Unspoken history: The last genocide of the 20th century

Despite evidence to the contrary, France still completely denies involvement in two of Africa's 20th century genocides.

Paris, France - The recent publication of French judge Trevidic's report on the assassination of President Habyarimana, which triggered the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and the deaths of moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994, revives the debate on the possible role of France in the last genocide of the 20th century. Moreover, it rekindles questions related to the attitude of French authorities and intelligentsia whenever the country is directly involved in a genocide in Africa.

More worrying, these findings question the poison slowly instilled in the veins of the French nation's collective body: A recent poll shows that one third of French citizens share the views of an openly racist and anti-Semite political party, the National Front.

Unspoken history, attempts at denial, and historical smokescreens systematically orchestrated by those who own the means of propaganda challenge the capacity - for those in France who disagree with the far-right - to help a disturbing truth emerge.

In the light of this revelation, one can notice strange similarities in the attitude adopted by those authorities regarding the question of the lesser-known Bamileke genocide orchestrated by the French army at the beginning of the 1960s, which might have caused the death of up to 400,000 people.

Equivocation surrounding Rwanda genocide

On January 11, 2012, French Judge Marc Trevidic published a 400-page investigation on the circumstances of the shooting of "Presidential Falcon 50", in which President Juvenal Habyarimana and the President of Burundi, along with other officials and three French crew members, were assassinated. The report concludes that the missiles which hit the airplane were shot from Konembe hill which was at that time in the hands of the Presidential guard.

The elucidation of these events will give an explanation to the beginning of the last genocide of the 20th century: the plane crash triggered the systematic murder of 1 million Tutsis in 100 days by extremist Hutus.

The Trevidic Report puts an end to 18 years of uncertainty and attempt to revise history. In fact, a first investigation led by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière showed that the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) - the army of the actual Tutsi President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame - was responsible for the attack, and thus responsible for the elimination of other Tutsis. This theory was embraced by numerous French politicians and intellectuals, such as journalist Pierre Péan, who in 2005 published Black Furies, White Liars. His book, along the same lines as the legal investigation, not only suggests that RPF was the perpetrator of the presidential assassination, but also upheld that only 280,000 Tutsis had been killed, compared with possibly one million Hutus exterminated in revenge by Kagame's RPF.

Nevertheless, these explanations left many questions unanswered.

In the first place, one can question the position of Agathe Habyarimana, widow of former Rwandan president: it is indubitable that the massacres were started and encouraged by Hutu extremists. This vague expression conceals the name of the informal organisation, recognised by the French National Assembly in 1994, which regrouped these "extremists": the Akazu. Their most influential members were close relatives of President Habyarimana, and might have been headed by Agathe Habyarimana, along with three of her brothers, according to several reports. The day following the assassination of her husband, she was exfiltrated to France with the help of the French army. Since then, she has been living in France. Despite an international arrest warrant issued against her in 2009, and a complaint lodged by a French association over her alleged role in the perpetration of the genocide, she hasn't yet been judged by a court.