"French policy is about influence and money and Francophonie"

Linda Melvern, author of two studies on the Rwandan genocide, believes that French policy then, as now, is "almost beyond belief. The more one looks into their actions, the worse it gets. The French Senate inquiry into Rwanda was a whitewash . . ."
Her third book about Rwanda will concentrate on the role of France. She has a leaked memo confirming that the French supplied members of the interim government responsible for the massacres with satellite phones to direct operations across the country. "They hand-delivered them by courier," she says. "In the run-up to the massacres, the French had 47 senior officers living with and training the genocidaires. French policy is about influence and money and Francophonie," says Melvern. "They are very professional at manipulating the UN system. By controlling Boutros Boutros-Ghali, their candidate for UN secretary general, they determined what information about the Rwandan genocide reached the outside world."

10 years ago, on April 6 1994, Rwanda's President Habyarimana was killed when two missiles brought down his presidential jet as it approached Kigali airport. The speed and organisation with which the mass killing started after this assassination suggest that it was a deliberate signal, but, though the prime suspects remain Hutu Power extremists, no inquiry has ever been held into who was responsible.

A French judge has been investigating the crash on behalf of the families of the three French crew who also died in it. His report has not been released, but extracts leaked to the newspaper Le Monde suggest that it is seriously flawed. Eyewitness accounts of the crash, for example, directly contradict the judge's assertion that although two missiles were fired, only one hit the plane.

The paper also claims that the judge found the Tutsi leader Paul Kagame responsible for the assassination, despite the fact that the killing was used by Hutu extremists to justify the genocide.

We may never know the truth. France was Rwanda's one great ally and the French must have known of the activities of the extremists - certainly in the army. France provided arms, soldiers, technical advice and expertise to the Rwandan military, even embedding French officers to work side by side with officers and known extremists. Just two weeks before the genocide began, French officers were still serving in the very units that were responsible for carrying out the elimination of the entire political opposition, touring Kigali at dawn with prepared lists. And they continued to intervene in support of the extremists during and, crucially, after the April 1994 massacres.

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