This is revolting.
In June 1994, in the midst of an arms embargo against Rwanda, one of the biggest banks in the world -- BNP Paribas -- accepted a request made by the National Bank of Rwanda.
By doing so, the French bank may have transferred funds that enabled war criminals to buy the weapons that were used in the genocide against the Tutsi.
Without the crucial funds transfer that BNP authorized, 80 tons of weapons would probably never have been delivered to Rwanda and would consequently not have been used to perpetrate the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis, many of whom were women and children.
BNP could have refused. Another bank had refused to transfer the sum required by Hutu commander Colonel Bagosora to complete the illegal arms purchase that violated the UN embargo.
The French bank could therefore have been the only bank to authorize this transfer.
With your voice, we can try to make sure this never happens again.
France has just elected a new President and legislature. With an international outcry, we can move the new government to strengthen financial sector regulations for BNP and others.
Call on the French government to get to the bottom of this — and to strengthen financial sector regulations so that institutions are held accountable for their involvement in human rights abuses.
The evidence gathered since 1994 has convinced French NGOs Sherpa, Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (Collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda or CPCR), and Ibuka France that BNP must have known about the risks, but still approved the transfer.
The NGOs have now have filed a lawsuit against the bank for complicity in genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
This is unprecedented: it’s the first time something like this has been filed in France.
If the facts are confirmed, this legal action would shed light on the potential responsibility of financial institutions when it comes to war crimes, and also human rights abuses.
Along with Sherpa, the CPCR and Ibuka France, SumOfUs is asking that the financial sector be held accountable. We want everyone to feel confident that their savings will never be used in a financial transaction enabling the perpetration of such abuses.
Never again: let’s come out in droves to demand the truth about the funding of the Rwandan genocide. Will you please help hold the financial sector held accountable for its involvement in human rights abuses?