access to France’s “secret” archives is debated

Several associations have taken a stand to warn of a number of restrictions regarding the so-called sensitive archives for the role of the French army in Rwanda in the early 1990s. For some historians, access to these archives is only a problem for the Duclert Commission. , especially since they treat a painful substance.

The Ducler Commission, established by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019, brings together around fifteen historians responsible for reviewing the archives of France’s involvement in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994. This one was promised disparaging access to all archives that stamped “defense secrets” on the subject.

It is this choice of declassification used solely by this Commission that challenges the French Association for the History of the Work of the World (AFHMT). She believes that this limited access to sensitive information is problematic, especially for “reconstruction of an already controversial memory”.

The Commission requests a trial at the time of publication of its report

This criticism is not new. But it was recently reactivated by the controversy surrounding the Duclertde Commission’s presence. historian Julie d’Andurain, author of a communication on Operation Turquoise 1994. An article that was considered complacent with regard to the French army and by which several researchers condemned the mistakes, the prejudices, even the negationism. Julie d’Andurain has since retired.

On the Commission’s side, we ask to be assessed on documents, in other words in April 2021, when the report is released, which according to an intermediate document must integrate “all source elements that make it possible to verify the validity of the presentation”. Not enough for many historians, for whom only free access to sensitive archives for all those who request it can provide a genuine scientific debate on the content of this report and its conclusions.

There is a global takeover of available archival documents that is extremely worrying

Raphaëlle Branche, historian and professor of contemporary history


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