In what is being described as a turning of the page in mutual relations, the President of Rwanda has made his first official visit to Paris since his country’s 1994 genocide.
Counter-claims over the cause of the massacre have strained relations between the two countries for years. President Paul Kagame said: “In my coming here we have been forward looking, rather than looking to the past. So I’m here to build for the future, not for the past.”
Not everyone is happy to see Kagame, however. A group of demonstrators gathered in Paris, denouncing his government.
Gerard Karangwa, a Rwandan living in The Netherlands, said: “It’s a well-known fact that Kagame is a 20th century criminal. He killed everyone, sparing no one and we are surprised to see him in Paris, the birth place of human rights. We came to show our anger to the French people, to the French authorities.”
The Rwandan President had previously accused France of not doing enough to help stop the genocide and even contributing to it. A judge in Paris later accused Kagame of ordering the attack that helped spark the mass killings. Both sides deny the accusations.
In the bloodshed, extremist Hutus massacred more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.