French historian hands genocide report to Rwanda's Kagame

Kagame and Duclert met for an hour discussing the findings of the investigation after the president was handed his own copy of the thick report.

FILE: Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Picture: Leanne de Bassompierre/Eyewitness News.

KIGALI, Rwanda - A French historian who compiled a damning report that found France turned a blind eye to the genocide in Rwanda, on Friday handed the document to President Paul Kagame in Kigali.

Vincent Duclert, chaired a historic commission which concluded there had been a "failure" on the part of France over the 1994 genocide that saw around 800,000 people slaughtered, mainly from the ethnic Tutsi minority.

Kagame and Duclert met for an hour discussing the findings of the investigation after the president was handed his own copy of the thick report.

Duclert repeated the report's findings of "the overwhelming responsibilities of France, which did not understand anything, which did not measure the seriousness of its action in Rwanda, and which contributed to the genocidal process without knowing it."

He added: "This is precisely what Paul Kagame and the Rwandans know."

"Basically we spoke the same language, we spoke of the same facts."

The genocide between April and July of 1994 began after Rwanda's Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana, with whom Paris had cultivated close ties, was killed when his plane was shot down over Kigali on April 6.

Extremist Hutu militias went on rampage, killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus, in a bloodbath that came after decades of tensions and violence between the two communities.

French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the report after years of accusations France did not do enough to halt the massacres and was even complicit in the crimes.

The issue had long poisoned relations between France and Rwanda under Kagame.

Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said the most important thing was that "historial truth has been re-established".

"On this basis we can build a new relationship."

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