Letter to Mr Emmanuel MACRON, President of France, on the 14 May 2017.
You have just been elected to the Presidency, and this is why I, as the chairman of the CPCR (the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda) would like to address these few words to you. The association, created in 2001, aims to prosecute those living on French territory who are suspected of having participated in the Tutsis genocide in Rwanda in 1994. I do so on behalf of hundreds of thousands of victims whose cause we support.
At the beginning of the election campaign, I had already sent you an open letter, also signed by Mr RWABUHIHI, President of the ACPCR (Les Amis du CPCR (Friends of the CPCR)), a Rwandan NGO that shares our feelings and concerns. This letter sent to all the candidates had very little echo, since only one contender to the supreme legislature replied.
In this open letter, we asked you three questions about the Tutsi genocide, which I would like to remind you of : “Do you agree with the decision of the Court of Cassation, which systematically refuses to extradite Rwandans who are suspected of having participated in the Tutsi genocide to their country ? (France is one of the few countries that has adopted this position). What measures would you take to ensure that the slowness of the French judiciary in these cases ceases? What additional means would you propose to allow the “crimes against humanity pole” created in 2012 at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Paris High Court) to function more effectively?
Maybe you do not know this, but since 1994, about thirty complaints have been filed in France for genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity, including twenty-five by the CPCR. Only three trials have taken place under the principle of universal jurisdiction: the trial and sentencing of Captain SIMBIKANGWA to 25 years’ imprisonment (conviction confirmed on appeal in December 2016), and that of two former Rwandan mayors, Mr. NGENZI and Mr. BARAHIRA, who were convicted in July 2016 to life imprisonment, after a nine week trial at the Assises de Paris (Paris Trial Court). They have filed an appeal.
How long will it take, Mr. President, to ensure that all the complaints we have filed are processed? How long will it take for individuals to be brought before the courts of this country? Not to mention all those we are likely to file next. Because, as you must know, the Prosecutor’s Office, to this day, has never prosecuted any person suspected of having participated in the Tutsi genocide. Without the hard work of associations such as ours, no one would talk about the Tutsi genocide that happened in Rwanda, 23 years ago.
Furthermore, the French authorities of our country never acknowledged the slightest responsibility of the politicians at the time this genocide was committed! However, we continue to denounce the military, diplomatic and financial complicity of the French state with the Rwandan authorities of 1994. At first with President HABYARIMANA until April 1994, then with the genocidal government that actually led the massacres, from the 7th of April to the 4th of July 1994. Which leads me to ask you a subsidiary question: under your presidency, do you intend to re-establish diplomatic relations worthy of that name with Rwanda ? For the past several years, at the Quai d’Orsay, it seems that Rwanda no longer exists. Would the influence of Mr. VEDRINE and Mr. JUPPE still be preponderant ?
Mr President, you have this morning wished to “build one of the most beautiful chapters in our history”. You added that “France is only a model for the world if it is exemplary”. Could this exemplarity apply to the prosecution of persons suspected of having participated in the Tutsi genocide and living in impunity in our country ? Could this exemplarity be applied to France’s future diplomatic relations with African countries, including Rwanda, with the greatest respect for this part of the world, about which you said “colonisation is a crime against Humanity” ?
Mr President, I would like for this letter not to be a simple “message in a bottle”. Our concerns, and those of the associations who struggle by our side , touch the very heart of humanity. The imprescriptible crimes that decimated whole families and left victims asking for one thing : “without hatred nor vengeance”. As we never cease to repeat, justice must be served. May we count on your active understanding?
You will certainly have understood, Mr. President, as we are constantly expressing, that time plays in favour of the executioners. Our impatience is legitimate, and our determination even more so. We want to believe in justice despite its inexplicable delays. Thank you for giving this message all due attention. This is about the credibility of our country, “home of human rights”, in the face of survivors and their families to which we belong, in the face of Rwanda’s current authorities, who for more than twenty years have tried to rebuild their country, and in the face of the international community, genocide being a crime against humanity.
I thank you, Mr. President, for taking the time to read us. Many times, and for more than 20 years, we have alerted most of the authorities of our country. Their answer has always been the same: “We will not fail to keep you informed of any action taken on this matter”. But then, there is hardly ever any taken. If we have entered a new political era, can we hope that justice will be served for the victims of the last genocide of the 20th century, and unlike today within reasonable delays ? The presence, on French territory, of people who participated in the Tutsi genocide in 1994 is unbearable and an insult to the survivors and their relatives, an insult to Humanity’s conscience.
In anticipation of your reply, I ask you to believe, Mr. President, the expression of my deepest respect.
Alain GAUTHIER, Chairman of the CPCR.
Traduit par Leah TSHABALALA.