Those expecting a barrage of explosive statements are in for a disappointment. Made public on Monday 19 April, the investigation into France’s role in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994 – before and during the genocide – refrains from drawing any headline-grabbing conclusions that could reopen old wounds about a tragic dispute that has kept Kigali and Paris from restoring their diplomatic relations in any lasting way for a quarter century.
The report’s authors made the following terse but unprovocative observation, like a would-be slogan, worthy of the kind of understatement to which Rwandans have grown accustomed: “[T]he Government of France … enabled a foreseeable genocide.” It serves as a cryptic verdict in which the long-awaited operative words – notably French “responsibility” and “complicity” – have been mostly left out.
“We didn’t tackle the issue of complicity, which, for that matter, is something we don’t really understand. We zeroed in on the facts,” said a Rwandan official without elaborating further.
A diplomatic slight
A great deal of time has passed since the Mucyo Commission published its August 2008 report, the title of which alone smacked of a diplomatic slight aimed at France: “National Independent Commission Charged With Gathering Evidence to Show the Implication of the French Government in the Genocide Perpetrated in Rwanda in 1994”.