A survivor of Gitarama in Ruhango, Rwanda, July 1994

France in Rwanda. Guilty neutrality

Jean-Hervé Bradol

Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine, emergency medicine and epidemiology. In 1989 he went on mission with Médecins sans Frontières for the first time, and undertook long-term missions in Uganda, Somalia and Thailand. He returned to the Paris headquarters in 1994 as a programs director. Between 1996 and 1998, he served as the director of communications, and later as director of operations until May 2000 when he was elected president of the French section of Médecins sans Frontières. He was re-elected in May 2003 and in May 2006. From 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the International Council of MSF and a member of the Board of MSF USA. He is the co-editor of "Medical innovations in humanitarian situations" (MSF, 2009) and Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins Sans Frontiéres, The Rwandan Experience, 1982–97 (Manchester University Press, 2017).

The CRASH team invited you to the screening-debate “France in Rwanda. Guilty neutrality” on Monday 11th of February 2019 from 6 to 8pm, in the 1rst floor room of the 8 rue Saint-Sabin. A documentary film by Robert Genoud and Claudine Vidal (Director Emeritus for research at the CNRS, member of the CRASH scientific committee at MSF), and produced by EUP. Before and after the screening, Claudine Vidal and Jean-Hervé Bradol, both actors of MSF mobilization between 1994 and 1998 launched the discussion.

In Rwanda, the genocide against the Tutsis started in April 1994. Twenty-five years ago. In 1998, in Paris, the National Assembly launched a fact-finding campaign on the military operations led in Rwanda by France, other countries and the UN, between 1990 and 1994Column “For a parliamentary commission of inquiry on the role of France between 1990 and 1994. In Rwanda, what France? ” Published on March 3rd 1998 in Libération..The meetings were mostly public, several MSF members were constantly attending and reported immediately on the Internet. Following this active watch, it was decided to produce a movie: an inquiry, an observation of the parliamentary work, along with a retelling of the positions held by MSF, the military and political commitments in France, the reactions they elicited, and finally the humanitarian practices between 1990 and 1994. 

This movie calls for questions that still hold relevance today, at least at MSF: on the appropriateness of calls for parliamentary inquiries along with the publicity around the debates and documents; on the alerts to the risks of mass crimes and on public usage of said alerts; on the ability of humanitarian teams to intervene during episodes of extreme violence; on the necessary situational inquiries and short stories to which MSF must commit to understand the events and potentially anticipate the worst. 

To cite this content :
Claudine Vidal, Jean-Hervé Bradol, “France in Rwanda. Guilty neutrality”, 11 février 2019, URL : https://msf-crash.org/en/conferences-debates/france-rwanda-guilty-neutrality

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