The Paris Court of Appeal has recommended that an investigation be conducted into the inaction of the French army over its alleged complicity in the Bisesero massacres during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, AFP reported on Wednesday, June 21.
An estimated 50,000 people were killed in the Bisesero area of Western province, a region that was then deemed a haven of Tutsi resistance.
Genocide survivors in the hills of Bisesero earlier accused French troops of deliberately abandoning them to the Interahamwe militia who murdered hundreds of people in the area within days. French prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into possible complicity in crimes against humanity in December 2005 after complaints filed by survivors and human rights groups.
In September 2022, French judges dropped a case against French troops that were accused of being complicit in massacres when they were deployed to the region during 1994 genocide.
Now, however, the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal overturned the judge’s ruling for a procedural reason and sent the Bisesero case back to the investigating judges of the crimes against humanity division of the Paris court.
Bisesero is part of the south-western part of Rwanda most Tutsi families were completely wiped out during the 1994 Genocide. A French military operation dubbed Operation Turquoise was deployed there during the massacres. An estimated 50,000 people were killed in the Bisesero area.
Bisesero Genocide Memorial in Karongi District is among four memorials which the government of Rwanda has proposed to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
In January 2023, Rwanda engaged the Mémorial de la Shoah – an Israeli foundation based in France – to help preserve the memorials of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi including that of Bisesero.