Investigations

  • Rwandan genocide suspect Aloys Ntiwiragabo 'has lived in France for 14 years'

    By Théo Englebert
    An undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo from a report by NGO African Rights. An undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo from a report by NGO African Rights.

    In July Mediapart revealed that Rwandan colonel Aloys Ntiwiragabo, who is suspected of playing an important role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, was now living in Orléans in France. Now we can reveal that the former head of Rwandan military intelligence has been living here for at least 14 years. Yet, curiously, paperwork acknowledging his request for political asylum in France was only sent to him in February 2020. The fact that his asylum application has only been made recently raises questions about what Aloys Ntiwiragabo's status had been in the meantime - and whether he had received discreet support. Théo Englebert reports.

     

  • The children who vanish from Charles de Gaulle airport

    By Leïla Miñano (Investigate Europe)
    An aerial view of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. © MUSTAFA YALCIN / Anadolu Agency via AFP An aerial view of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. © MUSTAFA YALCIN / Anadolu Agency via AFP

    Over recent years there have been numerous cases of unaccompanied Vietnamese minors who have simply disappeared after arriving in France at the main Paris airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Although supposed to be placed into the safe care of social services, the children are in fact led away by ruthless people traffickers, to be kept in conditions of slavery. This report was compiled in partnership with the journalistic collective Investigate Europe.

  • How Mediapart tracked down Rwandan genocide suspect Aloys Ntiwiragabo in France

    By Théo Englebert
    On the left, an undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo ; on the right, photographed in February 2020. © DR On the left, an undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo ; on the right, photographed in February 2020. © DR

    France's anti-terrorism prosecution authorities have opened a preliminary investigation for 'crimes against humanity' into Aloys Ntiwiragabo after Mediapart revealed that he was living in a quiet suburb of Orléans, a city 75 miles south-west of Paris. There had been an international search for the former head of military intelligence over his suspected role in the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Aloys Ntiwiragabo, now 72, also founded and led a criminal armed group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which has been blamed for attacks in central Africa. But the Rwandan fugitive disappeared off the radar until Mediapart tracked him down. There are now questions over how France could have allowed him to enter the country and live here undetected. Théo Englebert reports.

  • Former soldier breaks 'code of silence' over sexual violence in French Foreign Legion

    By Sophie Boutboul
    Soldiers from the French Foreign Legion on Bastille Day, 2019, in Paris. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Soldiers from the French Foreign Legion on Bastille Day, 2019, in Paris. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP

    Alex Held, who joined France's iconic fighting force in 2015, made a formal complaint in December 2019 following the unwanted physical advances of a superior. The former legionnaire, an American, is still seeing a psychiatrist and is taking anti-depressants as a result of his ordeal. The Legion insists that it has “heavily punished” the warrant officer concerned plus two others accused of having failed to raise the alarm. But the punishment administered is at the lower end of those available in a fighting force which sees itself as the “height of virility”. Sophie Boutboul reports.

  • Death of arrested man Cédric Chouviat: how superiors covered up police officers' lies

    By
    Cédric Chouviat, still with his helmet on, held on the ground by three police officers in Paris on January 3rd 2020. © Document Mediapart Cédric Chouviat, still with his helmet on, held on the ground by three police officers in Paris on January 3rd 2020. © Document Mediapart

    Cédric Chouviat, aged 42, died after being arrested and held on the ground by police officers on January 3rd 2020 following a routine roadside check near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The latest evidence in the investigation, which has seen by Mediapart and newspaper Libération, reveals not only the responsibility of the four arresting officers in the deliveryman's death, but also that of their colleagues and superior officers who became involved after the arrest. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • French TV star Nagui picked up €100 million deal from public broadcaster

    The TV producer and presenter Nagui is currently negotiating an extension of his contract with France Télévisions. © France Télévisions The TV producer and presenter Nagui is currently negotiating an extension of his contract with France Télévisions. © France Télévisions

    French television star and producer Nagui was given a 100-million-euro three-year contract with public broadcaster France Télévisions, which is largely funded by a television licence paid by the general public, Mediapart can reveal. The revelation falls at a time when the public broadcaster has been forced to cut budgets and offer voluntary redundancies to save money, and will refuel debates about how much of the organisation's money should be spent on trying to keep its high-profile stars. The news that France Télévisions president Delphine Ernottee personally took charge of the negotiations also comes just days before a decision is due on whether she will reappointed when her own contract comes to an end. Michaël Hajdenberg and Antton Rouget report.

  • Grim plight of the 'invisible' seasonal farm workers in France

    By Tomas Statius
    Fields belonging to Fermes Larrère in south-west France. © TS Fields belonging to Fermes Larrère in south-west France. © TS

    Mediapart and our partners in a Europe-wide investigation overseen by Lighthouse Reports have spoken to migrants employed as seasonal farm workers across the continent. In south-west France workers at farming group Fermes Larrère have made a formal complaint about their conditions to the workplace inspectorate the Inspection du Travail. They have spoken of gruelling, relentless shifts, poor housing conditions and verbal abuse. Tomas Statius reports.

  • Revealed: the explosive phone taps involving France's ex-spy chief Bernard Squarcini

    By and
    The first part of the Mediapart series of recordings involving former French spy chief Bernard Squarcini. © Mediapart The first part of the Mediapart series of recordings involving former French spy chief Bernard Squarcini. © Mediapart

    Mediapart is publishing a series of recordings of police phone taps involving the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini. These extraordinary tapes, which date from 2013, reveal the de facto existence of a state within a state, where private and public interests became intertwined. The first series of judicially-approved recordings reveal how after leaving his intelligence post Squarcini, nicknamed 'La Squale' ('The Shark'), was asked by the French luxury goods group LVMH to “infiltrate” an independent magazine in order to spy on it. Neither Squarcini nor LVMH wanted to comment on the content of the tapes. Fabrice Arfi and Pascale Pascariello report.

  • How millions of euros donated to rebuild Notre-Dame are to go on administrative costs

    By Pierre Januel
    Notre-Dame cathedral on May 7th 2019, three weeks after the fire. © Document Mediapart Notre-Dame cathedral on May 7th 2019, three weeks after the fire. © Document Mediapart

    Mediapart has seen a copy of the provisional report by France's audit body, the Cour des Comptes, into how the 833 million euros raised in donations to restore the famous Paris cathedral that caught fire in April 2019 are being spent. The report, which is still confidential, makes clear the watchdog's dismay that not all of the money – some of which comes from individual donors around the world - is being used solely for the reconstruction work. Various foundations are taking a cut in administrative fees and and even the state is getting a share of it. Pierre Januel reports.

  • How and when the spread of Covid-19 in France swept out of control

    By and Lise Barnéoud
    Emergency services attend to a suspected case of Covid-19 infection at a carehome in Crépy-en-Valois on March 2nd. © FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP Emergency services attend to a suspected case of Covid-19 infection at a carehome in Crépy-en-Valois on March 2nd. © FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP

    In France, as in other European countries emerging from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the past management of the now subsiding crisis is under scrutiny, and many questions are being asked as to how the terrible toll of the virus might have been lessened by more appropriate action early on. In this report, Caroline Coq-Chodorge and Lise Barnéoud trace the chronology of events, interview those doctors involved on the frontline and reveal confidential documents from the French healthcare administration that show how the spread of the epidemic in France was out of control as of March 1st.