It is now or never: on the sad occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, French President François Hollande and the French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian must break the law of silence and we must mobilize to get at the truth.
During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, between 800,000 and one million victims were slaughtered solely because they were Tutsi or opposed the genocide. French political and military leaders provided support to the genocide perpetrators before, during and after the genocide.
20 years later, everything possible must be done to shed light on the policy followed by France in Rwanda.
Over the past 20 years, work done by many civil society researchers, journalists, lawyers, survivors themselves and their families, has demonstrated the extent of French involvement in the last genocide of the 20th century.
Legal proceedings now in progress in France have the potential of implicating a number of French people (the investigation into the attack against the plane carrying the Rwandan President, complaints filed by Tutsi survivors against members of the French Military, the complaint filed against former French Military officer Paul Barril).
But the French government persists both in denying the role it played and in obstructing justice by concealing a large number of official documents, such as the records of French military operations in Rwanda and French presidential archives that have not undergone redaction.
If French political and military authorities have nothing to be ashamed of (as they endlessly claim), why do they refuse to publish these documents ?
It is urgent and necessary to let justice be done. French citizens, genocide survivors and the families of the victims have the right to know the whole truth. For the 20th anniversary of the genocide, we urge the declassification and publication of all documents relating to the diplomatic, military, political and financial actions of France in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994.
Human Rights Watch:
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