French President Francois Hollande has decided to declassify documents related to the Rwanda genocide that killed over 800,000 people in 1994, a source close to the president’s office told Reuters on Tuesday.
The documents from between 1990 and 1994 include minutes from secret defense meetings and files from advisers to then-president Francois Mitterrand relating to the genocide in the central African state, the source said.
The papers, which include documents from diplomatic and military advisers ad well as minutes from ministerial and defence meetings, will be available to both researchers and victims’ associations, the French presidency said.
Ties between France and Rwanda are strained as Rwandan President Paul Kagame accuses Paris of complicity in the genocide because of its support of the Hutu nationalist government that carried out the mass killings, mainly of ethnic Tutsis. Paris has repeatedly denied the accusations and insists that French forces had worked to protect civilians. Relations between both countries were completely frozen from 2006 to 2009. The genocide was sparked by the ouster of the country’s president, a Hutu.
France – an ally of the Rwandan government that ruled before the genocide – stayed away from last year’s 20-year commemoration after rebel-turned-President Paul Kagame renewed accusations of a direct French role in the killings.
While Paris has acknowledged mistakes in its dealings with Rwanda, it has repeatedly dismissed accusations that it trained militias to take part in the 1994 massacres.