Arusha, 29 January 2008 (FH) - A Belgian Professor of law, Filip Reyntjens, who often has testified as an expert witness before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has said that the recent French initiative of normalizing relations with Rwanda smacked of double standards.

1 min 28Approximate reading time

He was reacting to the last week's visit of the French Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher to Kigali to try to normalize the strained relationship between Paris and Kigali. The visit followed an earlier meeting between Presidents of France and Rwanda in Lisbon, Portugal during the European Union.

According to the former professor of law at the University of Butare "the regime in Kigali is accustomed to reasoning in terms of power and weakness. It will consider the step by Kouchner as a sign of weakness which it will exploit as soon as an opportunity arises ".

"When this moment comes," the professor adds: " It will be very difficult to maintain normal relations such as the head of the French diplomacy thinks of them", he concludes.

Being ironic about the 48 hours that Kouchner spent in Rwanda during the genocide and which makes him write, "I was there", the Belgian researcher states:

"Rather than by the respect of the truth, Kouchner seems to be inspired by ‘Realpolitik ‘, and in particular, he says himself the role that is impossible to avoid of Rwanda in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which it occupied and plundered and where five million people perished because of the wars imposed by neighbours.

The article of the head of the French diplomacy and his denunciation in Kigali of a "political fault" committed by France in 1994 also led to a reaction by the head of the French government at the time.

Alain Juppe, former Prime Minister, notably denounced "the amalgams of repentance".

"We have been assisting for several years as an insidious attempt to rewrite history, which aims at transforming France from an engaged actor into an accomplice of the genocide", regretted the former Prime Minister.

Kouchner responded that he did not target anyone but it is, he said, "to make the truth, to establish justice and to restore diplomatic relations with a country that broke off ties".

© Hirondelle News Agency