“France assumes everything and exactly that in the terms that I used” on May 27, 2021, declared Sunday April 7, Emmanuel Macron in a video broadcast on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.

The French president, traveling to Kigali, then said he had come to “recognize” France’s “responsibilities” in the massacres which left at least 800,000 dead, mainly members of the Tutsi minority, between April and July 1994. We have all abandoned hundreds of thousands of victims to this infernal closed door,” he added, specifying that Paris had “not been complicit” with the Hutu genocidaires. Mr. Macron did not apologize, while saying he hoped for forgiveness from the survivors.

“I thank President [Paul] Kagame again for the way he welcomed them and in doing so opened a new page, together, in our relationship,” declared the French president, specifying that he would not had “no word to add, no word to take away from what I told you that day.”

The international community has “failed us”

On Thursday, the Elysée announced that Emmanuel Macron believed that France “could have stopped the genocide” of 1994 in Rwanda “with its Western and African allies”, but “did not have the will”. Words interpreted, then, as a further step in the recognition of France’s responsibilities in the genocide, but which the head of state did not use on Sunday.

The international community “let us all down” during the Tutsi genocide, Paul Kagame declared on Sunday. “Our journey has been long and difficult. Rwanda was completely humiliated by the scale of our loss,” continued the Rwandan president, who in July 1994, at the head of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), put an end to the massacres.

Invited to the commemorations of the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Kigali, Emmanuel Macron is represented by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, and the Secretary of State for the Sea, Hervé Berville, born in Rwanda.

In his video, the French president wishes to continue to “move forward together, hand in hand” with Rwanda, a partnership that can only be built “when the past is looked in the face and accepted”. “The past had to be named, the past must continue to be analyzed, studied by our historians in the best conditions,” he insisted.

A report by historians, published in 2021, under the direction of Vincent Duclert, concluded that France had “heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” and the “blindness” of the socialist president at the time, François Mitterrand, and his entourage in the face of the racist and genocidal drift of the Hutu government that Paris then supported.

Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Kigali in 2021 and his words there sealed a rapprochement with Paul Kagame, who had never stopped questioning France. This question of the French role before, during, and after the genocide has been a hot topic for years, even leading to a breakdown in diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali between 2006 and 2009.