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Genocide in Rwanda: BNP Paribas under investigation

Associations accuse the French bank of financing a purchase of weapons for the benefit of the Hutu militia during the 1994 genocide.

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Genocide in Rwanda: BNP Paribas under investigation
A judicial investigation against BNP Paribas was opened on 22 August for "complicity in genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity", following a complaint by NGOs accusing French bank of having financed a purchase of arms for benefit of Hutu militia during 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The magistrates of pole genocide and war crimes of Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris, where already about twenty-five files related to genocide of 1994 have already been investigated, have been seized.

Twenty-three years after massacres, while attitude of French authorities is still subject of intense controversy and bitter legal battles, it is first time that a French bank is subject of suspicion of complicity .

The anti-bribery association Sherpa, Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (SCRC) and non-governmental organization Ibuka France (Memory and Justice) accuse BNP Paribas of allowing in June 1994 "financing of purchase of 80 tons weapons "for benefit of Hutu militias, in midst of genocide against Tutsis and in violation of an embargo decreed by United Nations.

Suspicious transfer of funds

In June, y filed a complaint with a civil party asking that examining magistrates be seized of file.

The associations assert that on 14 and 16 June 1994 BNP authorized transfers of funds for more than $ 1.3 million (1.1 million euros during period) from account that National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) held on her behalf to account in Switzerland of Willem Tertius Ehlers, South African owner of a brokering company.

The following day, Mr. Ehlers and Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a Hutu military officer considered to be Tutsi genocide orist, and since convicted by International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have reportedly sold a 80 - weapons, which would n have been sent to Gisenyi in Rwanda via Zaire airport in Goma, according to NGOs.

From April 1994, some 800,000 people, vast majority of m Tutsis, were massacred in a hundred days in killings following death of Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana in an attack on his plane.


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