Genocide charges filed on Paul Barril, Franceâ€™s arms supplier to Rwanda
Capt Paul Barril, the secretive man who supplied arms and mercenaries on behalf of the French government to the Rwanda government as the genocide of Tutsis spread across the country in 1994, was on Monday dragged to court on genocide charges.
The case was filed on Monday (June 24) in a Paris court by three NGOs; the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), French Human Rights League (LDH) and Survie. The groups want the ex-French commando to answer for his role in keeping a genocidal government in power to exterminate Tutsis.
In 1994, Paul Barril was paid US$3m by the interim government to supply arms and more than 1,000 mercenaries to keep it in power as the slaughter of Tutsis was being implemented. The contract was given to him by Jean Kambanda, the interim PM, currently on life imprisonment in Mali for genocide.
Captain Paul Barril was secretly sent by FranÃ§ois de Grossouvre, advisor to ex-French President Francois Mitterrand, to Rwanda a few days before or after the genocide of Tutsis had started. On April 27, 1994, the Defense Minister at the time, Augustin Bizimana, wrote a letter to Paul Barril asking for two specific supplies; arms and mercenaries.
The letter was recently obtained by French newspaper â€˜Le Parisienâ€™. In this correspondence titled â€œUrgentâ€, Bizimana asks for different types of arms and 1,000 mercenaries to help the interim government fight off the RPF rebels as the execution of the genocide continued. The price tag: US$3,130,000 from the state treasury. The contract was signed on April 28, 1994, at the Rwandan embassy in Paris.
On April 06, 1994, President Habyarimanaâ€™s plane was fired down over Kigali, killing him, the Burundian counterpart and all onboard. A new government was sworn in a few days later, and was to oversee the implementation of the mass slaughter of Tutsis across Rwanda.
However, as the genocide spread, the government was also losing ever more ground to the RPF rebels. As part of the counter offensive, Defense Minister Bizimana sought more direct help from France, which had been the godfather of the Habyarimana government. The French daily â€˜Le Parisienâ€™ reports that Agathe Habyarimana personally also asked Paul Barril to investigate who killed her husband.
On December 20 last year, the French judge TrÃ©vidic, who has investigated the Habyarimana assassination and concluded that his plane was shot down by his own inner circle, did interview Paul Barril. During a search of his house, investigators found the above letter and invoices of arms supplies to Rwanda dating back to that time.
In the interview with the judge, the now aging Captain Barril does not regret anything, and did not provide any substantial information. He currently presents himself as advisor to the government of Qatar.
Recently, another French newspaper published details about two French agents who mysteriously died in Kigali after Habyarimanaâ€™s plane had been shot down. The men were in charge of communications between the French establishment in Kigali and the Habyarimana regime.
In the story, the paper suggests the men and wife of one of them, may have been eliminated to erase any evidence of French involvement in the events that led to the genocide of more than a million Tutsis in a matter of three months.