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07.04.2019 Rwanda

Macron Wants April 7 To Be Memorial Day Of Rwandan Genocide

Philippe Wojazer/AFP Pool
APR 7, 2019 RWANDA

The 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.

The Rwandan genocide rememberance association, known as Ibuka, the Kinyarwanda word for rememberance, has organised a march in Paris on Sunday, and a commemoration service in this landmark year.

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.

Expected revelations

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.

25 years in France

However, on Sunday, the Rwanda community's Ibuka committee organised an official ceremony in the Choisy Park in the south of Paris, to mark the start of the '100 days of mourning'.

A solemn march is due to set off from the Luxembourg Gardens behind the French Senate to Choisy Park around midday.

They will lay a wreath at the memorial stone in the Père Lachaise cemetery and a remembrance service will be held at the Paris HQ of Médecins du Monde.

MDM is are part of the 'never forget' informal network of NGOs like The Shoah Memorial or the Van (Armenian) Collective and SOS Racism, who endeavour to prevent any more genocides anywhere through awareness-raising campaigns and events.