Les fumées, procès d’un génocide. Rwanda 1994 – France 2018, éditions Créaphis, 2023

The Smoke – Diaries of a genocide trial – Rwanda 1994, France 2018, Creaphis publisher, 2023

In 2018, artist Natacha Nisic attended the appeal trial in France of the two people responsible for the Tutsi genocide, Tito Barahira and Octavien Ngenzi, in the commune of Kabarondo, Rwanda. She drew and took notes during the sessions, capturing the exchanges, atmospheres, postures, behaviors, tensions and emotions, and thus transmits them to us, with no pretensions to exhaustiveness or objectivity, in an operative incompleteness. As we move through these written images, we are in turn captured. This trial is crucial for what it raises in terms of history, justice and memory.

Historian Hélène Dumas, who was also present at the trial and testified as an expert witness, gives us an insight into the issues at stake. Outside the courtroom, her own notes and the sources from the recordings take us on another journey. The notebooks, as if left in the courtroom, keep the memory alive in their souls and consciences. The continuous writing contained in these notebooks forms a work of art.

Part artist’s book, part scientific book, this work is a sensitive, aesthetic interpretation and historical approach to the trial. It is also a powerful historical document: it is a book about genocide, about a genocide trial, but it is also part of a reflection on genocide trials in general. Through the artist’s sampling, through her subjectivity, through Hélène Dumas’ commitment as a historian, this book touches our sensibilities and makes us question ourselves: we have keys to reading this genocide, which is part of a global history of the French nation and the world.

Published with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques and Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah.

Créaphis éditions
Approx. 670 pages / 500 notebook pages
Hardcover, creative paper
ISBN 9782354281779