In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 and RFI during a visit to Paris on Monday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame hailed as “a big step forward” a report by French historians released in April that concluded France had an “overwhelming” responsibility for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Rwandan leader added that Kigali and Paris now have a chance to move forward.
The report (in French), which was years in the making, concluded that France remained a collaborator with the Hutu regime that was behind the deaths of at least 800,000 people in just 100 days and was “unwavering in its support” even when plans to exterminate the Tutsi minority became clear. France has long been accused of not doing enough to stop the killings.
Asked if he would like France to apologize for the events of 1994, Rwanda’s Kagame said he would not demand an apology but said he would “appreciate” one, if it were forthcoming.
He also discussed violence in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and did not rule out the possibility of joint military operations with Kinshasa.
Asked about the trial of “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina – who was arrested last year in Rwanda after mysteriously disappearing during a visit to Dubai – Kagame called for a “fair trial” but labeled Rusesabagina a “criminal”.
The Rwandan leader, who has been in power since 2000, declined to say whether he plans to run for a fourth term.
Please click on the video player to watch the full interview.