Gjesteskribent

Linda Melvern har skrevet to bøker om folkemordet i Rwanda. Hun slet med å finne utgiver til den første A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide. Den andre Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide, var det like vanskelig å få ut. Den ble på toppen av det hele ikke anmeldt noe sted. Temaet var for påtrengende, politisk og i tid.

Det passet ikke at et europeisk land, Frankrike, hadde spilt en sentral rolle i folkemordet. Det passet ikke at den likandes presidenten Bill Clinton og hans bestemoraktige utenriksminister Madeleine Albright, bevisst saboterte alle forsøk på å få gjort noe mens massakrene pågikk. Leder av avdelingen for fredsoperasjoner, Kofi Annan, er ghaneser. Han hadde samvittighet nok til å la Melvern få adgang til Sikkerhetsrådets arkiver under arbeidet med den siste boken, noe som er nesten uhørt.

For en uke siden la den regjeringsoppnevnte kommisjonen i Rwanda frem sin rapport om fransk medvirkning. Den fikk såvidt notis i vestlige medier, av samme grunn som neglisjeringen av Melverns bøker: det er for voldsomt å ta inn over seg. Hvilken rolle spiller det om den franske presidenten endelig vedkjenner seg Petain-regimets forbrytelser, hvis man begår noe tilsvarende i Afrika?

Kommisjonens arbeid er ikke noe bestillingsverk, skriver Melvern. Den har gjort grundig arbeid, men avgjørende bevis er ødelagt.

The report – the fruit of two years’ work that includes the testimony of 638 witnesses, including survivors and perpetrators of genocide – is damning. It says that certain French politicians, diplomats and military leaders – including President François Mitterrand – were complicit in genocide. The French authorities knowingly aided and abetted what happened by training Hutu militia and devising strategy for Rwanda’s armed forces. Training and funding was also given to Rwandan intelligence services on how to establish a database later used to draw up a «kill list» of Tutsi.

The most shocking allegations come from survivors who allege that French soldiers participated in the massacres of Tutsi. These soldiers were a part of Operation Turquoise, a French military intervention in June 1994, an ostensibly humanitarian mission that had the backing of the UN Security Council.

Det spesielle med Rwanda var at drepingen foregikk åpent, ved høylys dag. Likevel fortsatte TV-nyhetene å rapportere som om det var grusomt, men noe man ikke kunne gjøre noe med.

What happened in Rwanda in 1994 is a milestone event; in a few terrible months, up to one million people were killed in organised massacres, planned in advance by the Hutu regime. Its aim was to create a «pure Hutu state» by eliminating the minority Tutsi and all opponents of its extremist Hutu Power ideology. This was done by mobilising the country’s unemployed youth into a militia called the Interahamwe; 30,000 young men were recruited and trained to kill with agricultural tools. They were indoctrinated with a racist anti-Tutsi ideology. There were no secret death camps. The killing was in broad daylight.

Frankrike tok parti for hutuene helt fra 60-tallet. Verdensopinionen ignorerte at én million tutsier måtte flykte fra landet. Da Rwandas patriotiske front under Paul Kagame truet med å velte huturegimet, mobiliserte Frankrike og kom til dets unnsetning. Paris bandt seg til masten, og det var president Francois Mitterrand personlig som ledet det hele.

The French had favoured the Hutu cause since the 1960s. The rule by the majority Hutu in this one-party state was considered democratic. The overt discrimination against the minority Tutsi and the human rights abuses against them were largely ignored. By 1990 some one million Rwandans were living as refugees in neighbouring states, Tutsi who had fled during murderous anti-Tutsi campaigns. In October 1990, the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded from neighbouring Uganda to force a return home for them. The French immediately sent elite troops to defend the regime in Kigali and in the three years of civil war that followed the French military and French-supplied weaponry ensured its survival.

For Frankrike var det overskyggende motiv at Rwanda ikke måtte gli ut av det frankofone området.

Drawing on documents recently released from the Paris archive of Mitterrand, the commission clearly describes the motive for French policy in Rwanda. These documents show how the RPF invasion was considered as clear aggression by an Anglophone neighbour on a Francophone country. The RPF was a part of an «Anglophone plot», involving the President of Uganda, to create an English-speaking «Tutsi-land». Once Rwanda was «lost» to Anglophone influence, French credibility in Africa would never recover. The policy was to avoid a military victory by the RPF.

The French journalist Patrick de Saint Exupéry alleges that the French created a secret command of the Rwandan Army through what he called a «légion présidentielle». This was a group of elite operatives that was answerable only to Mitterrand and which drew up battle plans and military strategy, and built a psychological warfare capability with operatives trained in the manipulation of public opinion.

My own work has shown that not all French military operatives left Rwanda when the UN peacekeepers arrived in 1993. When the genocide began six months later there were senior French officers attached to key units in the Rwandan Army – the para-commando and reconnaissance battalions, and the Presidential Guard. It was French-trained soldiers from these units who, early in the morning of April 7, had orders to eliminate members of Rwanda’s political opposition – and to kill anyone with a Tutsi identity card. Without a full accounting from these French officers the story of the crucial early hours of genocide will never be complete. To date only three French officers have testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda – and only then in defence of Rwandan military officers on genocide charges.

Når man tenker på hvor mye motvilje og fiendskap USA har måttet tåle de senere år pga sin politikk i Irak og på Guantanamo: hvor er proposjonaliteten, når Frankrikes rolle i Rwanda knapt skjenkes en tanke?

Vi leser om Belgias Leopold II og belgisk Kongo og grusomhetene som ble begått der for hundre år siden. Men folkemordet for bare 14 år siden er det svært få som er opptatt av.

Vi satt alle og så det på Dagsrevyen. Jeg husker bildene av Interhamwe-milits som hakket folk ned i Kigali, og elvene som gikk fulle av lik. Det ble vist i Lørdagsrevyen.


France and genocide: the murky truth


Rwanda: a story too terrible to believe