Footage from the conference of March 9, 2020 at the French Senate floor, now published in full.
The conference “Africa of the Great Lakes, 60 years of tragic instability” aimed to look back at the conflicts that has devastated the region from the early sixties to the present day.
In view of the foreseen speakers, there was no doubt that the role of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was going to be at the center of every debate. For those who still do not know, the RPF is a politico-military movement, created at the end of the 1980s mainly by Tutsi refugees in Uganda, who had decided to return to Rwanda by force of arms.
Of the ten speakers, at least six have published works which directly implicate the responsibility of the RPF in the tragedies that devastated the region in the 1990s. Some researchers even accuse the RPF of war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide against the Hutu as well as that against the Congolese people in eastern DRC.
The current Rwandan regime, led by the RPF for the last 26 years, had deployed all means at its disposal to call-off the conference. The sole argument being that some of the speakers were simply “genocide deniers” and therefore had no right to speak.
If this was to be the truth that genocide denial is a crime in France, then one would ask himself how exposing the role and crimes committed by a rebel movement is being a denier of anything?
The efforts put forward by the Rwandan Government had one sole goal: to prevent the conference from taking place and thereby RPFs criminal past going unheard.
Resistance from two Senators
Senators Longuet and Richard ignored the media and diplomatic pressure and stuck to their plan of proceeding with this conference.
In his closing argument, Mr. Longuet expressed: “I agreed to sponsor this conference because if there are disagreements on this topic, we must get to the bottom of why that is, regardless of any inconveniences of those who prefer to self-flagellate“, referring to French nationals who blame France for all the ills in the Rwandan dossier.
Finally, what these two senators expressed to be most vital, was to stand up against a foreign power which wants to utilize its genocide denial ideology within the most democratic institutions of the French Republic.
And what about genocide denial during the conference?
Even according to the most critics present at the conference, no genocide denial did occur.
The campaign and the media terror which aimed at canceling the conference was finally based on nothing, especially in a country like France where the presumption of innocence is guaranteed by rule of law.
None of the speakers at the conference had ever been charged or prosecuted for making any statements that would be considered “genocide denying” even though their works have been published in both France and Belgium for many years.
As evidenced by the footage of the conference, which is now available for the public to see in its full, talking about the crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front has nothing to do with denying any genocide.
By Gustave Mbonyumutwa