Rwanda has launched an inquiry into the possible role of at least 20 French military and other officials in the 1994 genocide, the prosecutor general said on Wednesday, a move that will deepen already strained relations with Paris.
Rwanda has frequently had diplomatic rows with France since the genocide, when about 800,000 mostly ethnic minority Tutsis and moderates from the Hutu majority population were killed.
Rwanda’s prosecutor general Richard Muhumuza told Reuters he had been in contact with the French government in the past two or three weeks, but declined to name any of the French officials under investigation.
“Up to now, we cannot say that we already have something sufficient to make charges on those people, this is why we need to talk to them and hear their version of the story,” he said, adding he hoped those named would agree to be questioned.
In a document dated Oct. 31, Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide included top advisers to France’s then-president, Francois Mitterrand, among the 22 French officials it accused of having a role in the genocide.
Kigali has long accused France of supporting the former government of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu whose death when his plane was shot down in 1994 sparked the bloodbath.