President Emmanuel Macron of France has arrived in Rwanda for a two-day state visit aimed at possible normalization of relations with our country.
The visit follows President Paul Kagame’s visit to France last week, where the two leaders expressed eagerness to normalize relations as well as open a “new page” in frosty relations running 27 years since the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
The rapprochement comes weeks following the politically coordinated release of two reports at around the same time in March. The first, commissioned by President Macron is now dubbed the “Duclert Report” and the second, the “Muse Report” was commissioned by President Kagame. Both reports concluded that France bears serious responsibility for the genocide against the Tutsi.
These two reports add to about ten others, including one by the United Nations and another by the OAU now African Union concluding that France did not only know that the genocide was being organized but also financed the genocide government, provided arms, training and diplomatic cover – to genocidaires to commit genocide and later escape justice.
To that extent, France’s role in the genocide is well established, and so are attempts by France’s leaders to normalize relations without fully owning up to its role in this human enabled carnage.
Before Macron, his countryman, President Nicolas Sarkozy was also here in 2010 with the message to normalize relations but was unable to achieve much because he was unwilling to fully own up to his country’s role in the slaughter of our people and apologize without reservation.
We hope that this time, the visit of the French President will be different. To be different and bear meaningful results, it must be based on promoting justice for the victims of genocide and mutual interests of our two nations, not political expediency of the times and individual interests of leaders.
Our hope, therefore, is that, unlike his predecessors, Macron is ready to fully own up to the role of his country in the genocide and on the established truth and evidence in the aforementioned reports, not only fully, genuinely and openly apologize to Rwandans in the name of his country, but also promise to pay reparations to victims and requisite assistance to enable healing and the cause of reconciliation.
As we welcome President Macron, we remind our belief that the best approach to renew and build enduring relations between our two nations is to base it on the truth of what happened in the past, fully owning this past, and on that unvanquished established truth, shape relations based on mutual trust, respect and cooperation between our two nations.