Kigali, April 7, 2014 (FH) –  Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Monday in Kigali that France, which is accused of playing a role in the 1994 genocide, cannot “change the facts”, however powerful it may be.

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The Rwandan head of state was speaking to a crowd gathered in the national stadium in the capital to commemorate the genocide perpetrated 20 years ago.

Paris, which was supposed to be represented in Kigali by Justice Minister Chrsitiane Taubira, said Sunday it would not participate, following fresh allegations against France by Kagame in the Sunday edition of Jeune Afrique.

In response, the Rwandan government told the French ambassador in Kigali he was no longer accredited to attend the ceremonies.

Kagame’s speech was preceded by that of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban hailed the courage of UN personnel in Rwanda at the time of the genocide but said that “we could have done much more. We should have done much more".

"In Rwanda, troops were withdrawn when they were most needed," said the UN Secretary General.

In mid-April 1994, the United Nations decided to pull out most of the 2,500 troops that were deployed in Rwanda.

“The genocide in Rwanda that targeted the Tutsi was one of the darkest chapters in human history,” said Ban Ki-moon. “The blood spilled for 100 days.  Twenty years later, the tears still flow.”

He said he had sent his own message to UN representatives around the world. “My message to them is simply this: When you see people at risk of atrocity crimes, do not wait for instructions from afar. Speak up, even if it may offend. Act. Our first duty must always be to protect people -- to protect human beings in need and distress.”