The Debate

Time to apologise? France grapples with its role in Rwandan genocide

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE © FRANCE 24

This date in 1994 marks the start of one of those moments of collective failure for humanity. The Rwandan genocide remembered: 100 days of gruesome slaughter that left an estimated 800,000 dead. After the killing of 10 UN peacekeepers by Hutu radicals, the international community basically upped and left. The United Nations, former colonial power Belgium and the US have all issued formal apologies since.

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But not France, whose president at the time François Mitterrand is the target of a damming new report by historians, a report commissioned by current leader Emmanuel Macron. However, its authors insist that newly declassified documents fail to prove Paris's active hand in the genocide itself. 

We ask about the findings of the Duclert commission, hear from its lead historian and ask whether France should apologise when Macron is expected to travel to Rwanda in the coming weeks. How France talks about its past can also inform how the nation sees itself as it heads into a presidential election year.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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