Why The 20th Anniversary Of Rwanda's Genocide Has Rekindled Tensions With France

Apr 11, 2014

Earlier this week Rwandan President Paul Kagame told a Paris newsmagazine France bore some responsibility for the 1994 genocide of more than one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the two countries have disputed France’s role for years. A French commission during the 1990s found no wrongdoing regarding the country’s role in the genocide, but a separate Rwandan commission argued France not only allowed the genocide to happen, but French soldiers actually participated.

“There was a little bit of surprise that [Kagame] came back out now, when relations are improving,” Cruise says. “There was a trial recently in Paris to go after one of these Rwandans that's been indicted on charges of genocide.”

Cruise says even though the 20th anniversary of the atrocities allows for reflection and contemplation, there’s been little time for reconciliation less than a generation removed from the genocide.

“War rape… was very prevalent during the Rwandan genocide,” Cruise says. “So the children of these women of these women that were raped are now coming of age as well, so those animosities continue.”


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