French President Emmanuel Macron has called for 7 April to become an official memorial date for the Rwandan genocide which began this day in 1994, RFI reports.
The 100-day killing spree in April 1994 left close to a million people dead, or mutilated, not to speak of the psychological scars born to this day by countless survivors inside Rwanda and around the world. Most of the victims were Tutsis but Hutus were also among them.
France was an ally of the government of late Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, whose fatal plane crash is often deemed to have sparked the massacres.
France's expert panel will have unprecedented access to official archives on the president and the government's Rwanda-policy. Kept secret until now by a constitutional clause which permits the highest level documents to remain secret for 25 years after the death of the minister or president who would have archived them, François Mitterrand then president, died in 1996. The panel's findings are due to be revealed in two years, in 2021.
For Rwandans in France, this therefore will be a year to remember.
France will make April 24 a "national day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide", Macron said in February. Armenians commemorate the mass killings on April 24 because on that date in 1915 a group of Armenian intellectuals was rounded up and assassinated in Constantinople by the Ottoman government. On April 24, Armenians worldwide will be commemorating the 104th anniversary of the Genocide which continued until 1923. Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians as Genocide. Turkey denies to this day.