Photo: Simon Maina/New Times
Victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide at the Genocide Memorial in Nyamata, inside the Catholic church where thousands were slaughtered (file photo)
By Edmund Kagire
Rwanda has released a list of 22 senior French army officers it says knowingly aided the planning and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
The list released by the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) is likely to escalate the tiff between Kigali and Paris, in the wake of the reopening of investigations by France into the shooting down of a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana.
The move to revive the probe has angered Rwanda, which has threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Paris.
In a detailed report issued Monday, CNLG named 22 senior French officers who were operating in Rwanda at the time of the genocide and reportedly had a direct hand in the massacre.
CNLG further says the French military officers must be charged.
“French actors were involved in the genocide both as perpetrators and accomplices, and do not want their acts to be known despite their proofs.
“This is the biggest cause explaining the persistent refusal of the French authorities to validate the ballistic investigation by French experts in Rwanda in 2010 which indicated that missiles were fired from Kanombe military barracks,” the report says.
The French officers include Generals Jacques Lanxade, Christian Quesnot, Jean-Pierre Huchon, Jean-Claude Lafourcade; Colonels Gilbert Canovas, Jacques Rosier, Didier Tauzin, René Galinié and Bernard Cussac.
Others are Colonels Dominique Delort, Jacques Hogard, Jacques Rosier, Patrice Sartre, and Lieutenant Colonels Michel Robardey, Jean-Jacques Maurin and Eric De Stabenrath.
More officers include Captains Etienne Joubert, Paul Barril and Commanders Grégoire De Saint Quentin, Denis Roux and Marin Gillier, all of whom Kigali says there is enough evidence to show that French officers and politicians committed very serious crimes in Rwanda.
Rwanda and France continue to trade accusations over the events that led up to the genocide, with Kigali maintaining that the French, who were the main allies of President Habyarimana’s government, abetted the killings.
The two countries also disagree on who downed the plane, which is perceived to have triggered the killings. French judges in 2012 appeared to support the view that Hutu extremists downed the plane, seemingly settling the six-year diplomatic standoff.