May 4, 1994: General Quesnot promised Theodore Sindikubwabo the continuation of French support

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May 4, 1994: General Quesnot promised Theodore Sindikubwabo the continuation of French support

Yanditswe May, 04 2020 11:41 AM
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France continued to support SINDIKUBWABO’s government, the military and diplomacy to allow them hide the massacre of Tutsi which was taking place. This support strengthened the killers, and they continued to kill. However, if France had discontinued its support towards the criminal government, some Tutsi who had managed to defend themselves like in Bisesero would have survived. 

1) General Quesnot promised Theodore Sindikubwabo the continuation of French support to the Rwandan government during the genocide against Tutsi

On May 4, 1994, President Theodore Sindikubwabo had an extended telephone conversation with General Christian Quesnot who was the Special Military Adviser to the President of France, Francois Mitterrand, from 1991 to 1995. The conversation focused on the nature of the war between of the RPF-INKOTANYI and former Rwandan government forces (Ex-FAR). Nothing was discussed about genocide.

Christian Quesnot was one of the frankest supporters of Habyarimana regime. He was the one who informed the military authorities about the French military operations in Rwanda, whether carried out in an open air or in secret. In all his notes addressed to President Mitterrand, he requested for strong support for Habyarimana regime and its forces.

According to a note that General Christian Quesnot prepared for President Mitterrand on May 6, 1994 regarding the conversation between the two presidents, General Quesnot explained that Theodore Sindikubwabo acknowledged the French President for his military, political, financial and diplomatic support to the Government of Rwanda.


In particular, Theodore Sindikubwabo showed gratitude to France for welcoming the envoys of his Government who paid a visit to France in April 1994. The delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jerome Bicamumpaka and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, one of the top leaders of the Hutu extremist party; CDR and also the Chief Political and Legal affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda. Barayagwiza played a key role in establishing RTLM and spreading hatred and genocide ideology, especially between 1992 and 1994. 

The delegation of Bicamumpaka and Barayagwiza was received by President Mitterrand's close allies including Bruno Delaye, President Mitterrand's Adviser on Africa, and General Christian Quesnot in the state House. They also met with Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe. During their meetings, the Genocide against the Tutsi was never condemned by French officials who met with the delegation of the criminal government. Conversely, Belgium and the United States had refused to host the delegation. 

On April 29, 1994, three weeks after the genocide had started, Christian Quesnot wrote the following derogatory remarks about the RPF: "The RPF is a party of “fascists” that I’ve never seen anywhere else. They can be compared to "Khmers noirs'‘, They have a conspiracy with the Belgians".

On May 6, 1994, Christian Quesnot issued a statement in support of Habyarimana Forces (FAR) despite the fact they were committing genocide. 

2) General Quesnot and Bruno Delaye supported the radicalism of the Habyarimana regime

In their relations with the Government of Rwanda, General Christian Quesnot and Bruno Delaye have always shown strong support to President Habyarimana and his government. They always advised President Mitterrand to provide Rwanda with permanent and strong military, political and diplomatic assistance for the fight that Habyarimana was fighting with the RPF Inkotanyi. 

Let us recall that French President Francois Mitterrand had sent two special envoys to Rwanda, Mr. Bruno Delaye and Jean-Marie Rochereau de la Sabliere on 12th February, 1993. The purpose of their visit was to reconcile President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye as they did not agree on the cessation of conflicts and killings which were being committed by government soldiers and MRND members. 

President Mitterrand and his advisers made it clear to Habyarimana that France will support his government and that it would not abandon Rwandan Government in order to keep the supremacy in the region.

After returning to France on February 15, 1993, Bruno Delaye wrote a note to President Mitterrand, expressing his concern that the RPF "might take over Kigali" because it was supported by some English-speaking countries. As a result, Delaye articulated that the way they were supporting Habyarimana's regime had to change. He emphasized that France should fight openly, provide guns and other weapons of war.  All these fabricated documents sought to explain why France had to enter the war directly and continue to supply Habyarimana's army with weapons and equipment. 

General Christian Quesnot also wrote to President Mitterrand affirming that the war was not between RPF Inkotanyi and the Rwandan army, but that it was Uganda which had invaded Rwanda. This meant that it was a war between two countries (Uganda and Rwanda) and that France should help the Rwandan government in its fight against the RPF-Inkotanyi (Uganda). During the genocide precisely in May 1994, General Quesnot was still insisting on the idea of supporting the Government which was committing genocide by exterminating its Tutsi population with excuse that it is a war between two countries. 

3) General Quesnot and Dominique Pin proposed a hard line against the RPF

Moreover, on 19 February 1994, General Christian Quesnot and Dominique Pin who was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Africa in the Office of the President of France, presented two key views on Rwanda to President Mitterrand: The first idea was to relocate French people and French troops who were in Rwanda in operation Noroît, but Quesnot and Pin explained that they did not support the idea and advising President Mitterrand that he too should not take such a decision. They wrote: "It is the failure of our presence and our politics in Rwanda. Our credibility in the continent would suffer”. 

The second idea was about what France would do, once the RPF would have taken over Kigali. Quesnot and Pin argued that once the RPF captures Kigali, ethnic related massacres would be intense, and for that reason France should multiply its efforts to help the Habyarimana’s regime prevent the RPF from taking over Kigali.

General Quesnot's priority to appeal for the criminal government was that he feared that Habyarimana’s government would lose power if they are defeated in the war, and hence it would be called "Tutsi land". This was an excuse for him to continue sponsoring Sindikubwabo military and his government. The expression was widely used and supported by President Mitterrand and the special Army Chief, Amiral Lanxade.

These are the facts that France was aware that Habyarimana regime was planning a genocide, but insisted on its willingness to support it. It is also clear that the Rwandan government had a plan to exterminate Tutsi based on military support from the French. Support for the Rwandan government has given them the opportunity to continue the massacre of Tutsi civilians and to improve their plan to exterminate them.

Done at Kigali on May 4, 2020

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)



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