France is set to build a memorial for victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The announcement comes after President Emmanuel Macron in 2021 recognized that his country bore responsibility for the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi.

The monument will be erected in Paris on the Left Bank of the river Seine not far from the foreign ministry, the French presidency said.

It will be across the water from another memorial to the victims of the mass killings of Armenians during World War I, which Yerevan and several Western states see as genocide.

The idea is “for the nation to pay its visible and permanent respects to the memory of the victims,” the presidency said, adding that a call for tenders would be launched at the end of May.

Marcel Kabanda, president of the Ibuka France genocide survivor association, welcomed the announcement as “very important”.

“It’s the sign that France… recognizes its history,” he said.

“It’s a gesture to appease memories between France and Rwanda, and to appease the hearts of survivors of the genocide.”

In 2021, President Paul Kagame said that Rwanda and France are on the path to restoring friendly ties with a series of events taking place in that direction.

After years of tensions, a commission of historians appointed by Macron in 2021 returned a damning indictment of France’s role in the bloodshed.

It said France had been “blind” to preparations for the genocide and bore “serious and overwhelming” responsibility, findings the French government accepted.

The commission found no proof, however, of French complicity in the bloodshed.

Vincent Duclert, who led the historians’ commission, said the new memorial would allow “recognition of the extreme importance of the 1994 catastrophe” and highlight France’s “responsibility”.

The newly restored ties between Rwanda and France are built on truth, Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Paul Kagame said in May 2021.

President Macron said that since 2017, the two countries have, despite the historical challenges that existed, worked together to revive bilateral ties, adding that significant progress has since been made.

Going forward he committed that France will accelerate the efforts to bring to justice fugitives responsible for the Genocide against the Tutsi who have found safe haven in France.

Over 40 fugitives are known to reside in the European Union.

SOURCE: NewTimes

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