Macron Recognizes France’s Responsibility in Rwandan Genocide

French President Emmanuel Macron said at a memorial in Kigali on Thursday that he recognized France’s role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide from supporting a genocidal regime to ignoring warnings of the impending massacres.

“Standing here today, with humility and respect, by your side, I have come to recognize our responsibilities,” said Macron in his Kigali Genocide Memorial speech.

Macron is the first French president since 2010 to visit the East African nation which has long accused France of complicity in the genocide of about 800,000 mostly Tutsi Rwandans.

Macron solemnly detailed France’s failure towards the 800,000 victims but stopped short of an apology saying that France “was not complicit” in the genocide.

“His words were something more valuable than an apology, they were the truth. This was an act of tremendous courage,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, praising Macron’s speech at a later joint news conference.

Kagame and Macron have discussed a range of issues including investment and support for businesses during the French president’s visit. 

Rwandans who had hoped for an apology said they were disappointed by Macron’s speech.

“We don’t want to hear him talk about responsibility, about France’s role in the genocide. We, the survivors, wanted to hear Macron apologizing to us officially. I am really disappointed,” said genocide survivor Dan Karenzi.

The opposition Rwandese Platform for Democracy party tweeted earlier that it hoped Macron would “apologize honestly” and “promise to pay reparations” to genocide victims.


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