sued explained that he had known well the two French ambassadors to Rwanda during the period under question, George Martres and Jean-Michel Marlaud, and that he noticed the same attitude in both of them.

“I was often invited to o@cial and private ceremonies and regularly sat next to Martens or Marlaud during the meal. One could never Bnish the meal before the discussions turned back to the subject of the Tutsis as people to be excluded, as bad people. They often said these things. Marlaud painted a more savage anti-Tutsis hatred picture than Martens, and it was said that he came from the DGSE, a French security service. Old Martens was more discrete, more diplomatic. But he too, did not hide the fact that the Tutsi were “bad”, a term he used with ease. They expressed their hostility toward the Tutsis openly and publicly, with no restraint even while some Tutsis were present like my former colleague, old Gashumba.”

A former worker in the French embassy in Rwanda who preferred anonymity revealed to the Commission the existence of segregation practices within the local personnel that was expressed by favouritism of Hutus over Tutsis. This discrimination began to be implemented at the end of 1991 after the press publication of an o@cial correspondence from the French embassy stated that Lt Col. Chollet had been appointed advisor of the Rwandan army head of sta=, Lt. Colonel Serubuga, with very wide attributions in the command of the army. The French embassy suspected its Tutsi employees to have been behind the leak of the document and started to harass them to cause them to resign.

These statements could lead to the conclusion that the French political leaders who were in charge of managing the Rwandan situation had largely adopted ethnic hostility targeting the Tutsis generally. Therefore, as we have seen, the French representatives supported the ethnic war of the Habyarimana regime against the Tutsis, albeit at arm’s length, by largely sharing its ideological principles.

8.4. Attempts to implicate western powers

After having strongly increased its military engagement between June and October 1992, France also attempted to implicate its European counterparts in the Rwandan con4ict but with little success.

Due to this fact, French diplomacy became more active and o=ensive in 1993. They were mainly aiming to obtain strong support from the Western powers. On 15th January 1993, President Mitterrand

addressed a letter to President Bill Clinton reporting the concern for preservation of stability in Rwanda by promoting negotiations between the warring parties whose solution would be the holding of free elections in the near future. The main objective of the correspondence was to mobilise funds. The French president announced a contribution of up to 10 million FF from his country and expressed the wish that other countries join the e=ort. On 19th January, another letter of the same content as that addressed to Clinton was sent to Chancellor Kohl, to Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada, to Adolf Ogi, President of the Swiss Confederation and to Jean-Luc Dehaene, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium.

In fact, Germany and the United States, like France, had the position of observers at the negotiations that were underway in Arusha since the middle of 1992. These negotiations were led by a transition government that circumstances had forced president Habyarimana to set up. However, the Prime Minister of this government and president Habyarimana did not share the same political standpoint, while the RPF army was manifesting a signiBcant increase in might, since June 1992, and particularly during the time of its general o=ensive of February.

On 9th February 1993, France announced that it was sending 150 additional troops and on February 12th Bruno Delaye and the director of African A=airs at the Quay d’ Orsay, Jean-Marc De La Sablière, left for Kigali and Kampala. Upon return from this mission, Bruno Delaye gave a report on the position and di=erences in opinion between the president and his Prime Minister, and explained that the di=erences between the two men re4ected “the cleavage between Hutus of the North and Hutus of the South” Further down in the note, he explained the negative consequences of this situation: “it o=ers pretext for the RPF which does not cease making points on the military and political level in addition to the military support of Uganda, the Belgian sympathy for Tutsis, an excellent propaganda system that focuses on the heinous crimes committed by the extremist Hutus and the generous complicity of the Anglo-Saxon world.”

The note of Bruno Delaye described a distressing situation for France and proposed a more determined engagement at the side of the Kigali regime:

“the situation remains extremely delicate for us: Our indirect strategy of support to the Rwandan armed forces has come to a limit. (We should accelerate the supplies of ammunitions and materials). Their degree of motivation is too imbalanced (due to the di=erences between Hutus of the North and Hutus of the South) to calmly consider stabilisation of their military forces. In the event that the frontline is

penetrated, we would have no choice but to evacuate Kigali (the o@cial mission of our two infantry companies is to protect expatriates), unless we actually engaged in the war. Our international isolation (The Belgians, English and Americans do not like Habyarimana) must lead us to put even greater e=ort on the diplomatic o=ensive [underlined in the text ] in order to gather the diplomatic support needed to implement the results –theoretically – obtained by this mission to Kigali and Kampala. This e=ort was engaged at the Quay of Orsay.”

February 19th 1993, General Quesnot also addressed President Mitterrand in a note summarizing the discussion that he held with the Rwandan president and conBrmed the essential elements of B. Delaye’s analysis. In this note, he explained that following the RPF o=ensive of the RPF of 8th February, 1993, France had three options:1) “evacuation of nationals in the coming days if the RPF maintains its intention to seize the capital [… ]; 2) the immediate deployment of at least two infantry companies in Kigali [… ] This action would not solve the basic problems but would help buy time;
3) Deployment of a more signiBcant army contingent to prevent the RPF from seizing Kigali and to make the available Rwandan units to at least resume their positions at the former cease-Bre line. [… ] However, this would e=ectively mean direct implication.”

According to another note of Dominique Pin and General Quesnot summarising the restricted session of the Security Council meeting on Rwanda on February 24th 1993, direct or indirect involvement could not be taken for granted. “This option is technically possible, but it can be considered only if we have irrefutable evidence of direct Ugandan military intervention, which is currently not the case.” This observation gives reason to believe that the various inspections conducted by the French Mission of Observers (MOF) was not able to establish any indisputable proof of a direct invasion or aggression from Uganda in the various reports and declarations of French o@cials.

Given the very restricted room for decisive French military action for diplomatic reasons, the Rwandan government was obliged to request the UN to deploy observers along the border between Uganda and Rwanda.

8.5. Attempt at manipulating the UN

The idea of using the UN to cover the French military intervention in Rwanda dates back to February-March 1993, a few weeks after the o=ensive of the RPF and signiBcant strengthening of the French military intervention. At the beginning of March 1993, President Mitterrand recommended that the matter be put before the UN. “This

issue should be tabled at the UN. It is unbelievable that a country should attack another and get away with it; we do not have to tolerate this kind of thing. It is urgent to make the UN react.”

President Mitterrand knew he could count on the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros Ghali, to obtain a UN endorsement of` French military intervention in Rwanda because he owed much to France and Rwanda : “The decision of Boutros Ghali is urgent: if our soldiers are transformed into UN troops, it will change the picture. But we should not go it alone. We could take part in a UN force with a thousand men. It is necessary to inform Mérimée [French ambassador to the UN] in time and make haste to set up the system. If there is no response from the United Nations a new closed session will be required.”

On 5th March 1993, France proposed a draft Resolution in the UN for the deployment of a joint UN-OAU force to supervise a demilitarised zone. On 12th March 1993, the Security Council adopted Resolution 812 as a result of the French proposal. In another note ,General Quesnot speciBed what France expected from this resolution:

“At the diplomatic level, the priority will be given to the putting in place of UN observers on the Rwanda-Uganda border (point 3 of Resolution 812 of the Security Council) in order to reduce Uganda’s military support to the RPF forces. A French delegation has gone today to New York to prepare the setting up of this observer force.”

The UN force for cease-Bre observation and the control of the Rwanda- Uganda border was eventually set up, but it largely escaped the control of France and its command was entrusted to the Canadian General Dallaire.

The French position started to become problematic, if not faltering. In fact, in 1993, the political and military situation developed considerably against France’s principal ally, president Habyarimana. He could no longer exercise the absolute power he had before the war : The show of military force by the RPF and the gain in in4uence of the unarmed opposition inside the country forced him to accept the setting up of a transitional government. As noted by various French o@cials, the head of this transitional government, Dismas Nsengiyaremye, was on a political line quite di=erent from that of the President. It was the Ministers in the Nsengiyaremye government, especially the Minister of Foreign A=airs, who conducted all the negotiations at that time – especially with e=ect from 10th August, 1992 –which led to the signature of agreements on the rule of law, power sharing among all the political forces, and peace.

The peace agreement, which was thought to be decisive, was signed on 4th August 1993 in Arusha between President Habyarimana and the Rwanda Patriotic Front, recommending the setting up of a more inclusive broad based transitional government and the deployment of a UN peace keeping force. However, the RPF made the withdrawal of French troops from Rwanda a precondition for signing the peace agreement; it was also Brmly opposed to the inclusion of French soldiers in the future UN Mission in Rwanda, supposed to guarantee the implementation of the Arusha Peace Accords. With the departure of the main body of French troops from Rwanda on 15th December 1993, it meant in fact the removal of the whole military, political and diplomatic machinery that had supported President Habyarimana in his policy of ethnic massacres and refusal of change. In this context, President Habyarimana and his entourage, who had not given up their policy of refusal, had to Bnd a way of continuing the war by other means, in other words, by genocide.


France’s involvement during the genocide, before Opération Turquoise

On the evening of 6th April 1994, around 20.30 hrs, President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down while landing at Kanombe (Kigali) airport. It was on its way back from Dar-es-Salaam where the president had gone for an ultimate summit devoted to the Rwandan crisis. Among the plane’s occupants, none survived. From that very evening, the soldiers of the presidential guard, the paratroopers’ battalion and the reconnaissance as well as the Interahamwe militia erected barriers on all main roads and in several districts of the capital, and the killings began. The following day, in the course of the day, the country learnt that the Prime Minister of the transitional government and many of her ministers had been assassinated, and massacres spread throughout the country, targeting mainly Tutsis, but also Hutu opponents. Thus,

the predicted genocide began. It is in this context that France decided once again to send a military contingent to Rwanda. This military intervention that lasted from 9th to 12th April 1994 was given the code name Opération Amaryllis.

Official justifications of Opération Amaryllis

The main justiBcation given for the operation was the evacuation of French nationals and other foreigners. The operation took place as the campaign of massacres of Tutsis became more and more systematic in Kigali and spread very quickly to the interior of the country, but France decided o@cially and publicly not to do anything to stop the massacres.

1.1. Protection of the French, European nationals, and other foreigners

The decision to evacuate French and other expatriates living in Rwanda was not taken immediately after the assassination of President Habyarimana, on the 6th of April when nor on the following day the campaign of massacres started in Kigali, and not even before the afternoon of 8th April. Political and military leaders analysed the situation Brst, in order to be able to react at the opportune moment. By so doing, they gave priority to reinforcing FAR’s capacity to get the upper hand in the war with the RPF.

On 7th April, Bruno Delaye observed in the minutes of a meeting of the “crisis cell” set up in the Elysée: “For the time being our nationals are not threatened and no evacuation is planned.”

General Quesnot was of the same opinion: “For the time being, French nationals (450 in Kigali) don’t seem to be threatened. Some isolated families have been sheltered near the Embassy.” President Mitterrand’s special chief of sta= seems to prioritise the theory according to which “the Rwandan armed forces are capable of holding the town by containing the RPF battalion of eight hundred men and some inBltrated elements”, without however, excluding the fact that the Rwandan army may be “incapable of holding the north of the country from where a new RPF o=ensive could come with strong logistic support from Uganda”.

In spite of the decision not to evacuate immediately, preparatory measures were taken, including the setting up of plans to protect and evacuate French and Belgian nationals in collaboration with the Belgian battalion working within the UNAMIR. Furthermore, two battalions and a health unit were put on alert in Bangui, Libreville and Ndjamena. Considering the history of the French action in Rwanda, the attitude of

wait and see advocated by the various French o@cials was accompanied by the wish not to put France in the limelight. “Matignon and the Quai d’Orsay would like, in this new Rwandan crisis which risks being more murderous, France not to be on the front line and limit our action to interventions at the UN so that the United nations mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) may fulBl its security mission in Kigali (which it has not actually done to-date)”.

The decision to evacuate was taken when on the 8th, towards 1900 hours, Ambassador Malraux informed the Quai d’Orsay that “the security (of) foreigners was under threat and justiBed their evacuation.” This request was made due to the news of the assassination of the French gendarme, Didot and his wife. The death of his colleague, Mayer, would be known later. These French gendarmes secretly listened to communications. Ambassador Marlaud thought that they were assassinated by the RPF, but a number of facts contradict this assertion.

The simple evacuation of the French nationals and foreigners was not the only planned option. A rift arose between the O@ce of the President of the Republic and the government consisting of the opposition of the right during this period of cohabitation. “[The special chief of sta= of President Mitterrand, General Quesnot] Refusing to resign himself to the new “massacres and counter massacres,”, he recommended a more ambitious intervention by the French army so as to protect and evacuate the foreign community, stabilise the FAR, restore order in Kigali, and come between the belligerents in such a way as to stop the o=ensive of the Rwanda Patriotic Front.” The option of direct support to the FAR is quickly turned down especially by Prime Minister E. Balladur and to a certain extent the Minister of Foreign A=airs, A. Juppé. It was not necessary to plunge back “into the Rwandan mess” nor “interfere in Rwandan political game”.

The operation was to be restricted to the evacuation of French nationals and foreigners have well have the closed relative of President Habyarimana, goal have we will see later one, it also supplied FAR with ammunitions and left behind it soldiers to continues supporting FAR involved in the genocide. Finally, in spite of France’s signiBcant capacity to in4uence the army and the political leaders organising the systematic massacre of the Tutsi population, and the presence of a sizeable armed force for Bve days at the beginning of the genocide, France chose not to intervene while the massacres were going on.

1.2 The proclamation of the decision of non-intervention in the ongoing massacres

On 10th April, Opération Amaryllis consisted of 464 elite soldiers, the collaboration between the French troops and the FAR was excellent. The French instructors of the FAR elite units most involved in the killings were still present in Kigali. The French Ambassador encouraged the strong man at the time, Colonel Bagosora, to take control of the situation. Ambassador Marlaud gave shelter to most politicians of the Habyarimana regime, but also to a big number of those who belonged to the new interim government, the formation of which he was consulted on. This shows the decisive in4uence, which France had over the politico-military process at the very beginning of the genocide and over the men who organized it. Moreover, France decided to do absolutely nothing to halt the massacres.

At no time, according to facts or retrospectively, did Ambassador Marlaud mention any positive in4uence that France had on the politico- military process at the very beginning of the genocide and on the people who organized it.

With regard to military intervention, the failure to act when faced with the massacres is laid down in the order of Opération Amaryllis from 8th April 1994, which stipulates that: “the French detachment will adopt a discreet attitude and neutral behaviour towards the Rwandan factions”. Ministers Alain Juppé and Michel Roussin who undertook to explain the reasons behind Opération Amaryllis stated unambiguously France’s refusal to try to stop the massacres. On 11th April Michel Roussin explained the limits of the French intervention: “For France, it is not a question of intervening militarily in Rwanda. It is clear that our mission is of a humanitarian nature whose aim is to repatriate our nationals and their families”. On the same day, Alain Juppé was more explicit in his rejection of an intervention directed at stopping the massacres: “Can France keep order in the whole world? Does she have the means and responsibility to stop, on the whole planet, people from killing each other?”

This refusal by the right-wing government to intervene to stop the massacres in progress can easily be explained by the wish to distance itself from Mitterrand’s management of the Rwandan problem, but it is also based on an ethnic and tribal view of Africa in general and of Rwanda in particular. Thus, in private, Prime Minister Balladur may have said: “They have always killed each other like that! Why do you want it to stop?”

On the part of the French Presidency, we observed, through General Quesnot, the proposal of an armed action to stop the massacres is coupled with a French military support to ensure the FAR’s victory over the RPF. This option is shared by Colonel Bach, head of the Amaryllis specialized detachment, who thinks that it was still possible to reverse

the military situation and avoid the FAR defeat, moreover involved in the massacres. “There was no sign at that time of an imminent RPF victory; the FAR were Bghting back e=ectively […]. Indeed, it would have required very few things (some French military advisers) to witness a reversal of the situation. June 1992 and June 1993 could have been “re-enacted” in April 1994” .

On the 13th of April, that is to say a week after the beginning of the massacres, when they had reached a level of exceptional intensity and the interim government’s role as organizer of these massacres was well known, President Mitterrand was worried of the latter’s fate: “It would be surprising if Habyarimana’s government did not Bnd a safe place where it can hold on for some time”. Under those conditions it is not surprising that France did not try in any way to stop the massacres during Operation Amaryllis.

The facts blamed on France

2.1 Political support to the organizers of the genocide

After Habyarimana’s death and the start of the genocide, France o=ered political support to the interim government in order to facilitate its acceptance by other States and international organisations. This support manifested itself especially in the political advices given to the leaders of the massacres during the formation of the interim government, the privileged evacuation of Hutu extremists and the abandonment of the Tutsi employees of the international organisations in Rwanda. The French forces deployed in Rwanda in April 1994 did not try to check the murderous fury of the soldiers and militia who massacred civilians in front of their eyes.

2.1.1 Involvement in the training of the interim government

From the morning of 7th April 1994, many dignitaries of the Habyarimana regime among whom there were partisans of the extermination of Tutsis gathered in the French embassy where they were accommodated with their families. There were about a hundred Rwandans, remembers Joseph Ngarambe, who arrived there on 10th April. As the table below shows, those who gathered there had, at Brst sight, few reasons to fear for their security, because they were part of the very close circle of the Presidential party and the Hutu power in most cases. Most of them played an active role in the genocide and are today being pursued by the judiciary, either on trial at the ICTR or sentenced by this jurisdiction, or targeted by complaints at international jurisdictions of other States:

Name and surname Post previously
occupied Post during the genocide Political a@liation Current legal status
Justin Mugenzi Minister of Commerce Minister of Commerce PL power On trial at the ICTR
Pauline Nyiramasubuko Minister in charge of family a=airs Minister in charge of family a=airs MRNDOn trial at the ICTR
Ferdinand Nahimana Director of ORINFOR Director of RTLM

MRND Sentenced to life imprisonment by the ICTR Augustin Ngirabatware Minister of Planning Minister of Planning

MRND On the run, wanted by the ICTR
Félicien Kabuga Business man Business man MRND Wanted by the ICTR
André Ntagerura Minister of transport Minister of transport

MRND Tried and acquitted by the ICTR
Daniel Mbangura Minister of Higher Education Minister of Higher

Education MRND
Gaspard Ruhumuliza
in Switzerland
Casmir Bizimungu
Foreign A=airs MRND On trial at the ICTR
Callixte Nzabonimana Minister of Youth Minister of Youth MRND

On the run, wanted by the ICTR
Jérôme Bicamumpaka Lawyer Minister of Foreign A=airs MDR power On trial at the ICTR
Séraphin Rwabukumba Business man Business man MRND

Subject to a complaint in Belgium
Joseph Nzirorera Minister of Public WorksSecretary General of MRND

MRND On trial at the ICTR
Mathieu Ngirumpatse National Chairman of MRND Chairman of MRND

MRND On trial at the ICTR
Prosper Mugiraneza Minister of Public Service Minister of Public Service MDR power On trial at the ICTR
George Ruggiu RTLM moderator Member of Hutu power Pleaded guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the ICTR
Protais Zigiranyirazo Prefect of Ruhengeri MRND On trial at the ICTR
Eliézer Niyitegeka Minister of Information MDR power Sentenced to life imprisonment by the ICTR
Straton Nsabumukunzi Minister of Agriculture PSD power

Whereabouts unknown
Silvestre Nsanzimana Ex-Prime Minister MRND Died in exile in Belgium
Pasteur Musabe Director of BACAR Director of BACAR, shareholder of RTLM MRND Died in Cameroon

Whereabouts unknown
Minister of Environment PDC power Lives

Minister of Foreign A=airs Minister of

During their stay at the French embassy in Kigali, they contributed in forming the ministerial cabinet of the so-called interim government that organized and supervised the execution of the genocide. A number of these personalities who took refuge in the French embassy would be part of the interim government as can be seen on this table. Colonel Bagosora was in charge of the formation of the interim government, with the collaboration of the leaders of the “power” parties or the power factions of the opposition parties. A cousin to President Habyarimana’s wife, Bagosora received his training at the War College in Paris, where he obtained a certiBcate of higher military studies. He was successively deputy commander of the Kigali Higher Military Academy and commander of the important Kanombe military camp, from 1988 to 1992, in which the French o@cers and instructors were operating, before his appointment to the post of Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Defence in 1992. He was retired from the army on 23rd September 1993, but continued to exercise his functions of Director of cabinet until his departure from Rwanda in July 1994. He is one of the main organizers of the civil self-defence programme during which distributions of arms were carried out to civilian Hutus who had undergone military training, sometimes provided by French soldiers. According to Filip Reyntjens, it is Bagosora who gave the orders, from the Ministry of defence, of massacres to the Presidential Guard, the reconnaissance battalion and the paratrooper battalion with which he had a direct and private radio connection. This was in the night of 6th to 7th April 1994, between 0200 hrs and 0700 hrs in the morning. Today he is on trial at the ICTR as organizer of the genocide.

The French ambassador, Jean-Philippe Marlaud, got personally involved, at Bagosora’s side, in the formation of the interim government, to the extent of suggesting some people who could be called upon to be part of it. Since 7th April, according to Ambassador Marlaud’s declarations at the MIP, who was in the company of Colonel Jean-Jacques Maurin, he had “approached Colonel Bagosora, the Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of defence, while the latter was on a trip in Cameroon. He had told him that it was necessary to resume control of the situation and that the Rwandan armed forces needed to cooperate with UNAMIR, but that warning did not prove useful and the situation continued to deteriorate.”

Colonel Bagosora’s radically anti-Tutsi tendencies and against moderate opposition political parties were common knowledge. Thus, in June 1992, when the new coalition government led by the former opposition removed from o@ce the former chiefs of sta= of the army and the gendarmerie because of their extremist political positions, President Habyarimana had tried to have Bagosora appointed to the post of chief of sta= of the FAR, but the parties of the former opposition

refused by virtue of his extremist political orientations. It is the very same Bagosora who, after participating in part of the negotiations of the Arusha Agreement had, on the 8 January 1993, “openly expressed his opposition to the concessions made by the government representative, Boniface Ngulinzira, the Minister of Foreign A=airs, to the extent of leaving the negotiations. Colonel Bagosora left Arusha and declared that he was returning to Rwanda to prepare the Apocalypse”. This declaration, widely relayed in the Rwandan press, was very shocking at the time.

The adjustment that constituted Ambassador Marlaud and Colonel Maurin’s approach to ask Bagosora to take “control of the situation” is well expressed by the former Prime Minister of the interim government, Jean Kambanda, during his interrogation of the 26 September 1997 by two ICTR investigators. To the question of knowing if Colonel Bagosora had encountered any opposition from the highest military o@cers to his intention of taking control of the military crisis committee that was constituted during the meeting of 7th April at the army headquarters, Kambanda replied: “– Jean Kambanda: Yes to his project of taking over power […] And he was rather advised to ask for the opinion of the French ambassador.”

The support given by Ambassador Marlaud to the one who is today considered as the main organizer of the genocide and the protection given to the most radically extremist members of the Hutu power who took refuge in the embassy di=ers strongly from the way the French diplomat treated the case of the Prime Minister in o@ce, Agathe Uwilingiyimana. She represented the legitimate political authority as the head of government. She was, at the legal level, the person authorized to secure the vacancy of power. But she had perhaps the disadvantage, in the eyes of the French ambassador, of being opposed to the Hutu power. Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana had intervened on the morning of 7th April on RFI by launching a very strong call for peace and the stop of violence. When she tried to go to the studios of the national radio, the FAR prevented her from reaching Radio Rwanda to send a message to the nation. By that radio broadcast intervention on the morning of 7th April, when several opposition personalities had already been assassinated, France knew that the Rwandan Prime Minister was alive and in danger of death. Yet, between the Prime Minister’s residence and the French embassy, there was a distance not exceeding 500 m! She was executed very near her home between 11.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon. She could have been saved if the French ambassador had wanted it.

Interviewed by the MIP, Marlaud in fact acknowledged having held meetings with political o@cials who constituted the interim government:

“The morning of 8th April had been marked by […] the arrival of several ministers at the Embassy. They then held a meeting during which they Bxed three thrusts: to replace the dead or disappeared ministers or o@cials, try to take once again control of the Presidential guard in order to stop the massacres, and Bnally to rea@rm their commitment to the Arusha Agreement. However, they refused to appoint Mr. Faustin Twagiramungu Prime Minister in the place of Mrs. Agathe Uwilingiyimana”.

Concluding on Marlaud’s hearing, the MIP wrote: “Towards 2000 hours [8th April], the embassy was informed of the appointment of the President of the Republic and an interim Government. The composition of this government was apparently in accordance with the Arusha Agreement since it provided for the allocation of the portfolios between political parties”.

Ambassador Marlaud distorts the truth. Because the interim government brought together only representatives of the member parties of the Hutu power delegation as well as dissident Hutu power factions of the opposition parties. This Hutu Power coalition was, since the end of the year 1993, radically against the Arusha Agreement and advocated the massacre of Tutsis and Hutu political o@cials and Tutsis loyal to the Arusha peace process. The formation of the interim government, an essential stage in the achievement of the genocidaire programme, had required Brst of all the assassination of the political leaders opposed to the Hutu power coalition, among them the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who, according to the constitution, was supposed to assume power, by virtue of the disappearance of the Head of State. Some rare non-Hutu power political leaders had managed to hide. Thus, the formation of the interim government is a clear manifestation of the blow against the Arusha Agreement and the political stage necessary for the commission of the genocide. After contributing to its formation, Ambassador Marlaud tried to recognize the government that organized the genocide, four years later.

After the formation of this government, Ambassador Marlaud worked on getting diplomatic support for it from European partners. During the afternoon of 8th April, he telephoned his Belgian counterpart, Johan Swinnen, and gave him a list of the chosen ministers and requested him to give his support, by giving the reason that the government had been put in place to prevent a military coup d’état. According to F.

Reyntjens, quoted by Linda Melvern , the Belgian ambassador “reacts with reservation,” by thinking that “the tendency is too much ‘power’. He expresses the point of view that such a government seems least concerned with the real political requirements. Marlaud says that he is satisBed. Especially since he thinks that the formation of a government will make it possible to prevent the coup d’état that he fears”.

We can ask ourselves about the reasons that led ambassador Marlaud to isolate General Marcel Gatsinzi, the army chief of sta= who represented the lawful military authority. Why France collaborated with Bagosora, retired from the army and well known for his extremist positions, by leaving aside the chief of sta= in charge of national security issues and maintenance of order, who had been appointed since 6th in the evening by his peers of the army.

2.1.2 The targeted evacuations

Some days after the triggering o= of the genocide, France deployed Opération Amaryllis in Rwanda, with the o@cial mission of evacuating French nationals and foreigners. Thus, Amaryllis evacuated the French and other Westerners, sometimes with their dogs, but abandoned hundreds of thousands of Rwandans in danger of certain death, including Tutsi employees of the embassy and other French services established in Rwanda. She left behind o@cials of non-European international organisations who had taken refuge at the UNAMIR at the o@cial technical school de Kicukiro, but was concerned with evacuating as a matter of priority the most virulent Hutu extremists.

a) Protection of Hutu power extremists

The main Rwandan people evacuated by France were those close to power, with priority given to the late president’s widow, Agathe Kanziga, Brst of all on board a Transall of the French army to Bangui with twelve members of her family, in particular her brother Protais Zigiranyirazo, her sister Catherine Mukamusoni, her Brst cousin Séraphin Rwabukumba and Alphonse Ntilivamunda, President Habyarimana’s son-in-law. At that time, Agathe Kanziga and those other people, with the exception of Catherine Mukamusoni, are known for being extremists who, from 1992, organized around a group of killers consisting of civilians and soldiers, called “Zero network” or “Madam’s clan” which coordinated the massacres and political assassinations during the years preceding the genocide. Mrs. Habyarimana’s criminal role was recognized by the Commission for refugees’ appeal in its decision of dismissal of 15th February 2007, which states as follows:

“The result of the preliminary investigation is that […] it is possible to establish the existence of a Brst circle of power […] called akazu, in which the predominant role played by the claimant was conspicuous; that this Brst circle of the akazu included people coming mostly from the interested person’s province of origin and that of her late husband, that the hard core of the same circle consisted of Mrs. Agathe KANZIGA Habyarimana’s widow, her brother Protais ZIGIRANYIRAZO, her Brst cousin Séraphin RWABUKUMBA and her cousin, Colonel Elie SAGATWA, and that this “small akazu” held the real power since the 1973 coup d’état especially in the appointment of leaders, soldiers and magistrates to the main posts as well as in redistributing state property, which favoured members of the akazu from the provinces of the north-west of Rwanda, from where came these members; that is why the claimant, without having an o@cial post, exercised a de facto authority on the a=airs of state; that she had necessarily found herself at the heart of the regime that had become guilty of the crimes perpetrated between 1973 and 1994, especially assassinations of political opponents after the 1973 coup d’état and the planning of the Rwandan genocide that took place, in its greatest proportion, between 6th April and 17th July 1994”.

President Habyarimana’s widow did not at all hide her commitment in favour of the ongoing massacres in Rwanda. François Mitterand’s declaration during an audience granted to a delegation of Doctors without Borders, on 14th June 1994, shows it quite well: “She is possessed, if she could, she would continue calling for massacres on French radios. She is very di@cult to control”.

The role played by Agathe Kanziga in the policy of massacres was common knowledge and French decision makers knew it. From these documents from the French President’s O@ce it is obvious that the evacuation of the Rwandan presidential family and other dignitaries of the Rwandan regime was explicitly organized by the French President. A note from Bruno Delaye shows “President Habyarimana’s family. It is for the time being under protection of the Presidential guard. If it wishes, it will be received at our ambassador’s residence, in accordance with your instructions”. Another note from General Quesnot speciBes: “The situation led to recommending strongly to our nationals to leave the country. The Brst plane with about forty French people on board and, in accordance with your instructions, twelve members of President Habyarimana’s close family left Kigali on Saturday late afternoon”.

Agathe Kanziga and her close relatives arrived in France on 17th April 1994 and settled Brst of all in a hotel in Paris at the expense of the French Government, then moved to a family 4at, with France meeting

all the expenses for the suite of furniture. They were received by the representatives of the Quai d’Orsay who allocated to them a subsistence allowance charged on a special account for urgent actions in favour of Rwandan refugees. Interrogated on the merits of that favour, the Minister of Cooperation, Michel Roussin rose up against those who criticized him: “We had good relations with a lawfully elected president and we picked up his family which requested for our assistance”. He added: “It is strange, to say the least, to blame France for acting that way: other countries deemed it appropriate to abandon the leaders with whom they had normal relations until then. Doing the same would have condemned them to death. Our traditions are di=erent.”

Interviewed by the MIP, Alain Juppé denied the reality of the selective nature of the evacuations: “Those decisions to evacuate were taken on the spot between the French embassy, and our ambassador who was on the ground, Mr. Marlaud, and the o@cers of Amaryllis according to what was feasible in the town that had fallen prey to massacres and where many areas were totally inaccessible. The detail might seem insigniBcant but the telephone had been disconnected. We were able to evacuate the people who were at the embassy and in the assembly areas – and I say it here until I get proof to the contrary – whether they were French, foreigners of all nationalities, the Hutu or Tutsi Rwandans. The embassy sta= were saved irrespective of their origin. And I Bnd it extremely serious to a@rm without concrete proof that there might have been screening at the French embassy between Hutus and Tutsis at the time of evacuation. I would like to a@rm the contrary – on the basis of the information I have – provided that those who support this argument support it with proof. But I would like to say that it is really extremely serious when people assert things of this nature.”

It is proper to clarify that the telephone was disconnected in Kigali during the Operation Amaryllis. During this period, the Tutsi former employees of French institutions used it and communicated with their French employers, as we shall see further down. The country’s main telephone exchange was removed from the Hôtel des Mille Collines and was under surveillance of the French soldiers. It allowed exchanges between Colonel Jean-Jacques Maurin and the FAR headquarters , and it is on this same exchange, on 2nd May 1994, that Bruno Delaye talked to the boss of the FAR, General Bizimungu, to stop him from executing the refugees in that hotel. Finally, during Amaryllis, French troops could go wherever they pleased, almost everywhere in Kigali, except the small area occupied by the RPF battalion stationed inside Parliament and its surroundings by virtue of the Arusha Agreement.

b) Screening and abandonment of people in mortal danger

During Amaryllis, Rwandans who worked in French institutions in Rwanda were all abandoned. Michel Cuingnet, head of the French civilian cooperation mission in Rwanda in 1994, remembers that “the local sta= of the cooperation Mission, most of them Tutsis, were practically all massacred, some of them under his eyes; with regard to the other sta= of the di=erent French diplomatic services, considering the events and the distance between the buildings, he doesn’t know if they were able to be evacuated.” Venuste Kayijamahe and Charles Rubagumya, at the time employees of the French Cultural Centre in Kigali, a@rm e=ectively having contacted Michel Cuingnet and other French o@cials to be saved and they each received no answer.

Venuste Kayijamahe testiBes:

“In February 1994, I had been threatened with death by the militia at my home in Gikondo and I had moved to the French cultural centre. I had put my Bve children in families in town. On 6th April in the morning, the director of the Centre, Anne Cros, called me and asked me to Bnd accommodation outside. As soon as the massacres started in the night of 6th to 7th, I tried to reach the areas where my children were. I asked Anne for help on phone on 8th April. She replied that she could not do anything for me, that there were not enough French soldiers, that they had left since Noroît and that those who were there were too busy. She hung up. In the afternoon, Anne Cros came to the Centre escorted by a dozen French soldiers to pack dossiers. I begged her to authorize those soldiers to accompany me so that I could go to retrieve my children who were not far from the Centre. She replied that she could not do anything about it. I called the French embassy several times to ask for help. As soon as I said that it was Venuste, the agent hung up. I was blamed for having accorded interviews to the RFI to describe my predicament. On 9th April in the afternoon, I received a telephone call from Michel Cuingnet by surprise, who told me that he was sending me 57 soldiers. He told me to warn the guards so that they could open the doors quickly because the soldiers would not stay long. I asked Michel Cuingnet to help me to go and retrieve my children. He told me to discuss with them when they were there and he hung up. After their arrival at the Centre, I talked to the superior with a rank of major and made my request. He replied that he would not evacuate Rwandans. I told him that M. Cuingnet had authorized me to go and retrieve my children. The soldier told me that he didn’t give a damn about me, and that in any case, they would not evacuate Rwandans. On the 11th of April, a French soldier told me that they were about to go. I beseeched him once again to take us either to France, or to another country, or to the CND, or to the UNAMIR. He told

me that it was the Embassy that decided everything, that he had no order to evacuate us. On 12th April, they went and left us behind.”

Charles Rubagumya reports the same experience:

“On 7th April, I called the French Cultural Centre to ask for help. On the line I had one of my immediate bosses who replied that I had to manage on my own. During the following days, I called several times without being listened to. On 11th April, I bribed a Rwandan soldier who accompanied me to the Cultural Centre. It was guarded by several French soldiers. I showed them my service card and I entered. Inside, I met Venuste Kayijamahe. There was also one of his friends, three other workers and a woman accompanied by her children whom I had pretended was my family. They were all Tutsis. The French told us that they were going away the following day and that they would not carry us with them, that our evacuation was not part of their mandate. It was unthinkable for us. The following day, they packed their luggage without telling us anything. One of my colleagues contacted the wife of Ambassador Marlaud to ask her to intervene for us. She replied that the French were not evacuating Rwandans. Immediately, the French soldiers took their vehicles and took away all their foodstu=s without leaving anything behind for us. I threw myself in one of their convoys. They threw me on the ground. We begged a group of them who at least accepted to drop us at the St. Expery School where the Belgian nationals were gathered. We remained there. When the Belgian soldiers came to evacuate their nationals, they took all those who were there, without any distinction. They took us to Nairobi and I managed to get a visa and I went to Europe.”

Apart from abandoning the local Tutsi personnel, Amaryllis refused to evacuate Rwandans who had married foreigners, those who cohabited with the French or with Europeans of other nationalities. Nor did Amaryllis evacuate Rwandan defenders of human rights who had requested them, such as the prosecutor François Nsanzuwera, and political opposition personalities like the Minister of Foreign A=airs, Boniface Ngulinzira, hated by the champions of Hutu power for his main role on the peace negotiations, whereas he begged the French soldiers at ETO on 11th April.

Colette Braeckman, who was there, mentions the French soldiers’ complaisant attitude in these terms. “I witnessed some harrowing scenes at the Kanombe airport where the French left behind Tutsi partners of expatriates who begged them to take them along with them. Unlike the Belgians who managed to ex-Bltrate some Tutsis in a small number, the French embarked only on expatriates. They separated mixed couples.” A journalist of the daily Le Monde also

present remembers the case of a Russian woman married to a Tutsi who was forced to abandon her husband, the French soldiers allowing her in extremis the only right to take her three half-caste children.

Some Rwandans managed to slip into lorries carrying the expatriates, but at the airport, the French soldiers carried out screening on the basis of the pre-established lists. They turned back those who were rejected, and handed them over de facto to the Rwandan soldiers and militia who had erected roadblocks at the entry to the airport who massacred them there and then. Jean Loup Denblyden, a reserve colonel who participated in the Silver Back operation as a Belgian liaison o@cer with the French detachment a@rms: “during Amaryllis, French soldiers screened the Tutsis before the Kanombe airport and pushed them back towards the roadblocks”. There was a screening and the people who were rejected, were pushed back to the roadblock. The French said to those who were rejected: we are not taking you, and pushed them back towards the roadblock which was exactly at the entry to the present parking”.

On realizing the seriousness of the facts, Mr. Denblyden informed the French military o@cers and UNAMIR, and received as an answer not to interfere with issues that didn’t concern Belgians:

“I climbed the stairs where Colonel Poncet was, who commanded the Opération Amaryllis, and told him my problem. He shrugged his shoulders, Colonel Morin who was from UNAMIR and was beside him asked me not to interfere. I immediately contacted General Romeo and the operation o@cer […] I told them my problem as I thought it was my duty to do so […] A French non-commissioned o@cer intervened by telling me that Belgians were not concerned, and that it was a French problem. It was on the third day of Amaryllis”. Finally, M. Denblyden noticed that people had been killed near that roadblock: “I climbed above the airport on the platform, and I went to see if from above where I was I could see the roadblock, and there I saw bodies strewn at the right side of the airport, lower down.”

Jean-Pierre Martin, a Belgian journalist, reports that French soldiers took pleasure in watching the massacres of civilians near Kanombe Airport:

“It is true that in 1994 I saw images that remain in my memory and that I would never forget especially that pregnant woman that they disembowelled a 100 m in front of me and there was a jeep and two French soldiers who were laughing. Who were laughing 50 m from where it was happening. And Bnally it is the two Belgian soldiers with whom we were that routed the Interahamwe or the killers. (…) It was at

the exit from the airport when you turn to the road that leads to town, once you have passed the depression and you climb towards the stadium, it happened there. I was in the depression, moving from a jeep of Belgian soldiers which came to my rescue because they were afraid; and we witnessed that scene where a pregnant woman was disembowelled, and between me, the jeep of Belgian soldiers and that killing, there was a jeep of French soldiers busy laughing, who didn’t move, who watched the scene as if it was in a cinema.”

The perpetration of massacres at Kanombe Airport in front of the complacent French soldiers was also narrated by the France 2 special envoy, Philippe Boisserie, who reported it in the televised news of 11th April 1994 at 1300hrs:

“I was at the airport producing a topic, and late morning, a Canadian female colleague (…) came back in a state of shock, because e=ectively, what had happened was what I narrated in sequence: at the time when the French convoy was coming back, there was a massacre that took place under my eyes. We therefore decided to shoot on the spot. We knew that was not far from the airport, but we were all the same taking a risk. We asked to be allowed to go there and a car, always driven by the French soldiers, escorted us. We were able to see that there had been a massacre. It was a daily a=air and it happened under the eyes of French soldiers without any reaction on their part.”

Colette Braeckman remembers also that French soldiers displayed an indi=erent attitude towards the massacres:

“During all those days, it was very dangerous for Belgians to move freely in Kigali. I only made one trip to town with Belgian soldiers who were going to look for expatriates. From a lorry in which we were, I saw the scene of Kigali town, bodies that were strewn on the streets, lorries of the refuse department that were passing by and picking up corpses and remains. Some journalist colleagues who were accompanying the French soldiers told me that the latter did not engage in soul- searching. They all had helmets with music, and when they arrived at roadblocks where people were being killed, they increased the volume of the music so as not to hear the shouts of the people who were massacred under their eyes. Afterwards, they would ask that they open the way and would pass very quickly to pick expatriates”.

According to statements made to journalists by a French soldier who sought anonymity, the order not to stop massacres was given by Admiral Lanxade and/or General Christian Quesnot: “Before going to Rwanda, I passed by to take orders from Lanxade, then instructions at

the EMP (special Headquarters of the president of the Republic)” Jacques Morel thinks that these words came from Colonel Henri Poncet who commanded the Amaryllis in as much as, in his capacity of leader of the operation, he was the most likely to receive those orders at such a high hierarchy level. But as we saw above, it was an assumed political decision.

c) Rescue of the Saint Agathe orphanage and of the leader of the killers of Masaka

The second selective evacuation carried out by the French in April 1994 concerns the St. Agathe in the area of Masaka, near Kigali. This institution sponsored by the spouse of the head of state, was run by the Saint Vincent Palotti Sisters and had the specialty of receiving orphans of the FAR soldiers killed in combat. The superior of the orphanage, Sister Edita, from Poland, was given the responsibility to Bnd adoptive families in Europe, especially France. She was evacuated by the French and did not want to return to Rwanda after 1994.

According to various testimonies, at the St. Agathe orphanage there was ethnic discrimination against the Tutsi or Hutu personnel that distanced themselves from extremism. The children who were living there in April 1994 and about thirty adults called “accompanying adults” were evacuated by the French on 10th April 1994, the Tutsi sta= that worked there and the members of their families were selected then killed on the orders of Paul Kanyamihigo who was a driver at the orphanage. Coming from Gisenyi, Kanyamihigo was an active member of the CDR, notoriously known at Masaka, and immediately after the fall of the plane, he directed attacks against the Tutsis. He and his family were evacuated by the French, as well as the family of a CDR extremist, Justin Twiringiyimana who was a watchman at the orphanage. It is Kanyamihigo who showed to the French the people to evacuate or leave behind on the basis of a pre-established list according to ethnic criteria. Testimonies emphasize Paul Kanyamihigo’s extremism, his participation in the persecution of the Tutsi sta= of the orphanage since October 1990, his collaboration with the intelligence services of the Presidency, his involvement in the massacre of the Tutsis since 7th April. At the time of evacuation, Paul Kanyamihigo collaborated closely with French o@cials in the scanning of people to be evacuated according to a pre-established or indications provided by the latter or by o@cials of the orphanage, especially the director, Sister Editha. Witnesses a@rm also that people were proposed by Kanyamihigo himself, and all of them were CDR extremists.

Upon their arrival in Paris, the people evacuated from the orphanage were Brst of all accommodated at the reception centre for asylum

seekers of Créteil in the region of Paris, then taken to Olivet in the south of Orléans where, for two and a half years, they were accommodated in a property put at their disposal by the general Council of Loiret. Thereafter, they were entrusted to reception families by the Children’s Directorate. Since then, Rwanda tried to bring them back, a group of children were repatriated, and another one was adopted by French families , without a possibility of Bnding them again.

Even if we cannot blame France for having evacuated orphans at that particularly troubled time, the political and social context surrounding that orphanage did not make it a priority. Since that orphanage had sent a number of children for adoption in France, it was known by the French embassy’s services. There were other orphanages in Kigali and the rest of Rwanda, some run by religious people. The choice to have children adopted in the orphanage belonging to Agathe Habyarimana, essentially sheltering orphans of soldiers, was certainly unknown to the political and social Hutu power sphere of in4uence in which he worked. Since the list of evacuations had been prepared personally by ambassador Marlaud, the choice of this orphanage falls in direct line with the ambassador’s political options. The politically and, in the Bnal analysis, ethnically discriminatory nature becomes clearer when you consider the fate of the orphanage of Marc Vaiter whose number of children were directly threatened.

The second question arising from the evacuation of the Agathe Habyarimana orphanage concerns the number of accompanying adults, which seems to have been higher than that of the employees of the orphanage. According to André Guichaoua, France evacuated “94 children from the St. Agathe orphanage, […], accompanied by 34 people”. Observers think that heir number was reviewed upwards by those who carried out the evacuation, so as to be able to inBltrate the people close to the regime with the intention of putting them out of danger, in the prospect of bringing them back to power after hopefully neutralizing the RPF.

Indeed, the inquiry carried out on the ground by the journalists of the of the broadcast “The Right to know” in 1995 showed that the number of people at the orphanage was not more than twenty people, a Bgure conBrmed at the Commission by witnesses Emmanuel Hategekimana, Esperance Mukakarangwa, Alphonse Ntamuhanga and Yacine Musenge, all of them residents of Masaka.

Other testimonies specify that in general the French hid the identity of the people embarked in their planes, and this may conBrm the hypothesis of hiding the identity of some Rwandans whom they were evacuating. According to journalist Jean-Pierre Martin, a witness of the

progress of the Amaryllis, « It was not allowed to Blm the people who were boarding the French planes, and generally it was rather done in the evenings. » In view of the agreement of the stories in relation to the number of workers at the orphanage, and considering the indications showing that the number of adults evacuated was bigger than that of the people who were working in the orphanage, we cannot rule out the possibility that the French evacuated, with full knowledge of the facts, people who did not belong to the sta= of the orphanage, for one reason or another.

d) Abandonment of the Marc Vaiter orphanage

Whereas they went ahead with the evacuation of the Agatha Kanziga orphanage, the French soldiers refused the same help to the forty children of another orphanage that was under the care of a French citizen, Marc Vaiter. That orphanage was situated in the centre of Kigali town, as opposed to Masaka situated at about twenty kilometres from the capital. Moreover, the Marc Vaiter orphanage was situated in an area exposed to exchanges of Bre and to attacks by militias. Most of the children under the care of Marc Vaiter were orphans of AIDS whom he had recovered from the Kigali Hospital Centre. He also accommodated children threatened with genocide, whom people of goodwill entrusted to him.

The facts took place on 11th April 1994. Two French soldiers accompanied by Dr. Jean-Marie Milleliri, a military doctor who worked in Kigali at the AIDS Project Bnanced by the French cooperation, came to the orphanage and spoke to Marc Vaiter telling him that they were coming to repatriate him. Marc Vaiter demanded to go with the children. They refused and preferred to go away. The person concerned narrated the incident like this: “Milleliri spoke to me Brst: Marc, we must go. Order from the French embassy. We have come to fetch you. […] Milleliri explains to me France and Belgium sent troops, to organize the evacuation of expatriates. No time to waste. We must leave as soon as possible. […] I must Bnd the means to take the children. […] Most of them are Tutsis, that is to say victims targeted for killings. They must be able to come with me. Milleliri tosses his head, upset: we don’t have the necessary transport”.

Diplomatic support

The diplomatic support provided by France during the formation of the interim government doubled with the diplomatic support whose aim

was to restore the latter’s image and facilitate its acceptance at the UN. The personalities involved in perpetration of the killings, under President Theodore Sindikubwabo’s leadership, remained in contact with government and with General Quesnot.

3.1 Collaboration with the interim government

France was the only country to collaborate with the interim government, although the latter’s role in the organisation and perpetration of the genocide was well established. On 27th April 1994, that is to say three weeks after the triggering of the genocide, two emissaries of that government, Jerome Bicamumpaka and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, were received in Paris at the Elysee and Matignon, whereas the United States and Belgium had refused them visas. They held discussions with high ranking French leaders, notably the Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, the Minister of Foreign A=airs Alain Juppe and Bruno Delaye, head of the African desk in the O@ce of the President of the Republic . Barayagwiza, at the time director of political and administration a=airs in the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign A=airs, as a radical Hutu extremist, a member of the leadership committee of the CDR and a founding member the RTLM, the instrument of genocide propaganda. As for Jerome Bicamumpaka, he was a member of MDR power, and Minister of Foreign A=airs of the interim government. He was an extremist who would not hesitate to air remarks full of hatred against Tutsis at the Security Council to justify perpetration of the genocide. During their stay in Paris, Bicamumpaka and Barayagwiza went to the Rwandan embassy in France, dismissed Ambassador Jean- Marie Ndagijimana whom they blamed for not belonging to Hutu power, and changed the locks of the doors of the embassy to deny him access. They replaced him with the Chargé d’A=aires, Martin Ukobizaba, considered as more of an extremist than Ambassador Ndagijimana.

According to organisations for the defence of human rights, the reason given by the French authorities for receiving the two envoys of the interim government with full honours was that it was necessary to “remain in contact with all the parties in the con4ict”, and to Bnally declare that it was a question of a “private visit”.

Interviewed by Daniel Jacoby, president of FIDH, on the merits of meeting with that delegation, Bruno Delaye answered him that “it was better to talk to them rather than not” and added later on: “With Africa it is not possible not to soil your hands . It seems therefore that “at that precise time, the French authorities knew perfectly well with whom they were doing business.’’ and that they were ready to give them and the interim government political support through such visits. In July

1994, Edouard Balladour denied the truth of those visits by declaring: “We received none of those people in France.”

3.2 Contact with the President of the interim government

On 4th May 1994, General Quesnot granted a telephone interview to the head of the genocide government, Théodore Sindikubwabo, during which the latter thanked his French counterpart, François Mitterrand, for all that he “did for Rwanda and the reception that was accorded in Paris to the delegation led by the Minister of Foreign A=airs ”. The day after the capture of the Kanombe military camp by the RPF, on 21st May 1994, President Sindikubwabo resumed contact with France by addressing a letter to François Mitterrand in which he expressed to him the “feelings of gratitude for the moral, diplomatic and material support that he o=ered to the Rwandan regime “since 1990 to-date’ He did not mention the ongoing genocide, merely talking about the ‘inter- ethnic massacres” whose only culprit would be the RPF and whose “military advances are likely to rekindle the Bre and plunge the country back into a more serious crisis than the previous one”. The letter ended on a speciBc request to President Mitterrand to “provide once again” to the interim government “both material and diplomatic support” without which ‘our aggressors are likely to accomplish their plans which are well known to you”

On receiving this letter, General Quesnot immediately wrote an accompanying note forwarding Théodore Sindikubwabo’s request to President Mitterrand in which he wrote that “the attainment of power in the region by a minority whose intentions and organisation are not without analogy to the system of the Khmer Rouge is a token of regional instability whose consequences were not anticipated by those, including France, whose complicity and complacency are obvious .”

It is proper to recall that Mr. Sindikubwabo, with whom General Quesnot enjoyed close relationships during the genocide, was not only the leader of a government of killers, but he was also the instigator of the genocide in his native prefecture of Butare. He is also the one who, on 19th April 1994, even when the region was calm, went to the scene, removed the only Tutsi Préfet in Rwanda, Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, from his o@ce and had him killed, and incited the Hutu population to start the “work”, in other words to massacre the Tutsis, and Hutus who still dared oppose the accomplishment of the genocide.

3.3 Protection of the interim government at the Security Council

During the genocide, the French authorities were haunted by the fear that “if the RPF gets a military victory on the ground”, it will want “to impose the minority law of the Tutsi clan .” In order to block this enemy that the RPF was, France worked in such a way as to promote inaction at the Security Council in the face of the genocide. The French diplomatic support was seen most strongly on the 21st of April 1994, during the debates on the vote of resolution 921 meant to describe legally the ongoing massacres. The French Ambassador did a lot of lobbying with the Member States of the Council to oppose the Security Council’s use of the expression “genocide” to refer to the killings that the Tutsis were being subjected to. In the terms of the Bnal solution, the Security Council followed the opinion of the French representative and conBned itself on deploring a situation of “violence” and of “senseless carnage” without pointing out neither the perpetrators nor the genocide nature of the ongoing massacres.

An internal note in relation to a discussion that took place on 2nd May 1994 between President Mitterrand and his Minister of Defence, François Léotard, states speciBcally: “At the United Nations, France had to oppose a partisan condemnation of the only actions committed by the Government forces ”. In other words, a month after the beginning of the genocide, France put this crime on an equal footing with the so- called reprehensible acts committed by the RPF combatants. In short, during the months of April-May until 16th June 1994, the date on which France requested for an intervention mandate in Rwanda with the powers assigned by chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, she pursued her UN diplomacy by insisting on the ceaseBre before stopping the massacres and used the word “genocide” only when she wanted to begin Turquoise. And even on that occasion, the French Ambassador made it known that it is “Rwanda’s population” as a whole that was the victim of the genocide and the Tutsis targeted as an ethnic group was not mentioned . In this respect, she did not act di=erently from the other members of the Security Council, with the only di=erence that this attitude of passiveness was, partly, the fruit of France’s work behind the scenes.

However, we cannot explain France’s diplomatic game at the Security Council without taking into consideration the attitude and manipulations orchestrated by Boutros-Ghali as we saw in the general introduction in the part related to the action of the international community.

3.4 Collusion with the UN Secretary General and his Representative in Rwanda

Boutros-Ghali’s action of protecting the interim government during the genocide can be explained for two reasons: his sympathy for the interim government heir to the Habyarimana regime or his alliance with France. Boutros-Boutros Ghali enjoyed close relationships with the Habyarimana regime, he intervened on two occasions so that his country, Egypt, authorize sales of arms to Rwanda. This intercession was especially carried out on 16th October 1990 at the end of an interview between Boutros-Boutros Ghali and the Rwandan Ambassador in Egypt, Célestin Kabanda, which culminated in an agreement of the sale of arms to the tune of 23 million US dollars.

An identical intervention took place in December 1990 in which Rwanda received from Egypt a sale of arms to the tune of 5.889 million US dollars, whereas the authorized Egyptian institutions had refused the sale because of the situation of war. A letter from the Rwandan Minister of Foreign A=airs, to the attention of President Habyarimana narrates Boutros-Boutros Ghali active role in these terms: “Our Ambassador praises the personal intervention of Minister Boutros- Boutros Ghali with his Defence colleague for the realization of our recent request to the Egyptian Government and in connection with the acquisition of the military equipment that enabled us to face up to the war imposed on us since October 1990 by the assailants from Uganda. That is why I have just sent a messenger [sic] to thank Minister Boutros-Boutros Ghali for his everlasting support.

However, it seems di@cult to explain the protective attitude of Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary General, by loyalty to the friendship that once bound him to Rwanda. It seems more likely that that attitude was rather dictated by the allegiance binding him to France to which he owed his appointment to the leadership of the UN.

In the conduct of her pro-Rwanda diplomacy, France could rely also on Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, the special representative of the UN Secretary General in Rwanda. A former Minister of Foreign A=airs and ex-Ambassador in Paris, France, Booh-Booh was very close to the French and well disposed towards Habyarimana’s close circle . As he admits it himself, his appointment as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Rwanda was an agreed a=air between the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, and Boutros Ghali. During his stay in Rwanda, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh showed a@nities with the Hutu extremist parties and often received advice from the French Ambassador Jean-Michel Marlaud .

In the discharge of his mission, Booh-Booh and his political adviser, Mamadou Kane, both distrusted General Dallaire, they displayed real hostility towards him and their attitude was characterized by the dispatch of reports that painted a false picture of the reality on the

ground and clearly contradicted those of General Dallaire. Those reports were used to Rwanda’s beneBt by France, which intensiBed in vain e=orts to get Dallaire’s dismissal, especially by forwarding a request to that e=ect to the Canadian government.

In his reports to the UN, Dallaire often makes us understand that the UNAMIR’s direct intervention was necessary to protect the civilian populations, whereas Booh-Booh never mentioned that possibility and preferred to insist on the priority of a ceaseBre, while exonerating the interim government from its liabilities in the ongoing massacres, and this was also France’s position. The submission of Booh-Booh’s reports to the Security Council and the concealment of Dallaire’s have already been mentioned in the general introduction as well as the e=ects of the combined action of these two men, namely the false presentation at the Security Council level of the reality of the genocide on the ground, and the overwhelming observation by the President of the Security Council during the month of April 1994, the New Zealander Colin Keating who did not hesitate to a@rm later on that with better information, the Council would have acted in a noticeably di=erent manner.

French military support during the genocide

A number of testimonies and o@cial French declarations allow us to say that French military support was continuous from October 1990, during the entire period of the genocide until July 1994, the date of its o@cial stop. This support during the genocide manifested itself in direct contacts between the highest-ranking Rwandan military leaders with their French counterparts, in the continuous presence of French soldiers beside the FAR and in the large supplies of arms but especially ammunitions.

4.1 Presence of French soldiers in Rwanda during the genocide

Before tackling the genocide period itself, it is necessary to mention the contradictions with regard to the number of technical military Assistants left behind in Rwanda after the o@cial departure of the French troops on 15th December 1993. The MIP, in its report, shows that only 24 French AMT remained in Rwanda . But on 30th May 1994, Michel Roussin, then Minister of Cooperation, acknowledges on RFI that there were between 40 and 70 remaining.

Many testimonies mention the return of a number of French soldiers previously based in Rwanda towards the month of February 1994 or their continued presence, whereas they were supposed to have left. The Belgian journalist, Colette Braeckman, spent several weeks at a

stretch between the beginning of 1994 and the end of March. She stated to the Commission that during that stay several people, Rwandans as well as expatriates, asserted to her that they had recognized French soldiers who were supposed to have left in December 1993, dressed in civilian clothes. When they were questioned, some of those soldiers explained that they had come back to Rwanda on a short mission. Colonel Walter Balis, a UNAMIR liaison o@cer, also heard by the Commission, reported that “the UNAMIR intelligence unit led by Captain Claysse indicated the presence of French soldiers dressed in civilian clothes who had returned to Rwanda after December 1993. Personally, I met one of them at the Meridien hotel.” During his two day stay at the UN headquarters in New York, on the 28th and 29th of March 1994, General Dallaire learns that France tried to have him replaced at the head of the UNAMIR because, it would seem, she had not liked the references that he had made in his reports on the presence of French o@cers within the Presidential Guard, then strongly associated with Interahamwe. Yet, according to MIP, in August 1992, France had brought to an end the presence of French instructors in that unit, by virtue of the accusations of its involvement in the “killings”

Finally, at the time of the attack on the Presidential plane and the triggering of the genocide, on 6th April 1994, French o@cers were at the heart of FAR’s military unit and seemed to enjoy the trust of the latter during those troubled times. Referring to the possibility according to which French soldiers may have been aware of the preparations of the genocide, General Dallaire explains that “The French supervised the units of the Rwandan army like the Presidential Guard and were present in the headquarters. They were well informed there was something afoot that could lead to wide scale massacres .

Lieutenant Colonel Maurin at the time was adviser to FAR’s Chief of Sta=, while Damy, the colonel in the gendarmerie, was adviser to the Chief of the gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiriyimana . The three main units of FAR involved in the triggering of the massacres of political leaders and the genocide are the Presidential Guard, the paratrooper’s battalion and reconnaissance battalion. On 6th April these units were in radio link – in parallel network – with Colonel Bagosora presumed to be the architect of the genocide. It might be through this secret chain of command that “the lighting” of the “killing machine” may have been made. The paratrooper and reconnaissance battalions were based in Kanombe Camp adjacent to the presidential residence. In that same camp lived Captain de Saint Quentin as well as four French non-commissioned o@cers with their families. De Saint Quentin was technical adviser of the paratrooper battalion and instructor of the airborne troops. Whereas UNAMIR had been forbidden

access to the place of the crash of the presidential plane, de Saint Quentin and two non-commissioned o@cers arrived at the scene some minutes after the fall of the plane.

O@cially, French military presence in Rwanda came to an end with the departure of the last units that had come to carry out Opération Amaryllis of evacuating the French and foreigners from 9th to 14th April 1994. In the framework of this operation, a COS detachment was kept in Kigali and put under the command of the Chief of Sta= of the Armed Forces. Among the points listing his mission, we read “to lead any aerial support operation”, “ex-Bltrate himself if necessary”. The MIP comments on this initiative are as follows:

“On the basis of this personalized address and considering the situation that didn’t stop deteriorating, Lieutenant Colonel Jean- Jacques Maurin would decide the repatriation of the entire COS detachment and the last AMT on 14th April. However, if that had not been the case, we would have legitimately questioned the principle of keeping the COS in Kigali, whereas we no longer had a diplomatic representation. Especially, it is proper to wonder about the mission consisting in directing any aerial operation for which you don’t see whom it would have beneBted, if not the FAR.”

This information makes us realize that a direct military support to FAR was considered by the Chief of Sta= of the French army, on 12th April, that is to say six days after the beginning of the massacres of the Tutsis, when the latter had reached their cruising speed and taken on a systematic character. Various reports show that the French army remained present during the entire period of the genocide. The monthly “Raids” wrote that if almost all the French paratroopers had re-embarked on 14th April, “only some units of the special forces would have stayed ‘in small numbers’ to account for the events to the headquarters of the land forces .”

General Laforge, commander of Opération Turquoise, conBrmed this presence of the French soldiers in Kigali during the period preceding the deployment of the said operation. Deploring the poverty of the intelligence that the Opération Turquoise had at its disposal, he states: “This proves that there were not many people in Rwanda. Apart from those who were locked up in Kigali – but these did not know much and they did not have the right to go for a drive right or left – all the people knew nothing and that was a big problem. ”

Rwandans met French soldiers during the genocide. A major of the gendarmerie narrates that he was in charge of the Kacyiru camp and the buildings housing the ministries in the same area. At that time, he

was facing units of the RPA camped on the opposite hill, at Gacuririo. It is the location of those units, just opposite his forces, that enabled him to ascertain that his meetings with the French soldiers took place after 14th April, the date of their o@cial departure.

“At one time, I received two men who were obviously French, accompanied by a Rwandan soldier. Although they were in civilian clothes, they were undeniably soldiers, by virtue of their gait. I was in the building housing the Ministry of Internal A=airs on the fourth 4oor. They told me that they had been sent by the commander in chief of the gendarmerie and they asked me to show them through the window our positions and those of the Inkotanyi. I showed them and they looked with binoculars. I had showed them an Inkotanyi’s machine gun on the opposite hill, and they asked me if it was not possible to reach them with Milan missiles. After that they went away.”

Deputy Emmanuel Mwumvaneza narrates the circumstances under which he met French soldiers in the east of the country once again, while he was preparing to cross the Tanzanian border intending to seek refuge in that country. He explains that he saw those soldiers during the genocide and before Opération Turquoise.

“Frenchmen, I saw some again in Kiyanza in the prefecture of Kibungo when we were heading towards Tanzania. […] They were busy sensitising Habyarimana’s soldiers (the FAR); they were telling them: the war is over, let’s go! We are going to leave, leave your arms! Don’t be afraid and wait for other arms. We will try to reorganize ourselves and it won’t be long before you come back. Don’t worry! And if you have a problem of clothing, come to an agreement with your brothers so that they lend you theirs and try no to be noticed.”

Apart from this discrete and exceptional presence of French soldiers in Kigali and the east of the country, that is to say in the areas about to fall under the control of the RPF, farther to the west, the region conquered last by the RPA where the FAR had deployed a longer resistance, people point to a presence of a di=erent nature. Some testimonies indicate that French soldiers participated in battles against RPA, much before Opération Turquoise.

Patrick de Saint-Exupery reported a testimony according to which “The French are Bghting beside the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) in the region of Butare during mid-May.” Interrogated, a French soldier did not deny the allegation: “It is possible. They are perhaps mercenaries. ” This presence of French soldiers Bghting beside the FAR in the region of Butare was also mentioned by Jacques Collet, a Belgian photo- journalist of Rwandan origin. Mr. Collet stayed several times in Rwanda

during the genocide. After a Brst trip to Rwanda, he had gone back to Belgium and wanted to return but by passing through Burundi and joining RPF and going with them to the region of Butare. In Belgium, while he was planning his new stay in Rwanda with a French colleague, the latter, also a journalist, had good contacts in the French army. According to Jacques Collet “he rang a French o@cer who strictly advised him against coming to Rwanda and more so to Butare because there are still French troops who are Bghting beside FAR and they are hard-pressed because the RPF is advancing quite fast but they absolutely don’t want people to know that the French are there. Therefore, you, as journalists, will be their Brst targets. You will get killed as soon as they see you, with artillery if need be.”

The Commission was able to get in touch with Collet’s French colleague, who conBrmed all in all the latter’s remarks.

Jean-Paul Nturanyenabo who was a sergeant in FAR explained to the Commission that a DAMI unit stationed at Mukamira had not left in December 1993 and had stayed until the RPA overran the town of Ruhengeri.

“In 1994, some French soldiers remained at Mukamira, but clandestinely. They were almost 4 platoons. […] Towards May, they brought their heavy weapons to the frontline of Maya in Nkumba commune of Ruhengeri prefecture. There were 120 and 105 canons but only 105 canons were used. It is on a small football ground of Maya that the French operated those weapons to shoot on the RPF positions found in Parc National des Volcans. Afterwards, those weapons were kept at the military camp and the French returned to Mukamira. […] Before the capture of Ruhengeri [15th July 1994], those French soldiers based at Mukamira camp went to settle in the Gisenyi military camp with their heavy weaponry.”

The settlement of Opération Turquoise in the town of Gisenyi, where the interim government was established, and its incursion into the Mukamira camp, are reported by di=erent sources. Human Rights watch writes:

“(…) a detachment of 200 elite soldiers entered Rwanda through the north-east at Gisenyi and started carrying out reconnaissance in the region. (…) they established camps in Gisenyi, ready to protect the town that housed the genocide government. Then the troops moved towards the east, at about 25 kilometres, to Mukamira, a military camp where the French had already trained Rwandan soldiers. They were next to Bigogwe, where Barril was supposed to carry out his training

programme, and was in a good position to advance on Ruhengeri, at about twenty kilometres, which was besieged by the RPF.”

An o@cial document quoted by MIP conBrms the incursion by Opération Turquoise up to Mukamira: “On 30th June, General Germanos sent a directive for the 1st July 1994 to the Commander of the Turquoise forces, which speciBes to the French forces that they must continue the reconnaissance missions with the aim of showing their presence: – to the north, by keeping the present deployment up to Mukamira; (…)”

Colonel Rosier, commander of the COS detachment of Opération Turquoise, in his end of mission report indicates in a very concise way that between 24th and 30th June, “still alone in the area, the detachment carried out some extraction missions in the region of Gisenyi.”

Olivier Lanotte, who seemed to have good French military sources, made the following comment on this COS incursion towards the Mukamira camp. He began by referring to the Rosier report. He wrote:

“However, this report does not give any precision on the identity of the people evacuated by the French army on that occasion. We cannot Bnd any more details in the press that didn’t cover the ongoing operations in the region of Gisenyi-Mukamira-Ruhengeri. As for the report of the information Mission, the latter is totally silent on the breakthrough by the Special Forces up to the Mukamira military camp. When you know the care with which France tried to ‘give media coverage to’ her humanitarian operations in favour of Tutsi survivors, especially at Nyarushishi and at Bisesero, it is most unlikely that these people ex- Bltered by the COS in the region of Gisenyi-Mukamira-Ruhengeri, a stronghold of the Habyarimana regime, were Tutsi survivors or simple missionaries. Especially since ‘all the ex-Bltered people who had disembarked from the helicopters of the COS in Goma were Whites.’”

We could add here that Mukamira camp is located between the town of Ruhengeri and that of Gisenyi, which is situated at the extreme west of the country, at the border with Zaïre. This means that the region surrounding the town of Ruhengeri constituted a strategic bolt that prevented the RPF troops from advancing on Mukamira or Gisenyi. And it is only on 15th July that the town of Ruhengeri fell into RPF hands. In fact, simple individuals, French, Rwandans or other allies of the government troops did not need any special extraction mission, because the entire region was until then Brmly under the control of FAR. The distances are not long, going to the West, that is to say to the Zaïrean border, following the tarmac road from Ruhengeri to the

Mukamira camp there are 20 kilometres, between the Mukamira camp and the town of Gisenyi, situated at the border with Zaïre, there are only 40 kilometres. It is certain that the COS extraction mission of Mukamira camp rather concerned the French heavy weapons, especially the 105 mm mortars as is shown in Jean-Paul Nturanyenabo’s testimony. These heavy weapons that could be located by the RPF troops overhanging the region were more delicate to remove, they could have been the target of attack. Those mortars were brought by Colonel Rosier in June 1992, but always remained under guard of the French soldiers.

4.2 High level contact between FAR o@cers and French o@cers

FAR commanders kept contact with French o@cers in charge of the Rwandan dossier. Among those that were Bnally revealed to the public, the most emblematic was that of General Huchon with Lieutenant- Colonel Rwabalinda. On 9th May 1994, General Huchon received Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Rwabalinda, adviser of the FAR Chief of Sta=, from 03 pm to 05 pm, who went on a working mission of Bve days to Paris. In his mission report, Rwabalinda mentioned among “the priorities” tackled by him and his interlocutor:

“- the support of Rwanda by France at the level of international policy; the physical presence of the French soldiers in Rwanda […] for assistance in the framework of cooperation;
the indirect use of regular or non-regular troops; […]”

In the remaining part of his report, Rwabalinda indicates that General Huchon had undertaken to supply 105 mm ammunitions, ammunitions for individual weapons, as well as transmission equipment to facilitate the secret communications between him and General Bizimungu, commander in chief of FAR:

“A secure telephone line enabling General Bizimungu and General HUCHON to talk without being heard (cryptophony) by a third party was brought to Kigali. Seventeen small sets with 7 frequencies were also sent to facilitate communication between the units of Kigali town. They are waiting for shipping at Ostende. It is urgent to prepare an area under FAR control where the landing operations can be done in total security. The Kanombe runway was found convenient on condition of Blling up the possible holes and ward o= the spies moving around the airport.”

Rwabalinda returned to Kigali equipped with a satellite telephone meant to serve the Chief of Sta= of FAR for his travel in the Beld.

In his report, Rwabalinda added that France was ready to continue her support to FAR, but Huchon advised Rwanda to carry out a lot of international sensitisation work to improve its image to foreigners and make the RPF responsible for the massacres:

“(…) General HUCHON clearly made me understand that the French soldiers had their hands and legs tied to make any intervention in our favour because of the opinion of the media that only the RPF seems to be in charge of. If nothing is done to restore the country’s image abroad, Rwanda’s military and political leaders will be held responsible for the massacres committed in Rwanda. He talked about this issue several times.”

This advice given by General Huchon to Ephrem Rwabalinda was taken seriously by the Rwandan host, since in the conclusions of his mission report, he noted: “To be more careful about the country’s image abroad constitutes one of the priorities NOT TO BE lost sight of. The communication equipment that I bring should help us get out of isolation vis-à-vis foreigners.” And he revealed that France was already in the process of giving support to the interim government and its armed forces: “the military house of cooperation is preparing acts of assistance in our favour”.

Rwabalinda’s report is dated 16th May in Gitarama where the interim government was, at the time. On 18th May, RTLM, the voice of Habimana Kantano, informed his listeners of the resumption of French aid as well as the advice for discretion in the massacres:

“Good news for Rwandans. News is really getting good. France has started helping us again, with an additional important assistance, with promises to increase it. Only that, for this good news to continue reaching us, they request us that there should be no more human corpses visible on the road, and also that there should be no people killing others while others watch laughing without reporting them to the authorities.”

There are grounds to beleive that the information of the resumption of French military support came from Rwabalinda and that the message requesting to hide the killings constituted the implementation of the advice given by General Huchon to the latter.

4.3 Delivery of arms and ammunitions during the genocide and their use

According to several sources of information, some of which are o@cial, France supplied arms to the Government of Rwanda on several

occasions while the latter committed genocide. Since the act has been widely documented, in this part we try to present the main facts reported by several available sources in a synthetic way. Here we propose to document the issue further by tackling the use that was made of those arms through the testimony of a group of Interahamwe who ofoaded them from French planes at Goma airport, accompanied them to Rwanda and had some delivered to them.

Deliveries of arms by France during the genocide violated international and French embargoes. So, the deliveries of arms were prohibited by the Arusha Agreement signed on 4th August 1993 as well as by the agreement on the arms free zone established in Kigali town and in the vicinity, signed under the auspices of the United Nations on 22nd December 1993. Finally, on 17th May 1994, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 918 which decreed an arms embargo to Rwanda. The same text instituted a committee charged by the aforementioned Council with the responsibility to supervise observation of that embargo by States.

During his hearing at the MIP, the former French Prime Minister, Edouard Balladur revealed that on 8th April 1994 his government decided “not to supply arms to Rwanda, under any form”. On one hand, there is no trace of that decision, on the other, a number of o@cial declarations allow us to question its e=ective implementation. Thus, the Minister of Foreign A=airs at the time, Alain Juppé, during the same hearing explained that that measure “had been conBrmed on 2nd April by CIEEMG, and on 5th May by the Prime Minister’s o@ce, in accordance with the decision of the restricted committee of 3rd May 1994”.

The same Alain Juppé, during an interview with Philippe Birberson, then President of Doctors without Borders, France, in response to a question on arms delivery replied, on 12th June 1994: “listen, all that is very confused, as a matter of fact there were agreements of cooperation and defence with the government, there are perhaps remainders but with regard to services, I can tell you that since the end of May there certainly has been no more arms delivery to the Habyarimana regime”. But at the same time, he said while looking at the other side of Seine, therefore towards the Elysée: “but what may happen there, I don’t know”.

In his inquiry published in January 1998, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry reported the remarks of a high ranking o@cer who declared to him that “he had given the order to interrupt arms supplies before the beginning of Opération Turquoise” that started on 23rd June 1994.

Finally, President Mitterrand made it known that the deliveries of arms by France continued during the genocide. Interrogated by Bernard Debré, he seems to have replied: “You think,” he said “that the world woke up on 7th April, in the morning, saying: Today, the genocide begins? This notion of genocide became obvious only several weeks after 6th April 1994.”

The Brst information that mentioned deliveries of arms to the government by France appears at the very beginning of the genocide during Opération Amaryllis that came to evacuate French nationals and foreigners. The Belgian Colonel Luc Marshal, commander of the Kigali sector in the UNAMIR framework, who was the source of this information and conBrmed it to the newspaper Le Monde in the following terms:

“On 8th [April 1994], we were informed, he assures, that French planes landed the following day towards 6 o’clock. In fact, they came at 03:45 am. Obviously, there was coordination between the French and the Rwandans. The vehicles that were obstructing the runway were withdrawn during the night. I, personally, wasn’t at the airport, but I had observers of Bfteen di=erent nationalities. They were soldiers, and they knew what they were saying. Some were deBnite: boxes of ammunitions – probably 5 tons – were ofoaded from a plane and transported by vehicles of the Rwandan army to its Kanombe camp that served as support to the Presidential guard.”

Then, the information mentioning the supply of arms by France during the genocide focuses on the airport of Goma, a small Zairian town situated at least Bve kilometres from the Rwandan border. Here is the main information relating to the problem:

Philippe Jehanne, former secret services agent in the o@ce of the Minister of Cooperation, declared on 19th May 1994 to Gérard Prunier: “We deliver ammunitions to FAR passing through Goma. But of course we shall deny it, if you quote me in the press.”

“In May, more than a month after the start of the massacres and even as 10,000 people had been killed in Gisenyi [very near Goma], the French let land an arms cargo in Goma in Zaïre. Whereas the smell of corpses heaped in a mass grave overwhelmed the airport, the arms intended for the murderers were heaped up on the runway. The French Consul in Goma said that he was not in a position to intervene: it involved the application of a private contract, entered before the interdiction of arms sales to Rwanda.”

On 31st May 1994, the newspaper L’Humanité mentioned a letter of 25th May from the Rwandan Embassy in Cairo to the Rwandan Minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana, that announces arms deliveries to FAR by France via Zaïre to whom they are falsely addressed.

On 4th June 1994, Stephen Smith reports that a Boeing 707 delivered arms paid for by France at the Goma airport, on Bve occasions.

“Finally, since the beginning of the Rwandan tragedy, Goma airport was the rear base of the government of the neighbouring country, Rwanda. It is here that the genocide perpetrators were supplied with arms in particular, until ten days ago. Since the defeat of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) in Kigali, on Sunday 22nd May, “the special 4ights” to Goma indeed stopped. Previously, on Bve occasions, a Boeing 707 with registration numbers carefully erased had landed three times during the day and during the night. Its cargo: “every time some 18 tons of arms and ammunitions, ‘of Serbian origin’, according to some people, in cases marked ‘Bulgaria’, according to others. At least once, witnesses a@rm having identiBed South African pilots. In spite of the proliferation of details and contradictory versions, all the sources on the ground – including well-placed French expatriates – express their ‘certainty’ that those arms deliveries were ‘paid for by France’. Nobody is in a position to support this assertion with material evidence.”

A letter of 16th June 1994 from the Continent indicated that: “On 21st June 1994 […] A few days earlier, Colonel Dominique Bon, the military attaché at the French Embassy in Kinshasa, more or less acknowledged that the arms deliveries to ex-FAR did not stop and that they passed through Goma airport, and it is particularly embarrassing since the airport was supposed to be used for humanitarian intervention.”

The Human Rights Watch organisation that carried out an inquiry on the arms deliveries to the genocide forces also interviewed the French Consul in Goma, Jean-Claude Urbano, who repeated to him the same information. Human Rights Watch recalls at the same time that any export of arms from France had to receive Government endorsement.

During the genocide, General Huchon received Lieutenant-Colonel Cyprien Kayumba on several occasions at the military cooperation Mission and the latter stayed 27 days in Paris “to try and accelerate the arms and ammunitions supplies to the Rwandan army”. Kayumba held the functions of chief of logistics in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence and was particularly in charge of arms and ammunitions purchase. He was a member of the crisis committee constituted by Bagosora on 7th April 1994. From the Rwandan Embassy, Kayumba carried out negotiations on transfer and purchase of arms to supply

FAR. In July 1994, Kayumba prepared a report of his mission in France that he forwarded to his superiors, through the Rwandan Embassy in Paris, in which he mentioned six arms deliveries to the tune of 5, 454, 395 US dollars, organised thanks to two companies, DLY-Invest (France) and Mil-Tec (Great Britain) between 19th April and 18th July 1994. After the FAR defeat, Kayumba is suspected of having embezzled money, and in his letter of explanation addressed to Théodore Sindikubwabo, he revealed that he had made, during the genocide from Paris, “6 plane loads, that is to say 240 tons of ammunition”.

Finally, the documents found in the Mugunga refugee camp after the 4ight of the Rwandan refugees due to the attack on the camp by the new Rwandan government troops challenge two French para-public companies in their orders of arms; these companies, SOFREMAS and Luchaire, may have delivered arms to FAR during the genocide and after the embargo decreed by the Security Council.

4.4 Distribution of arms delivered by France to Interahamwe during the genocide.

A group of former elite Interahamwe belonging to the Turihose group, who had told us how its members had been trained by the French in the Ruhengeri and Gisenyi camps, was requested to unload deliveries of arms of French origin. Those former Interahamwe, who all admitted having participated in the genocide, explained not only that they ofoaded arms supplied by France, but witnessed part of their distribution. They received some of those arms and used them to kill Tutsis.

Jean Paul Nturanyenabo a@rms that in 1994 he saw French soldiers some time before arms arrived from Goma.

“The commander of the Ruhengeri operational sector, Colonel Marcel Bivunabagabo, went to Gisenyi to receive French soldiers. I went with him as leader of the team in charge of their protection. […] They (the French) arrived in Gisenyi towards 16 hrs and went to Umuganda stadium. It was in May. The military o@cers went to Méridieen Izuba. Two days later, the young militia who were undergoing training at the stadium were requisitioned to go to Goma and unload arms and ammunitions from the plane, which had transported the French soldiers. Afterwards, they carried the arms and ammunitions to the Gisenyi military camp and began distributing them. They were distributed by Lt. Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva in collaboration with the French and other o@cers. They distributed them at the Umuganda stadium and at the MRND palace (in Gisenyi town). It is the latter, distributed at the MRND palace, which were used at the last battle of

Mburabuturo [a wooded hill in Kigali where there were Berce battles between the RPA and the Interahamwe], others went to Bisesero [in the prefecture of Kibuye]. After this distribution, the burgomasters came for the arms and distributed them to the youth whom they had trained in the communes. In my area, I went there; there was a place where they were trained at Mashyuza, near Bralirwa on a little ground.”

Jean Damascène Uzabakiriho narrates the circumstances under which he went to Goma to unload the arms.

“Just after President Habyarimana’s death in 1994, Cpt Bizumuremyi and Lt Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumwa held a meeting at the Gisenyi military camp in the company of French soldiers. They said that Tutsis had attained their objective and that they were capable of worse, given the fact that they had managed to kill the President. They also said that we were going to receive arms and that friendly countries had accepted to deliver to us arms. That is why, a few days later, they put us in 4 lorries and took us to Goma airport to unload the arms and ammunitions from the plane piloted by French soldiers. After

unloading, we took them to the military camp of Gisenyi. They started distributing them. Some were given to the leaders of the MRND political party and to the civilians who had just received military training at the Umuganda stadium. At that time, Edouard Karemera requested for reinforcement to Kibuye and they chose from the Interahamwe who were at Gisenyi military camp. Major Nubaha also received arms and distributed them at Kibilira [Kibilira commune in Gisenyi prefecture]. French soldiers were present during the distribution of arms. The arms were Kalachnikov Para that launches grenades.”

Orosse Nisengwe is a former Interahamwe; he took part in the Kibuye and Gisenyi battles. He recounts that he was heading for Gisenyi with a group of Interahamwe, on board a bus, when they received new instructions that told them that the battle had not ended and that they should not be discouraged.

“Lt Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, Préfet Charles Zirimwabagabo, Lt Habimana alias Chuk Norris and St Célestin told us not to be discouraged, that we were going to bring arms supplied by the French soldiers. They made us climb into the buses and military lorries. When we arrived at Goma airport, we found there 3 planes, belonging to the French soldiers, full of cases on which were drawn hoes, whereas as a matter of fact there were arms and grenades. […] Then the arms were distributed at the Gisenyi camp, at the Umuganda stadium, in Kayove commune and in several other communes. Me, I was sent to my commune with other young men to provide security there. When they

were giving us those arms at the Gisenyi camp, the French soldiers were present. We used them to hunt the enemy who were the Tutsis in the communes.”
Emmanuel Nshogozabahizi who was an Interahamwe at the time accuses the French of distributing arms in the country, which were used during the genocide.

“What I accuse the French of is that they took part in the training of Interahamwe who committed crimes in Rwanda. I say this because I am one of those who received the training. I also accuse them of distributing arms in the country, which arms were used during the genocide. I am one of those who went to unload them in Goma. It was in May 1994. It is those same arms that we took to Kigali to Bght at Mburabuturo. […] We crossed the border towards 03:30 am in the morning. The bus in which I was went towards Méridien Hotel of Gisenyi. There were Interahamwe who were attending military training at the Umuganda stadium. They are the ones who received hose arms. Those that were at the Méridien, who were fewer, were distributed to the people from Nyamyumba and a small part of Kayove.”

Those three former Interahamwe had previously been trained with French participation between 1992 and 1993.

The presence of French soldiers during the genocide besides FAR involved in the extermination work is clearly established, going to the extent of participating in battles, in the Butare region, or in a more substantial manner, in defence of the regime’s northern stronghold by providing FAR with heavy artillery service. According to information received there is every indication that this French military participation, besides FAR, when all is said and done reduced, did not have a determining impact on the conduct of the war by FAR or even in the execution of the genocide. On the other hand it enabled the French military and political leaders to have a thorough knowledge of what was happening on the ground and especially from the very Brst days of the genocide.

With regard to deliveries of arms and ammunitions, the information collected mentions, simultaneously, dozens of tons of deliveries of French origin. This quantity of arms and ammunitions certainly played an important role in the military reinforcement of FAR and the policy of the interim government, both of them deeply involved in the genocide. The argument that might try to minimise the role of FAR in the genocide cannot be defended. It is falsely in keeping with main studies of the genocide which, on the contrary, credits them with a major role in the planning, organisation and execution of the genocide. It is denied also by the trials and sentences of FAR o@cers by the ICTR, of

whom the most important, like Colonel Bagosora, are accused of being the masterminds of the genocide. Since the French political and military decision makers had, as we have just seen above, agents deployed in di=erent parts of the country during the entire period of the genocide, they were among the best informed people on the nature of the genocide, the army’s involvement and the importance of the assistance in arms and ammunitions for the continuation of the genocide. The proof is that once the FAR were defeated, the genocide came to an end.

Finally, if there ever was any doubt about the role of delivering arms and ammunitions by France during the genocide to the second important group involved in the execution of the genocide, namely the Interahamwe, the testimony narrated here by a former Interahamwe removes it. The arms delivered by France were distributed to them and they used them to kill the Tutsis in the framework of the genocide.


1.1. The decision-making process

The decision to launch Opération Turquoise was the culmination of di=erent pressures exerted on the French executive. These pressures

were of di=erent nature and various origins. Among the latter were the continuation of the massacres and their e=ect on the French public opinion, which, at the same time, began to discover the support given by the French Government to the regime that organised those massacres; that of the international press, of the African President clients of France, and that of the new post-apartheid South Africa. But, the most decisive pressure was the perspective of a total defeat of FAR, allies of the French. Finally, that decision was also taken in a context of political cohabitation in France between a socialist President and a Prime Minister of the right as well as a Minister of Foreign A=airs, also of the right wing, and ambitious.

In the preceding part, we saw how France’s support to the interim government and FAR, which were busy committing a total genocide, never failed from 7th April 1994, date of its beginning. At one time, some French o@cials began to recognise the reality of the genocide, like Alain Juppé, the Minister of Foreign A=airs, who acknowledged it on 16th May 1994, followed by a close ally of Mitterrand, Bernard Kouchner, who, on 18th May 1994 on the TFI television chain, a@rms: “it is genocide”. But these concessions made at the recognition of the genocide did not in any way in4uence France’s support to the genocide regime. It is therefore quite logical that on 10th June 1994, Alain Juppé, while answering journalists who asked him if France intended to intervene in Rwanda, declared: “What would we go to do there? One thousand Bve hundred men would not manage to stop the massacres, especially since one of the parties, the RPF, rejects us”.

The same day, 10th June 1994, several French media consistently reported the massacres of Tutsi children accommodated in a Kigali orphanage run by Father Blanchard, a French citizen. The emotion was at its highest on 11th June, when Father Blanchard, talking on telephone from Kigali, was quoted in all the big television broadcasts of 08 O’clock on the big French channels. On 13th June, the Rwandan tragedy was at the centre of the concerns of an OAU summit that was held in Tunis.

In the meantime, back from Kigali, on 14th June, Father Blanchard, addressed a press conference covered by all the big French radio and television chains. He described the atrocities that the Interahamwe militia subjected to the children of his orphanage. It is at that time that President F. Mitterrand conBded in Edouard Balladur and Alain Juppé: “We must by all means do something; I entirely face up to my responsibilities”

MSF considered that “the France of Human Rights bears an overwhelming responsibility in the shameful events taking place in

Rwanda since 6th April.” It recalls that Rwanda’s tragedy was “a systematic and planned extermination of opponents of a faction supported and armed by France” and raises crucial questions: “How can one beleive that France doesn’t have any means with her protégés [the self-proclaimed government] to stop those massacres?”

African pressures were also exerted on France and especially on President Mitterrand, the main decision-maker of his country’s African policy.

“(…) other pressures from the “domain” call on the French authorities not to stand by idly. The quick progress of the rebel troops increasingly worried the African heads of State who don’t particularly like the perspective of seeing France allow a rebellion, moreover Anglophone, accede to power by force. They don’t miss the opportunity to let it be known and exert pressure on the Elysée and the Quai dÓrsay so that France respects her principles and “security commitments”; in other words, so that the French army may intervene, like in October 1990 and February 1993, to restore calm and stop the RPF from acceding to power.”

In a diametrically opposed direction, from the o@cial point of view, the South African President, Nelson Mandela, exalted by the progress and the result of the elections which, two months earlier, had buried the apartheid era he declared in a speech pronounced during the OAU summit in Tunis, on 13th June 1994: “The situation in Rwanda is a shame for the whole of Africa, (…) Everything must change; we must assert our will for change by taking action.” According to Gérard Prunier, this declaration may have had a powerful e=ect on President Mitterrand who may have seen the threat of an English speaking country intervene in France’s African ‘domain’ , and the moral lesson, that a South African intervention decided by Mandela would have represented, would certainly have been a humiliation hard to accept.

The international community’s lack of action also created an intake of air. After the evacuation, on 21st April 1994, of the greater part of the UN peace keeping forces present in Rwanda, the Security Council, by its resolution 918 voted on 17th May 1994, decided to send UNAMIR II and increase its men to 5,500. But the implementation process dragged on. Only Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal and Zimbabwe proposed a total of 3,200 men, out of the 5,500 required, without equipment and logistic means.

Finally, the RPF’s quick advance on the ground constituted another pressure, certainly decisive. As we shall see preparations for a French military intervention seemed to have started since the beginning of

May, on 9th May 1994, Lieutenant-Colonel Rwabalinda held a working meeting with General Huchon. But as revealed by Alison Des Forges, FAR’s military situation, in the mid June, deteriorated rapidly, assuming, for any party that might have wanted to prevent their collapse, a character of extreme urgency. After the failure of FAR’s counter o=ensive at the beginning of June, on the 13th of the same month, the latter lost the town of Gitarama located at the centre of the country, allowing new RPF advances in the western part of the country.

On 14th June 1994, the decision of a military intervention for humanitarian reasons was taken in the cabinet and was to be under the French 4ag outside the UNAMIR II.

1.2 Disagreement at the level of the French executive on the objectives and modalities of the intervention

A war of re-conquest in favour of the genocide government or a military intervention with clear and limited humanitarian objectives?

The objectives of the French military intervention in Rwanda as well as its modalities of realisation were to oppose President Mitterrand and his Prime Minister Balladur. The minister of Foreign A=airs, Alain Juppé personally got very much involved in the launching and publicity of the initiative. In a fairly special way, this Minister of the right wing aligned himself with President Mitterrand’s positions. President Mitterrand’s project of intervention in Kigali itself was to divide both the town and the country into two and allow either a re-conquest by FAR, or force negotiations on the positions defended by the French army. This French military intervention, in favour of FAR which was committing genocide, seemed to have been prepared for some months. Thus, Sébastien Ntahobari, the military attaché of the Rwandan Embassy, during the genocide, in a letter addressed to Paul Quilès gave an instructive retrospective clariBcation of the visit that Lieutenant-Colonel Rwabalinda paid to General Huchon, head of the military mission at the Ministry of Foreign A=airs. Referring to the coded telephone that General Huchon entrusted to Rwabalinda for delivery to the Chief of sta= of FAR, General Bizimungu, to “forward to Paris protected information for the security of French soldiers of Opération Turquoise which was being prepared.”

Alison Des Forges reported that the French diplomats in charge of defending Opération Turquoise at the Security Council may have presented a map indicating an intervention area including “the whole territory situated at the west of a line starting from Ruhengeri in the north, then went down to the south-west towards Kigali and ended its course in a south western in Butare. That area would have included

Gisenyi, where the interim government had taken refuge, the same region which Habyarimana originated from, like other high ranking army o@cers. This area, where the government forces had concentrated the bulk of the troops and supplies, may have constituted an ideal site to launch a counter-o=ensive.”

On 13th June 1994, Bernard Kouchner went to Kigali to plead the case for Opération Turquoise with General Dallaire. In the UNAMIR headquarters, Kouchner may have presented once again a map showing demarcation of the intervention area of the French soldiers including some districts of Kigali and the entire western part of the country. Kouchner may have asked Dallaire “to request for the intervention of the French soldiers to save the orphans and missionaries trapped behind the Interahamwe lines, in the capital”. Without directly pointing at President Mitterrand, the former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur conBrms the existence of the wish for a French military intervention in Kigali. In his hearing at the MIP, he stated that it is “correct that some leaders envisaged a military intervention, especially in Kigali” A little earlier, he had pointed out the objective of those who defended the intervention in Kigali. The MIP repeats his remarks in the following terms: “an intervention in the form of interposition: this solution, presented by those who were its champions as a way of stopping the advance of the RPF troops, may have involved an act of war led by the French troops on foreign soil. Mr. Edouard Balladur speciBed that he had opposed it, considering that France was not supposed to meddle in what might quickly look like an operation of the colonial type.” In a letter published as an annex by the MIP, he a@rms, with regard to President Mitterrand, that, in his eyes, “he was no responsible for punishing the Hutu perpetrators of the genocide nor was he responsible for allowing the latter to take shelter in Zaïre”.

The Prime Minister opposed President Mitterrand’s aggressive option and gave the following Bve conditions for deployment of Opération Turquoise:

  • –  Authorisation by the United Nations Security Council;
  • –  Restriction of the operation in time to some weeks while waiting for the arrival of UNAMIR;

– Restriction of operations to humanitarian action (sheltering children, the sick and terrorised populations and not indulge in what might be considered as a colonial expedition at the very heart of the Rwandan territory. Any sustainable occupation of a site or part of a territory would present very serious risks, considering the hostility that may result and the political interpretation that they might give to it;

– Positioning of our forces near the border, on the Zaïrean territory, the only one that is available to us;

– Launching of the operations as soon as enough contingents are provided by other countries, except perhaps some operation at the border that we might carry out alone.

Balladur’s opposition seems to have prevented French attack on Kigali, as conBrmed by a military source not revealed to Patrick de Saint- Exupéry: “during the Brst days, it was intended to go to Kigali. These orders were cancelled at the last moment.”

In the face of points of view, the French army would opt for the implementation of two visions, one o@cial, that of Prime Minister Balladur and the other secret, that of President Mitterrand.

But perhaps the main reason that restrained President Mitterrand’s aggressive ambitions is that it was perhaps already too late. On 30th June, seven days after entry of the French forces in Rwanda, General Dallaire went to Goma where the headquarters of the opération turquoise was, to get in contact with the commander of the operation, General Lafourcade. During the discussion, General Dallaire showed a map of the demarcation of the area, which, according to him, Opération Turquoise should occupy. That area had been established according to the positions already occupied by RPF, by establishing a narrow no-man’s land between the two forces. “I went towards Lafourcade’s plan and drew the line, which, according to me, would constitute the extreme limit of the area under French protection, inside Rwanda. He was dismayed: he could not believe that the RPF had moved at such a speed during the previous week.” Dallaire showed that there was rather little space remaining to the east of Gisenyi, that RPF was a about twenty kilometres from the point far east of Gikongoro and Bnally that the region of Butare was mainly under its control. Faced with this situation, France had to save face by establishing, at the beginning of July, “a safe humanitarian area” situated in the south- west of the country. We shall come back to it.

In the meantime, on 22nd June 1994, the Security Council voted resolution 929 that allowed France to intervene in Rwanda under chapter VII (authorisation to use force in case of need). Five countries abstained. These were China, Brazil, Nigeria, New Zealand and Pakistan. The international community authorised this operation with a lot of reservation and in a very conditional manner. The resolution highlighted the strictly humanitarian nature of the intervention, its limit in the time of two months and forbade her to form “an intervention force between the parties.”

1.3 Orders of operation, composition and progress

The orders of operation were established on 22nd June. The mission of the Turquoise forces is “to bring an end to the massacres wherever it is possible, by possibly using force.”

The rules of engagement are as follows:
– To adopt an attitude of strict neutrality towards the di=erent factions in con4ict. This imperative means that it is a question of stopping both the massacres of Tutsis by the militia and the exactions committed by the RPF in reprisals against the Hutus;
– To emphasise the idea that the French army came to stop the massacres and not to Bght RPF, nor support FAR […];
– To a@rm the humanitarian character of the operation, working in liaison with NGOs, whenever possible. […]

The orders of operation foresaw also the realisation of two additional operations. It involved Brst of all “being ready ultimately to progressively control the area of the Hutu country towards Kigali and the South towards Nyanza and Butare and intervene on the regrouping sites to protect the people”. Secondly, Turquoise forces were required “to assert with the Rwanda authorities, civilian and military, our neutrality and determination to stop the massacres on the entire area under control of the Rwandan armed forces, by encouraging them to re-establish their authority”.

Finally, the rules of engagement established by General Lafourcade indicate that “the political objective sought is to implement the Arusha Accord, supported with determination by France. The stop of massacres and observance of a ceaseBre are the conditions sine qua none of the resumption of dialogue between the parties, initiated in Arusha, as the only possible solution of the con4ict. France is determined in her support to this process, therefore to stop the exactions.”

In the context of a total genocide organised by the interim government and committed by and with the support of FAR, in a context of constant and quick retreat by the latter, the only way of considering the return to the Arusha Accord was through the imposition of this government on the RPF through a confrontation between the French troops and the latter.

1.4. Impressive human and material means

To carry out this operation, France lined up a total of 3,060 men from the best units of her army: units of the 3rd semi-brigade of the foreign Legion, the 2nd foreign infantry regiment, the 2nd foreign regiment of paratroopers, the 6th foreign engineering regiment, units of the marine tanks infantry regiment; special forces of the RPIMa acting in the framework of “special operations” (OPS) with agents of the GIGN and the EPIGN, and in parallel with the CRAP teams of the 11th DP and units of the 13th RDP; two units of the army health service, (a rapid medical intervention unit called EMMIR based in Cyangugu and the Bio- force based in Goma), units from the 11th CRAP parachutist division of the 35th RAP, support and transmitters of the 14th RPCS . Describing the deployment put in place, a journalist from Libération depicts Turquoise as an outBt of “elite forces belonging especially to the land force, […], the air force, the marine and the gendarmerie [which] are the best trained, the best equipped […] of the French army, equipped with exceptional means, in terms of Bre power, communication system and intelligence”

Troops of the French army were supported by 508 soldiers provided by seven African countries : Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Egypt, Niger and Congo. These seemed to serve as an international security to the French armada.

At the material level, the means are equally important. With regard to the most visible of the aerial equipment, according to a specialised military magazine, Opération Turquoise deployed on the advanced bases of Goma, Bukavu and Kisangani “six C-130 Hecules, nine C-160 Transall, a Falcon-20 and a communications CASA-235. Besides, the air force chartered an Airbus, a Boeing-747 as well as seventeen Antonov- 124 Condor and Illyshin II-76 for heavy freight. On the Kisangani base was kept four Jaguar tactical support planes (from Bangui), four Mirage-F1 CT tactical support planes (from Colmar), four Mirage F1-CR reconnaissance planes (from Reims), and two C-135F in 4ight supply planes”.

All these troops were under the command of General Lafoucarde who, as the chief of operations, “has a post of theatre inter-armed command (PCIAT), directly linked to the Paris inter-armed operational centre (COIA), that is to the Army Chief of Sta=, Admiral Jacques Lanxade.” Lafourcade’s PCIAT is based in Goma near the airport.

Opération Turquoise had four phases, starting with the o@cial installation, on 23rd June 1994 and the entry into Rwanda up to the retreat, on 22nd August. Phase 1, devoted to “exceptional operations”, was carried out exclusively by the 222 units of the specialised Group which was a detachment of the Special Operations Group (COS),

consisting exclusively of “special forces”. The role of the specialised group was to open up the way to the rest of the force. It was commanded by Colonel Rosier who led the communications and operations Detachment (DLMO) established in Bukavu. In Rwanda, the same COS-Turquoise Groups were in action: the Group 1 COS-Turquoise, which was under the command of Colonel Didier Tauzin alias Thibaut, and consisted of 68 men of the 1st RPIMA. This group entered Rwanda o@cially on 23rd June through Cyangugu. It went directly to the Tutsi refugee camp of Nyarushishi to which it “provided security”. It stayed there for about a week while part of the group deployed on the side of Gikongoro. There was Group 2 under the command of Rémy Duval, alias Diego, commanding 43 Air parachutist commandos of the specialised Group of the National Gendarmerie (GSIGN) to the town of Kibuye. This group was transported by helicopter. Finally, there was the Group 3 COS-Turquoise consisting of 44 Trepel marine commandos and four gendarmes of zGIN. They were under the command of army Captain Marin Gillier alias Omar. This group left Cyangugu on 24th and went to Kibuye, then turned back to settle at Kirambo and Gishyita. The group’s assignment was to make a reconnaissance of the southern part of Kibuye, including the region of Bisesero.

During the Brst days of July, Phase 1 saw the end of the activities of the COS detachment even if most of the troops remained in Rwanda and were reinforced by new arrivals. Two groups and a detachment were constituted and remained in the country until the end of the operation on 22nd August 1994.

The North Inter-arms group included the prefecture of Kibuye and was under the command of Colonel Patrice Sartre and consisted of three units of marine troops as well as Senegalese, Guinea-Bissauan, Congolese and Nigerien contingents.

The South Inter-arms Group, which included the prefecture of Cyangugu, was under the command of Jacques Hogard. It consisted of a tactical headquarters of about 400 men essentially from the foreign Legion and a Chadian contingent. Finally, this group also had a rapid intervention military medical Unit (EMMIR) established in the Kamarampaka stadium of Cyangugu.

During this Phase 1, at least during three skirmishes, French troops clashed with those of the RPF. The latter even held under Bre a long column of French soldiers who were only freed after negotiations between the two parties at the highest level.

Phase 2 corresponds to the establishment, on 6th July, of the so-called “safe humanitarian area” (ZHS). Faced with the rapid retreat of FAR under RPA pressure and the movement of hundreds of thousands of

people towards the south-west of the country, France informed the United Nations Secretary General of the intention to set up a ZHS in Rwanda and requested UN approval. In order to do this, France thought that she did not need a new resolution on the basis of resolutions 925 and 929. The essence of the French argument was as follows:

“[…] using resolutions 925 and 929, to organise a safe humanitarian area where the people would be sheltered from the war and the resulting grave consequences in this country. The Franco-Senegalese forces would see to it that, in the framework of the mandate that was theirs, there was no activity that was likely to a=ect the security of those people, and that it was carried out in or from this area. This area should centre on the region where humanitarian problems are most acute, taking into su@ciently vast consideration the people concerned and all in one block to stabilise the people on the ground and facilitate the movement of humanitarian support. On the basis of the information in our possession, this area should include the districts of Cyangugu, Gikongoro and the southern part of Kibuye, including the Kibuye-Gitarama axis until and including Ndaba Hill”

On 6th July, the United Nations Secretary General gave his approval to the French initiative on the basis of paragraph 4 of resolution 925. Whereas RPF captured Kigali on 4th July and Ruhengeri and Gisenyi were about to fall, on 8th July they announced demands in relation to ZHS. The latter was supposed to be reserved strictly for civilians, and FAR and the militia who were there were supposed to be disarmed and those responsible for the massacres arrested.

Finally, a number of commanders and members of the elite troops involved in COC groups were former elements of Noroît and DAMI of 1990-1993.

– Colonel Jacques Rosier, commander of Opération Noroît from
June to November 1992 was the leader of Group of Special Operations (COS) during the Opération Turquoise.
– Colonel Didier Thibaut and Colonel Jacques Rosier commanded COS which were the spearhead of “Turquoise”, they were there to wage war against RPF, as illustrated by the vitriotic declaration by Thibaut on 4th July at Gikongoro.
– Colonel Etienne Joubert, chief of DAMI/Panda from 23rd December 1992 to 18th May 1993, incorporated in the Chimère detachment, came back during Turquoise as an intelligence, then operations o@cer in the 1st RPIMA detachment.
– Thierry Prungnaud, warrant o@cer class 1 of GIGN, member of the DAMI-Presidential Guard, trained the Presidential Guard in 1992 and is detailed to the COS detachment commanded by Marin Gillier.

– Erwan De Gouvello, commander of the marine troops, was an AMT at the beginning of 1994, stationed at camp Kigali of FAR. He was adviser to Colonel Satbenrath at Gikongoro during Turquoise.
– Lieutenant-Colonel Marcel was commander of the operational sector of Byumba during Opération Chimère in February-March 1993. In 1994, he is stationed under the PC of Colonel Jacques Rosier during Turquoise.
– Commander Chamot (squadron major), MT, was ambassador in Kigali on 6th April 1994. He was under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Hogard at the south EMT during Turquoise.
– Commander Fargues (or Forgues?), squadron major, AMT, was in Kigali on 6th April 1994. He found himself under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Hogard at the south EMT during Turquoise.

General Dallaire had lunch with General Lafourcade , and his o@cers, during his visit on 30th June at the general Headquarters of Opération Turquoise in Goma. He reports what he heard: “They refused to accept the existence of genocide and the fact that the extremist leaders, the bosses and some of their former colleagues are part of the same clique. They did not hide their desire to Bght the RPF.”

According to orders of the operation, the equipment and the personnel of the command of Opération Turquoise, all the conditions of a war against RPF were in place but, unfortunately, it was against the Tutsis generally. Contrary to the declarations of French intentions, what the description of the action of the French troops of Turquoise in Rwanda shows in an abundant, recurrent and precise manner is that shadowy but quite murderous war against the Tutsis, in the middle of genocide.


The prefecture of Cyangugu was situated at the extreme south-west of the country. Today, the administrative divisions have changed. Part of its western façade faced Lake Kivu, while the southern part of the façade was linked with Zaïre by a short land border. Finally, the extreme south of the prefecture formed an important stretch of land that entered the Burundian territory. The main access road to the prefecture coming from the centre of the country was the Kigali- Cyangugu road which crossed Nyungwe forest. The prefecture had not been a=ected by the Bghting because it was part of the so-called “safe humanitarian Zone”. It was the theatre of the genocide like the major part of the country until UNAMIR took over from the French troops, on 21st August 1994, as we shall see. After the Brst campaigns of massacres, the prefecture and town of Cyangugu had experienced a relative calm; there, like everywhere else, most of the Tutsi population had been massacred before the arrival of Opération Turquoise. There

were only a few people remaining hidden here and there, perhaps in small groups. The only important assembling point for survivors was at the Nyarushishi camp where there were approximately 8,000 displaced Tutsis. On 19th, 20th and 21st of July, a massive exodus of the people, the militia and FAR invaded the town, on their way to Zaïre.

Group 1 of the Turquoise COS entered Cyangugu on 23rd June 1994 and went directly to the internally displaced Tutsis’ camp of Nyarushishi. It consisted of 58 men of the 1st RPIMA under the command of Colonel Didier Tauzin alias Thibaut. His deputy was Colonel Hervé Charpentier, alias Colin. The intelligence and then operations o@cer of the 1st RPIMA detachment was Lieutenant-Colonel Joubert.

On 30th June, the south Turquoise group covering the prefecture of Cyangugu took up its duties in the prefecture. It consisted of troops of the foreign Legion under the command of Colonel Jacques Hogard. Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Louis Laporte was the second in command, in charge of logistics. Captain Bruno Gilbert was deputy operations o@cer, Captain Georges Le Menn was second operations o@cer, and Captain Bernard Gondal was head of the intelligence o@ce. The post of the southern group command was based at the Kamembe airport.

The Brst contingents of Opération Turquoise were received with joy and jubilation by the o@cial regional and some national authorities, the senior FAR o@cers, Interahamwe and the rank and Ble FAR. The press, duly invited, echoed this triumphal reception.

“There are triumphs that people could do without. On Thursday the 23rd, it is under applause and cheers that a Brst detachment of the 11th paratrooper division penetrates if not on Rwandan, on Hutu soil. Leaving a heavy feeling of contempt in its wake, strewn with hurriedly sawn French 4ags – sometimes upside down –.”

“Right away, Colonel Didier Thibaut, patron of the Red Berets of Cyangugu, makes every e=ort to clear up the misunderstanding. “We are here neither to Bght the RPF nor to support the FAR”, he says to the préfet and the military o@cers, duly convened.”

When he wanted to go to Nyarushishi, Colonel Thibaut requested the cumbersome reception committee not to follow him, perhaps because he didn’t want to be in the lens of the camera at the time of rescuing the Tutsis.

“It is very simple, he emphasizes to the three dignitaries whom he summoned and who are now surrounding him in silence, I don’t want to

see neither machete, nor bow, nor spear and above all no e=usiveness! Civilians should not accompany my men beyond the borders of the town. Do you understand?”
When he reached the Nyarushishi camp, a few kilometres from the town, the Colonel made a solemn declaration.

“Amahoro” shouted Colonel Didier Thibaut in Kinyarwanda (Peace be with you!) We came on a peace mission, the o@cer explained. We don’t want to make war to nobody. We just want to stop the massacres. Therefore, this evening, we shall stay here.” And to the préfet who is getting ready to leave: There is one thing that we cannot accept, Mr. Préfet: it is attaching civilians. The Bghts between the government forces and the RPF are not our concern. Is it clear?”

Here is the picture of the Opération Turquoise that the French army wanted to present. Doubts began to cross journalists’ minds when during the Brst days French soldiers did nothing to disarm the militia, a position assumed by Colonel Thibaut who plainly asserted: “We have no orders to disarm the militia”.

Genocide survivors, militia, former members of the FAR and other inhabitants of Cyangugu give a particularly gloomy picture of the French action during its two months presence in the prefecture. In a recurring manner, various witnesses show how French soldiers closely collaborated with the militia, the main perpetrators of the massacres, ordering them to arrest all the Tutsis whom they meet. Then, how they, in a systematic way, let the militia continue to kill, often before their eyes. Another important theme of those testimonies is France’s action in the Nyarushishi camp and on the way the protection posts, established and guarded by several French soldiers at various access points of the camp, were doubled by a perimeter larger than the roadblocks mounted by the Interahamwe whose mission was not to let the Tutsis enter or leave the camp; a number of those who tried it were killed. Still in the Nyarushishi camp, a victim narrates how French soldiers subjected her top particularly atrocious sexual slavery. Elsewhere in town, many victims talk about collaboration between French soldiers and the killers to bring them very young Tutsi girls to rape, whom they then threw back in the street knowing very well that they were likely to be killed. Finally, various witnesses tell how French soldiers strongly incited the population to 4ee to Zaire.

1) The Opération Turquoise, shield of the FAR in Cyangugu

The Opération Turquoise had a military action of protecting the FAR on the run particularly apparent in Cyangugu according to the analysis by Major Félicien NGIRABATWARE, a direct witness of the facts. A member

of the FAR, in 1994, he was a student at the National University of Rwanda at the faculty of LAW at MBURABUTURO in Kigali. He rejoined the army on 13th April 1994 and was stationed at Muhima Camp, from where he left for Ruhengeri at the beginning of July; then he went to Cyangugu. He stayed in that area until the end of August 1994, the date on which he joined the RPA.

“From a military point of view, to be received implies two things; to provide cover Bre for troops retreating under enemy Bre and to receive them in a secure place. The cover is provided by the units that are behind the others on the battleBeld who shoot at the enemy to prevent him from the retreating troops. This was done by the French soldiers in zone Turquoise for the FAR who were 4eeing from the RPF. As for the reception, it is the act of receiving the pursued soldiers, treating the injured, helping them to regain morale and sheltering them from the enemy. Militarily, in Cyangugu and Kibuye [part of the Zone Turquoise in which he lived] the French soldiers served as “overhead bridge cover” although referred to by some people as humanitarian zone. The understanding of the role played by the French on one hand and that played by the FAR on the other hand, results from the mastery of the general context of the war. I never saw anything humanitarian in the Opération Turquoise; for me there is nothing to justify this qualiBer. This operation is in keeping with the nature of their military support. At Rubengera, the French soldiers ordered the population and the soldiers to go down towards Cyangugu by separating soldiers from civilians. When they arrived in Cyangugu on the 19th, 20th, and 21st July 1994, they found the buildings still intact among them those belonging to the government. But after that date, looting and destruction of property were systematic and the French soldiers let go. The role of France in the genocide amounts to that military support that she persisted in providing to the FAR since the beginning of the war against the RPF and that she maintained during the genocide under cover of humanitarian action by ensuring their orderly retreat in order to return later with renewed force.”

Bernard Surwumwe is an ex-FAR. He illustrates in a synthetic manner the previous remarks by showing the French protection given to the ex- FAR since the last clashes against the RPA in Ruhengeri in the middle of July until the retreat into Zaire by passing through Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu.

“I witnessed French assistance to the FAR in combat in July 1994 when the RPF threatened the town of Ruhengeri. We 4ed towards Gisenyi and, while we were at the top of Mukamira, General Bizimungu encouraged us to resist and not to 4ee because, he said, the French had already arrived to help us. Indeed, they had already installed their

support weapons at the hill tops of Bigogwe and threw bombs at the Inkotanyi who were pursuing us. The French managed to slow down their progress and this enabled us to extricate ourselves. We continued towards Kibuye then Cyangugu where our leaders were hoping to organise a resistance. On the way, it is the French who were protecting our itinerary. They had already erected roadblocks in several places like at Gishyita and Ntendezi. When we arrived in Cyangugu, we were quartered in the buildings of the MRND (Mouvement pour le Rassemblement National et de Développement, Habyarimana’s party). And during the crossing of the border towards Bukavu, they are the ones who transported our arms up to the military camp of Mpanzi where General Bizimungu joined us by helicopter in the company of Prime Minister KAMBANDA and two French men.”

2) Collaboration between the French soldiers and the Interahamwe in the continuation of the assassinations of Tutsis

Various witnesses relate how French soldiers collaborated with the Interahamwe in the continuation of the assassinations of Tutsi survivors. This cooperation was either active when those soldiers gave instructions to the Interahamwe to continue killing, or passive by letting the Interahamwe kill in their full view whereas as an occupying force they knew the legal and moral obligation to bring those killings to an end.

Elisé Bisengimana, completing the university and a native of Cyangugu, was there during the entire period of the Opération turquoise. After the genocide, he was the préfet of Cyangugu and he is currently a member of parliament. His testimony shows the evolution of the collaboration between the French soldiers and the militia in the screening of Tutsis and their delivery to the Interahamwe for killing.

“Since their arrival, the French soldiers Brst of all collaborated with the gendarmes and the Interahamwe on the roadblocks and in patrols. But in the end, they remained with the Interahamwe only after setting the gendarmes aside especially at the time of the exodus towards Zaïre. At the roadblocks in the town of Cyangugu, they checked identity cards and searched people and vehicles, recovering the arms found on the ex-FAR in 4ight and having them kept by the Interahamwe. During the identity checks at the roadblocks, the term “Hutu” on the identity card authorised the person to pass whereas the term “Tutsi” or the features of the Tutsi type were enough for not crossing the roadblock and being handed to the Interahamwe. As for the destination of the arms recovered on the roadblocks, some of them were given to the Interahamwe who helped the French on their patrols and on those roadblocks. The rest was carried DRC during the general 4ight.”

Jean Ndihokubwayo was an Interahamwe and a foreign exchange dealer at the Rusizi I border near the bridge which separates Cyangugu from Bukavu in Zaïre. The extract of his testimony is on the collaboration between the French soldiers and the Interahamwe to whom they distributed arms to track down and kill the Tutsis.

“The French soldiers entered Rwanda in 1994, after crossing the RUSIZI I boarder of Cyangugu from Zaïre. Those soldiers entered in two di=erent stages. The Brst time, a group of three French soldiers came to Rwanda’s border (Rusizi I). They discussed with the immigration o@cer whom they told that they were coming for the zone turquoise but that they were going to cross the same day. The second time, a group of French soldiers entered the following morning. They met Colonel SIMBA and Député KAYONDE. After their discussion, the French soldiers explained to us that they were coming to save the HUTUS who were likely to be exterminated by the TUTSIS.

Then they asked us to call the soldiers of that area. I called six of them and we all went with SIMBA and that group of Frenchmen. We went to a house that belonged to SIMBA, slightly set back from the road in comparison with the rest of the town. That house was surrounded by a thick bush. The French soldiers drove their lorries into the courtyard of the house. Inside the courtyard, we lined up perpendicular to the French lorries. Then the French soldiers started distributing arms insisting on clearing or burning down the vicinity of their general headquarters to avoid any inBltration by the elements of the RPF or their accomplices. They told us literally through SIMBA: “we are going to give you arms and machetes to clear the bushes and thus avoid that the Tutsis might shoot at us.”

Then they gave us three guns, grenades and machetes. The machetes were in big boxes which the French brought themselves in their car to distribute them to us. We dispersed in di=erent directions around the house and started searching the brushwood. We 4ushed out two Tutsis whom we killed, one by machete, the other one tried to run and one of us, a soldier by the name Masunzu shot him., We were using arms received from the French. Further on, near the prison, we 4ushed out another Bve who managed to dodge our shots. We went to give a report of operation and they paid us 700 FF. I kept two hundred and my companions shared the remainder. They then asked us to stay with them to help them. It is in this sense that after consulting the French, SIMBA sent us to look for reinforcements. I was able to bring three young men who in turn received arms and grenades.

Jean Bosco Habimana alias Masudi was a member of the FAR who underwent commando training. At the end of June 1994, he was in

Cyangugu and was one of the six soldiers brought by the previous witness, Jean Ndihokubwayo, to the French soldiers at the border. He participated in the search in the brushwood surrounding SIMBA’s house in which the French detachment was going to settle.

“The French soldiers arrived in Cyangugu, crossed the Rusizi saying that they were coming to save the Hutus. As soon as they arrived, they told the Interahamwe group, who received them warmly, that they feared that the Hutus were the ones being killed, that if that was the case the situation would have been more complicated. But, since it was the Tutsis who were being killed, there was no problem because they were coming to protect the Hutus and thwart the RPF advance towards Cyangugu. Immediately after crossing the border [arrived in Colonel Simba’s house], they distributed among us grenades, guns and two-edged machetes. We were a group of Interahamwe and former soldiers. Since I was a former soldier, I received an L4 gun, an M28 grenade and a machete. They ordered us to go into the vicinity to track the enemy, that is to say the Tutsis, who might be hiding in the bushes and kill them with machetes. We did it, and actually killed Tutsis who had hidden in the bushes. Moreover, we no longer feared going to search peoples’ houses since we were armed, something that we could not do without those arms. […] They were used to kill the Tutsis at the Gasandara roadblock and very near the river Rusizi where corpses of the people killed were thrown in the river. I killed two people with those guns at the same place. Similarly, a certain Marcel, with a machete that he had received from the French, killed a Tutsi who had hidden in the bush situated below Vuningoma’s home. […]. The killings intensiBed and there were many corpses in the river Rusizi. The French told us that we were stupid to let the corpses 4oat on the surface of the water, that it would become a serious problem if photos were taken, and then they showed us what to do to ensure that those corpses don’t 4oat. They climbed into boats and went towards the 4oating corpses which they disembowelled with the use of bayonets.”

Calixte Gashirabake is a native of east Kibuye, in the former commune of Kivumu where he saw the soldiers of the Opération turquoise arrive. He gave speciBc examples of screening displaced persons, in search of Tutsis, at a roadblock manned by French soldiers and the FAR and who were entrusted by the French soldiers or the FAR for killing. He gives other examples of the same type of action, this time in Cyangugu.

“In June 1994 I saw French soldiers at Kivumu. They were there in the framework of the Opération turquoise. In the company of the FAR and Policemen, they Brst of all put up a roadblock near the commune, then they organised a meeting with the displaced persons of Isanza to tell them that the had come to ensure their security and if possible protect

them during their 4ight into exile because the Inkotanyi were likely to massacre them. At that roadblock, the French and FAR were carrying out a rigorous control so that no single Inkotanyi might escape them because the latter could hide in the crowd of displaced persons. I, personally was arrested when I tried to pass without an identity card. I was going to lose my life if the commune adviser, Ndaryemera, had not intervened in my favour. It is at that roadblock that a lady by the names of Béatrice alias Nyamunini was arrested and killed with her husband. She was a clerk of the court. The Rwandan policemen pulled her out of the crowd and went to kill her in the bush not far from there. The French soldiers saw everything but they did nothing to stop them. She was suspected of being an accomplice of Inkotanyi. The French soldiers advised the FAR to carry out a serious check in such a way that no Inkotanyi was able to escape from them. That is why they asked every passer-by to show his identity card. That is how at that same place, a certain Nyamaswa was arrested and they asked him for his identity card. They realised that he was Tutsi. This was conBrmed by the people who knew him. According to them, he had been absent

from the village for a long time and it was murmured that he had gone to be recruited by the Inkotanyi. Since that day, he has never been seen. Later on, while people were 4eeing from Inkotanyi on the road to Cyangugu, we found another roadblock manned by the French and the FAR soldiers. They arrested four people among us. Then, the rest of us, they forced us to continue our way. Nobody will know their fate. We spent a whole month in that area. The French used to tell us that they are going to Zaïre to prepare our place of refuge and that they would take us there thereafter. Finally, we were transported and concentrated in the Nyarushishi camp before continuing to Zaïre. On the bridge of Ntendezi, the Interahamwe arrested and killed a young man suspected of being Inkotanyi when he tried to cross that bridge. They asked him his identiBcation and he told them: “frankly, don’t waste your time, I am Tutsi!” Hardly had he pronounced the last word than they stabbed him. The French who were sitting on the bridge saw everything and didn’t bat an eyelid.”

Thomson Mubiligi was an Interahamwe and collaborated with the French troops during the genocide in Cyangugu.

“I saw the French arrive in Cyangugu. Some of them went to Nyarushishi, others to the airport and another group of soldiers moved everywhere. They collaborated closely with the Préfet of Cyangugu and the gendarmerie and often held meetings with FAR senior o@cers as well as the leaders of the Interahamwe. In this framework, they closely collaborated with the President of CDR, Bantari Ripa, the President leader of the Interahamwe in Cyangugu, Nyandwi Christophe, as well

as Yusuf Munyakazi, leader on the Interahamwe of Bugarama who went to give reinforcement in Kibuye. […]
In Cyangugu, the Interahamwe continued to kill in spite of the presence of the French soldiers. Indeed, those Interahamwe kept their roadblocks and the French did nothing to neither disarm them nor chase them away from those roadblocks. Some Interahamwe from Kigali looted in the town of Cyangugu and also the French did nothing to stop them. […] One of the senior French o@cers was called Lieutenant-Colonel Hogard, others called themselves Commanders to foreign legions. […]

The French distributed arms to some people, among them: me, Habimana Anaclet who was a soldier in the FAR, and another Habimana. They also gave red bands that we were supposed to wear for identiBcation, telling us that we were going to help them in providing security. In return, we received iron rations. […] The French let the Interahamwe kill with impunity.”

Vincent Nzabaritegeka was a mechanic in the Nyungwe Forest project at Ntendezi in the prefecture of Cyangugu. He asserts that French soldiers distributed arms to the leaders of Interahamwe who then used them to kill the Tutsis.

“Towards the 25th of June, it was a Monday [The witness gets it wrong in his approximation, Monday was the 27th June], Samuel Manishimwe, préfet Bagambiki and 7 Frenchmen in their jeeps came and ordered me to open the gate. They were with gendarmes. Immediately, I saw them enter a Benz lorry, hermetically closed, belonging to the French. They told me that they were looking for the project director, Mr. Déo Mbanzabigwi, so that he may give them a free room. After telling them that the director was absent, Préfet Bagambiki ordered me to give him the keys, and I did so. He opened one of the rooms and ordered the 12 gendarmes to unload the arms which were in the lorry. According to what one of the gendarmes said, they were M16 guns and 5 boxes containing grenades. The préfet told the gendarmes that they were supposed to stay behind and guard those arms. […]

The following day, Yusuf [Munyakazi], Samuel Manishimwe, the préfet and the director came back and held a meeting during which they said that the reservists were reenlisted in the army that, therefore, the arms were going to be distributed to the militarily trained Interahamwe.

Thus they distributed arms and grenades. They were giving a gun and grenades to each person. After that they told them to go and “work”, starting with Bugarama. Déo said that I could not stay without means of defence and they gave me a gun and grenades. They also gave guns and grenades to our engineer and to two other people to guarantee

the security of the centre and its vicinity. […]

On the 28, towards evening, Yusuf came back and told us that he had solved the problem of Gafunzo [a locality of the Bugarama region, Yusuf Munyakazi’s stronghold], where the only serious problem remaining was Bisesero where attacks had been conducted since he 27th and that people had to Bnd a way of going there. We took out the arms, guns and grenades that were remaining in stock and the gendarmes loaded them in Yusuf’s vehicle. Before leaving, the latter told us that the attack on Bisesero would take place on Friday the 29 [Once again the witness gets the day wrong, the 29th was a Wednesday. On the other hand the dates given in reference to Bisesero in this extract correspond to the events in Bisesero].

Actually, they went to attack Bisesero on the 29th, […] The French distributed, publicly, the guns that were used to perpetrate the massacres. I witnessed this distribution when I was accompanying the director and the engineer. Mutabazi and even those two used them publicly. Moreover, those guns were used to kill the people of Nyamuhunga. Also, when I was coming back from Nyamasheke to transport a wounded person whom Yusuf had entrusted me with, I came back to Ntendezi and I noticed that the people had started being killed at Ntendezi roadblock. It is in this framework that a certain Eugène was killed. Some people said that he was a musician at chez Lando and a native of Butare but we inquired and learnt that he came from Gishoma. At the Shagasha, people were also killed by the guns distributed by the French.”

Gaspard Nteziryimana received military training from French soldiers so as to be a member of the “red bands”, a group of auxiliaries of the French soldiers. After being assaulted by the Interahamwe and left for dead because he had hidden Tutsis, the French soldiers forced him to accuse the RPF while they were Blming his declarations.

“I saw French soldiers in June 1994. They trained us in the use of Brearms and military tactics at Mataba in Nyamasheke. We were more than 160 young men from the former sectors of Mubumbano, Nyamasheke and Butambara. […] We started the training that was going to last 15 days. We received training from 7h00, had a break for an hour and a half and resume until 17h00. We went back home in the evening. We asked them why they let us go back home whereas we were undergoing military training and they told us that we would no be recruited in the army but that we were going to support the Opération Turquoise so as to stop the Inkotanyi from crossing Gikongoro and overrun Cyangugu. After the closing ceremony of the training, we went back home. After some time the sector advisers summoned us to receive the equipment according to our merits and to start the service.

At Nyamasheke, the French gave us about Bfteen guns (FAL and Kalashnikovs) and military uniforms, the same as those of the FAR. They also gave us a document certifying that we had received those arms from them and a band of red cloth that we wore on the shoulders to di=erentiate us from the FAR and prove that we supported the French. At one time, the French took back the arms that they had given to us and I went back home. […]I had hidden four Tutsis at home, among them was Dusabe Julienne and they were discovered by the Interahamwe during the distribution of the property of the Tutsis. The Interahamwe, among them Antoine Hitimana, Cyrille Kalisa, Sabin, Patrice, François, Barthélemy Iyakagaba and many more came to look for me and burgomaster Aloys Kamana with his elder brother who was the President of the MDR Power gave the order to kill me. The Interahamwe assaulted me with a machete and went away thinking that they had killed me whereas I had only fainted. When the French learnt about it, they came and evacuated me on board their jeep. They took me to Kamembe, at the Saint-Francis health centre run by the Sisters. The French soldiers cared for me, they put me in a tent and they took their time to treat me. Three days after, I had regained consciousness and they asked me to explain to them what had happened. I explained to them that it was the Interahamwe who had made an attempt on my life but they didn’t want to accept the explanation. They brought a native lady from Butare to translate what they were telling me. They told her to explain to me that I had to write asserting that it was the Tutsis of the RPF who had done it so that they may continue to treat me. I explained to her that it was not true, that it was the Interahamwe who had done it because I had hidden Tutsis. They let me know that they could not continue treating me, saying that they were going to throw me out because I refused to lie that it was the Inkotanyi who had wanted to kill me. They photographed me. I had no choice and since I was likely to be killed if I returned home, I accepted to tell lies. A report saying that the perpetrators of those acts were Inkotanyi was prepared by the French soldiers, assisted by the lady and I was forced to approve it. […] Afterwards, a Frenchman from Bukavu came to interview me. He had a camera and asked me to say that “it was the Inkotanyi who had wanted to kill me with a machete because I had killed Tutsis” and to describe them by saying that “they were tall with long noses”. The lady told me that I was supposed to repeat this and I noticed that the Frenchman wrote down only his questions and my answers while ensuring that the camera was switched o= at the time of the lady’s interventions. After the interview, they continued treating me. […] During the 4ight to Congo, I had already recovered and I saw the French who were controlling the passage of refugees stop a young man who was on an AG 100 motorbike at the Rusizi. They said that he was Tutsi. It was General Kabiligi who took the motorbike and threw it in the Rusizi. The French

brutally grabbed that man by the belt and took him towards the convent of the Saint-Francis Sisters in demolished houses. He was never seen again and the way he was led away was a bad sign; they were not going to spare him. […] Another time, I also saw the French screen the Interahamwe who were looting the Ituze hotel. They said they were screening the Tutsis. They took tall people whom they called Tutsis; put them aboard their helicopter saying that they were going to throw them in the Nyungwe forest. Moreover, in Kamembe, it was often said that the French soldiers threw people in the river Rusizi.”

Alphonsine Mukakarangwa is a peasant survivor of genocide. She recounts how French soldiers made her, and her mother, get out of the health centre where they were treating them when they learnt that they had been victims of the Interahamwe. Those French dropped them at a roadblock manned by Interahamwe.

“At the beginning of the genocide, I went to hide at the home of a Hutu lady by the name Mama Faida in Kamembe town and, upon the arrival of the French soldiers of the Opération Turquoise in Cyangugu, my mother sent someone to tell me that security had been restored, and that I could come back home. I returned home and two days afterwards, we were attacked by two soldiers accompanied by my brother in law who was an Interahamwe. They injured me seriously, I managed to escape but, later on, I fainted as a result of a serious haemorrhage. My mother was also seriously beaten, she received hammer blows on the head as well as knife blows. They left her for dead. We were found by my brother and the in-charge of the cell called François who evacuated us to the Kamarampaka stadium where the French had set up camp. They had set up camp there and divided into two the tents in which they put the injured: one section for those who returned from the frontline, injured and transported by helicopter, and another section for us who had been wounded by the Interahamwe. Above the bed of each patient, there was a form. In our section we were Bve and we were all naked, even my mother. The French came to take photographs of us. I was wearing a slip only, they cut it with scissors so that I may also be totally naked before taking our photographs. […] One day, a Frenchman consulted my form. I heard him pronounce the word “Interahamwe”. He brutally disconnected the drip which they had administered to me and threw it down. I could not walk, he pulled me and took me out of the stadium. My mother followed us shouting that I was her daughter and begged him to leave me alone. He put both of us, naked, in their vehicle and took us near the hospital of Bushenge, at the junction of the roads leading to the hospital and Nyamirundi. They made us alight from the vehicle and left us there. It was at a roadblock of Interahamwe, they had lit a Bre there but there was nobody, they had launched an attack on Nyamirundi.

After some time, a man in a blue apron arrived and asked us if we were the people brought by the French. We said yes. He asked us to give
him money so that he can treat us. My mother explained to him that we didn’t have any and proposed to give him our piece of land. He told us to enter and go to room number two. I could hardly stand; I tried to walk with a bent back and, from time to time, on all fours. We went into room II in which there was only one patient injured on the foot with his mother as a nurse. The nurse told us that we were lucky that Interahamwe had gone to loot at Nyamirundi and that usually those whom they brought there were killed. She gave us her two pieces of cloth to cover ourselves. […] We left the hospital a few days later. When we arrived at Gihundwe, we met two men who said that they had seen French soldiers kill a man. We thought, they added, that the French had come to save human lives but what they did in addition to that was worse than what the Interahamwe did. Indeed, we saw the corpse of that man covered with a mat near the Gihundwe market.”

Anthère was a FAR corporal until December 1993. He recounts that French soldiers gave two guns to an Interahamwe leader.

“A week after their settlement in Nyarushishi, the French gave two guns to Edouard Bandetse who was a shopkeeper here in Kamembe; he was also the president of Interahamwe in the Nyakabuye commune. They were the type of guns that military drivers were carrying. I was the one going to teach him how to handle them, their assembly and dismantling. There were also two pistols which he took with him when he 4ed the country.”

During the Opération Turquoise Straton Sinzabakwira was a burgomaster of Karengera commune of which he was native. He was also a member of the political bureau of the Parti Social Démocrate (PSD) in 1994. His testimony is based on what he observed himself and what he heard from other people because he was well informed.

“I am one of the local authorities who were in o@ce during the 1994 genocide since I was a burgomaster of the Karengera commune and I am one of those who admitted their role in the genocide of the Tutsis which took place in Rwanda. […] During the Opération Turquoise, the French collaborated with the killers in the perpetration of the genocide. They selected also the people who were supposed to be killed and abandoned them to the fate.

[…] French soldiers visited all the communes and held meetings with burgomasters or leaders of Interahamwe to give us instructions on the behaviour to adopt. When they arrived in Cyangugu, they were in charge of everything; they supervised and gave instructions to reinforce patrols in order to prevent the RPF from inBltrating. In order

to recognise the RPF, they had given us the instruction to look at the shoulders if there might be gun strap marks and check on legs for marks of boots. In Cyangugu, after seeing the bodies of the people killed 4oating on Lake Kivu and in the river Rusizi, they suggested to the killers to open the stomachs of the 4oating corpses and Bll them with stones so that they may sink. They toured all the roadblocks giving those instructions to the killers. They wanted to hide evidence of the genocide from international journalists. I was told, but I also saw it myself.

[…] The French soldiers of the Opération Turquoise were involved in the genocide of the Tutsis, and here is how:

1. At the Ntendezi roadblock in the Karengera commune of which I was a burgomaster, I was with Christophe Nyandwi, leader of Interahamwe in Cyangugu, when French soldiers came to the place where we were checking cars that were coming from Gitarama, Butare and Gikongoro. We were looking for Tutsis in those cars, because nobody could cross the roadblock without showing his identity card to make sure that he was really Hutu. We had put aside Bve Tutsis and we were with Interahamwe in uniform. The French soldiers came out of their vehicles and we discussed with them. We told them that we were looking for the enemy. They knew Nyandwi as a leader of Interahamwe since they used to meet him at the prefecture and in meetings. They guaranteed us their support and went away. Those who were behind in the vehicle raised their hands in the air as a sign of support. Nyandwi took the Bve Tutsis and killed them between the Gisuma commune and the Shagasha tea factory. If they had come for humanitarian purposes, they would have saved and evacuated those Tutsis.

2. At Nyarushishi where the Tutsis were hiding, the French raped women and girls in tents and the wood nearby. And in their so-called “humanitarian action”, they did not give food to refugees. I was told this by the people who went to sell food to the displaced people in that camp. I used those people in my o@cial capacity to obtain information on the way those displaced people were living and how their relations with the French were. The Opération Turquoise had no humanitarian character whatsoever. It was a support and protection mission for the Interahamwe to enable them to 4ee.

3. In the Nyungwe forest at Gasare, the French soldiers captured people, tied them up, put them in sacs, loaded them into helicopters and went and dropped them in the forest. The victims were referred to as accomplices of Inkotanyi. According to information that I received from people who were running away from Kigali, those who were killed by the French by throwing them from the helicopter into the Nyungwe forest were very many. I personally saw bodies of two people tied up

who were thrown by the French soldiers in Gasare in Karengera commune. Apart from those, other people su=ered the same fate. After the RAR defeat and before helping the killers escape to Zaïre, the present Democratic Republic of Congo, the French soldiers of Turquoise insisted on Brst of all eliminating the traces of cannabis which was grown in the Nyungwe forest. They collected what had been harvested, then eliminated all the traces by destroying that plantation and killing the sta= that maintained it, as well as those who helped with its destruction. According to the information that I received from my friend Emmanuel Nteziryayo who was the burgomaster of the Mudasomwa commune and with whom I was in the refugee camp in Zaïre, the agricultural o@cer who was in charge of maintaining that plantation was killed in the same way around the 5 July 1994.

4. I personally was beaten by the French soldiers around the 15th July 1994, when they learnt from Interahamwe that I had helped Claudien Kanyeshyamba [a Tutsi] to 4ee to Burundi. The French came to look for me because hthey had been told that I worked for the enemy and that I had arms that were to be used by the Inkotanyi once they arrived in the region. The French soldiers came to search at my home and they found nothing, but they harassed and beat us, me and my family;

5. The French soldiers ex-Bltrated the criminals and encouraged the people to go into exile. They frightened them with the gesture that their throats would be slit if they stayed behind, encouraging them to 4ee. At Bugarama, they moved people from their homes by force.”

Kamembe Airport

The headquarters of the southern unit of Opération Turquoise headed by Colonel Hogard was located within Kamembe airport . Di=erent witnesses have a@rmed to the Commission that corpses were brought to the airport, loaded on helicopters and dumped either in Lake Kivu or in Nyungwe forest. Finally, a witness who kept a precise memory of the happenings of the time a@rmed to having seen half a dozen fresh Tutsi corpses within the protected perimeter of the French army inside the airport.

Cassien Bagaruka was a former Bre Bghter who was at the Kamembe airport Bre Bghting station at the time of Opération Turquoise. He spoke of the close collaboration between the French army and the Interahamwe which permitted the continuation of the killings. He saw French soldiers arriving in Cyangugu.

“When they arrived at Kamembe airport, they installed a radio transmitter which was controlled by Corporal Thierry and Sergeant Galant Olivier, and other various military equipment which included vehicles transported by helicopters and Transall Hercules 730 type of aircrafts. Shortly thereafter, French soldiers led by Colonel Hogard attended a meeting organised by local authorities among who were Colonel Kabiligi, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, Tharcisse Muvunyi and Sylvère Ahorugeze [some of these persons are accused while others have already been convicted of masterminding the genocide]. After that meeting, helicopters started the operation of transporting Interahamwe in the early mornings and bringing them back later in the evenings. In fact, the French soldiers closely collaborated with the Interahamwe. I personally saw the French soldiers bringing Tutsis who were tied up, to the empty runway of the airport where they were shot dead before being dumped into Lake Kivu using helicopters. Those Tutsis, who mainly came from Bisesero (Kibuye) and Ntendezi, had been brought to the French base by the Interahamwe. In the same way, one of the Bre Bghters at the airport called Gratien, who was being pursued by killers, took refuge in the French military base located at Kamembe airport. He was killed at that very base before the French soldiers yet they could have protected him. In my view, the French soldiers came to protect genocide perpetrators and facilitate them to cross the border towards Zaire where they controlled.”

Abdallah Kayitsinga was a carpenter. During Opération Turquoise, he was staying close to Kamembe airport.

“I saw the French soldiers arriving at Kamembe aboard their vehicles, equipped with heavy arms. […] At Kamembe, I saw them driving towards neighbouring villages and coming back carrying corpses in their military Jeeps heading towards the airport. You see, their jeeps were so small that we could see the feet of corpses hanging from their rear. As I was living near that airport, I noticed that, each time, shortly after these Jeeps had passed, their helicopter would thereafter take o=. It was said that the French soldiers used to dump corpses in Nyungwe forest; I cannot deny it as I had seen them transporting those corpses towards the airport.”

Luc Pillionel , a Swiss national, is married to a Rwandese. He came to Rwanda on 19th July 1994 to pick up members of his wife’s family who had sought refuge in Nyarushishi camp. Being a Swiss, he was able to forge a relationship with the French soldiers and beneBted from their assistance. The extract from his testimony is about the discovery of half a dozen fresh corpses, most likely Tutsis, inside the protected perimeter of the French military base located within Kamembe airport. At the same military base is where the command post of the southern

unit of Opération Turquoise was located, which also housed the o@ce of Colonel Hoard. The extract of the testimony starts at the time when Luc Pillionel lands at Kamembe airport, coming from Bukavu in Zaire.

“The helicopter landed close to a very large metal warehouse which was surrounded by fortiBcation positions of the command post made from sand bags. I entered the military base. I remember having talked to a French army o@cer, Captain Guillaume Ancel who promised that we would very shortly be leaving for Nyarushishi. We left the base with three cars, Captain Guillaume Ancel and I seated in the back seat of a chau=er driven 4×4 Jeep which was loaded with a machine-gun, calibre 308 OTAN. I would rather say it was a traditional calibre. Driving right behind us were two big 4×4 trucks.

At that moment, I remember we were driving on the side of the base and along the runway. I have trouble remembering the direction we were at from the runway. I think we were south of the runway in the runway direction, taking into account the position of the sun. On my right, there was a bunker for the French, the command post, inside it, a large metallic warehouse. We left our position with the car and drove along the runway with the sun to our right. It was around 11h30. I can remember that vehicles were driving slowly on the lawn surrounding the airport. After about 100 or 200 m, there were almost half a dozen fresh corpses. I remember amongst the corpses were two young men. There must have also been some women and I think that they were lying on their backs, on their sides or maybe the reverse based on the place where I was situated.

So I was moving in the direction of the runway, to the south and we had reached the control tour when we turned left. It was there that corpses were placed. I was particularly struck by the sight of a corpse whose head had almost been severed and I could see the pink 4esh of the person who was lying there. There was a pool of blood on the ground that was not yet dry. The sky above was re4ected in the pool of blood as if it was a mirror made of mercury. The French passed nearby without any reaction. There is not a shadow of doubt that these were people who had been 4eeing from the genocide for weeks. This was noticeable from the tiny face of the male person who was lying in dust next to me with a beard that had not been shaved for weeks. He was very thin and dressed in shabby dirty clothes.

These corpses were close to the runway, some few meters from the runway. They were 150 or 200 m inside the extremely protected French military position. For me it was impossible that civilian Rwandans in poor health conditions and starving for a long time could have taken

any military action against the French. Moreover, they were not armed.”

During his hearing, commissioners asked him for further clariBcation on the nature of the perimeter and about its exclusive control by the French soldiers and how come the corpses were lying inside the perimeter. Below was his response:

“In my opinion, the entire perimeter was permanently secure and given the nature of the place with its short grass and no bush, without anything on the runway which I would say was 4at and in good condition, any person who moved especially in the daytime could very easily be seen and corpses could not have been there if the French soldiers had not let them get in.”

When the Commission wanted to know how Luc Pillionel had interpreted the presence of corpses, he replied as follows:

“In my opinion, the French let them enter the base alive and I think that the base was organised in such a way that there was only one entrance. My second opinion is that they had been brought there by the French. So, they let them enter, where were they heading to? From the entrance, they crossed the runway in order to move towards the French. Therefore, they were allowed to get inside so that they could be killed by the Interahamwe or by the French themselves, I know nothing about it. […] Thirdly, they were brought to the base aboard a plane. There was a runway with numerous helicopters landing and taking o=, and possibly aircrafts too like the Transall type. There could have been more aircrafts.”

With regard to his third opinion where he suggested that those persons could have been brought from outside already dead, he was asked if that opinion could match the quantity of fresh blood that he had earlier described, he answered:

“With regard to my opinion, I would say it was a personal thought and your observation is pertinent. Therefore, I think that my opinion that the corpses could have been brought dead and thrown from either a vehicle or an aeroplane is most likely erroneous because such an amount of blood would not be seen if they had been killed from elsewhere.”

3) Nyarushishi displaced people’s camp

As we have seen above, Nyarushishi camp was supposed to be the most important humanitarian objective of the whole Opération

Turquoise. However, testimonies from displaced persons and the Interahamwe who were active in the neighbouring areas of the camp have proved otherwise. In fact, killings by the Interahamwe went on under instructions of the French soldiers and violence and rapes were committed by the latter against survivors that they were supposed to protect.

Valens Tuyisenge, Théogène Nteziryayo, Déo Mahanga, Thaddée Renzaho, Théoneste Ngiruwonsanga and Eric Kamuzinzi are survivors who sought refuge in Nyarushishi camp. They explained in a collective interview the security set up of Nyarushishi camp; the surrounding security detail constituted of guard positions of French soldiers, roadblocks manned by the Interahamwe and Rwandan gendarmes. These witnesses also explain that philanthropic organisations distributed food but without any Brewood. This forced the survivors therefore to risk their lives by going out of the camp to collect Brewood.

“During the genocide, around the end of June 1994, the French arrived at Nyarushishi where they set up their positions. However, in the areas surrounding Nyarushishi camp, there were roadblocks manned by the Interahamwe and gendarmes. In order to arrive at Nyarushishi, the French had to cross all these roadblocks. […] One day, three young persons were 4ushed out from a tea plantation by the Interahamwe. They ran towards the French military camp and the Interahamwe run after them. They successfully entered Nyarushishi camp. The commander of the gendarmes post who was there assisting entered the camp, got the three young people and took them away. This happened in full view of the French soldiers who did nothing about it. We did not see the three young persons again.” [Testimony of Théogène Nteziryayo]

“[…] The French were accomplices of the Interahamwe in killings and tortures committed against the Tutsis. Most of the Tutsis who sought refuge in the camp were apprehended by the Interahamwe since they had to cross the roadblocks that were manned by the Interahamwe. […] A man called Safari took me to one of these roadblocks located not far from the French base. The Interahamwe tied me up and threw me down to the ground. I was awaiting my death. The French passed by emotionless in their Jeeps as if nothing was going on. […] One day, the French escorted us into the bush to collect Brewood near the transmitter. While we were collecting Brewood, their Jeep came by to pick them up; they drove away and left us there. We were attacked soon after and most of us were killed. Almost all the survivors were injured. […] It was really hard to collect Brewood and as such people

living in the camp were obliged to destroy houses belonging to the Interahamwe to get Brewood. One day, it was on a Saturday, when one Tutsi was caught demolishing a house and was killed with a machete. Many Tutsis were killed while collecting Brewood outside the camp yet the French were there. They did not respond at all.” [Testimony of Théoneste Ngiruwonsanga]

Still in the Nyarushishi camp, survivors tell about sexual violence that was committed by the French soldiers against girls in that camp.

“[…] The French raped Claudine in turns. She was between 14 and 15 years old in 1994; she was so traumatized that she run mad. They also raped Umulisa, Oscar’s sister. They tortured them sexually and even put pepper in their sexual organs. They raped many girls, but we do not know their names. There was one girl who was tall, she now works at the hospital. [It is probably Concessa whose testimony shall be seen later, she is tall and works at the big regional hospital] and another lady who was born in Kibuye.” [Testimony of Théoneste Ngiruwonsanga and Théogène Nteziryayo]

“They also raped young girls whom they had evacuated from Ntendezi Agro Forestry School; they used to come to look for them in the camp. In order to escape from them, the young girls would sleep in other tents so that they could not be traced.” [Testimony from Déo Mahanga, Théoneste Ngiruwonsanga and Théogène Nteziryayo]

Aloys Gasasira was an Interahamwe. During the time of the French soldiers’ presence, he stayed near Nyarushishi camp and manned a roadblock. He a@rms that the French soldiers had requested them to kill any person who tried to enter their camp.

“I was staying 300m from the camp and I saw the French soldiers who controlled the Nyarushishi camp where Tutsis had sought refuge during the genocide. We had a roadblock about 1000m from the French camp. At that roadblock, we killed many people and the French often came to ask us what was going on. We explained to them that we had killed Tutsis. They requested us to ensure that nobody else entered the camp and ordered us to kill whoever tried to enter. With those instructions, we killed a woman together with her young daughter and a young man. I did not personally know them, but they said that they came from a place called K’Uwinteko. We also killed Tutsis who were leaving the camp to go and collect Brewood among whom was Charles, son of Sembeba. After killing them, we would throw them into a mass grave near the roadblock. The French came over to see what we were doing and commended us as real soldiers. As a reward, they gave us some of their rations. They also sometimes joined us for night patrols. After the

RPF victory, the French forbade us from killing any more Tutsis so as to avoid RPF reprisal. Instead they advised and invited us to 4ee the country, saying that the RPF would cut our throats. They got angry at those people who did not heed to their advice but instead delayed to leave their homes.”

Aloys Karemera was a driver at the time. He is among the survivors that sought refuge in Nyarushishi camp. Below is his account of the killings by the French soldiers who were in charge of guarding the camp where he escaped from, as well as sexual abuse against young female survivors.

“I saw French soldiers coming to Nyarushishi on 23rd June 1994. They met with gendarmes of the government called Abatabazi under the command of Colonel Bavugamenshi Innocent, the gendarmerie commander at Cyangugu. Upon their arrival, the French took over from the gendarmes except for a small number of them who stayed there to work with the French. The French soldiers forbade us from going out of the camp to collect Brewood and fetch water from the spring that was within the camp. I once went out of the camp with two men K and Emmanuel. When the French saw us near the camp, they threw a grenade at us. My two companions were killed immediately but I managed to escape. The French soldiers sent gendarmes inside the camp to Bnd girls to be raped. On several occasions, they took Mado Mukayiranga, she is now dead, Pascasie Mukayeze, a native of Cyumbati in Kibuye where she has a small café and Jacqueline Mukayitesi, who now lives in Biryogo. Gendarmes would come looking for them and take them to the French soldiers’ tents. […] By the time the French soldiers left, they had a very bad attitude towards the displaced persons. They had noticed that we were happy when the UNAMIR Ethiopian troops took over and came to tour our camp. They burnt their tents and their food stores. We had to hide since they were very aggressive.”

Joseph Ngiruwonsanga is a genocide survivor who sought refuge in Nyarushishi camp. Below is his account of the deeds of the French soldiers and how they beat him up.

“In the beginning, Nyarushishi camp was guarded by gendarmes. However, the Interahamwe who were in possession of lists, regularly moved within the camp to look for Tutsis who they would take away to be killed. Later in June 1994, the gendarmes were replaced by French soldiers who came into Rwanda from Zaire. At that time, the Interahamwe had set up their positions all around the camp, inside Shagasha, Rwamiko and Mutimasi tea plantations and in tea plantation on the mountain slopes. During the period when Nyarushishi camp was

guarded by French soldiers, the Interahamwe went on killing people around the camp. For example, a man called Anselme who came from Gihango and a lady with a baby on her back were killed when they got out of the camp to collect Brewood. […] Four days after the arrival of the French soldiers in Nyarushishi camp, they knew that I had not taken part in the night watch. They asked the chiefs of zones to Bnd me and take me to the residence of the Camp Commander named Marcel. A Red Cross Coordinator who was from Kibuye tried to explain my case. They beat me up and left me for dead, they threw me into a 1.80m pit from which I could not get out. My Bngers and my mouth were bleeding. When school pupils coming from Kibuye saw me at around 18h00, they informed a white man called SADE who was the Red Cross coordinator. Sade assisted by the school pupils took me out of the pit and took me back to the camp. I spent eight days in bed and under treatment from Red Cross agents. During that entire period my urine was full of blood. To this day I am still facing the after e=ects of the beating. I am required to see a doctor often. The French tortured many people inside the camp. Unfortunately I cannot remember their names.”

The sexual enslavement of Concessa

C. Mussa is a survivor who with a baby on her back, sought refuge in Nyarushishi camp. She was 18 years old at the time of the Opération Turquoise. After a perilous journey where she and her baby survived being killed several times, she Bnally reached Nyarushishi camp where the French soldiers found her.

“At the beginning of the genocide, I sought refuge at Gasirabwoba where [the Préfet] Bagambiki came accompanied by the Interahamwe to kill all the people who had sought refuge there. When they shot at us, we fell over one another and I was lucky not to be seen by the killers who were checking and Bnishing o= any survivors using spears. Me and my baby were the only survivors in my family. I left Gashirabwoba and kept on hiding in banana plantations and bushes. I later decided to move to Cyangugu. Midway, I was caught by Interahamwe at the Kadashya roadblock. They lead me to the tea factory where I found six other women. While they lit a Bre to burn us, some other Interahamwe cried out that they had 4ushed out other Tutsis from tea plantations. Our killers then rushed away to get reinforcement which gave us an opportunity to escape.

I started walking towards Kamembe. The Interahamwe had taken away all my clothes. I was completely naked and held my baby on my back with a small piece of cloth. I arrived at Kamembe roundabout where there was a roadblock manned by an Interahamwe called “Tourner” I

was caught again by the Interahamwe. They were about to kill me when gendarmes who were in a nearby small shop came over. I told them that the father of my baby was also a gendarme called Jean Baptiste. They let me know that he had been transferred to Butare and promised to take care of me. They took me away and gave me food. I was about to die from hunger; this enabled me to get some energy and continue with my journey. But before reaching Cyangugu, a militiaman saw me in the bush and raped me. I arrived at Cyangugu three days after the massacres at Gashirabwoba. I stayed there in hiding while the Interahamwe were coming over to get people to be killed. There was one Hutu boy who was hiding amongst us while spying for the Interahamwe. He advised us to leave the place very early in morning at 4h00 and he thereafter informed the Interahamwe who attacked us on our way. That day, 362 people were killed. Survivors of that attack went back to the stadium where we were attacked with grenades on orders of Préfet Bagambiki. ICRC sta= from Bukavu implored Bagambiki to let us leave and they took us to Nyarushishi camp.

Some days after our arrival at Nyarushishi camp, the Interahamwe came to attack us but they were diverted by the Bukavu ICRC agents who informed Colonel Bavugamenshi about our situation and he came back with gendarmes for our protection. Upon his arrival, Bavugamenshi reassured us that he would be in charge of our security and informed us that the French soldiers were to arrive in some hours to protect us. The French came in the afternoon and Bavugamenshi requested us to warmly welcome them with dancing. Upon their arrival, the French soldiers had a tour of the camp and took photos. After three days, the French soldiers had identiBed places in the camp where they could Bnd young ladies. From the fourth day, those who had identiBed places where to Bnd the young ladies came back with other French soldiers and took the ladies to their tents and raped them.

They used to give us liquor and cigarettes. They also used to drink. They took photos of us drinking and showed them to us. They would then take o= our clothes. Personally I knew the worst rape experience. After taking o= my clothes, I was raped by a group of four French soldiers at the same time who then let another group of four to take their turn. One put his penis in my mouth, another in my vagina or the anus while others were caressing my breasts. At the same time some others were taking pictures. They showed me the pictures and said that they would show them to their wives. Those who were waiting for their turn were present and watched the scene. They said that their wives were di=erent from us. They said that our sexual organs are di=erent from those of the French women. They had even learnt the names of female sexual organs in Kinyarwanda and touched them saying it in Kinyarwanda. After the Brst group Bnished their turn, the

other group began theirs doing just as the Brst group had done. They did it savagely. After the two turns, they took a short break of around 5 minutes to drink liquor with us and thereafter resumed the rapes. They had tents in di=erent parts of the camp, they would call their colleagues to come over and see the beautiful women they had as well as the di=erence between their women and Tutsi women.

I was with other women; they used to free us early in the morning at 4h00 and would pick us up the following day. Sometimes, they picked us up in the morning and brought us back in the evening. Whenever we tried to hide, they would organise a team to look for us and take us back to them. In addition, whenever we passed by their tents on our way to fetch water they would call us. When we tried to run away from them, they would point their guns at us and we were obliged to stop. Among the soldiers who abused us, there was a Colonel. Sometimes after raping us, they would give us some of their combat rationss and cookies.

The abuse lasted the whole period of time they stayed at Nyarushishi camp and Bnally I fell pregnant. Since they never stopped raping me, I had a miscarriage. An old woman who was staying in a tent close to mine used to come to massage me with hot salty water in which I had to sit. My sexual organs had been damaged.

When they came to check on me in the course of the week, I explained to them what had happened. They waited only for six days before they resumed raping me. Sometimes, they smeared their sperm all over my back or my belly or in my mouth and asked me to swallow. At one point, the Colonel asked his colleagues to leave me to him and to Bnd themselves other women. I stayed with the Colonel for two days before Opération Turquoise came to an end, and they left.

Due to the savage acts I had been subjected to, I later developed serious gynaecological complications: I had a very painful infection in my uterus. Whenever I remembered how they had raped me in addition to the rape I had faced in the hands of the Interahamwe, I would loose my mind and attempt suicide. However, the fact that I had a child strengthened me and I tried to get medical assistance despite having permanent back pains and persistent irregular menstrual periods.”

Elisé Bisengimana, who has already been quoted herein, makes the following analysis of Opération Turquoise based on what he saw at Nyarushishi camp.

“Despite being seen as a humanitarian operation, Opération Turquoise was in no way beneBcial to the genocide survivors. It on the contrary served the interests of the genocide perpetrators. To illustrate this, I shall give you the example of hunger and lack of medical care that were prevalent in Nyarushishi camp and in Kamarampaka stadium in spite of the presence of the French soldiers. In addition, the camps were very unsafe, Interahamwe were still hunting, raping and killing young Tutsi women who were moving around looking for food in the Belds. The French therefore contributed to the declining security of the genocide victims through the distribution of weapons to the Interahamwe who were using them in committing their crimes. My intention is not to exaggerate if I a@rm that the French Government played a key role in the Tutsi genocide of 1994 as an accomplice. Firstly, just before the genocide, the French soldiers trained, advised and materially helped the Rwandan army who later participated in the genocide. Secondly, during the genocide in the Zone Turquoise, they collaborated with the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe at roadblocks and during patrols. Killings, rapes, kidnappings, thefts and pillaging were still being committed in full view of the soldiers who did not do anything to salvage the situation. Lastly, the French did nothing to save the victims who so badly needed their help; instead they facilitated the escape of the killers to Zaire with arms and their luggage.”

4) Rapes

Di=erent witnesses accuse the French soldiers of having committed rapes against genocide survivors. There are also former Interahamwe witnesses who watched acts of rape or who supplied women, sometimes very young girls, to French soldiers for rape. Some of the other witnesses are young girls who were raped by the French.

Jean Ndihokubwayo, who has already been quoted herein, was an Interahamwe and a foreign exchange dealer. He told the commission that he watched French soldiers raping Tutsi women:

“The French soldiers also raped young girls who they found in Cyangugu town. I unexpectedly found them twice raping young girls who might have probably been between 14 and 15 years old. The Brst time, I had gone to exchange their foreign currency. When the group of soldiers heard the sound of the engine of my motorbike, one of them blocked my way pointing a gun in my direction. However this did not stop me from seeing how the other soldiers had undressed a young girl. I cried out to denounce what I had seen. A nearby night guard from the Carmelites came to help but immediately went back when the French soldier pointed his gun at him. The second time, I was trying to

Bnd a French soldier who had paid me with counterfeit money. I suddenly found a Jeep parked in the forest and saw a group of six soldiers with three girls. I personally saw one soldier bending over; two others were holding the young girl while the other three were guarding the two girls who were calling me for help. They were crying with their faces covered with their wrap clothes. I recognised one of them and she also recognised me. I later met her in Congo where she told me how she managed to escape from the French soldiers while no one else did. She told me that when gendarmes passed by the place where the French soldiers were raping those girls, they shouted out. While the French were trying to cover up their actions, the young girl got the chance to escape.”

Jean Bosco Habimana also called Masudi, who has already been quoted herein, gives an account of how the French soldiers gave him the mission to Bnd only Tutsi girls to be sexually abused.

“The French stationed at Kamarampaka stadium raped Tutsi girls and women during the Opération Turquoise. They had charged us particularly with Bnding for them Tutsi girls and women, some of these girls and women survived being killed. It was imperative to bring them Tutsi women since they said it would cause no trouble if people got to know that it was the Tutsi that they were raping. It was strictly forbidden to bring them Hutu girls. The Brst time, I brought them two girls of about 14 or 15 years of age in Kamarampaka stadium. The Brst girl we found was called M Beata in Mururu cemetery. Since we knew that she was a Tutsi, we took her and brought her to the Stadium where she was raped by the French soldiers. After raping her, they handed her back to us, imploring us not to kill her. We found the second girl at Winteko in Bugayi cell, she was called Mukasine Florence. Like the Brst girl, she was also raped in Kamarampaka stadium by the French soldiers who also asked us not to kill her. In return, they gave us combat rationss and canned food. I brought them a girl once again when we were close to Nyarushishi camp. There were French soldiers near the camp as well as at the camp. I brought a 19 year old girl named Mukan whom I found about a kilometre from Nyarushishi. She was raped by a French soldier but he refused to give me combat rations. I got angry for that and went to report him to his senior chief. I threatened to kill the girl if he did not give me any ration. The soldier retorted that I could kill her if I wished and that he was not concerned. I killed her in his presence and that of another French soldier. I left the place and left her corpse lying there.”

Flore Muka is one of the girls that Masudi refers to in the preceding testimony. Born in 1980, she was only 14 years old at the time of Opération Turquoise. She is a survivor of the Nyarushishi camp who

was handed over by the Interahamwe called Masudi to the French at Kamarampaka stadium for rape.

“At the beginning of the 1994 genocide, my family was living at Winteko and consisted of nine children and my two parents. When we were attacked by militia, I managed to escape with my parents and four of my siblings. My other four younger siblings could not escape and were killed. We hid in the hills until my father was 4ushed out from his hiding place and killed. We decided at that moment to seek refuge at the Nyarushishi camp. We arrived there after one week because we had to wait for night time to move in order to be able to dodge the militia. When we arrived at Nyarushishi, there were many displaced persons who were being protected by French soldiers from Opération Turquoise and life inside the camp was extremely hard. Since it seemed calm after the arrival of the French, who had come to protect us, we began going out of the camp to look for food in the surrounding areas.

One day, as I was going out of the camp with two other girls to look for sweet potatoes in a Beld located about forty minutes from the camp, a group of about 30 militia spotted us and ran towards us shouting and whistling. We had just started digging for sweet potatoes and I was crunching one. One of the girls I was with was immediately caught and killed, the other one escaped. I went to hide myself in a nearby home where the militia 4ushed me out. An Interahamwe nicknamed Masudi who had a spear and knives beat me up while insulting me. He grabbed me and led me by hand until we reached the Kamarampaka stadium in Cyangugu after walking for one hour. I was exhausted and was shaking from fear of being killed. I begged him to kill me instead of making me walk, but he replied that he would not kill me. Upon arriving at the stadium’s gate, he talked to four French soldiers who were there and they let us enter the stadium. Masudi went and knocked at the stadium changing room. A gigantic French soldier came out and took me inside a nearby big tent. Being naïve, I thought I was now safe since I was left with the French soldiers, but it was just the beginning of my trials and tribulations.

Masudi left and the French soldier returned to the tent. He closed it and spread a canvas and an old sheet on his mattress. He started removing my clothes but I resisted because I did not want to die naked. He tore all the clothes I had on me. Since I was not fat he easily picked me up like a baby, put me on the mattress and started raping me. Since I was a virgin and young, the pain I felt made me think that he was killing me. I tried to argue with him but when he grabbed what looked like a knife which was placed on the pillow and pointed at me, I gave up and preferred to die silently. When blood was 4owing out of me, he wiped it

with something and continued raping me. I su=ocated and when he noticed that, he left me. He came back and put his penis in my mouth. As I was about to , he stopped. My legs remained spread out; I was torn up and could not lift them. He put me aside and wiped me to reduce the quantity of blood that was still oozing.

He put my clothes back on and used a sort of khaki belt to fasten my under skirt. Since my overall was completely torn, he gave me an old T-shirt. To put my wrapper back on, he spread it on the 4oor, lifted me up, laid me on it and then knotted it since I could not stand up. Finally, he lifted me and put me outside behind the tent before calling the Interahamwe who took me away. He knew where they were. I did not understand what he told them, but he was using sign language pointing at me and the Interahamwe grabbed my arm and took me out of the stadium.

I could not walk anymore. I was hardly breathing and lay behind the stadium. Masudi asked me to leave the place if I did not want to be killed. He told me that he was going to bring the Interahamwe who would kill me. When he left, I tried to crawl out of the place. Luckily enough, an old woman who was passing by saw me and felt pity on me, I told her my story. She held my arm and helped me to walk; I sat regularly since I was still bleeding. She hired a bicycle and took me to her place. She treated me gently using warm water and ghee. Two months later, I had completely recovered and she took me back to Nyarushishi. It is her who told my mother what had happened since I could not.”

Bea Mukan is another girl that Masudi cited in his aforementioned testimony; she conBrms that she gave birth to a child of a French soldier who had raped her. She narrates the circumstances of her rape by the French. Born in 1979, she was 15 years old then.

“At the beginning of the genocide, my family Brst sought refuge at Cyangugu parish from where the Préfet took us to Kamarampaka stadium. Later, we were obliged to leave the stadium and go to Nyarushishi camp where the French soldiers found us. Upon their arrival, our neighbours who were not targeted in the genocide and who had stayed at the village also started 4eeing. Hoping that nobody had remained in our village, my cousin and I decided to go and see what was there as we strongly believed that the killers had 4ed the country. About 30 minutes from our home, we came across a group of militia who were carrying clubs. We scattered and run for dear life.

My cousin managed to escape, but I got caught by an Interahamwe called Masudi. He took me to the Kamarampaka stadium while beating

me and asking me where my brothers were. I told him they had all died.

When we arrived at the stadium, Masudi talked to a French soldier who took me by hand without saying a word. He took me inside a room which was used as a changing room for players. Inside that room, there was a bed. He pushed me and as I was trying to resist, he punched me. After that he did all he wanted. I thought he was going to kill me, but what he did was worse. I would rather he had killed me. He raped me to the extent that I could not go back to the camp. I could not walk and I spent night in the bush and arrived at the camp the following day. When I was leaving the French soldier’s tent, I saw two other girls who were coming out of the other French soldiers’ tents located in the stadium and who had been victims of a similar situation. I had heard them shouting not far from where I was. The Interahamwe had caught them at the Gatandara roadblock. Those Interahamwe had the mission to Bnd women and girls and bring them to the French. Later, I developed gynaecological complications and got treatment when the UNAMIR arrived .”

5) Pillaging carried out by the French soldiers and their failure to intervene in the pillaging and destruction of infrastructure by Rwandans

Kayitsinga Abdallah, who has been quoted herein, was a carpenter during the Opération Turquoise. He lived close by Kamembe airport. He gives an account below of the pillaging that was carried out by the French soldiers.

“[…] I also noticed acts of pillaging carried out by French soldiers. They had trucks which they used for pillaging tea factories of Shagasha and Gisakura. Those trucks passed by driving towards Zaire loaded with fridges and khaki bags full of tea […] at the border; they also conBscated valuables from the Interahamwe as well as from any person 4eeing to Zaire, the French kept their looted items in a secure place where no outsider could reach. I remember when I was returning from Zaire carrying my items on a cart, I headed towards that place and I was immediately called and they told me that it was their area and they immediately showed me the right direction to take. I saw metallic gates, fridges and other valuable items. Their trucks were coming to pick them up and take them to Zaire.”

Aloys Karuranga is a native of Rusizi in the former prefecture of Cyangugu. He worked at the Compagnie Nationale de Téléphone (RWANDATEL) since 1970. In 1994, he was posted to Cyangugu. Below

he gives an account of the participation of French soldiers in the pillaging of Cyangugu telephone centre which he was in charge of.

“In 1994, I was at Cyangugu and worked at Rwandatel […] On July 18th 1994, people started pillaging and destroying the town of Kamembe. On 22nd the telephone centre which was under my responsibility was also pillaged. In the evening, around 18h00, after visiting the place and noticing that computers and other stored equipment had been looted, I left to see Colonel Hogard who was the Opération Turquoise head of mission at Cyangugu. His o@ce was in a warehouse at the airport. I told him that our o@ce had been plundered and asked him to set a permanent security team. He then gave me a patrol team to go and see what was happening. Upon our arrival, we noticed that computer accessories had also been stolen. However, the central server and rural telephone equipment were still in operation. We went back to report this to the Colonel. However, as regards my request for protection, he said that he could not Bnd a French soldier for every single Rwandan or each house. He nevertheless promised to give me a regular patrol team. What astonished me the most was that the following day at around 14h00; I went back to the o@ce and found that all that had been left was also pillaged including the central server. Worse still, when I went back to the o@ce two weeks later a French military truck was there, the French soldiers were inside the containers in which we stored our equipment. They were with a Rwandan called MusaBri who was an agent of Electrogaz. I think he had requested the French for help to transport these containers. I had a camera with me and went behind an electricity pole, I took some pictures. Finally they pillaged one container. […] Houses had been destroyed and people were still coming back to pillage items. The French who were at the Rusizi border facilitated people to cross the border with pillaged items and sometimes some people came back from Zaire to pillage more.”

Jean Bigirimana was the administrative head of Muganza cell in Bugarama commune between 1990 and 1994. Below he gives an account of the pillaging committed by the French soldiers and the protection they granted the Interahamwe who were destroying infrastructure and residential houses.

“After the 4eeing of commune leaders, French soldiers took control of the whole region, they pillaged items in our commune and protected individuals who were destroying infrastructure such as the CIMERWA building, the commune o@ce, the health centre as well as buildings of the Rice Project. In fact, the Interahamwe publicly destroyed and pillaged CIMERWA yet the French had their base in its buildings and did not stop them from doing it. The same applied to the commune and the rice project buildings which were set alight by the Interahamwe in

the presence of French soldiers. That is the reason why I am accusing them of complicity in the destruction of property and infrastructure in our region. After the population had run away to seek refuge, militia sent me messages requesting me to collaborate with them without knowing that I was already a supporter of the Inkotanyi. On July 25th and 26th almost all members of the population had 4ed. At 13h00, French soldiers accompanied by Straton Kayishema came to my house to loot. They searched the cupboard and took away all my work documents, a gun and money amounting to 40.000 Frw. I was not at home that day. I was at the health centre and learnt from the population that the French had plundered my house. I immediately rushed home and met them coming from my house. I retrieved two crates of Primus that they had forgotten to take. In fact, the French soldiers were protecting the Interahamwe who were coming from across the border in Zaire to destabilise members of the population who had not 4ed the country. The people who were targeted were those who had guns in their homes. They were threatened by the Interahamwe who were under the protection of French soldiers. I remember someone called Raymond Habiyambere at Bugarama who was a victim of the inhumane acts of the French soldiers and the Interahamwe as well as Habiyambere Rahima who was also threatened by the Interahamwe in the presence of French soldiers who did not do anything to stop the harassment. In fact, that man was regarded as an accomplice of the Inyenzi because he had not 4ed the country. The Interahamwe attacked him at home and shot into his bedroom through the window. In one way or another, the French soldiers were accomplices of the Interahamwe who came from Zaire to destabilise Rwanda particularly in parts of the country that were under the French soldiers control. […] Shortly before the massive 4ight of the population, the French soldiers and two men from Bugarama, namely Elie and Mudeyi urged the population to 4ee the country in order to escape the threats of the advancing Inkotanyi. They told the population that the deadline for leaving the country was at 12h00.”

Gonzague Habimana was a soldier in FAR in 1994. He narrates the theft of cars by the French soldiers. He was a FAR soldier between 1986 and 1994, and his service number was18663.

“In the Zone Turquoise, I saw the French taking part in the pillaging and destruction of houses. They also stole cars and crossed with them through the border to Zaire. In fact, I remember that towards the end of July, I saw a group of French soldiers at the Hotel des Chutes. They were asking civilians who were crossing the border to Zaire for their identity cards and vehicle documents. On showing the requested documents, the French soldiers took possession of their cars and drove o= to Bukavu. The cars were two brand new Toyota 4x4s.”

Jean Ndikubwayo, already quoted herein, was an Interahamwe and foreign exchange dealer. He attests that when he was in exile in Zaire he sold cars stolen from Rwanda by the French soldiers.

“When I arrived at Kamembe airport, there were three brand new Toyota Corolla vehicles with no owners. The car seats were covered with dust and blood. There was a son of Colonel Simba who was always with the French and he revealed to me that the cars had been brought to Zaire by helicopter. They later facilitated the crossing of 100 cars in my presence. I even became one of the middle men in the sale of cars pillaged from Rwanda in Zaire where they were parked in di=erent sites containing 5 or 10 cars for sale. I sold about ten cars at varying prices, 3000$, 2500$ or 1500$. I was getting a commission of 20$ or 30$ for each sale.”

Cassien Bagaruka, already quoted herein, was a Bre Bghter at Kamembe airport during the Opération Turquoise. He also attests to the fact that French soldiers were involved in pillaging.

“The French soldiers participated in the pillaging of property. On one hand, the French soldiers had hired all the Bre Bghters at a 20$ per month fee that was never paid under the pretext that they were not their employees. On the other hand, being the only dealers, they not only made Rwandan cars with private number plates cross the border of Rusizi but they also took the Daihatsu pick up and generator of the ‘Régie des Aéroport’. They could not however take Bre extinguishers because I had tampered with their starting system. […] When the buildings of the prefecture caught Bre and the airport Bre Bghters came for extinguish the Bre, the French soldiers chased them away saying that there was no reason to waste water.”

Elie Bisengimana already quoted herein, gives an account of the collaboration between the French soldiers and the Interahamwe in pillaging.

“The French let the Interahamwe who had sought refuge in Zaire come back to Cyangugu regularly to pillage, destroy infrastructure and kill. Only the Interahamwe were allowed to loot and whoever else dared to do it was immediately killed. I shall give you an example of one man called Bernard who had his arm amputated as a result of being shot at by French soldiers when he made the fatal mistake of trying to loot. Looting was a privilege only the Interahamwe enjoyed. Since the border was under the control of French troops, it was them who enabled the Interahamwe to go back to Zaire with their plunder. Particularly in the case of vehicles, there was a manifested complicity

between the French and the Interahamwe in sale transactions with the Zairians in Bukavu. It was a well organised network. The plunder consisted of all sorts of goods mainly items from stores, movables, household appliances, house windows and doors, iron roofs taken from houses, medical equipment, medicine, vehicles etc. Most of these were sold immediately after they crossed the border at very low prices.”

6) Inciting the populace to 4ee the country

Di=erent witnesses a@rm that French soldiers in collaboration with local authorities incited the populace to massively 4ee the country.

Jean Baptiste Bihembe was a commander at Kamembe airport in 1994

“The French contributed to the destruction of Cyangugu town. It was them who opened the border when the population was 4eeing the country towards Zaire after having destroyed public buildings. The French let them cross the border with iron roofs and doors. They also allowed vehicles to be taken out of the country except for those that belonged to the airport which were left in Cyangugu town. The militia conBscated vehicles of displaced people who were coming from Kigali and took them to Zaire. The French soldiers also facilitated the local authorities to 4ee the country with their property by providing them with planes and big trucks to transport their property. […]The French soldiers compelled the population of Cyangugu to 4ee the country telling them that whoever shall not leave, will do so at his own risk. That is how the local authorities left in planes, others left in cars and the rest of the population crossed the border on foot. They wanted everyone to leave the town.”

Jean Bosco Habimana called Masudi also gives an account of how the French soldiers incited the population to 4ee the country.

“Towards the end of Opération Turquoise, French soldiers incited the population to 4ee the country after having destroyed all houses so that the RPF could not have anywhere to live. They also considered that staying in the Zone Turquoise was a manifestation of one’s complicity with the Inyenzi Inkotanyi. They then started moving local authorities, by helicopter towards Congo. Some were dropped o= at Panzi military camp while others were dropped o= at Sayo military camp. For o@cials who had huge equipment with them, soldiers would drop them o= at Kavumu airport and others at Bukavu.”

Cassien Bagaruka, already quoted herein, was a Bre Bghter at Kamembe airport during Opération Turquoise. He hereby narrates

about a public rally that was organised by local authorities and French soldiers to incite the population to 4ee to Zaire.

“At the end of Opération Turquoise, before the French troops left the Turquoise area for Zaire, a rally was organised where local authorities and French soldiers incited the populace to 4ee and they provided helicopters for transporting the local authorities. The local authorities’ cars and those of Eliezer Niyitegeka, Minister of Information in the transitional government and Colonel Kanyamanza were transported by Transat planes. When Bihembe, the former commander of Kamembe airport asked about the fate of people wishing to join the new government in Kigali, as a way of responding to him, he was treated as an accomplice of RPF. Luckily enough, he escaped well on time.”

Elise Bisengimana, already quoted herein, witnessed the French soldiers together with the local authorities involved in the genocide inciting the population to 4ee the country.

“In August 1994, the French soldiers transported by helicopter many political and military o@cials as well as leaders of the Interahamwe who were all involved in the genocide. Before withdrawing to Zaire, they incited the population to 4ee en mass. To accomplish that, they moved around the town on several occasions on jeeps accompanied by the remaining authorities and addressed the population through megaphones in the following words: “ The whole population is hereby informed that we are no longer capable of ensuring your security because the French troops are leaving. Therefore, the town will immediately be under the control of the Inkotanyi who shall massacre the whole population. We hereby request all of you to 4ee to Zaire before the last French soldier leaves Rwandan soil. You are all warned” After that public address, there was a general sense of panic. In order to cross the border, the panic stricken population left in a stampede that some drowned while trying to swim across Rusizi River. At the border military post, the French soldiers were receiving ex FAR arms. They later loaded them onto their trucks before they also entered into Zaire.”

Opération Turquoise was launched with military honour and a humanitarian showcase with media fanfare in Cyangugu through the rescue of survivors in Nyarushishi camp. But soon after, there was a display of close collaboration with local authorities and the Interahamwe who organised massacres in the prefecture and town. According to individual testimonies, French soldiers were behind the operations of the Interahamwe to 4ush out Tutsis who were hidden near their camps as it is the case for the post which was set up at Colonel Simba’s house. For that reason the French soldiers even

supplied the Interahamwe with arms well knowing that the fate of those discovered was death.

French soldiers did not disarm the Interahamwe. On the contrary, they supplied them with arms like those which were given to Yusuf Munyakazi for the last assault on Bisesero. But generally, they encouraged the Interahamwe to continue hunting down Tutsis and killing them. There seems to be a contradiction between their actions and the ensuring the security of the camp. Nyarushishi camp illustrates the French strategy. The camp was also like a prison. French soldiers did not want displaced persons to get in or out of the camp. As such, they manned roadblocks just outside the camp while the Interahamwe manned the surrounding roadblocks which were ever increasing. While Tutsis who came from outside were Brst intercepted by the Interahamwe before they could enter Nyarushishi camp, those Tutsis inside the camp who under the pressure of hunger or the need for Brewood, went out of the camp, were also killed by the Interahamwe. It was on rare occasions that the French soldiers accompanied the displaced persons to collect Brewood. Here one can notice the logic behind the French security actions in Cyangugu. The French army seems to have had the goal of protecting only the displaced persons of Nyarushishi camp as long as they did not go out of the camp. All the other Tutsi survivors were left in the hands of the French allies, i.e. the Interahamwe, in order to be killed. There were exceptions, especially some military doctors in health facilities who treated and saved the lives of Tutsi survivors. But that was in rare cases. The only reasonable explanation, rather utilitarian, to explain their strategy could be that the French army in Cyangugu regarded all the Tutsi survivors of Cyangugu whether they were living outside the Nyarushishi camp or living in the camp but wanted to go outside, regardless of their age or sex or age, were suspected of being potential inBltration agents of the RPF. For that reason, they had to die.

The acts of rape on Tutsi survivors by French soldiers, sometimes very young girls, seem to have been frequent and systematic. Rape was committed in the day time for example in the French military base at Kamarampaka stadium. The Interahamwe who brought young girls to the French soldiers often crossed the security posts manned by the French, the rapes were carried out openly and by a big number of soldiers. The savage level of these assaults made young girls scream in di=erent tents, this did not go unnoticed. This proves that the acts of rape, sometimes of very young girls and in a savage manner, were tolerated by the military institution. This reveals that apart from the humanitarian and security strategy of letting the Interahamwe eliminate the threat of RPF inBltrators, the indiscriminate hostility by

the French towards the Tutsis lead to their rape as well as their extermination.

In order to avoid a total RPF victory over Opération Turquoise, victory against the FAR and the Genocidal government in Cyangugu, the French army opted for the scorched earth strategy by encouraging the looting and destruction of infrastructure as well as strongly inciting the population.


Kibuye prefecture is one the three prefectures that were o@cially under Opération Turquoise. In that prefecture, French soldiers set up three main bases, one was located in Gishyita village, another was in Kibuye town and the last was in Rubengera village. They arrived in Kibuye from three di=erent directions from 24th June. Some came from Cyangugu including Commander Marin Gillier and his troops, mainly marine commandos as well as some members of the GIGN who set up their base at Gishyita, another unit of air force commandos headed by Lieutenant Colonel Rémy Duval called Diego set up its base at Gishyita, lastly another secret military unit which came from Gisenyi arrived on 23rd June at Rubengera and was under the command of Captain Bucquet. The above shows actions of the French army in the triangle of Gisovu, Gishyita and Karongi and Bisesero hills which was in the middle of the triangle as well as Rubengera village. After setting up the aforementioned COS detachments, Kibuye prefecture constituted the northern unit of the Turquoise, commanded by Colonel Sartre with headquarters in Kibuye.


The case of Bisesero, which is important to remember, is one of the most serious accusations against the French army during the Opération Turquoise. It was accused for no less than deliberately delaying by 3 days to intervene in the rescue of almost 2.000 survivors and thus giving time to killers to massacre them.

This event was widely published since it occurred in the presence of foreign reporters and many Rwandans witnessed it. The key fact is that the French army waited for three days before starting the rescue operation for the Bisesero survivors and the army does not contest that fact. However, the reasons behind the delay are the cause of controversy.

The Bisesero case is composed of two episodes, the Brst is the fact that French soldiers abandoned survivors at Bisesero; the second is that

French soldiers refused to intervene during the three days of massacres yet they were only 5 kilometres from the camp. Lastly there are two additions to the Bisesero case, following the French intervention the poor treatment of genocide survivors at Bisesero and the poor medical care of the injured that were transferred to Goma by the French military doctors.

1) Abandonment

Acts of abandonment occurred at the very start of Opération Turquoise led by the COS detachments which had the mission to open Rwanda to the beneBts of the mission. The mission involved two detachments of COS, one under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Remy Duval, alias Diego, and another one headed by Commander Marin Gillier.

At the end of the morning of 27th June 1994, Colonel Rosier took a helicopter to see Diego in Kibuye, it seems, to analyse the situation. On the same day, a group of French reporters, including Patrick de Saint Exupéry were at Kibuye. Patrick de Saint Exupéry went to a secondary school run by nuns where Diego and his troops were based. In the school courtyard Patrick de Saint Exupéry met two nuns who told him that two hours from that place there were Tutsi survivors who were living in horrible conditions at Bisesero hills. At that point, Diego joined them and Patrick de Saint Exupéry asked him to go and see what the nun had told them about.

Patrick de Saint Exupéry with two other reporters, among them, Dominique Garraud of the daily Libératio, about ten soldiers and Diego in a minibus and three Jeeps drove towards Bisesero. Midway before arriving at Bisesero, the convoy stopped at Mubuga village where Diego persuaded a teacher called Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu to serve as their guide to Bisesero. Upon arriving at Bisesero hills, they met some ghostly Bgures that disappeared very quickly. One man approached the French and told them that they were exhausted because they had been Bghting their killers who had been hunting them day after day for two months. Slowly by slowly more and more survivors joined the team, Patrick de Saint Exupéry noticed that they were very thin, in completely torn clothes and many of them had machete wounds., “a child whose left buttock was cut o=, a man whose right arm was severed”. The survivors showed them a mass grave dug some meters from there, as well as a fresh corpse of a man who had been killed two hours earlier. After that the survivors recognized the guide of the French as being Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu, and accused him of being one of the chief militia who were hunting them down. The French soldiers put him in one of their vehicles for his safety. Then, Colonel Diego informed the survivors that he had to go.

“We will come back, he reassures the displaced persons with a lot of emotion. Do not worry, in two or three days we will be back. In the meantime, you have to hide yourselves and survive!”

“But they are going to kill us! Said one young Tutsi. Stay here! Don’t leave! I beseech you!”
“But we have to go, the o@cer tries to explain. But we will come back, I promise you!”

“No, we are going to be killed! Stay here or at least tell us where we can Bnd you! Look, only some men and some children are remaining. All our wives have already been killed. We can not resist any more…” “At the moment, says Lieutenant Colonel Diego with patience, we can do nothing. The most important thing for you to do is to survive for two or three more days, we will come back since we know where to Bnd you….”

The group left. According to suggestions given to the Commission at the site by Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu, Diego stopped the convoy and went aside with his satellite telephone case. “When we came back, he stopped at the junction of Gisovu and Gishyita towards Mubuga. Diego brought out radio equipment that he laid on the ground to send his message for around Bve minutes before driving ahead. He gave the message at a low voice so that he could not be heard by the rest of the convoy.”

Back at Kibuye, Diego talked to De Saint- Exupéry:

“The lieutenant colonel is still in shock: “I have experience, but this…” This is not an illusion: “Before we can intervene at Bisesero, at least 2.000 more displaced persons will be killed.” Exhausted and full of remorse, the o@cer sent this information to the army head quarters: It is for them to take a decision. If we go there to protect these thousands of people who are being hunted like animals, we shall be engaged in one way or another and shall run the risk of having all the militia and local authorities turn against us. We are ready and shall obey orders. But are the people in Paris ready?”

In his book, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry talks about and expounds on his various meetings and the abandonment of the Tutsi in Bisesero. He wrote that back in Kibuye“Diego remained on his coded telephone to Paris for long giving report after report.”

The story of Diego’s meeting with the Bisesero survivors is narrated by Patrick de Saint Exupéry in a report of 29/06/1994 published in the Le Figaro, by Dominique Garraud in his report published on the same day

in the Libération. Lastly, the meeting was narrated to the Commission by Eric Nzabahimana, Eric Kayumba and other Bisesero survivors who met with Diego. And Bnally Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu also narrated to the Commission about the meeting.

Consequences of the abandonment

Bisesero survivors all concur that following their meeting with the French soldiers, attacks increased during the three days that preceded their return. According to Bisesero survivors, at the time when they met Diego they were around 2.000 survivors, and after three days of intensive massacres, only 800 people survived. Eric Nzabahimana explained to the Commission what followed the departure of the French.

“While we were discussing, killers who were placed at di=erent parts of the hills were watching us, almost all of us had come out of our hiding places. The three days that followed, the 28th, 29th and 30th massacres intensiBed. Many soldiers participated and many more people were killed, yet the French soldiers had promised to ask the Préfet to stop attacks against us.”

Fidèle Bagambiki, a survivor from Bisesero was also at the meeting with Diego.

“They asked us if some people were dead or injured. We showed them the injured and fresh corpses of some people who had just been killed. They told us that they were leaving and would return in three days. From that day onwards, attacks became more intense. The Interahamwe were killing day and night and we were only 1.200 or 1.300 people left when the French returned. In fact, the Interahamwe did not know the exact number of survivors until we came out of our hiding places thinking that the French were coming to rescue us. From then on, attacks intensiBed. […]The worst thing they could do was to leave us behind, in the hands of the Interahamwe. If the French had wanted to save us, they could have done it because they had all the necessary equipment, including heavy arms.”

Pascal Nkusi, a Bisesero survivor too, was also present at the meeting with Diego.

“The following day, they [the French] did not come but we saw a helicopter hovering over the place. From that day, attacks became more intensive and there were more dead people, because almost all of us had come out of our hiding places. […]On the third day, attacks continued and around 14h00 or 15h00, the French Bnally arrived.”

O@cial reasons for the abandonment

The Mission d’Reconnaissance Parlementaire (MIP) only allocates 17 lines to the Bisesero case and in an extraordinary way is silent about the meeting of Diego with the Bisesero survivors. It only cites the second part of the Bisesero case, the refusal to intervene by the second French o@cer who saw killers going up to Bisesero hill and heard gunshots. We shall come back to that point later. Here is the integral part on Bisesero from the MIP

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The screening and execution of displaced Tutsis in Rubengera

One of the bases of the Opération Turquoise in Kibuye prefecture was the small town of Rubengera. It is located 20km east and slightly to the south of Kibuye town. It is located at the junction of the road to Kigali and the road from Gisenyi. In July 1994, when the so called “humanitarian safe zone” controlled by the French army was marked out, Rubengera town was not far from that Humanitarian safe zone and the zone that was controlled by the RPF. Before marking out the humanitarian safe zone, the French army and RPF soldiers exchanged Bre and the French bombed RPF positions.

Since June 1994, Rubengera town hosted camps of displaced people coming from as far as the eastern part of Rwanda, regions of Kibungo but also from areas in central Rwanda like Gitarama.

On 23rd June 1994, a convoy of around 20 military vehicles including armoured vehicles from Gisenyi entered Rubengera town. The French soldiers headed on the Brst day towards the commune o@ce and the following day, they set up their headquarters at Groupe Scolaire de Rubengera.

Inside the school, they set up their o@ce in the premises of the school administration and erected their tents near the building, not far from the main entrance of the school. The inside of the school was divided into two parts all at di=erent levels. There was the raised level which included a certain number of blocks which housed classrooms and the administration o@ce, as well as the lawn where the French soldiers

erected their tents. There was lastly, the lower part, much bigger and open, with less buildings and a second entrance at the back.

Upon their arrival, the French soldiers collaborated with local authorities, Burgomaster Bagilishema, but mainly with his assistant Célestin Semanza. They also set up a strong force to help them in their security responsibilities. They asked Semanza to designate responsible and trustworthy people to whom they handed guns to build up a “comité de sécurité civile” (committee for civil security). Those people were of two types: on one hand, junior o@cials with a relatively high level of education as well s their auxiliaries, on the other hand, physically strong people who were often militia who were known for their role in the massacres that had started in April 1994. The two commanders of the French military contingent in July were Captain Bucquet, in charge of military matters, and Captain Giorda, who was in charge of security. It is the latter who one created the Comité de sécurité civile (committee for civil security).

One of the tasks of the Comité de sécurité civile was to trace Tutsis, who had survived the genocide, were natives of the neighbourhood and who had been sent to the small camp outside the school. On knowing about the arrival of the French soldiers, a certain number of Tutsis who had survived in their hiding places came out of their hiding places. The other task of the committee was to select from the displaced people, the Tutsis that were among them because there was a certain number of the Tutsis that could be found in those camps. Those displaced people were gathered at the upper level of the camp, not far from the French soldiers’ tents. A witness explained that he saw around 30 persons there: men, women and children.

Two witnesses conBrmed to the Commission that they saw, behind one of the classroom blocks which led to a small courtyard on a slope with a lawn and bordered by a small forest, corpses being picked up and transported aboard a truck driven by French soldiers. The truck was going to throw those corpses into a mass grave where many Hutu dysentery victims had been buried. A third witness is one of the people who killed displaced Tutsis in that small forest under the French soldiers’ orders.

François Rudakubana, a native of Rubengera, was in the village during the genocide.

“I was at Rubengera and stayed there during the genocide. I was there when the French soldiers came to set up base. The Brst group came in June aboard helicopters which dropped them by parachute at Rubengera primary school with their back packs; others came the

following day on trucks from Cyangugu and Gisenyi. They set camp at Rubengera secondary school premises; school pupils had gone for holidays. Some days after they set up base at Rubengera, genocide survivors in very poor conditions began coming out of their hiding places to seek refuge in the French camp.

After around three days, we saw French soldiers transporting the displaced Tutsis to a place where an o@ce of a pastor who had been killed by genocide perpetrators was situated. It was on the side and in a hidden place. It is evident that those displaced persons were killed there because after that operation we saw a truck driven by a French soldier seated together wit another French soldier and no other passengers. Thrice, I saw with my own eyes corpses being collected. French trucks were transporting corpses to bury them in forest at Gafumba.[…] I was staying close to that forest where a mass grave had been dug and one day I saw the same truck dumping corpses into the mass grave. I am not a Tutsi; as such I was not in hiding. I often went to Gitikinini [it is a big tree near the secondary school entrance] and followed everything that was going on there. At least I saw those trucks thrice.

In fact, the camp of displaced persons that was set up in the secondary school was a Hutu camp which had some Tutsis. At the beginning, there were some displaced Tutsis who were joined by Hutus and other Tutsis coming from di=erent places. At a certain time, the number of displaced persons increased and the French asked the guards, people whom they had given guns to and who were in charge of security, to select, on the basis of identity cards, the Tutsis who had successfully inBltrated the displaced people. That way, the Hutus showed the guards the Tutsis amongst them. The guards thereafter took them to the French who brought them to the aforementioned place and killed them.

The case of the Tutsis who were killed and buried at Gafumba should not be confused with the case of displaced persons who died from dysentery and were buried in the same mass grave. Corpses of Hutus that died from dysentery were carried on foot, on makeshift stretchers, often accompanied by their parents or friends to the mass grave which was not far from the secondary school camp. The loading, by hired guards who were armed by the French, of corpses of Tutsis in the truck was done in a place inaccessible to displaced persons and in discretion, behind the block which housed the o@ce of the murdered pastor. Not very far from there, there was a small dense forest; certainly it is there that they were killed. The two cases occurred and they should not be confused.”

Ismael Kamali, a native of former Mugina commune in Gitarama prefecture, lived in a camp of displaced people established at Rubengera secondary school. He attests to having witnessed di=erent acts of killings carried out or ordered by French soldiers.

“I am a native of Gitarama. When the Inkotanyi were advancing, I 4ed with my sister to the displaced persons camp at Rubengera School. When the French soldiers arrived, my sister like the other girls went to see them. She eventually stayed with them in their tents, she tried to Bnd other girls for them. She was in the French soldiers’ tents most of the time and as such had become their woman in a way. We settled not far from where they were in huts which were used as roadside shops on the road surrounding the school. I was 15 years old and there was a hole through the fence near the French tents. In the camp that was in the school compound, there were some Tutsi survivors that we had met on our way. The French were very hostile to these Tutsis and said that we had to Bnd Tutsis that were among us as it was because of them that we had left our property. Some of us conBrmed that there were some Tutsis in the camp and brought them to the French. The French ordered us to take them to their camp and killed them in a demolished house near the road, close to a place where a car had been burnt. I personally saw them killing 12 people including 4 women. In fact, they would pick people accused of being Tutsi or Inyenzi and take them to their camp. We expected them to return, but we later learnt that they had been killed. The French used displaced people to collect and bury the corpses near the road. In appreciation, they gave them boxes of candy. We learnt of that from the people who had been used to bury them. […] I also saw displaced Tutsis being killed under the orders of the French in the courtyard of Rubengera secondary school. The Tutsis who were brought to them were put into one of their tents in Rubengera School. Those people were killed. I saw some people being taken to the small forest bordering the school. I also saw corpses being taken out of the small forest which was behind the school buildings by members of the ‘comités de sécurité civile’. A truck driven by a French soldier, with another French soldier seated besides him, parked there and the Interahamwe loaded corpses onto the truck. They covered them with a black canvas. Most of Tutsis were killed there under orders of the French.”

Ismael also explained how he saw French soldiers training civilians whom they asked to hunt for Tutsis.

“When I was staying in the camp, I used to get up very early in the mornings and saw the French training some young people. They were teaching them how to use guns and grenades, how to escape grenade shrapnel as well as the use of the camou4age system.[…] all those

training sessions were held early in the mornings in the parish courtyard and ended at around 7h00. They promised to arm their trainees and ensure their safety on their way to exile. But the French urged them to hunt any Tutsis who may have been hiding in the Belds, reminding them that they were 4eeing the country because of the Tutsis.”

The Commission visited the site and talked individually to François Rudakubana and Ismaël Kamali who showed them where the acts had been committed, particularly the backyard of the classroom blocks of Rubengera Secondary School, where they had seen corpses of Tutsis being loaded onto trucks. The facts that were given in their testimonies matched what the commission was shown at the site.

Alexis Ntare is a native of Rubengera village. He was a member of the FAR, military instructor at the Centre d’Entraînement Commando Bigogwe (Bigogwe Commando Training Centre). When the Opération Turquoise soldiers came, he was manning a huge roadblock that was located at one of the entrances to the village and is known as one of the main killers of Rubengera. He was a member of the “comité de sécurité civile” which was set up by French soldiers. Lastly he participated in the massacres of Tutsis which took place behind the classrooms block of Rubengera secondary school mentioned by the two preceding witnesses.

“I saw the French during the Opération Turquoise when they were coming from Gisenyi with armoured vehicles and other military vehicles in order to set up base in Kibuye. They therefore came and set up base in Kibuye stadium. The following morning, other French soldiers came aboard two helicopters. They disarmed us and chased us away from the roadblock that we had set up at TraBpro at the junction of Gitarama-Kibuye and Kibuye –Gisenyi roads. Then, they organised a meeting of intellectual people at Rubengera secondary school. [this is the meeting that put into place the “comité de sécurité civile”]. In the meeting on the following day, they authorised us to return to our roadblock after having given us some more guns and grenades. That day onwards, we returned to the roadblock but observing the directives from the French. They ordered us to send them any Tutsi that we found. At the roadblock, we had the mission to seize any person suspected of being an Inkotanyi, FAR deserters or any person who destabilised the displaced people in the camps. Anyone who was arrested had to be taken to the French camp. They had taught us how to identify an Inkotanyi: We checked if he/she was tall, with a long nose, had gun strap marks on shoulders or on the legs because it was only the Inkotanyi who wore gumboots while FAR wore military boots. […]I remember that they even caught displaced Tutsi people and

tortured them inside Rubengera secondary school. They tied them up, poured water on them and beat them up before taking them, it seems, to Nyarushishi by helicopter. We brought other displaced Tutsis who were suspected of being Inkotanyi as well as people who were arrested at our roadblock. They tied them up, tortured them and put them in a makeshift detention room. When their number increased, we put them on trucks which took them to Musaho on the shores of Lake Kivu where they were killed by French soldiers and thrown into the lake. One day we took 13 persons among the displaced Tutsis who were suspected of being Inkotanyi to Musaho. Upon our arrival at Musaho, we found a group of four French soldiers. They ordered them to sit around a Bre they had set and tortured them with that Bre. They interrogated them about their mission, how they communicated with the Inkotanyi and how they were planning to receive them. At around midnight, the French went aside to talk among themselves. When they came back they asked us to step away. One of the four French soldiers killed them and they ordered us to throw the corpses into Lake Kivu. The second time that I went to Musaho, it was when we were taking there 4 people who had been captured by the population at Gihara and suspected of being Inkotanyi. It seemed that they wore military uniforms underneath their civilian clothes and had a Kalashnikov gun. The population alerted the French who intervened and took the four people to their quarters before taking them to Musaho later. We went there with 2 French soldiers and again met the team we had met at Musaho. This time there was no delay. Without questioning them, one of the French with whom we had come from Rubengera School shot them dead like it had been done before. His name was Jacques. Just after we had left the place, we heard gunshots from neighbouring hills. It was, as it had seemed, the Inkotanyi who were attacking. The French soldiers asked us to pull out quickly and started bombarding the place where gunshots were coming from. […] On another occasion, a commune policeman named MARERE who was always with the French soldiers at their roadblock set up at the entrance of the school came to us saying that the French wanted to talk to us. We immediately followed him thinking that we were going to receive combat rations from them. However, upon our arrival at Rubengera School, two French soldiers let us know that they had some work for us. They showed us a group of 9 to 13 Tutsis, tied up with blue cords and ordered us to take them to a slope behind the school and kill them. We killed them with clubs and ferried them towards Gafumba in French soldiers’ trucks. [We note. This part matches with testimonies from the two preceding witnesses] [….]. I can tell you that I went to Musaho only twice, but the French went there several times.”

2) Colonel Sartre incited people to 4ee the country

When the advance of RPF was accelerating and its victory was imminent, Colonel Sartre organised two rallies to incite the population to 4ee. The Brst one was organised on 13th July 1994 , that is around 10 days after the victory over Kigali and at the time when Ruhengeri and Gisenyi were about to fall under RPF control. The whole population was invited to the rally. The second rally took place on 23rd July and involved only educated people.

The mass rally of 13th July 1994

Apollinarie Nyirabahutu is a Tutsi woman married to a Hutu. Her husband worked at Rubengera Secondary School. When the French soldiers arrived, she came out of her hiding place to apply for a job in the school camp. She attended the Brst public rally organised by Colonel Sartre.

“The French soldiers who camped at Rubengera secondary school convened a mass rally in the AJEMAC (local NGO) multipurpose hall. The meeting was chaired by Colonel Sartre. I was working in humanitarian aid distributing food to displaced people and attended that rally where the whole population was invited. Sanding before the crowd were Colonel Sartre, Bagilishema the Burgomaster of Mabanza commune, Assistant Burgomaster Semanza Célestin who was translating for Sartre, a Canadian soldier who spoke English accompanied by a Rwandan who was translating from English to Kinyarwanda. There was also Apollinaire Nsengimana, another assistant Burgomaster and Hubert Bigaruka head of AJEMAK. Colonel Sartre told them: “Our mission shall end soon, we are going to hand over to the UNAMIR. You Hutus, don’t be naïve remember that RPF are nearby at Mushubati, as soon as we leave, they shall arrive here. They will for sure ask you where the family or the person who was your neighbour is, if you reply that he or she is dead, they will ask you who killed him or her. Even if you know it, I advise you to say nothing, but rather run away from them.” He even asked those who could not 4ee not to obey to RPF because its government would not last for long. Colonel Sartre thought he was addressing Hutus only because the survivors were in camps. Thus, the purpose of the rally was to incite the Hutu population to start their journey to exile. That is how the population started 4eeing passing through Gisenyi and Cyangugu.”

Hubert Bigaruka was the director of a Rwandan NGO AJEMAC that had hosted the rally organised by Colonel Sartre. It was with great unwillingness that he expressed himself:

“There was a rally organized by Sartre. We could tell that RPF had won the war and that the French were preparing to leave. The hall was full

with a capacity of 100 people. There were all categories of people. Sartre was the main speaker. He explained that the RPF had won and they were about to leave. He explained to the people that those who wanted to 4ee had to go to Bukavu. He told them that the French had to leave but that they would come back.”

Emmanuel Rwagasana is among the young people who received military training from the French during the Opération Turquoise. He also attended the rally that had been organised by Sartre:

“I arrived at Rubengera four days before we heard that a rally was to be organised there. I attended the rally that was organised by Sartre. The rally started at 11h00. Among the speakers were Sartre, Semanza and another white soldier who spoke English and a light skinned man who was translating for him. Semanza translated for Sartre. Sartre told us that we had to 4ee, that the Inkotanyi had reached Mushubati and that the French were going to help us to come back. He added that those who really could not run away had to hide themselves in bushes and not obey the Tutsi power.”

Rally of the intellectuals convened on 23/07/1994

The former Assistant Burgomaster, Semanza Célestin, currently jailed for suspected participation in genocide maintains his innocence and is awaiting trial. It was with a lot of unwillingness he gave some contextual references of the second rally organised by Sartre in Rubengera School’s multipurpose hall. He explained that the rally took place on 23rd July 1994 that is some days after the Brst RPF government was set up. Colonel Sartre was coming from Gikongoro where he had been meeting representatives of the movement.

Evariste Niyongamije was staying at Rubengera during the genocide. In 1994, he owned a small shop, but before that he was a primary school teacher.

“The French organised a rally at Rubengera chaired by Colonel Sartre. He came from Gikongoro by helicopter. Before his arrival, the assistant Burgomaster Semanza had moved around the Rubengera streets and in camps of displaced people aboard a pick up of the commune using a megaphone inviting all educated people, all people who spoke French to attend a rally that was to be held at Rubengera school’s multipurpose hall. The hall had a capacity of 500 or 600 people, it was extremely full. I was there. Sartre disembarked from a helicopter and chaired the rally with Célestin Semanza, Athanase Nshimiyimana and Hubert Bigaruka. There were also other French soldiers present whose names were not known to me. It was around the end of July. The

agenda of the rally was to discuss the plan of the transitional government to return to power and take over from the RPF as well as to announce their imminent departure as well as the arrival of the Senegalese. Colonel Sartre asked all the young people who had been involved in the genocide to 4ee to Congo and leave Rwanda to the older people. The younger people would serve during our future attacks in two years. Then the other French soldiers had their chance to speak. They said that we had to explain to all the people that those who remained in the country had to be ready to hide those who would be coming from outside the country with arms. That rally was of great importance and they kept their promise of helping us return to power in two years. InBltrations and attacks of the “Bacengezi” in 1997 were in line with that plan. We were assured of the French’s assistance and I think that the French Government was aware of the preparation of these attacks.”

In the village located close to the line separating RPF positions and those of the French and which seemed to have been a frontline of a hidden war that the two players were involved in, French soldiers seem to have been particularly merciless in countering any attempt of the RPF to inBltrate. For that reason, they rearmed the militia who had been the key players during the massacres in the preceding months, ordering them to stop Tutsis at roadblocks and pick them from camps of displaced persons. Those military soldiers, it seems, tortured, killed or had the people they suspected killed. In doing this, it seems that they went out of their way not only to kill or cause to be killed Tutsis who looked like they were combatants and expand their killing to others such as the women reported here.


A certain number of facts are reported about the presence of the French in Kibuye. In that town, witnesses attest to the fact that French soldiers provided the Interahamwe with fuel taken from their fuel tanks. According to testimonies, at the time of the general mobilisation for the Bisesero attack, local authorities of Gishyita and other o@cials who had come for assistance got fuel from the French soldiers.

Christophe Harerimana was, at that time an Interahamwe and had a bar opposite the Gatwaro stadium where some Opération Turquoise soldiers had set up base. He is now in detention at Gisenyi prison for participating in the genocide.

“[…] I personally saw them, I had a bar opposite the stadium where the French had set up base. The Interahamwe got fuel at the Petrorwanda station and some others from the French. In fact, there were many

Interahamwe and FAR vehicles that came from Gisenyi, Cyangugu, Gitarama and Kigali.”

Edmond Mushimiyimana was selling banana beer at Kibuye hospital when the French soldiers of the Opération Turquoise arrived there. He also gives an account of the fuel provisions to the Interahamwe.

“[…] when Petrorwanda fuel reserves were emptied, the French provided fuel to Interahamwe from their own reserves which they had at Mugambira’s house at Bralirwa. They brought petrol and oil barrels by ship, unloaded them and provided some to the Interahamwe that is Kayishema, Sikubwabo, Mika and Rusezera. It was the same at the time of 4eeing the country.”

Destruction of public goods and pillaging

Di=erent witnesses from Kibuye village state that the French soldiers passively assisted the Interahamwe in the destruction of the town’s infrastructure. Some of them still came from Zaire where they were in exile and got involved in the destruction.

Ignace Banyanga was an agent at the Kibuye Prefecture in 1994. In his testimony where he deplored some French soldiers actions, he raised the following points:

“[…] The following case concerns their indi=erence regarding the destruction of public goods. One day, we stopped their jeep to inform them about the destruction of the building that housed the prefecture accounting service, but instead they drove away as if nothing had happened.”

Rosalie Nyinawandoli is a survivor of Bisesero. Before 1994 genocide, she was in charge of social services at Gitesi commune.

“On 25/07/1994, I was at Kibuye. All administrative buildings and other infrastructure were in good condition at that time. Then, Hutu refugees from Congo were coming back to destroy and pillage these public buildings including the prefecture’s o@ces and schools. All goods were destroyed and looted in full view and to the knowledge of the French who let it happen.”

Evariste Niyongamije is a former Interahamwe of Kibuye. He is now detained in Gisovu Central prison for participating in the genocide. Below is his testimony on the destruction and pillaging of goods.

“[…] another thing, on a date that I cannot remember well, I assisted in a confrontation between the French and the Inkotanyi. The French were protecting people who were coming from Congo and who were entering Rwanda through Masaho to destroy houses and dismantle equipment at co=ee washing stations. They would go back to Congo with the looted goods. Instead of discouraging such acts, the French encouraged them. The Inkotanyi tried to stop them from doing so but the French instead shot at them using armoured vehicles. They asked us to use mud to camou4age their armoured vehicles and promised to ensure our security. They located the Inkotanyi with binoculars and shot at them. The engines of their jeeps were always on in the night time. They bombarded the zone under Inkotanyi control and asked us to be vigilant in order to stop their inBltration. […] Their camping sites were located at Rubengera parish, at Kibuye and at Mubuga. At Rubengera, I used to talk to them and they told me that they had come to ensure the security of the Hutus who had 4ed the Inkotanyi.”

Refusal to give medical care to the injured Tutsis

The refusal to give medical care to the Tutsi who were injured is reported by Christophe Harerimana, already quoted herein. Having been injured, he was transferred to Kibuye hospital where many injured Tutsis were waiting for treatment.

“On 8/07/1994, Interahamwe shot at me in front of the burgomaster’s residence. French soldiers evacuated me to Kibuye hospital. I stayed there for 3 days during which I noticed that the French soldiers were refusing to give medical care to injured genocide survivors. On the contrary, they took care of the Interahamwe and FAR who had been injured in the Bisesero attacks. Afterwards, French soldiers took us to Cyangugu, precisely to Kamarampaka stadium, the same was the case for the injured soldiers coming from Kanombe. They abandoned patients and injured Tutsis at Kibuye saying that they had to be treated by the RPF. At Kamarampaka stadium, they had installed a large inBrmary where we joined other injured persons. Before being treated, every patient was asked about the circumstances in which he was injured, and in case he was injured by Interahamwe he did not get care. On 28/7/1994, around 2h00, the French soldiers evacuated us [the injured Interahamwe and the FAR] to the Bukavu general hospital aboard Bve of their trucks. We passed by Rusizi I. From Kibuye, they refused to take care of the Tutsis and only treated the Hutus. In fact, they took care of me because I also was an Interahamwe. I was a member of the Interahamwe who had erected a roadblock in front of Kibuye hospital.”


Kibuye prefecture is one the three prefectures that were o@cially under Opération Turquoise. In that prefecture, French soldiers set up three main bases, one was located in Gishyita village, another was in Kibuye town and the last was in Rubengera village. They arrived in Kibuye from three di=erent directions from 24th June. Some came from Cyangugu including Commander Marin Gillier and his troops, mainly marine commandos as well as some members of the GIGN who set up their base at Gishyita, another unit of air force commandos headed by Lieutenant Colonel Rémy Duval called Diego set up its base at Gishyita, lastly another secret military unit which came from Gisenyi arrived on 23rd June at Rubengera and was under the command of Captain Bucquet. The above shows actions of the French army in the triangle of Gisovu, Gishyita and Karongi and Bisesero hills which was in the middle of the triangle as well as Rubengera village. After setting up the aforementioned COS detachments, Kibuye prefecture constituted the northern unit of the Turquoise, commanded by Colonel Sartre with headquarters in Kibuye.


Political support to the interim government and military support to former FAR and Interahamwe after July 1994

Political support to the interim government and military support to former FAR and Interahamwe after July 1994

1.1 O@cial contacts with the interim government in exile

It is clear from a report written by Jerome Bicamumpaka about his mission to France in September 1994 that France maintained its cooperation with the interim government, by among other things giving advice of a political nature to improve its image and to recover the legitimacy it had lost for having perpetrated the genocide. Bicamumpaka was received twice by a French o@cial, and informally by two other personalities, during a mission that was meant to: “sensitize the French authorities about the tragic situation which Rwanda was experiencing; to Bnd out the French position on the Rwandese problem; to appeal for French political support to our cause on the international scene; to appeal for humanitarian aid for the refugees and for Bnancial support.”

In his report, Bicamumpaka pointed out that France was advising the interim government and FAR to adopt a “ low proBle”, but that France will not stop sympathizing with them and giving them assistance as such: “To the French, the RPF Government would be illegitimate, for it is a government that was brought to power by the Ugandan army, whose majority do not speak either Kinyarwanda, or French; a government that rules a country deserted by the majority of its population; in short, a government of an occupation army. As far as they are concerned, that government should give way to another that really represents the population. The transitional government in exile represents a bigger majority of the Rwandan population, but it remains discredited [not our emphasis]”.

Concerning the advice given to that discredited government, Bicamumpaka noted: “The French still recommends that we organize ourselves so that we can occupy as much as possible the international scene, carrying out unprecedented media activities; we should increase the number of our declarations, but these will have to be well thought out that are in line with coherent and responsible strategy and not aggressive declarations which would bring about polemics. That would not be in line with the low proBle politics that they recommend.”

During that mission, Bicamumpaka also discussed with his interlocutors the question of direct French military support and this is the answer he was given: “On the question of French support, our interlocutors replied that that support was impossible for the time being mainly for the following reasons:
-The world is still under the shock of all those massacres;

France is accused by the international community of having played a role in the Rwandan “genocide”; the period of elections in France [….]. Even if it were possible to give support, we should do it in a shrew

manner: for example, Bnd a “friendly” African country” which would receive that Bnancial aid and cede it back to us. And that is where the importance of President Mobutu comes in our strategy. [….]
And that is why we should refocus our diplomacy as a matter of priority towards the President and other Zaïrean authorities and get them to allow us free political activities on their soil, while demanding caution from us at the same time”.

With regard to returning to power in Rwanda, France advised the interim government as follows: “As we had requested their opinion on our possible return to power in Rwanda through military activities, our interlocutors told us to be very careful because for the time being, we would have the whole world against us. That action would certainly be a blatant failure. For them, what is important for us is to exist and be recognized by the international community as the true representatives of the Rwandese people. (Example: The French Government in exile in London or the Polish Government in exile also in London from 1939 to 1945 or the PLO Government)”

It is clear that France did not want to carry out activities in the open, preferring rather to provide indirect support through President Mobutu. From the testimonies of General Rwarakabije and Colonel Murenzi (c.f the annexes), we will Bnd out that France indeed provided this indirect support through President Mobutu.

French support to former FAR and Interahamwe was characterized by two essential aspects: covering arms supplies that were passing through Goma, and direct support to the restructuring of FAR, military training of Interahamwe and encouragement of operations that were carried out by armed groups in order to destabilize the new Rwandan government.

1.2 Supply of arms and covering their delivery by Turquoise

France continued to give military and logistical support to FAR and the interim government during the presence of Turquoise at Goma and after its departure. On 2nd July 1994, Prime Minister Jean Kambanda admitted: “We receive arms, it is clear. Without that, we would not have been able to hold on untill now. Now, I understand how one wins a war. The problem of the embargo does not rise anymore as this was the case a month ago”. On 4th July 1994, a former FAR o@cer conBrmed what Kambanda had said, saying that FAR continued to receive arms at Goma.

That 4ow of arms was also noted by journalists who were in Goma. They revealed that cargo had started arriving mid-April and went on

during the whole summer of 1994 in the presence of the French army at Goma. Arms were brought in by Boeings 707 from Nigeria and by other anonymous planes which landed at night between 2030 hours, and with each landing, they would bring in 18 tons of arms and ammunition. Le Figaro conBrmed that it had detailed proof that “on 18th July, a 4ight that transported cargo worth 753,645 dollars of arms landed at Goma. The Rwandan Embassy in Paris Bnanced that 4ight for an amount of 175,000 dollars, the Rwandan Embassy in Cairo, for an amount of 578,645 dollars”. In June 1994, Colonel Dominique Bon, the French military attaché in Kinshasa made it clear that arms supplies to former FAR had not stopped and that they were coming through the airport of Goma.

An administrative and Bnancial report of the Rwandan Embassy in France written from 31st July to 5th August 1995 by the Rwandese Audit Commission revealed that between 4th July and 29th December 1994, Colonel Sebastien Ntahobari, the Embassy’s military attaché, continued to incur expenses related to the purchasing of arms using account No. 034728-35 managed by Banque Nationale de Paris, Ternes Monceau agency. On the orders of the Minister of Defense, he transferred 1.200.000$ on 17/6/1994 to GPP group of Captain Barril as the beneBciary “no one knows for what purpose. Only Barril, Ntahobari and Bizimana [minister of defense of the interim government] knew”, noted the auditors.

On the same day, other amounts were transferred to the accounts of the Rwandan Embassies in Kinshasa (200,000$), in Washington (28,000$) and Nairobi (40,000$). On 27/ 6/1994, a sum of 1,100,000 French francs was transferred to the Rwandan Embassy in Cairo. On 5th July 1994, 1,086,071 French francs were transferred to a citizen whose name was Robert-Bernard Martin. It is very likely that those funds transfers from the Rwandan Embassies’ accounts in the period very close to between mid-June and beginning of July 1994 were used to Bnance the purchase of arms bought by the interim government, channeled through Zaire destined to FAR.

According to the opinion of Rwandan experts who checked the accounts of the Rwandan Embassy in France, “Colonel Ntahobari was working as a middleman between MINADEF (Ministry of Defense) and some arms dealers. He was aware of most orders of military equipments and account No. 034728-35 was sometimes used to e=ect funds transfers meant to pay the bills related to those orders. At the time of this audit in Paris, we identiBed the names of three companies which were involved in that deal or in the transportation of military equipment with Rwanda:
– OGA: O@ce General de l’ Air (France)

  • –  EAST AFRICAN CARGO (EAC) based in Zaventem (Belgium)
  • –  DYL INVEST LTD: represented by Dominique LEMONNIER and based at CRAN-GENERIER (FRANCE)”The experts indicated that they did not Bnd any other Bgures in the accounts of the Embassy and explained that Colonel Ntahobari had burnt all the records of his department before leaving the Embassy in December 1994. However, the report of the experts revealed very important movements of funds on the account of the military attaché, an indication that could give credence to the assumption that arms were purchased either o@cially or through some private organisations.Concerning this question of arms Bnancing by France, on 3rd July 2007, the Commission heard M. Martin Marschner Von Helmreich, a German citizen residing in Monaco, who pointed out that a French company called Rochefort Finances was a subsidiary through which clandestine operations were Bnanced in Africa, particularly in Rwanda. M. Marschner based his accusations on the following fact: in 1994, he had signed a Bnancial brokerage agreement with “La Case Centrale de Reassurance” (CRR), a company which depended directly on the French Treasury, by depositing an amount equivalent to three million Euros.On 19th August 1994, CRR informed him that it had lost one billion French francs belonging to its subsidiary, Rochefort Finances. On 14th September 1994, he was surprised to note that the French Treasury paid him back the whole amount without any explanation. Marschner felt that this malfunctioning was an indication of the involvement of the Ministry of Budget in the clandestine Bnancing of operations, and that France could have used this same method to Bnance the organization of the genocide in Rwanda. He handed a very big document of about 800 pages to the Commission which he considered to be a collection of the incriminating evidence related to the Bnancing in question. The Commission studied it thoroughly together with documents from the National Bank of Rwanda, but the inquiry on that subject could not support the accusations of Mr. Marschner. What is clear, however, is that some funds whose sources remain obscure transited through a French bank, BNP (Banque Nationale de Paris) and could have most probably been used to purchase arms and ammunition for FAR after the embargo and their withdrawal to Zaïre. Another point which indicates the responsibility of the French government in direct rearming of FAR, concerns arms deliveries on the battleBeld. In fact, the airport of Goma through which the arms meant for FAR and the militia was transiting between the months of June and August 1994, was controlled by the French army and was only supposed to serve for humanitarian purposes.

But that airport was also used to receive arms and ammunition meant for FAR and Interahamwe, something which could not have been possible without the readiness of the French soldiers to oblige. Acting under the mandate of the UN, the French army, among other missions, had to enforce the embargo adopted by the Security Council and thus stop any transit of arms through Goma.

1.2 Restructuring, re-arming and re-training of FAR and Interahamwe

After July 1994, the French authorities continued with their military support to the defeated regime, to FAR and Intrahamwe. During the stay of Turquoise troops in Zaïre, France got involved in a policy that some writers qualify as “low intensity war” , including training their Rwandese allies in the camps in Zaïre, Congo Brazzaville and Central Africa.

1.2.1 Supporting FAR and Interahamwe in Zaïre.

In Zaire, France gave moral and military support to FAR through Marshal Mobutu. When Turquoise was still in Goma, close and regular contacts between France and FAR high ranking o@cers continued with the objective of helping them to get reorganised and motivated to resume the armed struggle in Rwanda. After the restructuring exercice, France continued to give them technical, moral and military support. France’s support was not conBned to FAR, it also extended to Interahamwe. The French gave them military training as well as logistical and moral support. Many testimonies of militiamen conBrmed the participation of the French in their reorganization and training. This was done through the intermediary of former FAR o@cers, but French soldiers provided logistical support.

General Paul Rwarakabije testiBed as follows:

“Opération Turquoise was not involved in saving those who were being hunted. It rather favoured the authorities of the previous regime and helped them to leave the country. When they arrived outside the country, the contacts between the French soldiers’ headquarters based in Goma and the leaders of FAR continued, mainly with Gen. Bizimungu, Lt col. Anatole Nsengiyumva, Lt col. BahuBte and many others that I don’t remember, such as General Bizimungu’s aide de camp. Every time such contacts took place, we would hold meetings and our colleagues would report to us about those contacts. They would explain that their objective was to restructure FAR so as to enable the latter to be in a position to attack Rwanda as soon as possible.

Among the French o@cers of Turquoise who kept contacts with FAR were those who had worked in Rwanda before, with Noroît detachment. There was for example Colonel Canovas that one could see quite often. Regarding General Lafourcade, he was not moving about in FAR camps. The Rwandan o@cers would rather go to meet him at his headquarters. Once Colonel Canovas went to do some sensitization in a Rwandan military camp, saying that his name was Carlos and that he was Spanish, which was wrong. Like in Noroît detachment, he used to go inspecting here and there in the country, he was known. In short, the objective of those contacts was to see how the defeated Rwandan army could launch attacks inside Rwanda”.

In July 1994, General Dallaire noted a very close connivance between French senior o@cers of Turquoise and the military leaders of former FAR. First, on 11th July 1994 at 1100 hours, Dallaire met General Bizimungu in the French camp.When he came out, General Lafourcade asked Dallaire “to be discreet about the way the meeting had been arranged ”

That caution of Lafourcade shows at least that he had something to hide or to reproach himself. Then on 12th August 1994, Dallaire met Bizimungu again under the escort of French o@cers who had been provided by Lafourcade. Dallaire said that he found General Bizimungu “surrounded by some senior Zaïrean o@cers, [and] some French o@cers”. It is therefore clear there was collaboration in Goma or at least very close contacts between French senior o@cers of Turquoise and former FAR senior o@cers, who were genocide perpetrators.

General Rwarakabije explained that those contacts between the French and former FAR were established during Turquoise to allow the latter to get reorganised in the preparation for a comeback, and that those contacts continued with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) during 2000-2002:

“After the withdrawal of Turquoise, we launched Operation ‘insecticide’ in Rwanda, but the French did not participate since they had gone home with Turquoise. They came back after the launching of FDLR in the years 2000, 2001, and 2002. The commanding o@cer of FDLR, called Ntiwiragabo, was living in Kinshasa and had a group of people who kept contacts with France through its Embassy in Kinshasa. A Frenchman who was a member of the General Directorate for External Security called Jean Benoit, came from France and was staying at the FrenchEembassy in Kinshasa. It was through him that contacts were made between the o@ce of Colonel Ntiwiragabo and France. Among them was Celestin Harelimana, today in prison in Rwanda”.

General Rwarakabije added such that type of contacts between the French and the military and political leaders of FDLR also existed in the French Embassy in Kenya and in France:

“The same type of contacts existed also at the French Embassy in Kenya. The First Secretary of the French Embassy named De4orene was in charge of maintaining these contacts. The same contacts in France were coordinated by Lt. Col. Christophe Hakizabera in charge of external relations in FDLR, assisted by Major Faustin Ntirikina who now lives in France. They were working under the orders of Ntiwiragaba with the objective of consolidating the relationship with France and Bnding new allies”.

Colonel Evarest Murenzi was a former o@cer of the Presidential Guard of FAR, a unit he joined in 1992. After the defeat of FAR, he was at Brst the commanding o@cer of Mugunga battalion from 1994 to 1996. From March to November 1998, he was involved in inBltration activities in Rwanda with his battalion, and when the inBltrators, “Abacengezi” were defeated, he went back to DRC and led a brigade called ARTEL. In 2000, he was sent by the leadership of FDLR which was at that time called “Alliance pour la Libération du Rwanda (ALIR)”, to Kinshasa as a liaison o@cer between their headquarters and the headquarters of Kabila. In 2002, he became G2, which means the o@cer in charge of intelligence in the operational headquarters of FDLR. He decided to come home to Rwanda in April 2004 and joined his family that had remained in the country. He was integrated in The Rwandan Defence Forces in July 2004. Today, he is the commander of 501 brigade based in Rusizi. His testimony corroborated the story of Rwarakabije on the involvement of the French on the side of ex-FAR and Interahamwe in Zaïre.

“I crossed the Rwandan border on 17th July 1994, passing through Goma. I settled in Mugunga camp. That is where I saw the French soldiers of Turquoise, some of them had worked in Rwanda before. I recognized among them Colonel Canovas who was the founder of CRAP at Kanombe. During Opération Turquoise, Colonel Canovas continued collaborating and working with FAR military headquarters. I found him with General Bizimungu at Mugunga, at Keshero precisely in an orphanage run by a white pastor, which had been requisitioned to accommodate FAR. FAR military headquarters was at that particular place, and that was where Canovas and Bizimungu used to meet. Apart from Canovas, the other French o@cer who used to come to Keshero was Lt Col. Gregoire De Saint Quentin. I saw with my own eyes and I knew very well before. I saw him at Keshero, in Mugunga. They came there practically every day either for meetings or for other supporting

activities for Bizimungu. I was not part of the military headquarters, but I would often pass there and I could see them going and coming back at Keshero. They would take the Goma-Sake route and go to the FAR Military headquarters at Keshero. That is where most meetings were held between the French o@cers and the FAR commanders. Following the request of the pastor, the military headquarters were moved to Lac Vert and contacts continued even there.”

Colonel Murenzi conBrmed that after the departure of Turquoise collaboration never stopped, and it was channeled through the army of Mobutu, supervised by the French:

“After 1994, the activities that Canovas and De Saint Quentin were carrying out at Keshero did not really stop. It is true that the visible contacts with the French o@cers and FAR military headquarters were discontinued after the withdrawal of Turquoise. But after 1994, during the reconstruction of the command of FAR under Bizimingu’s supervision, the latter had very high level contacts with the hierarchy of Mobutu’s army. FAR delegations often went to Kinshasa. General Bizimungu would participate personally, or he would be represented by his assistant, General Kabiligi, whose base was at Bukavu. I also know very well that the Commander of the Zairean Armed Forces was supervised by French o@cers. For example, the training centre of the airborne troops (CETA) who was based at Ndjili airport in Kinshasa was headed by a French colonel whose name was Canard. As long as the French continued to collaborate with Mobutu and the military headquarters of FAR headed by Bizimungu, they were bound to collaborate closely with the hierarchy of the Zaïrean Armed Forces, (FAZ). It was impossible to disassociate the collaboration between the French o@cers who supervised FAZ with FAR who were refugees in Zaïre. The collaboration between those three institutions was evident. It was between 1994 and 1996, before the collapse of Mobutu’s regime”.

The last element that was stressed by Colonel Murenzi concerning France’s supporting activities to FAR relate to the operation named “Insecticide” which was supported, as some other witnesses said, by the French (cf. infra) during the genocide between May and June 1994 at the Bigogwe camp. Colonel Murenzi emphasised the consequences of that operation, pointing out that it was this operation which gave birth to the Brst destabilization activities of Rwanda:

“In May or June 1994, I saw a Frenchman in the camp of the Presidential Guard in Kigali. The commanding o@cer of the camp, Major Mpiranya, told me that the French had come with about ten other French soldiers, in the company of one of Habyarimana’s sons. He told

me that they had settled at Bigogwe to train a Rwandan military unit in inBltration techniques. That was what was given the name of ‘Operation Insecticide’. What I want to underline here is that that operation which was launched in Rwanda by the French during the genocide, continued to be carried out in Goma between 1994 and 1996 and gave birth to ALIR, which carried out various sabotage actions in Rwanda in the years 1995-1998. The activities launched by the inBltrators during those years were thus a continuation of the operation ‘Insecticide’ which had been started at Bigogwe by the French. It was from that operation that destabilization activities were launched in Rwanda by ‘abacengezi’ (inBltrators), particularly the destruction of electric polls, laying anti-personnel mines, etc.”

This testimony shows the role the French soldiers played in the training of ALIR. This role is corroborated by a document dated 2nd June 1998 from the French army headquarters, Special Operations Command, headed by General Yves Germanos at the time. The document was signed by Colonel Gilles Bonsag, chief of the 7th marine infantry regiment, and was addressed to three people, two of whom had Rwandan names, Leon Habyarimana, son of the former President, and Pascal Twagiramungu; the third person it was addressed to had a Congolese name, Pascal Chitarawanga. That document showed the money given by the French army to former FAR, to ALIR and to Interahamwe. It also addressed the military situation on the ground in Rwanda and its risks, as well as the estimates of additional military aid which the French army intended to give to the forces which were Bghting in Rwanda. Here below is the text of that document:

“I can conBrm that the recorded expenditure from 14th October 1997 amounted to 23 million FF, and this is only for the groups which enjoy our support. These are the Rwandan Liberation Army, ALIR: 2300 men; former FAR: 1565 men and INTERAHAMWE: 1250 men. According to our teams in Kigali, we have realized that power is in the hands of PAPA ROMEO 2 who replaces No. 1. In case of an o=ensive, there is likelihood of an intervention by Ugandan forces since the latter was at one time the Chief of intelligence services in Uganda. We have put aside multiple rocket launcher canons which can be dismantled, from our stocks in Ndjamena (Chad)”.


Place de Caylus, 2nd June 1998

General Yves GERMANOS Chief of Sta= of Special Forces

76, rue de Cedre 06000. Nice (France) and Pascal CHITARAWANGA

I would like to inform you that the expenses recorded to date since 14th October 1997 amount to 23 million of our Francs; this is only for the groups we support. These are the Rwandan Liberation Army: ALIR: 23000 men; former FAR: 1565 men and lastly INTERAHAMWE: 1250 men.

According to our teams in Kigali, we have realized that power is held by PAPA ROMEO 2, who replaces No. 1. In case of an o=ensive, there is likelihood of an intervention by the Ugandan forces since the latter was at one time the Chief of intelligence services in Uganda.

We have put aside multiple rocket canon launchers which can be dismantled, from our stocks in Ndjamena (Chad).

For Col. Gilles BONSANG Chief, 7th RIMA

There are other witnesses, including administrative authorities, who revealed that the French soldiers of Turquoise gave military, logisticaland moral support by training former FAR soldiers at Bukavu and its surroundings, through mobilization for the purpose of attacking Rwanda and provision of arms. Straton Sinzabakwira, former burgomaster of Karengera explained as follows:

“While in exile at Bukavu, I was among the leaders who were organizing meetings for sensitisation and organization to attack Rwanda. I conBrm that in that context, the French supervised the setting up of training camps for former FAR with the purpose of attacking Rwanda. There was a training centre run by the French at Bulonge in Walungu Zone in south Kivu. The most important site was at Bulonge where arms were stocked (artillery, bombs and others), and it was from there that sporadic operations were launched against Rwanda. We also held meetings with the French soldiers during which they mobilized us and assured us that they would support us with arms. Meetings were also held in Bukavu at a place called La Fregate, at Kashusha, at Uvira and at Bulonge. In Kamanyola training camp where I was staying, French soldiers continued supporting us in our preparations aimed at launching attacks in Rwanda. That support lasted until our defeat in 1996. In our disarray, France sent a plane from Nairobi to evacuate the highest civilian and military authorities of the defeated regime to Nairobi, Bangui, Cameroon and Paris.”

Francois Habimana was a teacher in Rwanda before 4eeing to Zaire. When he arrived at Bukavu, he was recruited in the former FAR Nyangezi II. He narrated how arms were distributed to FAR in that camp by the French from Opération Turquoise, and how they were trained to recapture power:

“What I remember is that in the refugee camps, there were training activities. These were at Brst carried out in Panzi. Then it became embarrassing due to the fear of external observers, and it was decided to move to Bulonge. The French came to Panzi and distributed arms,

M16 and their ammunition. In Bulonge and Shimanga camps, they gave out munitions for R4 guns that used to belong to FAR: they had run out of munitions. That is what I saw with my own eyes. The arms and the munitions were brought in a plane in containers. The planes would land at Kavumu, often coming from Goma. When they arrived at Kavumu, those arms and munitions were loaded in military trucks.

At the end of Turquoise, I was with General Laurent Munyakazi in August 1994 on a date I do not remember. I met him in the town of Bukavu coming from Bulonge. He was going to Panzi. He told me that we should not [former FAR] have any problems because the French were leaving us part of their military equipment before their withdrawal. When the French gave those guns and munitions, it was in August. The M16 rifes were stocked at Bulonge. Others were put in a part of the depot that was at Sayo camp. Contacts between the French and former FAR continued to the extent that there were even arms that transited through Goma, probably given by the French. Those arms came from Goma during the month of May 1995; they were brought in ships that had been hired and which docked at Bagira. There were 80 tons. The news that they had come from the French was revealed to us by colonels Musonera and Ntiwiragabo. Both of them came to Nyangezi camp where I was, and they told us this as a way of encouraging us, saying that we will not have any problem, that we should continue the training with the objective of attacking Rwanda ”.

Francois Habimana gave further explanations on collaboration between former FAR and the French and the circumstances in which the decisions of supplying arms were reached:

“When they [the French of Turquoise] were still at Cyangugu, they had secondary headquaters at Kibogora, Nyamasheke and Mibirizi. These were collaborating with the military headquaters of former FAR based in Bukavu. O@cers at the military headquarters would meet and inform the French about their needs. When they came back, the French would tell them what they would leave them. At the end of Turquoise, before their withdrawal, the French gave to the FAR headquarters their old arms which they had requisitioned. Then the FAR headquarters based at Nyawera would distribute them to di=erent training camps and other places where there were strategic positions. I even learnt that the French had left a case of funds that were to be used”.

Some former Interahamwe gave reports also about the active involvement of the French on their sides. Emmanuel Nshogozabahizi reported an episode near Goma as follows:

“I was at Katale camp at that time and we were training in the forest near a certain locality called ‘Quartier sept’. The French came to tell us that they were going to help us to return to our country, and that motivated us in our training. Those French soldiers came in rotations. They were based at Goma, and they would come in Peugeot pick-up with military colours. I did not see them again from January 1995”.

Jean-Damascene Muhimana talked about a public meeting chaired by General Bizimungu in the presence of French soldiers during which aid was promised to Interahamwe to attack Rwanda:

“General Augustin Bizimungu held a meeting with us and informed us that the French were still supporting us and that we will not be short of arms. The French were present and told us that even if the Tutsis had won, they would give us arms and munitions which would lead us to military victory. We then started the training at Bulengo again.”

Jean Baptiste Dushimimana also remembered the logistical support given by the French soldiers to former FAR and to Interahamwe in the perspective of attacking Rwanda:

“The French supported us in Congo for the purpose of preparing us to attack Rwanda. I Brst took refuge in Inera camp in Bukavu. I was part of the bodyguards of a cousin of Habyarimana. Later, I left Bukavu for Mugunga camp. In Bukavu, I saw that the French gave arms to former FAR in Panzi and Sayo camps and to Interahamwe in Bulengo and Inera camps. In Goma, the French took the arms to Katindo camp. When I was in Mugunga, we were training using arms that the French had given to FAR after crossing the border. We were under the command of Colonel Bivugabagabo [he now lives in France]. The French were not showing themselves openly. Bivugabagabo and his entourage showed us the military equipment and they told us that we had external supporters. That is how we were able to carry out operations in Rwanda, at Iwawa, Kanama and Nyamyumba”.

Jean Habimana, called Masudi, a former FAR soldier trained at Bigogwe, conBrmed that the French supervised former FAR in Bukavu:

“When the Rwandan refugees settled in Congo, the French soldiers started training former FAR again. They were giving us combat uniforms and di=erent types of arms. Those arms were transported in their helicopters and from Kavumu; they were taken to the camps. It is in that context that we were trained in di=erent groups with the objective of carrying out attacks in Rwanda to destabilise the government and to kidnap the people who had stayed in the country.”

Documents reveal that Panzi camp was an important base for FAR because that is where high level meetings for organization and sensitisation were held. On 4th November 1994, a brieBng meeting on the reorganization and restructuring of FAR which was attended by 54 o@cers was held in the camp under the chairmanship of General Bizimungu, General Kabiligi and Colonel Gasake, who was at one time Minister of Defense of the interim government.

During that meeting, General Bizimungu gave a general overview of the geopolitical and geo-strategic situation, indicating to the participants that he hoped for some French aid, and that he could see it as a good sign that the French had not invited Rwanda to the Biarritz summit: “1) The Anglo Saxons have embraced the cause of RPF and they have even proposed a project of taking us far from the borders with Rwanda. 2) The French who have helped us before have not yet spoken openly: no o@cial recognition of the Kigali government and Rwanda has not been invited to the Franco-African summit in Biarritz.”

A study carried out by Human Rights Watch (HRW) between November 1994 and March 1995 in Zaire, conBrmed Sinzabakwira’s testimony that the MINUAR o@cials revealed to HRW researchers that “French soldiers had carried out a number of 4ights between the months of July and September 1994 to take FAR o@cers, the militia and the special commandos to unknown destinations. Colonel Bagosora and the leader of the extremist Hutu militia, Interahamwe, Jean Baptiste Gatete, were among them”.

1.2.2 Training FAR and Interahamwe in Congo Brazzaville and in Central Africa

The same HRW study reports that in October 1994, the ex-FAR soldiers and members of the Rwandese and Burundian Hutu militia were trained by the French instructors in Central Africa. When that research study was published, French authorities reacted by formally denying it. When the new Rwandan Ambassador to France Christophe MBzi, asked them for explanations. “Certainly we are not angels, but we are not kids either, to play the game of war, rather than that of peace in Rwanda”, declared Michel Dupuch, advisor to the President Chirac, to Ambassador MBzi. However, the testimony collected by the Commission conBrms that the French really trained the elements of ex- FAR and Interahamwe in Congo Brazzaville and in Central Africa. That is revealed by the following revealing testimony by Kayiranga Jerubbal.

An ex-soldier of ex-FAR, Kayiranga took refuge in Zaïre where he became a member of FGLR. He conBrms to have met the French soldiers in the training camp of Bulonge where, accompanied by

Bizimungu and Kabiligi, they were sensitised, and then trained with the objective of going to war once again. He was also trained by the French in Central Africa, and was involved in several operations in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda:

“I was a refugee in Bukavu and I was living with other soldiers in Panzi camp of. We had a meeting with Bizimungu and Kabiligi during which they sensitised us as to starting up the training again. We went for training in Bulonge. Bizimungu and Kabiligi came to see us with the French. The latter told us that their country was touched by the defeat, but that they would assist us to return home. They told us that a soldier never gives up, that we were still able to recapture the country, as we are now fully supported by a big part of the population. They also told us that we should not get worried, that there would be arms available. Later, I went back to Mpanzi to carry out some inBltration operations in Rwanda. We were about one hundred and Bfty. We formed three brigades, and those were Alfa, Bravo and Chache whose commander was Major Bizimungu. I was in a unit called Kagoma, composed of commandos. The name of the commander was Sezirahiga, alias Bangubangu. That unit had the speciality of doing ambushes. It was the beginning of inBltration activities (igicengezi).

Later, I was sent to Burundi with my section in CNDD-FDD of Nyangoma to train them. I stayed there up to the time of attack in 1996. When the attack started, I was in Panzi. I saw the French again on Mount Itifemu in Bukavu. Kabirigi assembled us and told us that the French had sent us arms, the 104 and M16. With those arms, we fought RPA, but we lost and we withdrew to Walikale. I was deployed in the Kabirigi bodguard, whcich was at a distance. A vehicle would take us to Tingi-Tingi. The French were there and they would boost our morale. They would encourage us and they gave us guns called ‘Chechene’. They were coming from Tchetchenia and they looked like Kalachnikovs. They also gave us uniforms and guns called ‘Fomas’, which the French had used during Turquoise. Among those French, there were some that I had seen in Rwanda. They were telling us the war was continuing, and that we should not give up, but we were losing ground in spite of their aid and assistance. Mobutu’s planes were also assisting us, but in vain. Inkotanyi were stronger than we, tactically. They surrounded us in the forest, and then they would launch attacks on us.

In 1996, I went to Central Africa together with the o@cers Manishimwe and Ziragorora. We had been trained by the French at Ubongo camp. They were training us with other rebels from di=erent countries, like Chad and Senegal. They were giving us lessons on ambush techniques, the deep war Bghting, spying and posing mines connected to electricity. After three months, we came back. Those exercises that I

had received in Central Africa, I had to apply them in the inBltration activities. I went back to Rwanda in 1997, where I was part of the inBltrators who were carrying out ambushes. I was in a battalion called “Hotel” led by commandant Haguma. Our battalion was based in the volcanoes. That operation went on up to the end of 2002 and we went back to Congo. While we had started eight hundred there were now only 400 soldiers left. We took the direction of Burundi to join FDD. There the war started and we lost 200 soldiers. We came back to Zaïre and we prepared Opération Trompette. The preparations went on up to 2003. We were at Kirembe next to the airport in MBzi zone. The French used that airport to supply us with arms. They encouraged us saying that we were going to retake the country in a very short time, and that it was the CRAP who were going to make the war. There were two sections of CRAP, Sonoki (secteur operation du Nord Kivu) and Sosuki (secteur operation Sud Kivu). I was in Sosuki, our commandant was Lieutenant Iyonasenze. We went into Nyungwe forest through Cibitoke and Uvira in October 2003. In the context of CRAP, they sent me to do some reconnaissance in Butare. I was caught by a patrol of the Rwandan army at Kiruhura. I ended up telling the whole truth. Thanks to the information I gave, many inBltrators were arrested. That was the end of Opération Trompette.”

Faustin Gashugi is an ex-FAR who was a refugee in Zaïre in 1994; he later became a member of FDLR. He declared to have been a witness of the assistance that the French soldiers gave to ex-FAR in Zaïre. After the destruction of the camps and the defeat of ex-FAR and Interahamwe in 1996, he went to Congo-Brazzaville, where he was recruited and trained by the French who were involved in the overthrow of President Pascal Lissouba:

“After the take-over of Gitarama, our battalion went on to Gikongoro, Cyangugu, then to Bukavu. We settled in Panzi camp, where the soldiers and their families were staying together with Interahamwe. The soldiers who were bachelors were settled in Bulonge camp and in Kashusha. The French soldiers were giving us some aid but in an indirect way. They were disguising them as members of NGOs like MSF, but one would recognize some faces of those who had lived with us in Rwanda before the genocide. I recognized one of them who had lived in the Para commando’s battalion at Kanombe. We were even paid the salaries that had not been paid. Our o@cers were even beneBting from some additional aid because they were always in contact with the French. I can give the example of Kabiligi and of Rwabukwisi. The bodyguards of Kabiligi were telling us that the French were coming to see him quite often at Bukavu. I was in the Kashusha camp. Later, we went on with our training, and when the Banyamurenge war started, we received M16 and SMG guns, as well as Kalachinikovs that were

coming from Kinshasa. I do not know who had sent them, but I heard people say that it could be the French.

In 1996, Inkotanyi destroyed all the refugee camps and we took the route to Nyabiwe, behind the civilians while engaged in a war they call the retarded war. We entered the equatorial forest so as to take the route to Bunyakiri. There were no commanders, it was total disorder. When we arrived at Mbandaka, I was leading a unit of forty people. I suggested to them that they should go to Congo-Brazaville. When we arrived there, MSF workers put us in Lilanga camp. Later, I was recruited to be part of the soldiers of Sassou Nguesso. We were trained by French soldiers in Biroro camp. They later took us to Brazaville. We were received by the French. They were dressed as civilians but they were residing in the military academy of Sassou Nguesso. Our commander was a certain Zubi Basile, a member of the Sassou Nguesso army. He came with the French, and among them I recognized some of them who had lived in Rwanda. I was able to identify an instructor whose name was Gilbert. I joined Sassou Nguesso’s army with major Mugarura. I was with others: Supert, Dusenge Adeodatus, etc. There were also some French mercenaries. We were doing operations with them and we were sharing the same lodges.

After the take-over of Brazzaville, the French were not disguising themselves any more. They took their jeeps, and were moving all around the town with their 4ag. After, Sassou Nguesso got on good terms with Kabila and sent him some Rwandese soldiers, with the mission of ensuring the security of ex-FAR o@cers who were collaborating with him. I am among those who went to Kinshasa. They deployed me to the security of colonel Renzaho, to the security of the engineer Ruhorahoza and Ntibirabaho, alias Haji. I ended up knowing that there would be no war anywhere. I then took the decision of going back to Rwanda after the negotiation between the European Union and Monuc. I came home in 2002 with 45 other people in the Monuc plane”.

Ndihokubwayo narrates the distribution of arms to ex-FAR and to Interahamwe by French soldiers, as well as the recruitment and training in the camps at Bukavu, then in Congo Brazzaville, with the promise of aid and support of the French, in recapturing power once again in Rwanda:

“The French soldiers put together all the arms of FAR before crossing the border into Congo. Once the settlement of the refugees was over, the French gave their arms to ex-FAR and to Interahamwe. Colonels Gasarabwe, Ndahimana came to recruit in the refugee camps of Nyangezi and assured us that we were able to recapture our country. It was for that reason that we were getting training, at night, on the hills

of Bulonge. After we had left Bukavu, the training in which I participate went on in Tingi-Tingi, in Kisangani and in Congo-Brazzaville, in a camp called Biroro. In that camp, we were given arms; type M16 that had been transported in detached pieces in maize and biscuits cartons. A Rwandese colonel who was in charge of us explained to us that those arms were coming from France and that the French were supporting us, but that they could not show themselves openly”.

Constraints to the efforts of reconciliation in Rwanda from July

The other aspect of this supporting policy to the government and other forces that had committed genocide was to set up obstacles to the reconstruction of Rwanda. After the defeat of FAR and the setting up of a government of national unity, on 19th July 1994, France utilized all its in4uence to put obstacles for the new government to get emergency aid and assistance; which would have given it the ability of facing humanitarian problems and general security problems that had been brought about by the genocide.

2.1 Blocking aid funds for the improvement of the situation posterior to genocide

Marc Rugenera, Minister of Bnance from 1992 to 1997, describes a very hostile conduit line by France towards Rwanda in the months that followed the genocide. This was a very clear determination to block all activities that were meant to re-launch the economy of the country:

“After July 1994, I participated as a minister in two round table meetings that had brought together all donors of Rwanda. I observed that the attitude of the French was always hostile to the new Rwandan government. France was not willing to participate in any e=ort of redressing the country. It was very clear. Another thing that I personally experienced is that during the negotiations with the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, the attitude of the French was very clearly that of opposing all favourable decisions for Rwanda. Sometimes, the French delegations would even look for allies in the executive board members of the World Bank and IMF, and of the African Development Bank, in order to oppose the positive proposals in favour of Rwanda. That con4ict was there openly, and it was very well known. Luckily, France would encounter the opposition of other countries, which understood the position of Rwanda, and which were defending it”.

Mr. Iyamuremye Augustin had the same experience, respectively as a minister of agriculture, of information and of foreign a=airs after 1994. Iyamuremye twice came to know the hidden agenda of the French

authorities, Brst with the minister of cooperation, Michel Roussin, between the months of September and December, in 1994 in Paris:

“During the month of October, I was on a mission in France. I was attending a conference on desertiBcation at UNESCO, but the government of national unity had also requested me to contact the French authorities, to see if we could resume our cooperation. Via our Embassy in Paris, I contacted the French minister of cooperation requesting for an appointment. He told me that he would receive me at UNESCO during the conference. He received me standing in the corridors of UNESCO, where the whole public was passing, and he told me somewhat despising me that Rwanda had refused French language and we should not ask anything from France. He said directly: ‘Whoever speaks French buys French’ then he left with his advisors, leaving me in that state”.

The second time, it was in 1995, during a stay in Paris; for the preparation of the second round table in Geneva, that had assembled all the donors of Rwanda:

“At that time, I went to France accompanied by the governor of the National Bank, and the representative of UNDP. We were doing some survey after the round table meeting, so as to see which governments were ready to assist Rwanda, and to mobilize them on the urgent humanitarian questions that were rising in Rwanda. The French authorities told us that they were not promising us anything, but that this time France would not go against the initiatives of other nations which would be ready to contribute Bnancially to the reconstruction of our country.”

The continuous hostility of France was also clear during the Summit “France – Afrique” of Biarritz from 8th-9th November 1994. Not only was Rwanda not invited, and yet it was a francophone country, but also the Elysee services attempted to tarnish the image of the new government, at the same time trying to justify the activities of France in Rwanda. In fact, from the opening of that Summit, the services in charge of its preparation and its organization distributed a text giving the then situation of Rwanda, and one could read:

“The democracy that they had announced to us no longer exists in Kigali. A report by Amnesty International denounces the expedient justice of the new leaders. There were therefore not the good and the bad, the killers and the liberators, that Manichean vision in the name of which they have unfairly ridiculed the French activities. Those who were giving lessons yesterday are today strangely dumb”.

‘L’Humanite’ commented on that text in the following words: “Even if that writing is not signed, there is no doubt that its origin is Elysee”.

In mid-November 1994, Bernard Debre, the new minister of cooperation, who had just replaced Michel Roussin, revealed that Elysee was against the idea of starting up again the relations with Rwanda and the reason given was that “President Mitterrand is much attached to the ex-president Habyarimana and his family, and that related to the old regime” Debre gave the precision that the closeness of Mitterrand could not allow France to have a consideration of Rwanda in “a policy reached by consensus” He stated that “he would do a complete review of the French policy on Rwanda” so as to re-deBne it after consulting external actors like the NGOs: “I have decided to have a meeting on Rwanda with all political, social, and economic actors next week. We are going to talk about it with the president (Mitterrand). I will call the NGOs. There will be a deBnition of our policy”.

It is true that a meeting took place on the 25th November 1994, and after the meeting Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without borders) and OXFAM, organized an open conference in Bruxelles during which they denounced the radical French policy that consisted of imposing “unrealistic conditions to the Rwandese government to release European aid”. The senator Guy Penne, an old advisor for African A=airs of Francois Mitterrand, took the same line and criticized vigorously the fact that “France posed a veto to an aid project by the European Union to the government of Rwanda”. That attitude did not change at all in spite of continuous e=orts by the Rwandese authorities to improve the relations between the two governments.

While blocking immediate aid, the French government imposed conditions to Rwanda that would be di@cult to realize as regards starting up cooperation again. It was revealed on 18th December 1994, in a speech given by minister Debre in Brazzaville, in which he declared that the French and European aid for Rwanda was subjected to three conditions: “Democracy, the return of refugees and organization of elections ”.

Although these principles in themselves present nothing extraordinary, it was not normal for him to impose their immediate requisitions in a battered country which had just come out of a genocide, at the same time refusing to give it the means that would help in solving humanitarian and security problems. Without any appropriate answer to those questions, neither democracy nor the return of the refugees nor the holding of free and transparent elections was possible.

This radicalism was openly denounced by the president of the Republic, Pasteur Bizimungu, in an interview he gave to the French press:

“We were expecting all the states that had a role in the genocide to assist us in turning over the page. However, some governments are only too happy to keep the ditch open between Rwandans created by the genocide. Several times, we sent our minister of foreign a=airs to Paris, to try and bridge those gaps. Nonetheless, in international meetings where the issue was to raise funds for the reconstruction of the country, France ditches us instead of giving its contribution. ”

All those French schemes that have been described above; boycotting aid for a country without any resources, propaganda to discredit the new powers, military reorganization with the aim of keeping insecurity climate and latent destabilization reveal the extent to which France was prepared to resort to means equivalent to a heavy economic and political artillery, with the intention of su=ocating Rwanda. The French authorities were determined not to tolerate a regime that came to power without their blessing and worse still, after a military victory to which France was extremely opposed. To them this is what is going to justify a double game policy, consisting of, on one hand, having the representatives of the defeated regime and discreetly giving them advice on a strategy to adopt in giving themselves a better image that otherwise had been tarnished by a monstrous genocide, that it had very well prepared and executed. And on the other hand, to show an apparent attitude that would seem neutral, in order not to be out of line with the international community.

France as a turf for denial and revisionism of genocide

The French government has clearly recognized the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda by subscribing to the resolution creating the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), like other permanent members of the Security Council. However, together with that o@cial recognition, the French statesmen, the top person being the President Mitterrand, have from before the end of genocide consistently expressed revisionist and negation statements. But again, France is a land of predilection for public or private initiatives that preach revisionist or negation as it were.

3.1 The revisionism and the denial of the French authorities and institutions

3.1.1 French Political leaders

The revisionism or the denial of French politicians is very constantly apparent with President Mitterrand. On 31st May1994, on the wings of the Franco-German summit held at Mulhouse, Mitterrand, while having break fast with German chancellor Helmot Kohl, explained to his guest that there had been reciprocal massacres in Rwanda and not genocide. “We are accused of having supported the previous regime. There is a unilateral story of massacres. The reality of the matter is that ‘everyone kills everyone ’”. On July 14th, 1994, asked by the journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor of French channel TF1 on the responsibility of France in Rwanda, Mitterrand declared: “Do you think that genocide stopped after the victory of Tutsis?”

On 8th and 9th November 1994, the 18th Franco-African summit was held in Biarritz in southern France. The written text of the speech of President Mitterrand distributed to the participants mentioned the “genocides” of Rwanda. During the press conference ending that summit, a journalist raised the issue of genocide in Rwanda and Mitterrand rectiBed the word shouting the same word and this time in the plural, ‘genocides’. Colette Braeckman who witnessed the incident reported to the Commission: “At the Bnal press conference given by President Mitterrand, my colleague Patrick De Saint Exupèry raised the question of genocide in Rwanda. I will always remember that Mitterrand replied: “the genocide’ or ‘the genocides?’ In those countries, they have always killed; massacres, it’s not something new.”

Collette Braeckman went on with her testimony, giving the precision that President Mitterrand was happy with the statement he had just made: “It is on that note that the press conference came to an end. I accompanied one of my colleagues on the Belgian radio who had a microphone and who got closer to the president who was already two metres away from other journalists trying to follow him. By the time he entered his car, he told one of the people who was next to him: “Ah! You see this stupid journalist. I’ve still been good. I answered him well. Let him get it. And there the sentence is well recorded by my colleague of RTBF, and made other journalists hear it. We could measure his cynicism”.

During an o@cial reception organized by state house at Elysee, in honour of heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to France, addressing the cooperation issue, President Mitterrand raised the issue regarding the achievements of Turquoise and a@rmed in his conclusion: “whatever people say, I am proud that the mission Turquoise was able to save several thousands of lives that would have perished in the genocides [our emphasis]. I however note that the recent information reaching me after the departure of this

mission makes me believe that these genocides [our emphasis] have not stopped.”

Alain Juppé who was the Minister of foreigner a=airs boasts as having been the Brst on the international community to have clearly qualiBed the genocide, while it was going on in Rwanda. What he actually did in an article published in Liberation of 16/05/1994. Yet as of mid-June 1994, he used the expression “genocides” to suggest that two parties in con4ict i.e. ex-FAR and RPF each perpetuated genocide.

A revisionist perspective is also in the writings by Bernard, Debré ex- minister of cooperation. In 1998 he published a book entitled “Le retour du Mwami.” He wrote in his introduction that he wanted to highlight the “true history of Genocide” of Rwanda. In an interview given to Paris Match about his book, Bernard Debré preferred the term Massacres to that of Genocide. He attributed the responsibility to “Paul Kagame” who he called ironically the Mwami. In this interview, Bernard Debré cleared France of any responsibility in the genocide, declaring that the recognition of the wrongs by France would be making “France unnecessarily guilty, in all evidence doubled with evidence of lack of political perspective”. When he came back on the controversial issue of attack on the aircraft of Habyalima, he said bluntly that the responsibility of the crash was “that of RPF with assistance of Americans”, concluding that the Rwanda after genocide was “a country of no rights where a dictatorial apartheid regime reigns”.

Revisionism of the Tutsi genocide also appears with Dominique de Villepin, who was the minister of foreign a=airs and prime minister under Jacques Chirac, respectively. In September 2003, during an interview about Rwanda on RFI he spoke of the “genocides”. This plural shocked the journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupery, who published a book in which he reminds De Villepin that “the genocides’ in plural have never happened anywhere. If in your own words, in your speeches, in your wishes it is not to avoid that Ble, inherited from another president, but which you seem to fully embrace.”

3.1.2 Contamination in schools

The introduction of revisionism in schools, even if it had only a=ected a few, does not mean that it was not vigorously used by revisionist networks by way of denial. Two examples can be identiBed during the end of the 1990s.

The Brst is the Academy of Rouen which, for examination at the end of college (end of 3 years of secondary education), allows one to pass to

high school if a student o=ers a topic on Rwanda dealing with the “con4ict between Tutsis and Hutus and [this con4ict provokes massacres involving throwing of dead bodies on roads] “the crowd of Rwandan refugees”. The marking scheme proposes the correct answer as “any that refers to the con4ict pitting Tutsis against Hutus”.

The second example, six years later – that is ten years after the genocide – was a publication of a history manual for students in their Bnal year (last year of secondary school), sections of “humanities” and “economic and social studies” which uses iconographic support on which there is a photograph of the camp of survivors of the genocide of Nyarushishi, taken on June 30th, 1994, whose legend is the following one: “Rwanda experienced a genocide between Hutus and Tutsis. These children live in a refugee camp which shelters 8,000 people placed under the protection of the French Army” (p.128)

These two examples are undoubtedly raised in restricted areas, but that does not make them raise fewer questions. In the Brst case, the concept of genocide is completely removed, in the second; the photograph is used as an instrument for the genocide to make the promotion of the action of France in Rwanda, without one knowing really who the real victims of the genocide are.

3.1.3. Legal manipulation

On 17th November 2006, the investing judge with TGI of Paris, Jean- Louis Bruguiere, signed an order, which was announced in the press, giving international arrest warrants against nine Rwandan personalities, including the head of state. It charged them with direct responsibility in the attack on Falcon 50, which cost the life of ex- president Juvénal Habyarimana.

In this court order, Bruguiere describes the genocide as a “concomitant launch of reprisals on the Tutsi population”. He blames RPF for its “wish to make the war drag, knowing that this would lead to the massacre of Tutsis.” He also stresses that the RPF “considered Tutsis of the interior of Rwanda as collaborators of the Habyarimana regime and that their deaths were a political calculation”. He concludes that “the decision to make an attempt on the life of President Habyarimana was a daring act whose e=ect would necessarily result in provoking the most extremist Hutu branch. This decision was taken by RPF during at least three meetings at the end of 1993 and at the beginning of 1994, at the general headquarters of the military High Command of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR) at Mulindi.”

In the Bnal analysis, the court order drowns the genocide in a strategy of war and of conquest of power, to reverse the responsibilities to turn the victims into authors of the crimes which destroyed them. At the end, the genocide would be an act of self-defence; there would not have been any planning, since this crime was as a result of spontaneous anger of the Hutus to avenge their president assassinated by Tutsis with the help of Belgians . The fallacious nature by the assertions of Judge Brugière, stressed su@ciently by the French press and international press , is typical of today’s manipulations. That is how they make a foundation of denial that is developing in certain French circles.

3.3 Mobilization of ex-Soldiers of Turquoise

The former Turquoise commanders, ganged together around their former chief, General Jean-Claude Lafourcade, created in December 2006 an association called France-Turquoise of which the main objective is to defend the honour of France and the French Army in its action in Rwanda.

General Jean-Claude Lafourcade, who commanded the Turquoise operation, and Colonel Jacques Hogard, who was in charge for the operational sector of Cyangugu, show themselves as most active in the disinformation campaign of denial. They multiply publications and public involvement intended to distort the truth on the genocide and the role played by France. In their presentation of the facts, Jean- Claude Lafourcade and Jacques Hogard portray the genocide as a direct consequence of the strategy of the RPF to seize power by force, being aware that they would not get that power through democratic means . On this point, one sees well the relationship between the conclusions of Judge Bruguiere and the set of themes developed by the two ex-o@cers of Turquoise in their current crusade. They claim that Turquoise put an end to the genocide, that it saved thousands of human lives and stabilized the populations on the Rwandan territory:

“Since 1994, writes Lafourcade, I asked myself questions about the strategy of General Kagamé: inexplicably late intervention of his army, refusal of any cease-Bre… etc. Seeing that he was unable to seize power by democratic means initiated by the Arusha agreements to which France had contributed, the solution was not a military conquest by the force at whatever cost” .

In his frequent interventions, Colonel Hogard often accuses RPF of having caused the genocide: “Today we see very well that the warped thesis of the plot by RPF, to some extent, to push the extremist Hutu to crime is not unbelievable, as some claimed. One should read, in this

respect, a book very well documented by a Cameroonian journalist, Charles Onana, “Les secrets du Genocide Rwandais” published in April 2002. Nobody in reality can ignore the real responsibilities in the Rwandan genocide [our underlining]”. For Hogard, “the RPF, in particular its chief and inspirer, is the one who encourage the worst policy of starting a foreseeable cataclysm of a programmed assassination of President Habyarimana ”

In the spread of its propaganda of revisionism, the France-Turquoise association was helped by well-selected personalities. Thus, on December 6th, 2006, with the initiative of the former minister for Co- operation, Bernard Debré, the association organized a conference in one of the rooms of the National Assembly, in which General Lafourcade participated, the journalist-writer Pierre Péan and the historian, Bernard Lugan.

The strategy of the association consists of resorting to the revisionist authors or those who preach denial or again the opponents of the Rwandan government to propagate the negation of the genocide, while resorting to stereotype racist clichés.

3.4 Support of French politicians in revisionist or denial propaganda

The propagandists of the theses revisionists and negationnists of the genocide in Rwanda get very important support from important politicians who put conference rooms at their disposal, at the National Assembly or at the Senate. This gives the denial campaign a character of respectability and acceptability from French government institutions.

So, like on 4th April 2002, the Senate accommodated a conference in one of its rooms whose theme was “Tomorrow’s Rwanda”, placed under the patronage of Mrs. Daniéle Bidard-Reydet, at the time vice-president of the Commission of Foreign A=airs of the Senate. During discussions followed one by one on the platform by speakers very well known for their revisionist and denial thesis. Pierre-Claver Kanyarushoki, former ambassador of Rwanda in Uganda, evoked the genocide of Tutsis, but superimposed it with another “genocide of Hutus in DRC and in Rwanda carried out by the RPF”. Antoine Nyetera, a veil artist, technician, whom the promoters of the denial gave the honourable rank of a historian, claimed that “RPF had prepared important attacks much before April 6th, 1994”, that “250 Hutus were killed during the two days which followed the attack against the plane of President Habyarimana” and that the “genocide had never been planned”, that it was only “political massacres”. Alain De Brouwer, member of the Belgian section of ‘Internationale Démocrate Chrétienne’ (IDC), supported the fact that “there was no planning of the genocide,

because there were no documents found which prove it.” Advocate Frederic Weil, lawyer with TPIR, declared that “it is not abnormal to dispute the reality of only one genocide” and that “it is peoples’ right to discuss the existence of one genocide in Rwanda in 1994.” The conference ended with the intervention of a journalist, Marie-Roger Bilo, who congratulated himself for having been “one of the Brst journalists to a@rm that in Rwanda, there has never been a genocide, and that the others start now to realize it”.

On 16th October 2003, Charles Onana, an author invited by Colonel Hogard to “tell the truth” on the issue of shooting down the Habyarimana plane, was invited to the French National Assembly to hold a conference on Rwanda, under the patronage of the socialist Member of Parliament Arnaud Montebourg. In this parliamentary enclosure, Onana gave a speech openly denying the Tutsi genocide and attacking the ICTR that it does not have any proof on the planning of the genocide: “I am not denying that there were deaths in Rwanda in 1994, but what I say is that what happened was a war between Hutus and Tutsis, that each group killed and that each group had victims. The lie and the manipulations made the whole world accept that there was a genocide planned by Hutus against Tutsis. […] There was neither information nor indication of a planned genocide. ICTR does not have proof on any planning of the genocide. A fax from Dallaire mentioning the death of 1000 Tutsis in 20 minutes is a forgery. To validate the thesis that the genocide had been planned by Hutus, the ICTR buys witnesses, tortures defendants, threatens lawyers, hires pseudo experts and uses forged documents ”.

Obstacles to the judgment of the presumed perpetrators of the genocide

In spite of the presence in France of many Rwandans, presumed perpetrators of the genocide, the placing of several plaints to the French jurisdictions for the last twelve years, the French judiciary to date has not yet organized any proceedings. It also tried to dissuade its judges who were active in the pursuance of instructions of the Rwandan issues.

The Brst complaint was brought by the surviving victims of the genocide and their beneBciaries in the Kalinda case and others, aiming at Rwandan citizens who are residing in France as refugees, supposed to be responsible for the acts of genocide, dated July 4th, 1994. It was followed by a plaint against Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka that goes as far back as July 1995, and which knew long procedural adventures in4uencing the other businesses. Then came the plaint against Sosthène Munyemana which was also lodged in 1995 by Gironde on

behalf of the Rwandese who were based in Bordeaux. Other complaints came in from 5th January 2000, initiated this time by FIDH, the French League of the Rights of Man and of Citizen (LDH), the association Survvie and Communauté Rwandaise de France (CRF), and it was aimed at six people. In 2001, the collective of the civil parties for Rwanda (CPCR) took over a certain number of old complaints and introduced new ones.

4.1.1 Reopening the case of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka

The Munyeshyaka case was one of the oldest and knew many legal bounces which illustrate the uneasiness of France to judge the genocide perpetrators residing on its soil. Following the plaint, legal information was open on July 25th, 1995, against Munyeshyaka by the investigating judge in the Court of Grand Instance of Privas, and he was put in examination on July 29th, 1995 for “genocide, tortures, ill treatments and inhuman and degrading acts”. His being put into examination was based on the universal competence stipulated in the convention against torture of 1984, ratiBed by France, and integrated in its internal laws. The accused was placed in temporary detention pending trial, appealed and was released on August 11th, 1995 by the Court of Appeal of Nimes.

On 20th March 1996, this court handed down a judgment stating that the French jurisdiction was incompetent to judge genocide crimes committed in a foreign country, by a foreigner, and against foreigners. However, articles 689-1 and 689-2 of the new French criminal procedure code give the French jurisdictions competence to continue and judge, without conditions of nationality or of author or of the victim, any person residing or being in France having made acts of torture out of the French territory. To circumvent this clause, the court of appeal of Nime noted that the implication of that suit for acts of torture and ill-treatment based on the convention of New York of 1984 was impossible with the reason that, if the facts of the accused were proven, the prosecution would emerge in Bne on the qualiBcation of genocide of which France would not be qualiBed to judge. The case remained blocked until 22nd May, 1996.

On this date, the French Parliament voted the law n° 96-432 bearing adaptation of the French legislation to the provisions of resolution 955 of the Security Council relating to the creation of ICTR, which stipulates that the States will take all necessary measures under the terms of their internal laws of the country, to apply the provisions of the statute of the International penal court for Rwanda. The law of May 22nd, 1996, then transposed the statute of ICTR in the French internal laws introducing the universal competence in internal tribunals to recognize

the same crimes as the ICTR. From this date, the presumed perpetrators of genocide, crime against humanity and violation of international humanitarian law can be sued and judged by a French jurisdiction in application to the French law.

This new judicial procedure led the French court of appeal, on request from plainti=s, to resume on 6 January 1998, the case against Munyeshyaka, which dated as far back as 1995. In its decision, it concluded that the court of appeal of Nîmes had violated the law, by only taking into consideration only the crime of genocide, while other crimes, such as torture, could be prosecuted under article 689-2 of the French penal code, which recognizes universal competence. The case was returned to the court of appeal of Paris which, on 12 May 1999, decided to reopen from zero the judicial investigation, assuming that the previous one had not been carried out rigorously. In September and October 2000, the judge le Loire requested that two international derogatory commissions be sent to Rwanda, in order to hear the witnesses. No follow up was done to the judge’s suggestion.

Having been fed up by the slowness of the procedure and one of the plainti=s, Yvonne Mutimura, put the matter before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 1999. In the Court’s order of 8 June 2004, it condemned France for the slowness of its justice in investigating the complaints against Munyeshyaka. The ECHR concluded that the duration of the procedure constituted a violation of the right to justice in reasonable time and the right to e=ective procedure as provided for in articles 6 and 13 of European convention on safeguarding the Human Rights. In December 2005, Rwanda announced that an international arrest warrant had been issued against Munyeshyaka, and requested France, for his extradition, but the request was ignored. He was tried in absentia by the Kigali military tribunal and, on 16th November 2006, he was condemned to life imprisonment the crime of genocide, (rapes and complicity), together with General Laurent Munyakazi.

In 2005, the ICTR accused Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta and communicated the matter to France, though the charges remained under seal. On 19/07/2006, the principal private secretary of the Minister of justice, Laurent Mesle, wrote a letter to the prosecutor of the ICTR “to conBrm the consent of the French legal authorities to examine the facts and object of procedures followed by the ICTR in accusing Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta ”. At the end of June 2007, there began a legal imbroglio around these cases which is not yet over. Indeed, on June 21, the prosecutor of the ICTR signed an arrest warrant against Munyeshyaka, Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, and requested the French authorities to

look for the three suspects and arrest them. The warrants were not for handing them over directly to ICTR, but only for arresting them and putting them under detention in France while ICTR was deliberating on whether to hand over their Bles to France or ask for their transfer to the ICTR.

In compliance with the arrest warrants, Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta were arrested on 20 July 2007 and put in preventive detention. They appealed on 1 August 2007 and the Paris Court of Appeal released them saying that their imprisonment was incompatible with the French law governing the presumption of innocence. On 13 August 2007, the ICTR issued another arrest warrant, this time including a request for the suspects to be transferred to its head o@ce in Arusha. On 7 September 2007, the two individuals were again arrested, and on the 19 September 2007, while people were expecting a decision to transfer them, the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal Paris set the two men free. Then, on 27 September 2007, the court deferred the case to 21 November, 2007 for examination of the decision regarding their transfer. Thus, up to this day, it is not known whether and where their case will be tried.

4.1.2 Other pending cases

In January 2000, complaints against other Rwandans were lodged at the public prosecutor of the Paris high court by the FIDH and LDH, this time against Laurent Bucyibaruta, Laurent Serubuga, Fabien Neretse, Télésphore Bizimungu and Tharcisse Renzaho . On March 10, 2000, the prosecutor’s o@ce informed the applicants that the Bles of the suspects were addressed to every prosecutor in the area of residence of each suspect. In May 2000, Laurent Bucyibaruta was arrested on orders of the tribunal of Troyes and was put under investigation. In June 2000, he was transferred to ‘La prison de la Sante’ in Paris. On 9 June, 2000; he appealed against the imprisonment and was released on 20 December 2000 and placed under judicial supervision. On 25th March 2003, the CRR rejected his application for political refugee status. It concluded that: “(…) there are serious reasons to believe that Bucyibaruta used his authority to shield those who committed acts of violence which led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He is an accomplice of the genocide, in terms of the period deBned by the resolution of the United Nations Security Council which was adopted on 8th November 1994.” Since then, no progress has been recorded in Bucyibaruta’s case up to the recent legal rumblings mentioned above.

The Ble regarding Colonel Laurent Serubuga, former chief of sta= of the FAR, was transferred to the court of Strasbourg and was Bled without any follow up, because of lack of evidence on 22nd May 2001. On 10th

December 2001, the “FIDH, Survie et la Communauté Rwandaise de France” (CRF) took civil action, and on June 28, 2002, legal proceedings begin against Serubuga on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. But since then, Serubuga was not been put on trial. However, it is not the signs that show his participation in the planning of the genocide that are lacking. Didn’t ambassador Martres declare to MIP, on the 22nd April 1998, on the matter regarding the case of Serubuga: “the genocide was foreseeable from that time [autumn 1993], without however being able to imagine its scale and atrocity. Some Hutus had had the audacity of making allusion to it. Colonel Serubuga, assistant chief of sta= of the Rwandan Armed Forces was happy that FPR had attacked them, and that this would serve as enough justiBcation for the massacres of the Tutsis.”.

Another Ble is that of Telesphore Bizimungu, former director general in the Ministry of Planning, and founder member of RTLM. Transferred to the public prosecutor’s o@ce at Creteil, legal proceedings were opened against him, but this did not lead to any preliminary investigation. With regard to the case of Fabien Neretse, the public prosecutor in the TGI of Paris informed the FIDH, on 10th March 2000, that the case has been closed, because the suspect was not on French territory. He in fact resides in Belgium, but he went to that country after learning that a complaint had been lodged against him in France. As for the plaint against Lt Col. Cyprien Kayumba who organized and directed the 4ow of supplies of weapons to the organizers of the genocide, it was lodged by FIDH, Survie, and the CRF on the 10th December 2001 in the o@ce of the prosecutor general of Laon. A preliminary inquiry was opened in the month of March 2002 without resulting in any instruction of the case.

Finally, in connection with the plaints initiated by or entrusted to the “Collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda” (CPCR) regarding Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta, Sosthène Munyemana, Domonique Ntawukuriryayo and Agathe Kanziga (plaint of 13th February 2007). About thirty other plaints were lodged by the CPCR, and by other people of Rwandese origin, but the French jurisdiction declared itself incompetent, giving the reason that the suspects were not found at the addresses they had indicated. On the 6th April 2001, the Associations Survive and CRF, presented to the criminal chamber of the county court, requesting that all Rwandan cases be put together in one single jurisdiction of the investigation.

The request was based on the speciBc historical dimension, which requires some investigations in a foreign country, which could only be carried out by a specialized jurisdiction. The county court accepted the request, and from then, gave to the chamber of instructions of TGI of

Paris the responsibility of opening up the judicial investigations in France against people of Rwandan origin. It is henceforth the case with the big majority of cases, except the case of Bizimungu, which is still blocked in the o@ce of the prosecutor of Creteil, and the one of Kayumba in front of the investigating judge of Laon. The least we can say is that we can observe a high degree of nervousness in the handling of the Rwandan cases that are pending in the French jurisdiction. The general impression is that of inertia of the investigating judges who follow each other in handling those dossiers. Those judges are somewhat reluctant to go on with the investigation of those cases.

Another problem arises at the level of starting up the court cases. Usually, with regard to crimes committed in France or on a French subject, the prosecutor’s o@ce takes the initiative of carrying out investigations, and arresting the suspect(s). But as regards pursuing those who committed the crimes in Rwanda or in other countries, and who reside in France, the starting up of the investigations and accusations is subject to the prior request by the victims. It is always the victims who request the prosecutor’s o@ce and sue for damages in order to compel his hesitancy. The plainti=s are thus obliged to take place of the Criminal Investigation Department in looking for those who could have killed members of their families; it is particularly heir responsibility to locate them, otherwise the opening up of a preliminary investigation is rarely accepted. However, if it is the prosecutor general’s o@ce that launches the preliminary enquiries, so as to verify the presence of the presumed genocide perpetrator on French territory, this step would constitute an advantage for the victims, because it would reverse the burden of producing evidence on the prosecutor general’s o@ce, which moreover has enough means to carry out that task.

This inaction by the French public prosecutor’s o@ces is incomprehensible since in the eyes of the law of 22nd May 1996, the prosecutors have the competence to open up an inquiry on a person suspected of committing a crime of genocide, and crimes against humanity, from the time when the person in question is found on French territory. What one can observe is that, from the time this law was adopted, no preliminary investigation has been opened up, intended to pursue a Rwandan case on the referral of the o@ce of the prosecutor itself. One of the consequences of that lack of action is that this allows the presumed genocide perpetrators to get refugee status in France, even getting naturalized French citizens, like in the case of Isaac Kamali, and many others. And yet, some decisions of refusal by OFPRA, and by CRR, are explicit as to the criminal history of many of the Rwandan citizens, and for that matter, these organizations should

have alerted the o@ce of the prosecutor general to open up inquiries concerning these individuals.

Frustrating Judge Brigitte Raynaud’s investigation

On 23rd December 2005, following a law-suit Bled on 15th February 2005, by six genocide survivors regarding crimes committed by the French military, during Operation Turquoise, the army tribunal prosecutor in Paris(TAP) opened a judicial inquiry against X for “complicity in genocide and/ or complicity in crimes against humanity” and entrusted the investigation to judge Brigitte Raynaud. The press then published a number of testimonies of survivors accusing the French military of several crimes . The Minister of Defense, Michèle Alliot-Marie, took a stand and reacted with anger, claiming that “it is inadmissible that the military should be accused of things which, most of the times are completely way-out. ”

On 7th July 2005, the prosecutor of TAP made it known that he considered the accusations hardly credible and, according to article 86 of the Code of Procedure, he asked the examining magistrate to hear the plainti=s so as to verify their credibility before opening any investigations. The plainti=s, in person, were summoned to Paris, but found it impossible to leave the Rwandan territory in order to go to France . As a consequence, Prosecutor Jacques Baillet, of TAP wrote on 6 October 2005, requesting that, the investigating judge either delivers an international letter requesting the Rwandan authorities to hear the complainants or that the investigating personally judge travels to Rwanda to hear the complainants.

By an Order of 12th October 2005, the investigating Judge decided to go on the ground, in accordance with the ruling of the Court. The Minister of Defense tried to oppose this move and started a struggle using serious maneuvers and inserting pressure on the judge with the intention of blocking her investigation . He alerted the magistrate through a warning letter: “I bring to your notice the fact that we do not have in this country the military means for protection that we were able to provide to you in Côte d’Ivoire” . The Ministry added in its missive a note falsely attributed to the secret services, which originated in fact from the o@ce of the Ministry of Defense, and which indicated that the journey to Rwanda “could prove to be inappropriate due to the situation of the media and the judiciary, and that this could risk radicalisation of the position of the Rwandan authorities and could lead to serious pressure even “menace”.

The note speciBed that on 23 November, journalist Pierre Péan, was going to publish a book “highlighting the responsibility of RPF in the

setting o= of the genocide as well as the Western complicity from which it beneBted”, adding that “this book would also indicate the merit of the French forces activeness on the ground from 1990-1994”. The note concluded by mentioning the notorious investigation by judge Bruguière- whose results were still awaited at the moment- which “could lead in the coming weeks to accusations of Kagame for his involvement in the attack on the President’s plane in 1994” .

Judge Raynaud was not convinced and proceeded to Rwanda in November 2005. Arriving on the ground, the Prosecutor of TAP warned her that there existed doubt in the validity of the hearings she was conducting. On 23rd December 2005, Court passed an order demanding the investigating Judge to only entertain the cause of action in respect to only two plainti=s out of the six and declare others inadmissible claiming that the cause of action in respect to other plainti=s were not su@ciently clear to warrant opening of an e=ective judicial inquiry. The court ruled that the case of the 4 plainti=s could not take precedence over a wrong on themselves personally or directly, yet these people had lost their close relatives during the genocide and sustained serious injuries. The investigating judge later on over ruled an earlier order by an order of 16th February 2006 and ruled that all the six civil actions were admissible.

In order to counter the courage of the investigating judge, the prosecutor launched two sorts of o=ensive. On one hand, he made an appeal before the Investigation Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris, against the ruling of 16 February 2006, as regards the four complaints, which they considered inadmissible. On the other hand, the prosecutor asked the Appeal Court to halt and order the investigating judge from traveling to Rwanda with the aim of putting in question/ doubting all the six civil suits. The Prosecutor hoped that should the appeal be successful, then it would be easy to ask court for an order quashing all activities incidental to the work of the Investigating Judge.

In support of the application, court ruled that since it is a foreign territory and that in absence of an international convention or judicial cooperation, a French judge did not have the power to hear the complainants.

But French law allows that in the absence of a convention, mere acceptance by a foreign country is enough to remove the obstacle which the sovereignty of this country poses to ensure the accomplishment of the mission for the French investigating judge. This was the case in point, because once Judge Raynaud had informed the Rwandan authorities about her mission to Rwanda, mere giving her an

entry visa constituted acceptance. In May 2006, the Investigating Chamber made a deBnite decision by dismissing the application and ordered that all the six complaints were admissible.

Observers note that this resistance by the courts was coming from the French government- implying that courts are not independent – that the French government did not want the alleged facts against its military investigated, let alone judged, fearing that such issues would make clear the magnitude of the French involvement in the genocide. In fact, the soldiers who were accused by the complainants committed such crimes during the mission that had been assigned to them by their superiors following a political decision made at the highest hierarchy of the State administration. It is therefore important to appreciate that it is this highest hierarchy of the French State that bears the responsibility for the accusations before TAP. All these elements explain why the military court was Bghting with so much zeal to block the progress of the law suit .

When interviewed by radio France culture, on 24th February 2006, Judge Raynaud admitted to having had impediments in the management of the Rwandan Ble and indicated that there was a divergence of views between her and the prosecutor with regard to the way to handle the investigations on the three sensitive Bles which she was in charge of. These Bles were about the complicity of the French soldiers in the genocide of Tutsis, the business of Firmin Mahe in Côte d’Ivoire which incriminated General Henri Poncet in his murder , as well as the problem of the bombardment of the French military camp at Bouaké. Judge Raynaud has since not performed her duties as an investigating judge at TAP and has now joined an Inter-ministerial delegation for the prevention of delinquency. The law suit for the Rwandan genocide survivors is now before judge Florence Michon, however, till to date, no progress has been made.

Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the aim of favouring the interests of genocide suspects

Just before the beginning of operation Turquoise in June 1994, the then Minister of foreign a=airs, Alain Juppe wrote: “Our soldiers will use what ever means to get evidence on the killings, so that France is able to provide her contribution to the international authorities charged with establishing the truth ”.

The fact is that since the creation of ICTR, France has worked with this jurisdiction in a very unfriendly manner. France generally complicates collaboration with the ICTR investigation department while showing

more cooperation with the defence of the accused people, especially former superior o@cers in the ex-FAR.

In 1998, France was requested by the prosecutor at the ICTR, Louise Arbour, to send French o@cers to testify as witnesses for the prosecution against accused people of Kibuye, but the Minister of Defence, Alain Richard, declared that it was not be possible, arguing that French o@cers do not collaborate with “a spectacle of justice ”. Hubert Védrine, the then Minister of foreign a=airs further warned ICTR against the so called attempt “to put on the same juridical and media level witnesses and the accused ”. This French hesitation had in fact manifested itself in the autumn of 1997, following the sending to Paris, by the o@ce of the prosecutor of ICTR based in Kigali, investigators charged with questioning, in an informal manner, three French o@cers: Lt Col. De Stabenrath, Commander Marin Gillier and a warrant o@cer of the gendarmerie. Previously, the ICTR had recorded a preliminary statement of Colonel Patrice Sartres. Following these private auditions, the o@ce of the prosecutor wanted to quote o@cers Marin Gilliers and Patrice Sartres as witnesses in the prosecution of Clement Kaishema. The refusal by Paris was categorical despite the guarantees that had been o=ered by ICTR to avoid eventual leakage during the procedure in respect to questions given to witnesses, instructions given to a magistrate in which to conduct cross examination , etc

Investigations done by “L’Express” about the refusal to collaborate with the prosecutor’s o@ce(ICTR) revealed that what makes France hesitate, is the fear to see its history in Rwanda examined by international justice and probable accusation of certain French military o@cials. If it were not for the refusal of the military hierarchy and political o@cials, certain soldiers were ready to say what they know before the international justice. To this e=ect, “L’Express” interviewed a “high o@cial familiar with the matter” who responded as follows: “to go and give testimony? The principle does not disturb me. Even though we must have had clear instructions from our superiors, they should not tell us to lie. In that case, they better sort it out themselves so that they do not send us”. And another o@cer, a Colonel made it clear in the following words: “to condemn the military to silence is to simply condemn them”. Another o@cer adds his bitterness in an accusing tone: “politicians adapt themselves to a situation of which they are responsible but are not guilty. What are they afraid of? That an o@cer giving evidence on oath may reveal information, which he passed to the political power and the directives which he received in return? ”.

Another pitfall characterizing absence of cooperation by France with the ICTR prosecutor manifested itself with the refusal to open its military archives to investigators from this jurisdiction on ground that

they are protected by the defense secrete Act. The only document given by Paris to investigators from ICTR was the “Journal des marches et operations” of General Lafourcade, done during Operation Turquoise. But, as under lined by journalist Vincent Hugeux, who made an investigation into this matter, “such a document, of an administration nature does not hold any state secret ”. The other documents are also stamped with a seal “Defense secret” and are inaccessible to investigators from ICTR, this angered Louise Arbour who was outraged by the uncooperative attitude from Paris by declaring: “According to me, States must put in balance the protection of their legitimate national interests or their military secrets and the interest there is to put in the open the truth on serious subjects, like genocide or the crime against humanity.”

By refusing to cooperate with the prosecutor, France however brought to light three facts which show her partiality: collaborating with the defence of the most prominent accused people before the ICTR, accepting to take in France those sentenced by ICTR and acceptance in France of some accused and acquitted people. To this day, three French o@cers, Lafourcade, Hogard and Rosier testiBed in January 2007 in favour of General Kabiligi. In December 2006, Colonel de Saint-Quentin testiBed in the defense of Colonels Bagosora, Nsengiyunva and of Major Ntabakuze .

For France to allow these o@cers to testify in favour of the accused, several conditions were imposed namely, hearing the case in camera, utilization of a pseudonym, not to communicate statements made in court to outside parties, to retain the discretion from not to answer some questions and to make all the statements in presence of a French representative . But the question that remained unanswered was why France refused to send its soldiers to testify in Kayishema’s case upon request by the ICTR but accepted to cooperate in the defence of prominent suspects.

France was also the Brst European country to sign in 2001, with ICTR, an agreement to the e=ect that convicts of this jurisdiction could serve their sentences in foreign countries. Certain commentators see in this agreement, which was hurriedly signed, as strategy by France to host those found guilty and with whom she has privileged relations, so as to avoid disclosing of information in their possession that marked the French presence in Rwanda. Finally, one can imagine a French strategy hoping to create an opportunity for the sentenced to have conditional liberation, once the ICTR completes its mandate, thus bringing to an end a long common journey between France and those allies found guilty of genocide.


1. Archives

– Archives from the o@ce of the President of the Republic of Rwanda.

  • –  Archives from the Ministry of Foreign A=airs
  • –  Archives of the Ministry of Defense
  • –  Archives from the National Bank1.2. France

– Francois Mitterrand Fund


  • –  Public and closed door hearings
  • –  Investigations in Rwandan Provinces3. RESEARCH WORK AND TESTIMONIES
    BA, Mehdi, Rwanda: A French genocide, Paris, L’Espirit-frappeur, 1997.BARAHINYURA, Shyirambere, Major General Habyarimana. Fifteen years of tyranny and hypocrisy in Rwanda, Frankfort, Izuba Verlag, 1988.Barril Paul, Secret wars at the Elyséée, Paris, Albin Michel, 1996.BOUCHET-SAULNIER, Francoise, “UN and the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis: Virtual politics and artiBcial intelligence to the test of the real world”, Les Temps Modernes, July-August 1995, no 583.BRAECKMANN, Colette, Rwanda: History of a genocide, Paris, Fayard, 1994.

    CHRETIEN, Jean- Pierre, “Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and in Burundi”, Jean Loup Amselle and Elikia M’bokoko, at the heart of the ethnic group, Paris, Editions La Decouverte, 1985, p. 129-166.

    CHRETIEN Jean-Pierre, « Rwanda: The responsibility of France », Politique africaine, June 1994.

    CHRETIEN, J-P. et al., The media of the genocide, Paris, Karthala, 1995.

    CORET, Laure & VERSCHAVE, Francois-Xavier, eds, The horror which hits us on the face, Paris, Karthala, 2005.

Dallaire Romeo, I shook hands with the devil. The failure of humanity in Rwanda, Quebec Libre Expression (“Quebecor Media”), 2003.

ESSOUNGOU, Andre-Michele, Justice at Arusha. An international tribunal politically supervised facing up to the Rwandan genocide, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2006.

GOUTEUX, Jean-Paul, A Secret of State Genocide- France and Rwanda, 1990-1997, Paris, Social Editions, 1998.

HARROY, Jean Paul, Rwanda: From feudality to democracy. (1955- 1962), Bruxelles, Hayez, 1984.

HASSEN, Alain, Disillusionment with cooperation. A survey in the country of a thousand aid workers, Paris, L’harmattan, 1989.

KROP, Pascal, the Franco-African Genocide-Should Mitterrand be tried? Paris, J.C.Lattes, 1994.

LANOTTE, Olivier, France in Rwanda
LEMARCHAND, Rene, Rwanda and Burundi, New-York, Praeger, 1970

LINDEN, Ian, Christianity and power in Rwanda (1900-1990), Paris, Krthala, 1999.

LOGIEST, Guy, Mission to Rwanda: A white man in the Hutu-Tutsi Bght, Bruxelles, Didier Hatier, 1988.

LUGAN, Bernard, Francois Mitterrand, French army and Rwanda, Paris, Editions du Rocher, 2005, p.141

MBONIMANA, Gamaliel, “Traditional Constituent Institutions of National Unity”, notes from the center of con4ict management, no2, Butare, Editions de l’ Universite nationale du Rwanda, 2001.

MOREL Jacques, Helping the assassins, electronic edition of 13 July 2007.

MOREL Jacques, The command of Turquoise and the committed units, electronic edition, 2007.

Morel Jacques, Helping the assassins. French leaders accomplice to Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 1994, 10 February 2007.

NEWBURY, Catharine, The Cohesion of Oppression, Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda 1860-1960, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988.

NKURIKIYIMFURA, Jean-Nepomucene, Livestock and the Rwandan society, historical evolution: from 12-14 centuries to 1958, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1994.

NOEL, Roland, Incurable wounds of Rwanda, Paris, Editions Paari, 2006.

NTEZIMANA, Emmanuel, “The Rwanda Social, Administrative and Political at the end of the 19 century”, in Gudrun Honke, To the deepest of Africa, Editions Peter Hamer Verlag, Wupertal, 1990.

PERIES, Gabriel and SERVENAY, David, A black war. Investigation on the origin of the Rwandan Genocide (1959-1994), Paris, La Decouverte, 2007.

PRUNIER Gerard, Rwanda: The genocide, Paris, Dagorno, 1996.

REYNTJENS Filip, Power and law in Rwanda, public law and political evolution 1916-1973, Tervuren, MRAC,1985.

REYNTJENS Filip, Rwanda, three days that shook history, Paris, The Harmattan, 1995.

RUMIYA, Jean-Gualbert, Rwanda under the Belgian mandate (1916- 1931), Paris, L’Harmattan..

Saint Exupery(de), Patrick, The shameful. France in Rwanda, Arenes 2004, p.245.

SANDERS, Edith R, The hermitic hypothesis: its origin and functions in time perspective, Journal of African History, vol.X, no4.

SITBON, Michel, A genocide on the conscience, Paris, Esprit frappeur,1998.

UVIN, Peter, Aiding violence, West Hartford, Kumarian Press, 1998. VAITER, Marc, I was not able to save them all, Paris, Plon, 1995.

VERSCHAVE, Francois-Xavier, complicity in Genocide? The politics of France in Rwanda, La Decouverte, 1994.

Watson, Catherine, Exile from Rwanda. Background to an invasion, The US committee for refugees, Issue paper, February 1991.


French National Assembly, Report of the parliamentary information mission on Rwanda, Paris, 1998.

Belgian Senate, “Report of the parliamentary investigation commission concerning events in Rwanda”, December 1997, p, 519-525

US Department of State, cable number 099440, to US Mission to the United Nations, New York, “Talking points for UNAMIR Withdrawal”, April 15,1994. ConBdential.

3.2. INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS a) United Nations Organisation

Economic and Social Council, “Report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, M. Ayala Lasso on his mission to Rwanda ( 11-12 May 1994)”, E/CN.4/S-3/3, 19 May 1994.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), The Prosecutor Vs Edouard Karemera, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Joseph Nzirorera, case no ICTR-98-44-AR73(c), 1 December 2006

NDIAYE, Bacry Wally, Report on the violations of human rights in Rwanda, Doc. UNO E/CN4/1994/7/add.1.

United Nations Organisation (UN), Report of the independent commission of inquiry on the actions of United Nations organisation during the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, S/1999/1257, December, 1999.

R. Degni-Segui, Report of the international commission of inquiry on the violation of human rights in Rwanda since 1 October 1990, March 1993, United Nations organisation Document, no E/CN.4/1995/7.

b) Organisation of African Unity
CEC, http://cec. /doc/Rapport-OAU/RWANDA-f/oua.htm 3.3. Organizations for the protection of human rights

Amnesty International, The squadron of death, Bulletin CRIDEV no109, 1993

Amnesty International, Rwanda: persecution of the Tutsi minority and the repression of government detractors, 1990-1992, London 1992. Index AI: AFR 47/02/92.

The Rwandan association for the defense of people s’ rights and public liberties, Report on human rights in Rwanda (September 1991- September1992), Kigali, December

Bernard Cazeneuve, Information Report no 3394 on the reform of the military cooperation of 20 November 2001
(3394 -Rapport d’information de M. Bernard Cazeneuve (commission de la Défense) sur la réforme de la coopération militaire).

Report of the mission done by Eric GILLET, Member of the Bar in Bruxelles, to Rwanda, from 12 to 20 August 1991, Kigali 11 October 1991, pp.35-36.

Committee for refugees, Issue Paper, February 1991.
Human Rights Watch, Leave None to Tell the Story.
Human Rights Watch, Rwanda/Zaire, Rearming with impunity.

Human Rights Watch, The Rwandan Genocide: How it was prepared, working paper, April 2006, p.14-16.

General Conclusion

The number, convergence and agreement of several testimonies produced on the important facts as well as their crosschecking with the archives and documentaries make it possible to reasonably come to a number of conclusions on the responsibility of the French Government in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

France knew about the preparation of the genocide

France knew that the Habyarimana regime was likely to commit genocide or massacres of a very large scale since 1990. Thereafter, she could not be unaware that the preparations of the massacres were in progress, more tragic than those that were committed between October 1990 and February 1993. Well, if it is a question of ethnic massacres exceeding in scope the acts of genocide previously organized by the regime, there was every reason to recall, since the years before April 1994, there was preparation of the genocide of a higher scope. The conclusion according to which France was supposed to know that the genocide was being prepared follows from the development of the country’s political and security context as well as the privileged position of the French o@cials in all the workings of the

country’s security apparatus. Following are the facts on which this conclusion is based:

The political and security context from October 1990 developed towards the radicalization of the regime, leading to the gradual formulation of a political doctrine of an openly genocidal nature. In the context of a State founded on an o@cial ethnic discrimination, the regime reacted to the October 1990 attack by the RPF by turning against the internal Tutsi population which was not party to the armed con4ict launched by the RPF. The regime responded to the attack with massacres of thousands of Tutsis and the arrest of dozens of thousands of others. In the days following the attack of 1st October 1990, road blocks were erected – and kept until 1994 – where they systematically arrested Tutsis, some of whom were carried to sites where they were tortured or executed.

In a diplomatic telegram of 15th October 1990, Colonel Galiénié refers to the risk of genocide. In a letter, also dated 15th October, Ambassador Martres does the same. Finally, in front of the MIP, Ambassador Martres acknowledged that the genocide was foreseeable since October 1990, quoting in particular Colonel Serubuga, the deputy Chief of Sta= of the Rwandan army, who had rejoiced in the RPF attack because it would serve as a justiBcation for the massacres of Tutsis.

During this Brst period of con4ict, an extremist press close to the regime was born, and one of its Brst notable actions was the publication by the Kangura journal, on 6th December 1990, of the “10 Bahutu commandments” which referred without any ambiguity to the Tutsis as the enemies of the Hutus and the State. In January 1992, the Director of African A=airs in the Ministry of Foreign A=airs, Paul Dijoud, during a meeting in Paris had given to Paul Kagame, then commander in chief of the RPA, the following warning: “if you don’t stop Bghting, if you capture the country, you will not Bnd your brothers and your families, because they will all have been massacred”.

At the beginning of 1992, a system was set up to carry out well organized mass massacres on ethnic basis. In February 1992 there was the e=ective start of the programme of “civil defence” in the north and north east of the country. At the start of 1992, the training of Interahamwe began in the country’s main military camps. In March 1992, these Interahamwe played a predominant and publicly- denounced role in the Bugesera massacres, working in conjunction with the Presidential guard. On 21st September 1992, the army chief of sta=, Déogratias Nsabimana, sent a secret memorandum to his subordinates in which he deBned, among other things, the Rwandan refugees, the Tutsis of the interior of the country, the Nilo-hamitic

tribes of the region but also the “disgruntled Hutus” as being “the enemy”. The document was made known to the public some time later. Mid-October, a computerized register of wanted people and to be monitored (WPTBM) was made operational by the Centre for Criminal Investigation and Documentation (CCID). Its purpose was to facilitate registration, investigation and monitoring of Tutsis and political opponents.

On 22nd November 1992, Léon Mugesera, very close to President Habyarimana, launched a public incitement calling for the massacre of Tutsis. He was obeyed, because during the following weeks hundreds of Tutsis were massacred. During the days that followed the 2nd February 1993 attack by the RPF, and in reaction to the development of the Arusha peace process, the Rwandan internal political scene experienced political adjustments towards the creation of a front for the rejection of the peace agreement process, and the subsequent formation of the Hutu-power coalition. In August 1993, the Special Reporter for the Human Rights Commission, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, at the end of his mission to Rwanda in April 1993 , published a report describing as genocide the massacres that littered the period from October 1990 to January 1993. That report conBrmed the one published in March 1993 by the International Commission on the investigations of violations of human rights in Rwanda since 1st October 1990, which had also referred to the massacres as genocide.

After the death of Ndadaye, the Burundian President, on 21st October 1993, the Hutu-power coalition formalized its discourse by advocating the massacre of Tutsis and Hutus sympathetic to the peace process. It is also at this time that the Radio des Mille Collines started its broadcasts that promoted hatred against Tutsis and Hutus opposed to Hutu-power. During the last term of 1993, the training of the Interahamwe speeded up, the phenomenon took on new dimensions, by the fact of their number, in Kigali and especially in the north of the country, but also according to their level of organization with vehicles, modern European weapons and the redoubled e@ciency. But the Interahamwe had no known calling other than participation in massacres of Tutsis and other acts of violence and intimidation against Tutsis and opposition supporters. In 1994, on 20th February, the same chief of sta= of the FAR, Déogratias Nsabimana showed to his cousin, Jean-Berchmans Birara, another list of 1500 people meant to be assassinated. The latter took it to Western chanceries, including the French embassy.

However, during the entire period from October 1990 to April 1994, French o@cers were present in almost all the organs of the Rwandan security. With e=ect from 1991, until at least December 1993, there

were several French advisers next to the FAR, the gendarmerie, the advisers in the investigation organ of the gendarmerie, the CRCD, as well as in almost all the specialized units, including the Presidential guards. The French military advisers could be found at all levels, in the headquarters, in the elite units and on each of the operational sectors on the edge of the front line. At the headquarters, they participated in and often directed the preparation of strategies, made battle and security plans, especially for Kigali. In the operational sectors, they directed the FAR’s combat actions. Until April 1994, there were French advisers in the army and gendarmerie headquarters as well as in the para-commando battalion, one of those that were heavily involved in the starting of the genocide. Thus, the French soldiers were not only everywhere in the country’s security organs, but they also occupied very important roles.

According to General Dallaire, by virtue of their presence in the training structures of the Far, the French soldiers: “were well aware that there was something brewing that could lead to great massacres”. In November 1993, the UNAMIR established a small cell for the collection of information. One month later, its main o@cer, lieutenant Mark Nees, in spite of his lack of training for this assignment, and, it seems, his errors, wrote, thanks to a network of informers, reports that revealed meetings at the Government’s highest level, to destabilize the

UNAMIR, kill opponents and Tutsis. It is in this framework that in January 1994 UNAMIR came into contact with the leading Interahamwe “Jean Pierre” who revealed a plan to exterminate the Tutsis in Kigali. If UNAMIR, with its limited means and its confessed amateurism in terms of intelligence, managed to glean this type of information, you can imagine the quantity and quality of information that the French o@cers had in their possession.

France participated in the most important initiatives of the genocide

At the political level and ideological level, France reinforced the Habyarimana regime in the preparation of its genocide doctrine. In their internal communication, diplomatic telegrams, service reports and other documents, the di=erent people in charge of the Rwandan dossier between 1990 and 1993 state their radically ethnic option of the Rwandan con4ict. For these o@cials, and in the Brst place President Mitterand, it is, in the Brst place and above of all, a matter of an ethnic and regionalized war, opposing the majority Hutus and the “Nilo- hamitic” minority Tutsi. This report provided many examples of this French vision, with the French decision makers and the implementers of various military interventions during the entire period of the Rwandan con4ict. As an example, we can mention the declaration President Mitterand made in the cabinet, insidiously justifying the

ongoing genocide, on 22nd June 1994: “The president of the Republic recalls that Rwanda, like Burundi, is essentially inhabited by Hutus. Therefore the majority of the inhabitants naturally supported President Habyarimana’s government. If this country were to come under the very minority ethnic Tutsi domination that is based in Uganda where some people are in favour of the creation of a “Tutsiland” including not only the latter country but also Rwanda and Burundi, it is obvious that the democratization process would be interrupted. And the essentially political and ethnic fear of the con4ict was the main point of disagreement between, on one side the moderate opponents, and on the other hand, the Habyarimana regime and the Hutu-power coalition.

From October 1990, France aligned herself with the most radically ethnic vision of the con4ict of the extremists and supported them. Thus, towards the end of the negotiation process of the Arusha agreement, one of the main stumbling blocks had been the refusal by the RPF and part of the internal Hutu opposition to include the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic in the widely based coalition government (WBCG) which was supposed to get out of the peace agreement. French diplomats exerted pressure so that that openly racist party, which, already at the time, called for the massacre of the Tutsis and moderate opponents, may be included. Apart from the simple role of support to the extremists, the French decision makers

led the action of promoting the ethnic war. A few weeks after the 8th February 1993 attack by the RPF which had sunk the FAR defences, at the time when the peace negotiations were reaching very sensitive heights, the French Minister of Cooperation and Development, Marcel Debarge, came to Kigali on 28th February 1993. During his visit, he urged the opposition political parties to “forge a common front” with President Habyarimana against the RPF. Both the Rwandan political actors and the observers made a very precise interpretation of that call by Debarge reported here by the French historian, Gérard Prunier: “Even if it is understandable that Paris would like to exploit the closing of Hutu ranks against the RPF against the Tutsi RPF, the French minister’s o@cial declaration is shocking. In such a climate of ethnic tension, after the massacres of the previous weeks that call for a “common front” of course based on race, is almost a call to racial war.” The Belgian journalist, Colette Braeckman, present in Rwanda at the time, a@rms that while pretending to support the Arusha process, “in private, the French diplomats boasted of having divided the opposition parties by encouraging the birth of Hutu power.” And the creation of the Hutu-power coalition was a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the genocide.

France supported to the hilt by organizing, training and arming the FAR. It also fought on their side at di=erent times, in October 1990, in

January 1991, in June 1992 and in February 1993. And that army had a military doctrine of the genocide type, since it referred to a part of its civilian population as an enemy and that it put that doctrine into practice when members of the gendarmerie and the Presidential guard participated in the massacres of the civilian population like in March 1992 in Bugesera. The French soldiers participated in the erection of road blocks in di=erent regions of the country, but most particularly around Kigali, where they made identity checks on ethnic basis, stopping Tutsis. Some of the latter were thereafter tortured and assassinated in collusion with the French soldiers.

The French soldiers in Rwanda contributed to the conceptualization and organization of the “civil defence” which was to serve as an administrative instrument of the execution of the genocide. We must remember also that it is a matter of a programme of paramilitary training and arming the population in general, under the supervision of the local authorities. It is through this programme that with e=ect from May 1994 the genocide will be systematized on the entire territory under the control of the interim government. This programme is di=erent from the Interahamwe militia which however constituted its spearhead. Thus, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Canovas, after an inspection tour of the front line in February 1991, wrote a report in which he proposed to the Rwandan army “the creation of small civilian elements, disguised as peasants, in the sensitive areas, in order to neutralize the generally isolated rebels” . It was a question of conceptualizing the use of disguised soldiers or civilians in actions of war.

In February 1992, the programme of “civil defence” started in the northeast of Rwanda. In spite of the reservations issued in a diplomatic telegramme by the French military attaché in Kigali, Colonel Cussac, who seemed to be anxious to protect himself, at the same time it was the French soldiers who launched that programme. It had been a subject of discussion between Rwandans for months, but it had never taken o=. It is the organizational and logistic support of the French army that enabled it to be launched. Soldiers went to look for volunteers from the governors to participate in the training programme; they o=ered arms for the Brst groups of participants, provided logistics, supervised the training and gave some courses.

The French soldiers trained and contributed to training militarily the Interahamwe between the beginning of 1992 until the departure of Operation Noroît in December 1993. Some witnesses, but it is not systematic, say also that in some cases French soldiers contributed to the ideological training whose main teaching point was to deBne the Tutsi as the enemy. This training was done in Bve big military camps

where French soldiers were found. After the Bugesera massacre of March 1992, that was followed by Colonel Robardey, the French army knew that the Interahamwe whom they were training had as their main mission the massacre of the Tutsis, a mission that was conBrmed in the course of time. The French soldiers fully participated in the intensiBcation of training during the last term of 1993. This intensiBcation was part of the preparations of the genocide, and the French army could not know it, for reasons described above.

The French soldiers contributed to the registration of the Tutsis and political opponents. The French gendarmes attached to the CRCD introduced the computerization of the service’s data banks, especially the register of persons to be registered and watched (PRAW). On 14th October 1992, Colonel Robardey wrote to the chief of sta= of the national gendarmerie, Colonel Augustin Ndindiliyimana, informing him the PRAW was ready for use, and that he was only waiting for his approval to make it operational. General Jean Varret, head of military Cooperation mission from October 1990 to April 1993, had been the initiator of the French military cooperation project at the CRCD. During his interview by the MIP, he a@rmed that he had had the feeling that the work of French gendarmes at the CRCD would be to register the Tutsis. And, at the beginning of the genocide, the soldiers who moved from house to house to kill political opponents or distinguished Tutsis carried printed lists. The gendarmerie had the area in numbers and logistics necessary for a good collection of information, and it had the software prepared by the French gendarmes. A former cadre of the Central intelligence Service a@rmed that his institution had never reached that level of organization. There are also strong chances that these lists used at the beginning of genocide were made with the contribution of the PRAW.

During the days that followed the attack on President Habyarimana’s plane, Ambassador Martres urged Colonel Bagosora to take over power. A year earlier, the latter had publicly announced that he was going to “prepare the apocalypse”. Thereafter, Martres gave his blessing to the formation of an interim government that brought together almost exclusively members of the Hutu power coalition. And both Colonel Bagosora and almost all the future members of the interim government were known for their position defending a violent solution against those whom they accused of being internal accomplices of the RPF, the Tutsis in general and the Hutu opposed to Hutu power.

Colonel Bagosora is considered as the brain of the genocide, and the interim government its main organizer. Bagosora and most members of the interim government have either already been sentenced for the

genocide at the ICTR, or they are still on trial. Their positions were perfectly clear from the time before the genocide. Without France’s support at the time, it is most likely that the extremist circles would have restricted their genocide action: “Obviously the akazus judged the world from the height of their local dictatorship, but they would probably have not deviated to that extent if they had known that it would lead to their total isolation on the international scene. Thus, France unintentionally encouraged Rwanda’s Bnal dive into a blood bath.” However we have our reservation on the evaluation of the voluntary nature or not of this support.

France participated in the execution of the genocide

During the entire period of the genocide, France supported diplomatically and militarily the interim government which, to the knowledge of the whole world, in real time, was organizing and executing a genocide. On 27th April 1994, that is to say three weeks after the starting of the genocide, two envoys from this government, Jérôme Bicamumpaka, the minister of Foreign A=airs, and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, one of the CDR leaders, were received in Paris at the Elysée and at Matignon, whereas the United States and Belgium had refused them a visa. They held discussions with French high ranking o@cials, especially the Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, the Minister of Foreign A=airs Alain Juppé, and Bruno Delaye, head of the African cell in the President’s O@ce.

On 9th May 1994, General Huchon received Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Rwabalinda, adviser to the Chief of Sta= of the FAR. During their conversation, the two o@cers discussed “as a matter of priority”: “ – Rwanda’s support by France at the international political level; – the presence of French soldiers in Rwanda […] for assistance in the framework of cooperation; the indirect use of regular or non-regular foreign troops; […]” General Huchon promised to provide 105 mm ammunitions, ammunitions for individual arms, as well as transmission equipment to facilitate the monitoring of secret communications between him and General Augustin Bizimungu, commander in chief of the FAR. These communications were meant to be used in preparing France’s direct military intervention in Rwanda.

During the entire period of the genocide, French soldiers who remained in Rwanda fought on FAR’s side. During that period, France continued to supply ammunitions and arms to the government section that was committing genocide. Di=erent deliveries from or Bnanced by France are well documented for the months of April, May, June and July 1994. In June 1994, when FAR were about to be defeated by the RPF, President Mitterrand decided to intervene militarily in Rwanda by

launching the Operation Turquoise. The main purpose of this intervention was to divide the country into two from Kigali, stop the RPF’s advance and force it to negotiate a power sharing with the genocidaire government. Prime Minister Balladur opposed the project, but above all, when the Turquoise landed in Rwanda, it was too late; the RPF had advanced too far.

During the pre-deployment brieBng, the French military o@cers reversed the reality of the genocide by explaining to their soldiers that it was the Tutsis who were massacring the Hutus. They were obviously trying to defuse the di@culties that might have arisen when he would ask his soldiers to attack the victims. During the Brst days of the Turquoise operation, this report shows very clearly that Colonel Rosier deliberately sacriBced the survivors of Bisesero knowing very well that they were being massacred in an intense manner between 27th and 30th June 1994. The Bisesero a=air, dramatic as it was, because of the thousands of survivors killed during those three days, is nothing but the emblem of the global strategy of Operation Turquoise. The analysis of the Turquoise action in the three prefectures that it covered, namely Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gikongoro, shows clear recurrences that make it possible to detect a policy.

Upon their arrival, the French soldiers hastened to ensure the security of some enclaves like the camps of the survivors of genocide, Nyarushishi, or later on, Murambi, with a lot of publicity. On the other hand, in the rest of the region, they collaborated with the prefectoral, communal and local authorities in organizing the extermination of their Tutsi population. They left behind the infrastructures of genocide, namely the roadblocks manned by the Interahamwe. They clearly demanded that the Interahamwe continue to control those road blocks and continue to kill the Tutsis who might try to move about. They also clearly demanded that that the Tutsi who might try to sneak into the camps of displaced people be brought to them and that the Interahamwe kill at least some of those Tutsis. Almost everywhere in the three prefectures, they let the Interahamwe kill Tutsis under their eyes. The French soldiers committed many rapes, forced sexual relations speciBcally with the Tutsi survivors. These sexual abuses that targeted the Tutsi survivors in particular were systemic, that is to say, frequent, tolerated and organized according to the norms and practices of the institution to which belong the people who commit them. In this case it is a matter of expression of the French soldiers’ aggression against the Tutsi survivors in the context of genocide. The disgraceful conditions, especially nutritional, in which the survivors of genocide assisted by the French soldiers were kept, whether in the camp Bnally established at Bisesero, Nyarushisi or Murambi, forcing once again the survivors to risk their lives by leaving the “protected” enclaves to look

for something to eat, led to the death of some of them. The refusal of medical care to women and young girls by some French military doctors in Kibuye and Cyangugu, as well as the abusive amputations in Goma, all this shows a clear hostility of the French soldiers against the Tutsi survivors, for the mere fact of their ethnic belonging. These facts took place during the period of the Operation Turquoise that is to say from 23rd June to 2nd August. Finally, whether it is in Gikongoro, Kibuye or Cyangugu, during the last days of the presence, the French soldiers carried out squashed earth policy. They ordered the local authorities to encourage the Hutu population to 4ee in large numbers to Zaïre. Senior French o@cers in command positions held public meetings to directly encourage the population to 4ee. Finally, during the last days of their mission, the French encouraged looting and destruction of public infrastructures, they even took part.

From October 1990, France supported the Habyarimana regime in its acts, especially in committing acts of genocide before 1994. She supported it in the preparations of genocide. From April 1994, France supported the interim government and the FAR who were busy committing total genocide in the face of the world. France’s support was of all nature: political, military, diplomatic and logistic. And from October 1990, the Habyarimana regime, and thereafter that of the interim government, distinguished themselves by the massacres of the civilian Tutsi populations, non-belligerent and most often far away from the scene of war operations. From 1990, those massacres were of no strategic use, nor did they have any practical justiBcation. These are episodes of an ethnic war carried out against a civilian population, before moving, in April, to a war of extermination of that population. At no time did France try to force her ally to practice restraint, whereas the latter owed her everything in her war against the RPF. There is no sign whatsoever of any attempt by the French political and military decision makers to bring to an end that war against the Tutsi civilians. The persistence and determination of their support leads to ask the question of France’s real role in the preparation and perpetration of the genocide. This persistence shows that the French political and military decision makers had made their own this war against the Tutsis. The people who organized that military intervention from October 1990 to August 1994 are almost the same. It is easy to identify them.

During Operation Turquoise, payment for the genocidaire project by the French decision makers was more directly visible. When on 6th July 1994 France received the United Nations Secretary General’s approval to create the “Safe humanitarian Zone” (SHZ), on the entire area of this zone, she becomes an occupying force, and therefore holder of all authority. Antoine Mindua explains that the SHZ is as a matter of fact a “security zone”, part of the territory “under the real authority of a

belligerent or under the authority of a rival or allied party, on which the facts of arms are forbidden and which is supposed to provide shelter to the people under threat or at risk.”

By establishing the SHZ, the French army had assumed the full use of authority, to the exclusion of any other institution. By deciding to keep and collaborate with the political and administrative personnel, with the people at hand and their infrastructures which had perpetrated the genocide during two and a half preceding months, by asking and/or letting them continue the assassinations of the Tutsis who in this context were constituent of the crime of genocide, often under their eyes, the French soldiers of Operation Turquoise and their partners took charge of the genocidaire project.


At the conclusion of its inquiry, the Commission found out that the French Government played an active part in the preparation and implementation of the 19994 genocide. In view of the seriousness of the facts but also after taking into consideration the general context of the problem and its complexity, the Commission, in accordance with the law that established it, makes the following recommendations:

The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to reserve the right to lodge a complaint against the French Government for its involvement in the preparation and implementation of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda at the competent international judicial authorities.

The Commission recommends to the Government of Rwanda to Bnd a political settlement of the problem with the French Government in as much as the latter is prepared to accept the entire extent of its responsibility in the preparation and execution of the genocide in Rwanda and to undertake the relevant reparation measures in agreement with the Government of Rwanda.

The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to support any individual or collective action by the victims who may wish to lodge a complaint at the tribunals for damages caused by the actions of the French Government and/or its agents in Rwanda.

The Commission recommends to the Government of Rwanda to make a wide distribution of this report.

The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to establish an authority for the follow-up of this problem.