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Rwanda to probe French officials accused of genocide

Rwanda is set to investigate French officials it alleges to have orchestrated the 1994 genocide that killed close to 1 million people in the African country.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday, Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the judicial process against the accused French officials will start with a thorough investigation.

"We will use means at our disposal to conduct our own judicial process against those in France that have cases to answer. We will request France to give us access to specific individuals," she told reporters.

She stressed that France had political and military advisors to both the government and militia who perpetrated the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Last month, the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) released a list of 22 senior French military soldiers it accused of deliberately aiding the genocide planning.

Mushikiwabo said the names of French politicians who played a role in the genocide would also be published, as "Rwanda is not going to be subjective to judicial bullying by France."

She stated that for every effort Rwanda has made to mend relations with France, the European country has taken a step back.

France-Rwanda relations continued to worsen following France’s announcement of plans to reopen investigations into the shooting down of a plane carrying ex-genocidal president Juvenal Habyarimana, an event widely seen as sparking the genocide.

Last month, Rwanda President Paul Kagame warned that revisiting the case of plane crash of Habyarimana would lead to diplomatic standoff between Rwanda and France.

Between 2006 and 2009, relations between the two countries completely broke off after a French judge claimed that top Rwandan officials were involved in the downing of the plane.

France’s role in the 1994 genocide has for years been the subject of intense scrutiny and much controversy, with both Paris and Kigali trying to pin responsibility of the genocide on each other.

While Rwanda has repeatedly accused France of backing the genocidal government by arming and training the Hutu perpetrators responsible for the mass murder, France has denied the accusations and insisted its forces had worked to protect the civilians.


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