France declassifies intelligence papers on Rwandan genocide

Updated: 2006-11-03 10:12

PARIS - French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has agreed to declassify 105 secret intelligence reports for investigating allegations that French troops helped Rwanda's former Hutu government massacre ethnic Tutsis in a 1994 genocide.

The defense minister made the decision on Tuesday following the recommendation of France's defense secrets consultative commission that reviews request for the release of secret state papers, the ministry said Thursday.

In November 2005, France launched an official investigation into complaints by four Rwandan survivors who accused French troops of complicity in crimes against humanity in the 1994 genocide.

The all declassified documents will be handed over to investigating magistrate Florence Michon, said the defense ministry.

An estimated 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed in the the 100-day slaughter by Hutu militia.

France sent troops to Rwanda at the height of the genocide under a UN mandate, saying it was helping create a secure humanitarian area in the country's southwest.

However, some genocide survivors tell a different story, accusing French troops of rape and murder and of allowing Rwanda government forces and Hutu extremists to enter refugee camps under their protection. France has denied all the accusations.

A Rwandan government-appointed commission has been working since April to investigate charges that France trained and armed those responsible for the genocide.

This month it opened a series of public hearings to help determine whether Rwanda should sue France for genocide-related damages at the World Court.

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