Investigating judges in Paris ordered a general dismissal of the investigation into the inaction of the French army during the Bisesero massacres at the end of June 1994, during the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda.
In this affair, the associations Survie, Ibuka, FIDH and six survivors of Bisesero, civil parties, accused the army and France of “complicity in genocide”. They reproached the French soldiers for having, according to them, knowingly abandoned the Tutsi civilians who had taken refuge in the hills of Bisesero, in the west of the country, for three days, allowing the massacre of hundreds of them by the genocidaires to continue without reacting. , from June 27 to 30, 1994.
No officers charged
In their order dated September 1, the magistrates believe that the investigation, opened in 2005, did not establish “the direct participation of French military forces in abuses committed in refugee camps, nor any complicity by aid or assistance to the genocidal forces or complicity by abstention by French soldiers on the hills of Bisesero in the absence of intention of the latter to facilitate the commission of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity”said in a press release the Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau.
This decision was predictable since none of the five general officers involved had been indicted at the end of the investigation concluded in July 2018, a step that is nevertheless necessary before considering a possible trial.
The prosecution then requested, in May 2021, a dismissal of this sensitive case, emblematic of the historic controversy over the objectives of the Turquoise military-humanitarian mission, deployed in Rwanda under a UN mandate to put an end to the genocide of the Tutsis.
“Not complicit in genocide”
“This dismissal is perfectly logical, it has been expected for many years”reacted Me Pierre-Olivier Lambert, lawyer for three of the general officers. “The meticulous investigation showed that the military leaders of Operation Turquoise had carried out their mission with humanity, courage and impartiality”he said, considering that“it was time for French justice to finally recognize the irreproachable nature of the mission” conducted by French soldiers in Rwanda in 1994.
“It is a great satisfaction for my client and for the other officers involved”declared for his part Me Emmanuel Bidanda, lawyer for Colonel Jacques Rosier, head of special operations present in Bisesero.
“At the end of an investigation that has been ongoing for 17 years with X successive investigating judges, our clients are exonerated and the French army is not complicit in either genocide or crimes against humanity”, he greeted. The lawyer for the Survie association could not be reached immediately to comment. According to the UN, the massacres caused more than 800,000 deaths between April and July 1994, mainly within the Tutsi minority.