In France, administrative justice authorized a researcher on Friday to access the archives of the late President François Mitterand in Rwanda. The role of the French state during the 1994 genocide is at the heart of a controversy.
On Friday, June 12, the Council of State, the highest administrative court in France, gave green light to researcher François Graner to consult President François Mitterrand’s archive in Rwanda.
In the midst of a controversy over the role played by France during the Rwandan genocide, French justice has decided that François Graner has “a legitimate interest in consulting these archives to feed his historical research and thus inform the debate on a matter of public interest” .
“The protection of state secrets must be weighed against the interest of informing the public about these historical events,” the Cabinet said.
As a result, administrative justice has annulled two previous court decisions and joined the French Ministry of Culture, which had opposed the researcher’s request, to open access to the requested archives within three months.
“It is a victory for the law, but also for the story,” welcomed the researcher’s lawyer, MePatrice Spinosi. “From now on, researchers, like M.Graner, will have access to President Mitterrand’s presidential archive to shed light on France’s role in Rwanda in 1994 and 1995,” he said in a statement to AFP.
The gray areas of Paris’s role before, during and after the Rwanda genocide – which according to the UN at least 800,000 died from April to July 1994, mainly within the Tutsi minority – are still a recurring source of controversy in France.