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August 25, 2023 French

Edouard Balladur : « Il ne s'agissait pas pour nous de prendre parti, dans une guerre civile, pour les uns ou pour les autres. Il s'agissait seulement de mener une action humanitaire »

Card Number 3533

Poivre d'Arvor, Patrick
Nakad, Nahida
Renouil, Sébastien
Marque, Isabelle
Hémart, Gilles
Gosset, Ulysse
Cosset, David
Allémonière, Patricia
11 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [16:56]
Edouard Balladur : « Il ne s'agissait pas pour nous de prendre parti, dans une guerre civile, pour les uns ou pour les autres. Il s'agissait seulement de mener une action humanitaire »
Le Premier ministre a souhaité que les responsables des massacres soient recherchés et jugés par une juridiction internationale.
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- Edouard Balladur intervened before the United Nations Security Council, at a time when support is slow to appear. Humanitarian organizations want above all to preserve their independence and want to take many precautions to be able to work in government areas, that is to say not yet occupied by the RPF, or in the area made safe by French troops.
- Rushashi in northwest Rwanda is the country's newest makeshift camp. Every day thousands of Hutus flee the capital Kigali, cross the front line. The survivors come to take refuge here. They can't find anyone to help them. French soldiers are not present in this region, neither are humanitarian organizations.
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is just beginning to take an interest in the plight of the displaced in Rwanda, but it will take weeks for help to arrive.
- The French army, which has taken charge of several refugee camps in the country, is launching appeals for help: it does not have the means to protect and feed more than a million refugees. And non-governmental humanitarian organizations are dragging their feet to intervene.
- Médecins du monde does not want to endorse what it calls "the French politico-military mission". Doctors Without Borders holds the same point. Philippe Biberson, "President of Médecins Sans Frontières": "We do not have to appear to endorse the Turquoise intervention either. Because we must know that we are also on the other side as working in the suitcases of the French operation, we are practically forbidden to work among the party which considers that this French intervention is unjustified".
- Only the Red Cross delivers food to displaced people in Rwanda. All the other organizations seem to be waiting for the end of Operation Turquoise and the UN deployment. The displaced therefore risk waiting more than a month before obtaining a minimum of assistance from the international community.
- In the meantime, it is up to the French army to care for the wounded. The only hospital that actually works in Rwanda was set up by her, near Cyangugu. This little girl was found by soldiers in a camp near Gikongoro. Her feet were mutilated by a mine and grenade shards on her back. After some treatment on the base, she will join this group which leaves in emergency, by helicopter, to Cyangugu near the Zairian border. Destination: EMMIR, that is to say the rapid intervention mobile medical element, the humanitarian branch of the French army, a super field hospital. In the pediatric ward, most of these children are war victims, wounded or refugees.
- The problem is that when they are healed, we do not know what to do with these children and adults, who have often come from far away, alone and without resources. The authorities or the camps are reluctant to take them in charge. Yet the hospital cannot keep them. Due to the war and the deplorable state of health in the region, the number of patients is increasing every day.
- It is in this context, to avoid this loneliness of the French government, that Prime Minister Edouard Balladur went to New York before the UN Security Council, to ask him to send helmets as soon as possible. blues relay the French soldiers in Rwanda. Edouard Balladur: "My country is making an urgent appeal to the international community. The fate of a people and a country depends on our ability to act so that the United Nations peace mission can be carried out successfully".
- Patrick Poivre d'Arvor interview in duplex Edouard Balladur. Patrick Poivre d'Arvor: - "You agreed on the date on which the French soldiers should leave Rwandan soil? In Parliament, you had spoken of July 31 and obviously, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali would prefer it to be rather early September?". Edouard Balladur: - "The truth is that the United Nations must have had difficulty setting up the operation to relay the French forces present in Rwanda. If I came here to the United Nations, it is precisely to launch an appeal. A call that had three goals: the first is to ensure that we take over from France's action in the coming weeks. Will it be July 31, will it be? that it will be a few days later, a few days before? I cannot tell you precisely today were ready to arrive in Rwanda. And then I came for two other things: first so that we put in place as quickly as possible the humanitarian aid which is essential". Patrick Poivre d'Arvor: - "But have you seen that non-governmental organizations do not want to get involved in a military operation?". Edouard Balladur: - "But listen, we are not carrying out a military operation in Rwanda and the non-governmental organizations, I believe, have understood this well. And that was one of the conditions for success. It was not a question of for us to take part in a civil war. For one or the other. It was a question of carrying out a humanitarian action, and a humanitarian action only. And it is thanks to France and it is thanks to the French soldiers that there are hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who are beginning to be fed and who are better protected. Finally, my visit had a third object: it is to ensure that the rights of the Men are better respected than they are in Rwanda. Which means two things: first of all, it means that a regular government can be formed. And secondly, it means that those responsible for the massacres are sought out and be judged by an international court. Both the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Security Council, that France would make available to international authorities all the information it may have". Patrick Poivre d'Arvor: - "The Transitional Prime Minister in Rwanda says that France should have intervened much earlier, that is to say from the start of the massacres, from the beginning of April. what do you think ?". Edouard Balladur: - "But then what do they say to those who do not intervene at all? And who are the vast majority of countries in the world. And that is precisely the meaning of my coming to New York: it's a call to the international community, a call to all countries to take their responsibilities and avoid what may be one of the biggest massacres that we will have seen in the XXth century in Africa. As you know, I am deeply attached to France's international political action commensurate with its history and tradition. France, whenever she can, sets an example. It is the conception that she has of her moral role, of her moral duty. In all areas we try to ensure that France is faithful to its mission and that it contributes to establishing peace in the world". Patrick Poivre d'Arvor: - "Throughout this affair you were in perfect agreement with the President of the Republic? We had said it was more interventionist than you, you more cautious". Edouard Balladur: - "What counts are the results. France's action as it is carried out today is with the agreement of all the authorities within the State and through Constitution have power. I need not say more. This means that the action of the government is also the action of the President of the Republic. In short, it is the action of our entire country. Since I remind you that I also had it approved by the National Assembly, not formally approved by a vote but I reported to the National Assembly and on several occasions on our policy in Rwanda. I won the approval of the majority of the Assembly".
- For weeks, survivors of the Tutsi minority but also Hutus who refused to participate in the massacres had been living in refugee camps created by the RPF. The soldiers told them they had to go home. They are haunted by the scenes they have experienced. They fear that they will reproduce. The future scares them. Pie [Mugabo], a lawyer who is a member of the Liberal Party, belongs to the Hutu ethnic group. He lived in hiding for three months: the presidential guard, in April, wanted to shoot him down with all his family. He managed to escape. Everyone believed him dead, even his children. Pie Mugabo: "The soldiers did not know where I lived! But they knew the neighborhood! They came, they had a list and they said: 'So-and-so lives where, so-and-so lives where?' […] Personally, forgive that. is difficult. But I think that as a lawyer the culprits should be prosecuted and punished".