Officials in Rwanda's National Commission for the fight against Genocide have noted that for the recently Commission that was appointed by France's President to properly fulfil its duties of uncovering that country's role in the Tutsi Genocide of 1994, it must be allowed to access classified documents on the Bilateral Relations between Rwanda and France at that time.
The 15 person Commission includes History Researchers and Law Experts and confidence has been expressed in the abilities of the person leading it.
Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, Executive Secretary of CNLG said; "The Head of that Commission, Vincent Duclert, came to Rwanda in April during the 25th Commemoration Period and answered questions from Journalists and participants that were attending the International Conference on Genocide where he spoke. He, therefore, knows what Rwandans expect from that Commission that he is leading and we hope he will take that into account. He has said that they will utilize the skills of Political Experts that specialized in Rwanda and Experts on Genocide as well, that they will not ignore them."
Genocide Survivors have also expressed optimism.
"I believe we should commend the progress that has been made, and all that is left is for the Commission and its experts do their work properly. They should examine those documents in France and other evidence here in Rwanda." Naphtal Ahishakiye, Executive Secretary of the Genocide survivor's umbrella organisation-Ibuka, said.
Receiving President Paul Kagame in May last year, France's President Emmanuel Macron had this to say on the matter.
"On the matter of the Archives, relative to the Bilateral Relations between both our countries, as you know there are different categories: the Military, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and those to do with the former President of the Republic. The process of making them public has begun and I will do what is possible make sure that it continues because I believe this is important, but it must be noted that not all those abilities are placed in the Hands of the President solely due to their seriousness, but regardless of one's position on the matter, I do not believe we should be limited just to the issue of the Archives." Macron said.
Classified Documents have continued to be a sticking point, with a previous Commission in 1998 restricted as to what it could access and not really utilizing the little it was given, resulting in unsatisfactory results. This time around, there have been calls for change.
"It is important that they start with the documents that were not used then, not even read. This applies especially to those i told you about, to do with Security, the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the President because every week a meeting took place between the French President, the Minister of Defense, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Secretary-General in the Office of the President was also present, I believe at that time it was Hubert Vedrine. It was a special meeting that featured a handful of people. When it comes to France's policies towards Rwanda at the time, the most important decisions were made during those meetings: things like sending Military assistance in the form of Soldiers and weapons and the establishment of certain operations. Those are the documents that are needed to establish the Policies France adopted at that time and how aware they were of the way the Genocide that was being prepared. The fact is, if it becomes clear that they very well knew of the atrocities that were being prepared and still supported that Government, the mistakes or even the crimes of certain individuals can be exposed and followed upon." Bizimana noted.
The establishment of the Commission comes after President Emmanuel Macron met with the Leaders of Ibuka in France in April this year.