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What François Mitterrand’s archives reveal about France’s role in Rwanda

In 2015, researcher François Graner began a legal battle to gain access to all of the documents on French policy in Rwanda from 1990, deposited by the then President of the Republic, François Mitterrand, in the Archives national. The Council of State granted him this right in June 2020, while the boxes are in principle covered by a protocol allowing their opening to the public only sixty years after the end of his second term.

According to the CNRS research director, “These pieces come to consolidate a puzzle which shows that Mitterand and a small group of soldiers (…) pursued a policy which supported before, during and after the genocide of the Tutsi, the Hutu extremists and the heads of the Rwandan army ”. “This support was made with full knowledge of the facts (…), that is why it is called complicity in genocide ”, explains François Graner, while several documents show that France covered the flight of genocidaires and continued to deliver weapons after the Arusha agreements on August 4, 1993. According to the researcher, “France’s intention was to keep Rwanda in the zone of French influence at all costs”.

François Graner, physicist and research director at the CNRS, is also a member of the Survie association, which aims to end “To any neocolonial intervention in Africa”. He is the author of two books on Rwanda: The Saber and the Machete. French officers and the Tutsi genocide (Ed. Tribord, April 2014) and, with Raphaël Doridant, The French state and the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda (ed. Agone, Survie, February 2020).

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