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French accused over Rwanda genocide -

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ELEANOR HALL: After two years of investigation Rwanda has formally accused the French government of
helping to plan the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 people.

The allegations are made in a commission report which implicates figures at the highest levels of
the French military and government including the late French president Francois Mitterand.

French authorities have long rejected any responsibility for the genocide and have reacted angrily
to the latest allegations.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: In Rwanda in 1994 about 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were
slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days.

The Rwandan Government set up a commission to investigate France's role in the bloodshed. Its
report has just been made public by Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

THARCISSE KARUGARAMA: It shows the role played by France during the genocide itself. It also
highlights the role played by France in the aftermath of the genocide to protect the genocidal
forces, and to make it very difficult for them to be apprehended and brought to justice.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The report says France backed Rwanda's Hutu government with political, diplomatic,
military and logistical support. It says France helped with the preparations for the genocide and
helped train the ethnic Hutu militia. It also accuses French troops of direct involvement in the
killings.

More than 30 senior French military and political figures are named in the report. Among them are
the late French president Francois Mitterand, former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and the
then Foreign Minister Alain Juppe - who's now the Mayor of Bordeaux.

The Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama stressed that action would be taken soon.

THARCISSE KARUGARAMA: This should be clear that this report is not just going to lie down, put into
some store somewhere.

SARA EVERINGHAM: He says the report will be used to put those responsible on trial.

THARCISSE KARUGARAMA: In making attempts, very serious attempts to bring to justice people that
were involved in committing genocide in this country.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The allegations have now been made formally but they aren't new. Rwanda has
repeatedly accused France of arming and training Hutu militias and of dragging its feet in
cooperating in investigations that followed the massacre.

It's an accusation the French authorities have previously denied. Ten years ago France held its own
parliamentary inquiry into its activities in Rwanda which concluded that France had done nothing to
incite, encourage or support those orchestrating the genocide.

The French Foreign Ministry is yet to formally respond to the latest allegations saying it will
wait until it has received and read a copy of the report. But Jacques Myard a French MP for the
governing UMP has denied any involvement by France or French troops.

JACQUES MYARD: This is absolutely ridiculous.

SARA EVERINGHAM: And he says it was France that helped protect people during a UN-sanctioned
mission in Rwanda at the time.

JACQUES MYARD: We were the only government to let the world, the international community to say
something awful is happening there. That the genocide was going on.

We were the only one after the Pope, to have warned the international community. We were the only
one to have sent troops to stop this.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The allegations come as no surprise to Dr Gideon Boas - an expert in international
law at Monash University.

GIDEON BOAS: There has been considerable pre-existing tensions between the French and Rwandan
governments ever since the genocide.

The French had, prior to the genocide, had supported the Hutu government and the Hutu president who
was shot down in a plane which was the incident that sparked or is said to have sparked the
genocide. And since then there has been considerable tension between those two governments.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Do you think this report is more about that tension that exists between Rwanda and
France? Is it more about that than finding out information about the genocide?

GIDEON BOAS: Well, I mean the 500 page report and I assume that amongst those 500 pages are some
evidence concerning or backing up the allegations that have been made.

If there is reasonable foundation for those allegations then I think that should prompt the French
authorities and possibly other authorities as part of the international community, to investigate
further.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Dr Gideon Boas from Monash University ending Sara Everingham's report.