Operation Turquoise: A French Travesty; June – August, 1994 Junior Senior Seminar: The Rwanda Genocide 960:192:1C Professor Donna Maier April 30, 2010 Jarnagin 2 From April 6th, 1994 to the end of August, the world hoped, prayed, and in some cases lobbied for the individuals involved in the Rwanda Genocide. The world was not informed of any specifics as to what was happening but only that hundreds of thousands of people were dying at both the hands of others and the hands of God. In lieu of those individuals who could not help themselves, a small UN mandated force was developed to ease the suffering of those left standing.

Unknown to the UN, the primarily French force played a very special role in the Rwandan crisis; one that makes the French government as, if not more responsible for the genocidal death of 800,000 people. The French were not the primary instigators of the atrocities that occurred throughout Rwandan history not the Germans or Belgians that held colonization rights to the country from February 26th, 1885 to July 1st, 1962. It was the Catholic Church and the Belgian colonizers who devised the Hutu/Tutsi divisions making Tutsi’s the supreme beings in Rwanda.

After Rwandan independence, France took on a greater interest in the country for various arguable reasons. France therefore had much at stake in the domestic development and government in Rwanda. The relationship France had with the authoritarian Rwandan regime was close however the relationship France had with the second Hutu president, since their independence was even closer. President Juvenal Habyarimana took power on July 5th, 1973 and held it until his untimely death when his plane was shot down and hence triggered the mass annihilation of the Tutsi population.

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France successfully maintained ties with the country as a way to not only maintain its influence in the region but more importantly to deny influence from the Anglo Jarnagin 3 American countries. Beginning when Habyarimana took power, France increased its economic, political and military aid to Rwanda which ultimately led to not just an alliance between the two countries but also a friendship between two men, Habyarimana and French President Francois Mitterrand. When the civil war broke out in Rwanda in 1990 between Rwanda’s army and the Tutsi led RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), Mitterrand gladly offered his assistance to his Hutu ally.

The Tutsi’s had long been oppressed by the majoritive Hutu’s as the Tutsi’s once oppressed the Hutu’s. The Hutu’s however had a much different approach to quelling the Tutsi rebellions in the past; ethnic cleansing. It happened to be the cleansed who then invaded the country of Rwanda bent on at least a power sharing agreement between the political parties and not based on self-defined ethnicity. On October 1st, 1990, the RPF, now 4,000 strong and under the command of Colonel Fred Rwigyema crossed the Rwandan border at Kigitumba and took the town of Gabiro against a much larger but much less disciplined FAR (Forces Armees Rwandaises) force.

Colonel Rwigyema was killed on the second day of fighting and the RPF began to take much greater losses. These losses, at least in part can be attributed to the French military when 150 paratroopers arrived in Rwanda on October 4th in what the French called Operation Noroit. Eventually, 600 more French soldiers and nearly as many Belgians would arrive under the auspices of removing their own foreign nationals from harm’s way. Officially, French forces Jarnagin 4 acted as military advisors, communication specialists, and intelligence officers but in no way took part in the killing of the opponent.

According to Colin Waugh, in reality Lieutenant Colonel Chollet, the paratrooper commander, was regarded as the commander in chief of military operations and that photographic evidence exists that place French troops not only at the front lines of the fighting but also in active combat against the Tutsi’s. Regardless, the RPF was now in country, however diminished and the French was there to stay, at least for a little while. While the RPF began to rebuild its forces, including the addition of Paul Kagame in the safe haven of the Virunga mountains and Akagera Forest, the French also began building its own force; the FAR and interahamwe.

On the day of the RPF invasion, the number of FAR troops was an abysmal 5,200. By mid 1992, those numbers reached 50,000, all of whom were supplied weapons either from France itself or, after the arms embargo in May of 1994, through Egypt and South Africa. They also received weapons from private French companies, Belgium, Zaire, Britain, Bulgaria, Italy, Israel and the Seychelles. Additionally, in March of 1992, France facilitated the signing of a supply contract with South Africa for 5. 9 million dollars in direct violation of UN Resolution 558, prohibiting arms imports from South Africa.

Prunier himself witnessed in 1993 grenades being sold next to avocados and mangoes in the public markets near Jarnagin 5 Kigali. Pay for the soldiers on the other hand could not be relied upon and was not sufficient enough anyway and the militias and interahamwe were allowed plenty of food, drink, and anything of value that they could carry out of Tutsi and moderate Hutu homes. By 1994, 50,000 FAR troops were now up against an enemy half its size, the FAR trained and armed by the French and the RPF recruited and led by Paul Kagame, a Tutsi by birth but educated militarily by the U. S.

Army and supplied with war materials from Uganda and other unclear black market connections. It is of great debate whether the French trained any of the Interahamwe or Impuzamugambi but as Human Rights Watch has asserted, in 1992, the militias received intensified military training in late 1993 and 94. This would suggest that if the French did not directly train the militias, they knew of and approved of their training. After the Arusha Accords, the power sharing peace agreement in Rwanda came to a bitter closing with the death of President Habyarimana; the country immediately erupted into violence.

Hutu FAR forces along with the interahamwe and Hutu citizens began the plight which today is referred to as the Rwanda Genocide. UNAMIR, the UN peacekeeping contingent in the area suffered immediate losses of ten Belgian soldiers in an attempt to spare the Rwandan Prime Minister her life. Jarnagin 6 On April 6th, 1994, there were very few French soldiers left in the area however, there were many foreign nationals from several countries who needed evacuation. As the French had thousands of troops at several bases in Africa at the time, they began Operation Amaryllis.

On approximately the 9th of April, the French landed 190 paratroopers whose mission was to evacuate any and all foreign nationals from the country who wished to leave. They were not given the mandate, nor did they wish to accept any mandate to in any way stop the violence in the region. The Belgians, who sent 250 troops in for the same purpose on the 10th, were looking for a fight for the ten soldiers they had lost on the 7th at the home of the Prime Minister.

It was not to be though and on April 12th, the doors to the French embassy were locked and between the French and Belgium forces, they evacuated 1500 Belgian, 650 French and approximately 800 individuals from various countries. It is noteworthy to add that according to the March 30th, 1994 progress report by the Secretary-General that UNAMIR had stressed to all parties involved, the RPF and FAR, that there would be no importation of ammunition or weaponry of any kind into the country before a broad based government was in place.

Additionally, he noticed that the FAR continued to mine roads from Kigali to Mulindi. Continued was imminent and reports exist that despite an arms embargo placed against the country in May, 1994, the FAR continued to receive arms from France, South Africa, Egypt, and China up until June of 1994. According to UN Resolution 918, Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, decides that all states shall prevent the sale or supply to Rwanda by their nationals or from their territories or Jarnagin 7 using their flag vessels or aircraft of arms and related material of all types, including eapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary police equipment and spare parts. France, under the auspices of heading a humanitarian mission into the region approached the UN offering its assistance. Knowing that they would be under tremendous scrutiny, because of their previous interaction with the Hutu regime, as the operation later known as Operation Turquoise would enter the country along with a multi-national force. Resolution 929 by the UN Security Council would implement France’s plan as the French in no way wanted to enter the country on its own accord.

France knew that its entry would be widely reported upon and its goal was to be seen as a positive entity in the region, whichever way the cards fell. Resolution 929 dated June 22nd, 1994, taking into account that UNAMIR II (the UN’s reinforcement of the previous UNAMIR contingent) would take several months to equip and deploy and noting the offer by France of entering the country in a strictly humanitarian nature authorized a two month mission aimed specifically at securing and protecting the displaced, refugees, and other civilians in a purely impartial way.

One great benefit to the UN is that the countries involved would bear the cost of the operation entirely upon themselves. The necessity of studying Resolution 929 is significant in that some authors chose to misquote the document, stating that French forces were to protect the civilians “at all cost,” and nowhere in the document does it state or suggest such a strategy. It does state however in Document 68 of Jarnagin 8 the United Nations Blue Book Series though that by “all means necessary,” the French should assure the security and protection of displaced individuals.

The initial draft for Operation Turquoise was to enter from Goma, Zaire (DRC) into Gisenyi. This region was a known Hutu stronghold and known for its high level of extremism. Additionally, the RPF was soon to be invading this part of the country and Paul Kagame had already stated on April 9th that if he saw French troops, he would engage them, primarily because of the close relationship the French had with not only President Habyaramana but also the interim government responsible for carrying out the genocide.

Regardless, the plan, while seriously considered was eventually discarded on the advice of Gerard Prunier, a journalist and African scholar incorporated into the mission because of his moderate views. He suggested that by entering at Goma, there would be few Tutsi’s, if any, left to save. One resident in the area stated, “We never had many Tutsi here and we killed them all in the beginning without much of a fuss. ” Additionally, as the press was going to be accompanying the troops, it would look very bad to the international community with Hutu extremist responsible for the genocide welcoming the “humanitarian,” troops.

Therefore, the French decided to implement the much more expensive plan of flying into Goma, Zaire (DRC), disembark, re-embark onto smaller planes, fly to Bukavu and enter Rwanda to the town of Cyangugu. Prunier suggested that by doing so, the press would see, instead of genocidaires welcoming them, the French forces saving 8,000 Tutsi’s known to be taking refuge at Nyarushishi camp in the nearby town of Cyangugu. Jarnagin 9 Additionally, the French would enter a region where there would be no possibility of confrontation with the RPF.

This could also be the reason why the French decided not to fly into Kigali which was experiencing tremendous combat between the RPF and FAR. By flying into Kigali, the French forces would immediately have to pick a side to fight on rather than creating a buffer zone between all parties. Turquoise not only included the French troops but also troops from Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Mauritania, Egypt, Niger and Zaire. It is also important to mention at this point that the French forces had no contact whatsoever with the group most likely to engage them; the RPF.

Prunier at that point attempted to engage in discussion between the leaders of the RPF and the French Foreign Affairs Ministry. While it took much goading, the RPF finally agreed to a meeting and ultimately decided that they would set up a phone line directly from the RPF positions to Paris in an attempt to avoid confrontation between the two forces. On the 23rd of June, 1994, the first elements of Operation Turquoise were disembarking in Goma, Zaire (DNC).

Their “humanitarian” mission consisted of 2,500 elite French soldiers, many of whom had fought against the RPF prior to the removal of French troops in 1993, over 100 armored vehicles, a batter of 120 mm mortars, two light Gazelle and eight heavy Super Puma helicopters, four Jaguar fighter-bombers, four Mirage F1CT ground-attack planes, and four Jarnagin 10 Mirage F1CR’s for the purpose of reconnaissance. The entire force was placed under the command of General Jean-Claude Lafourcade in Goma and his underling, General Raymond Germanos, operating near Bukavu and Cyangugu in southwestern Rwanda and Zaire.

Please take not that while the French had tremendous amounts of firepower and units, there were no trucks to transport refugees liberated by the French. In Gisenyi, where the French made only a quick incursion, the Hutu extreme radio had been broadcasting for weeks, “you Hutu girls to wash yourselves and put on a good dress to welcome our French allies. The Tutsi girls are all dead, so you have your chance. ” Upon arriving in Goma, just as Prunier had envisioned, they were welcomed by Hutu militiamen and civilians warning French flags and chanting, “Welcome French Hutu’s. Hutu military vehicles also were blanketed with French flags which made identification by the Tutsi refugees difficult. Upon seeing the flags draped across FAR military vehicles, the Tutsi’s would leave their hiding places only to be instantly killed by the FAR military. Many of the French forces were disgusted at the thought of being cheered by the Hutu’s as on French soldier commented, “I am fed up with being cheered along by murderers. ” After flying to Bukavu and entering the country, the French forces liberated Camp Nyarushishi near Cyangugu and saved close to 8,000 Tutsi’s. They searched for other groups Jarnagin 11 ut found very little in regards to living individuals. On the 27th of June, French forces moved north to Kibuye and east to Gikongoro. Upon reaching Kibuye, French forces had expended their capabilities of going any further and could not even control the killings surrounding that town. French forces watched as Hutu’s slaughtered the Tutsi’s just outside of town. They resolved to hold the larger towns in the region soon to be known as Zone Turquoise (also called Zone Humanitaire Sure, Safe Humanitarian Zone, or SHZ) but could do little about the atrocities occurring in the smaller towns and countryside.

The interim government, in the meantime pressured the French to retake land that was then being held by the RPF, which based on the UN Resolution, the French were not authorized to do, even if many of the officers who previously fought the RPF in recent years had wanted to. In one case, the commander in charge of the force in Gikongoro, Colonel Thibaut publicly stated that if they came into contact with any member of the RPF that no quarter was to be given; essentially, that no prisoners would be taken and that they were to be shot on sight and that even the wounded were to be killed.

The only “close call” between the French and RPF came just outside of Butare at the beginning of July. Kagame received a message from the French through General Dallaire instructing him that his troops should not enter the city, where some of his soldiers were already in place. Kagame knew that people were being killed there and not protected by the French “humanitarian” force. Dallaire warned Kagame not to enter the city where he would surely find confrontation with the French. Kagame responded, “You can go and tell the French to expect Jarnagin 12 s. ” The next morning, Kagame entered Butare and found the French leaving however, Kagame stationed a large group of soldiers outside of town in case there was confrontation as the road they were on was the road the French would have to take when leaving. Kagame’s forces stopped the French on the way out of town with the intention of searching their vehicles for criminals. Kagame stated, I remember that the French wanted to fight, to force their way across our roadblock. Then they realized that their whole convoy was in an ambush.

One of their soldiers who had pointed his gun at us was told that his force was in trouble…They were told to put their guns down, so they were forced to abandon it and they had to obey and let us search their trucks. We found one soldier who tried to run, and they shot him dead…and we picked out a few other people who we suspected were interahamwe trying to escape between the convoy. There were two other near misses but they were not as significant and when the FAR was finally defeated two weeks later, the RPF and French managed to stay away from one another.

Once the refugee explosion began around July 14th, the interim government took refuge in Gikongoro and asked for national reconciliation. It was too late for the French to help in this political request however, on July 11th, General Lafourcade publicly declared that member of the interim government would be welcomed to seek asylum in his area of operations. As Ruhengeri and Gisenyi fell to the RPF, refugees of dispirited Interahamwe, FAR soldiers, clergy members, and basically any and all forms of Hutu began to flee those regions towards Zone Jarnagin 13

Turquoise and Zaire. In some cases, if Hutu’s decided to remain in their cities or towns, they were immediately killed by militia of FAR soldiers. Not all evacuations were mandatory however and most simply left on their own accord in fear of the RPF and the atrocities the FAR and town leaders were reporting to their citizens in an effort to get them to flee. On July 19th, 1994 the new government in Kigali was sworn in and the French Zone had secured approximately 1. 2 million people who had the ability to move anywhere within Zone Turquoise or to the neighboring countries.

Beginning on the 20th, the French soldiers went from being “humanitarians” to being grave diggers with the recent development of cholera in the region. People were dying at a rate of 600 a day in the beginning and 3,000 a day, two weeks later. In all, approximately 300,000 people died from the epidemic alone. On August 2nd, Zone Turquoise turned into a demilitarized zone and the French left without further incident on the 21st of August. During the interim period from the 2nd to the 21st, huge numbers of Hutu refugees continued to flee the country in fear of the RPF.

In the first two weeks of August alone, 13,000 new refugees crossed the border into Burundi. As France had no mandate to arrest the perpetrators of the genocide or anyone associated with it, France left empty handed except for the individuals who negotiated with the French military administrators for safe passage to other countries. Jarnagin 14 Bibliography Adelman, Howard & Astri Suhrke, ed. The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2000. “Genocidal Slaughter’ Claims as many as 1 Million. ” UN Chronicle 31, no. 4 (Dec, 1994): 4 – 13. Kroslak, Daniela.

The French Betrayal of Rwanda. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. Prunier, Gerard. The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 558. 13 DEC 1984. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 893. 06 JAN 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 909. 05 APR 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 912. 21 APR 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 918. 06 JAN 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 925. 08 JUN 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 928. 20 JUN 1994.

United Nations Security Council, Resolution 929. 22 JUN 1994. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 965. 30 NOV 1994. United Nations Security Council, Second Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. 30 MAR 1994. United Nations Security Council, Special Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. 20 APR 1994. Jarnagin 15 Wallis, Andrew. Silent Accomplice: The Untold Story of France’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide. New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007. Waugh, Colin M. Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 18 – 26. [ 2 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 28 – 32. [ 3 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 56 – 71. [ 4 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 35. [ 5 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 125. [ 6 ]. Colin M.

Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 46 – 62. [ 7 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 32 – 35. [ 8 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 46 – 62. [ 9 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 46 – 62. [ 10 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 131 – 139. 11 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 144. [ 12 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 140. [ 13 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 140. [ 14 ]. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 558 (13 DEC 1984), 4. [ 15 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 140. [ 16 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 148 – 149. 17 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 46 – 62. [ 18 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 145. [ 19 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 64. [ 20 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 46. [ 21 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. 2004), 65. [ 22 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 32 – 35. [ 23 ]. Daniela Kroslak, The French Betrayal of Rwanda (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 257 – 262. [ 24 ]. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 918 (06 JAN 1994), 4. [ 25 ]. United Nations Security Council, Second Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (30 MAR 1994), 6. [ 26 ]. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 918 (06 JAN 1994), 4. [ 27 ]. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 929 (22 JUN 1994), 2. 28 ]. Andrew Wallis, Silent Accomplice: The Untold Story of France’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide (New York: I. B. Tauris & Co, 2007), 128. [ 29 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 281 – 286. [ 30 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 284. [ 31 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 281 – 289. [ 32 ]. “Genocidal Slaughter’ Claims as many as 1 Million. ” UN Chronicle 31, no. (Dec, 1994): 4 – 13. [ 33 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 288. [ 34 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 72. [ 35 ]. Howard Adelman & Astri Suhrke, ed. , The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2000), 291. [ 36 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 291. [ 37 ]. Howard Adelman & Astri Suhrke, ed. The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2000), 291. [ 38 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 292. [ 39 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 71. [ 40 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 292 – 295. [ 41 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. 2004), 73. [ 42 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 294. [ 43 ]. Colin M. Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Jefferson: McFarland & Co. , 2004), 74. [ 44 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 295 – 299. [ 45 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 302 – 305. [ 46 ]. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 299 – 311.

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