Speaking at the genocide memorial in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, French President Emmanuel Macron said that France had not heeded warnings of impending carnage and had for too long “valued silence over examination of the truth”.
But France had not been an accomplice in the killings, Mr Macron added.
The remarks were welcomed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame – a fierce critic of France ever since the genocide– who called them “more valuable than an apology” and “an act of tremendous courage”.
In March, a French expert commission found that France under the late President François Mitterrand had borne “heavy and overwhelming responsibility” for the genocide but had not been complicit. The report said France had been “blind” to genocide preparations.’
Macron went much further than his predecessors in admitting France’s role in the genocide, saying, “Only those who went through that night can perhaps forgive, and in doing so give the gift of forgiveness,” Mr Macron said at the memorial, where more than 250,000 victims are buried.
“France did not understand that, while trying to prevent a regional conflict, or a civil war, it was in fact standing by the side of a genocidal regime,” Macron said, “By doing so, it endorsed an overwhelming responsibility”.
“I hereby humbly and with respect stand by your side today, I come to recognise the extent of our responsibilities.”
The Rwandan genocide of April-July 1994 was the culmination of long-running ethnic tensions between the minority Tutsi community, who had controlled power since colonial rule by Germany and Belgium, and the majority Hutu. Over the course of 100 days, the tragedy took the lives of over 8 lakh people, estimated to amount up to 20% of Rwanda’s population.
Source- The IndianExpress