January 11, 2007

French linked to Rwanda slaughter

Fearing a loss of influence in the region, France – with the knowledge of the U.S. – helped rekindle the civil war in Rwanda that led to the massacre of more than 1 million people in 1994, according to a growing body of evidence. New information indicates the French helped renew a civil war between the then Hutu-run government of President Juvenal Habyarimana and minority Tutsis in order to forestall implementation of the Arusha Accords. Signed Aug. 4, 1993, the peace agreement signaled an end to the long-running conflict between the Hutus, represented by the Rwanda government under Habyarimana, and the Tutsis of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF.

The Arusha Accords also stripped considerable power from the French-backed ethnic Hutu president Habyarimana. Most of the power was vested in the Transitional Broad Based Government that was to include the RPF and other political parties until elections could be held. According to sources, the French were not happy with the peace agreement, concerned that Habyarimana was caving in to international pressure and opening the door to further Anglophone influence in the area.

Implementation of the agreement would have significantly weakened France's influence in the region.
The evidence of French complicity and involvement in the 1994 Tutsi massacre has emerged during proceedings of the United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, indicating:

  • French troops trained the Interahamwe militia of Hutu extremists.
  • France supplied shipments of arms well in advance of the genocide in anticipation of such a massacre.
  • The French government has refused to prosecute Hutu members who fled to France following the massacre.

The U.N. Tribunal is expected shortly to announce its findings.

Sources contend the U.S., knowing France was involved in the massacre, took no action. The U.S. had been monitoring all communications, including diplomatic communiqués, but did not want to create a crisis in Franco-American relations over a country regarded to have little strategic interest.

In fact, U.S. policy makers at the time interpreted the dispute between the Hutus and Tutsis as a "tribal conflict," in an effort to avoid use of the word "genocide."

For more details, see the complete report in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.