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A Rwandan government-appointed commission launched a probe on Tuesday into allegations French troops supported soldiers behind Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and helped facilitate mass murder.Rwanda’s Tutsi President Paul Kagame, whose government came to power after the genocide, has accused France of training and arming Hutu militias who were the main force behind a 100-day slaughter that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

A panel of respected Rwandans will hear claims that French soldiers stationed in Rwanda allowed or even encouraged the killings of thousands of Tutsis. France has denied playing any role in the 100-day frenzy of killing that took place in 1994.

The panel is headed by former Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo. It is to start to hear evidence in public from 25 survivors of the genocide who claim to have witnessed French involvement.

“This is an important inquiry that should be witnessed by everyone interested in this important episode of our history,” Mr Mucyo was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The panel will determine whether or not to refer the allegations to the International Court of Justice. Its findings are expected within six months.

The Rwandan government has alleged that France trained and armed some of the Hutus who carried out the killing spree in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.

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