Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday once again accused France of participating in the Rwandan genocide, days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the mass killings that saw the death of at least 800,000 people.
Speaking to the weekly “Jeune Afrique”, due to be published on Sunday, Kagame denounced the "direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide".
He also accused French soldiers who took part in a military humanitarian mission in the south of the former Belgian colony of being both accomplices and "actors" in the bloodbath.
Kagame has previously made similar claims about France’s role in the 100-day wave of genocidal killings, mostly of ethnic Tutsis, that began on 7 April 1994.
Paris has repeatedly denied the accusations and insisted that French forces had tried to protect civilians.
Nevertheless, a 2008 report by Rwanda's MUCYO commission of inquiry concluded that France had trained the militias that carried out killings and French troops had taken part in massacres. It accused 13 politicians and 20 officers by name.
"Twenty years later, the only thing you can say against them (the French) in their eyes is they didn't do enough to save lives during the genocide," Kagame told “Jeune Afrique”.
"That's a fact, but it hides the main point: the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide and the participation of the latter in its very execution."
Kagame's assertions come as relations between Kigali and Paris - which were frozen from 2006 to 2009 - have improved, notably since a landmark ruling last month in which a French court sentenced former Rwandan army captain Pascal Simbikangwa to 25 years in prison for his role in the massacres.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira will be in Kigali on Monday for events marking the sombre anniversary.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-04-05