Rwanda welcomes declassification of genocide documents

2015-04-08 12:11
Open tombs of the 500 000 murdered tutsi tribespeople at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda.

Open tombs of the 500 000 murdered tutsi tribespeople at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda. (Shutterstock)

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Kigali - Rwanda's justice minister on Wednesday welcomed France's declassification of documents relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which Kigali accuses Paris of having an indirect role.

However, Minster of Justice Johnston Busingye said Paris should ensure the documents released are "total”.

A decision to declassify the papers was signed on Tuesday and concerns "documents in the Elysee relating to Rwanda between 1990 and 1995," spanning the genocide which claimed at least 800 000 lives, a source in President Francois Hollande's entourage said.

"The Franco-Rwanda political, diplomatic and military relationship during the 1990-1995 period has been a tightly guarded domain," Busingye told AFP.

"Perhaps the goings on at the time will finally be opened up, and it will shed light on the many dark and grey questions still unaddressed. One only hopes that the declassification is total."

Freely available

The papers, which include documents from diplomatic and military advisers as well as minutes from ministerial and defence meetings, will be available to both researchers and victims' associations, the French presidency said.

Ties between France and Rwanda are strained as Rwandan President Paul Kagame accuses Paris of complicity in the genocide because of its support of the Hutu nationalist government that carried out the mass killings, mainly of ethnic Tutsis.

Paris has repeatedly denied the accusations and insists that French forces had worked to protect civilians. Relations between both countries were completely frozen from 2006 to 2009.

The president of Ibuka, Rwanda's genocide survivors' association, called for documents to be made available as soon as possible.

"Let them do it and do so quickly, it is interesting, it is good," said Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, saying it could shed light on France's role and actions through the period of the genocide.

Read more on:    france  |  rwanda  |  east africa  |  1994 rwandan genocide

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