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French judge to probe role of French troops in Rwanda genocide

[JURIST] French Judge Brigitte Raynaud has decided to open a formal investigation into accusations that French soldiers may have acted in complicity with Hutu militias who killed between 500,000 and 800,000 Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder]. Several Rwandan survivors filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the French government in February of this year, alleging that French soldiers deployed in southwestern Rwanda to protect the Tutsis allowed Hutu militia members to enter the camps to massacre them. The French government has officially denied the claims, and a French parliamentary panel in 1998 found the French military innocent of any wrongdoing. Last year, however, Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame [BBC profile] accused the French military of training and arming the Hutu militias [JURIST report] responsible for the massacre, and an independent group of liberal French human rights advocates, lawyers, and historians reported that the French military helped the Hutus more than the Tutsis they were charged with protecting. The UN-supported International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] has yet to charge any French officials or soldiers for involvement, but Rwanda's envoy to the tribunal said in April that the ICTR has collected evidence sufficient to support the allegations [afrol article] but was hesitating to do so for fear of provoking a "diplomatic incident." AP has more.

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