France To Skip Rwandan Genocide Commemoration

The French justice minister has canceled her plans to attend the ceremonies Monday following controversial statements from Rwanda's president.
Posted at 9:08 AM, Apr 06, 2014

Preparations are underway for the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide  — but at least one government will be noticeably absent.

France has announced its justice minister has canceled her plans to attend the ceremonies Monday. (Via CCTV)

And that apparently has something to do with the pretty hefty accusation Rwandan President Paul Kagame just made. (Via Carnegie Mellon University

He told newspaper Jeune Afrique,  France, along with Belgium, actively participated in the 1994 mass killings.

A charge French newspaper Le Figaro described as "a new blow to the normalization of relations between the two countries, poisoned by suspicion."

But we've heard this accusation before. You see, twenty years ago, French soldiers were sent in to contain the bloodbath, in what the French government described as a humanitarian mission. (Via Euronews

But Rwanda's current government has long accused those French soldiers of training and arming the extremist Hutus. (Via BBC) 

In just 100 days, ethnic Hutus slaughtered some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus. France has denied any role in the bloodshed. (Via Human Rights Watch

Ever since, relations between the two countries have been complicated, at best — with ties completely frozen between 2006 and 2009, and France reluctant to extradite Rwandans accused of war crimes. 

But in recent years ties between France and Rwanda have slightly improved. Last month, a Paris court sentenced a former Rwandan soldier to 25 years in prison for his role in the genocide — the first such conviction in France. (Via BBC