“I can’t find words to describe what it was like,” says Juvenal Moudenge, as he contemplates on his role in the 1994 genocide. “I was like an animal. I knew most of the people that were killed that day because we were neighbours. Our objective was to kill people so you could not think about whether you knew them or not. The objective was to exterminate them.” “One of the army commanders said, ‘let’s not use our bullets’. Some of them had machetes, some had clubs, others had spears. They started killing people.”
Juvenal was among the militia responsible for the attack on Kibeho church, where thousands of Tutsis had sought refuge. An estimated 30,000 people were killed during this one attack. More than 800,000 people in total were killed over the course of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.
In December, the US law firm Cunningham Levy Muse released a report examining in detail the French involvement in the Rwanda genocide. Commissioned by the Rwanda’s government, the report alleges that the French officials provided weapons to the perpetrators of the genocide, and they offered them a refuge in the French embassy in Kigali.
While the French government has officially expressed willingness and need to prosecute anyone involved in the genocide, not all evidence are declassified. In fact, the 1998 inquiry by a French parliamentary commission on the matter has been criticized in the report as lacking transparency.
“What we want now as a government for our people and for France itself is truth and accountability for those who committed genocide in Rwanda,” commented the Rwandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Oliver Nduhungirehe.
Read the full report here.
Quote and photo by Trocaire.