Rwanda: Spate of Enforced Disappearances

jMali

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Nov 9, 2010
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(Nairobi) – An increasing number of people have been forcibly disappeared or have been reported missing in Rwanda since March 2014. Many of the cases occurred in Rubavu district, in Western Province.

In some cases, the whereabouts of the people involved are still unknown several weeks later. Human Rights Watch has received information that some of the people who were forcibly disappeared were detained by Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers and believes they may be in military custody.

Rwandan officials told Human Rights Watch that they were investigating the cases, but have not provided any information on the progress or results of their investigations.

Since 2010, Human Rights Watch has documented a number of cases of people accused of being FDLR members or collaborators, or charged with state security offenses, and who were detained incommunicado by the military and forced to confess to crimes, or implicate others, sometimes under torture. When they were eventually brought to trial, some of the defendants told the judges that their confessions had been extracted under torture. However, in many cases, the judges disregarded their claims and proceeded to convict them in the absence of any other evidence.

source: Rwanda: Spate of Enforced Disappearances | Human Rights Watch
 

Koba

JF-Expert Member
Jul 3, 2007
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Parties and manipulation of youth in the Genocide

Interahamwe militia scour the streets of Kigali for Tutsi to kill. On the military jeep are former French troops. Net photo.
Rutura, 43, was halfway through his tertiary education in 1994 when Angeline Mukandutiye, then inspector of education in Nyarugenge Commune and MRND leader in Rugenge Sector, came to his home and demanded that he joins Interahamwe militia.
“She was my mother’s friend who used to sell her charcoal. My mother said I should go,” said Rutura, 44, who served a 14-year jail sentence for Genocide crimes.
“What gives me nightmares is that as an Interahamwe, I killed my own friends. There was no choice because once in the militia, one was supposed to obey the killing orders or expose both themselves and their family.”
Rutura is not the former convict’s real name and the condition of anonymity was to enable him speak freely.
When multi-party politics began in 1991, the ruling party, Revolutionay National Movement for Development (MRND), saw the need to create an “active” youth wing, believing–albeit wrongly–that they could easily handle the opposition.
When major opposition political parties ganged up against the MRND, it was forced to change tactics; not only did it create Interahamwe, it also blessed the creation of a Hutu extremist party, CDR, with a youth wing known as Abahuzamugambi.
Gervais Dusabemungu, then an employee of Prefecture de la Ville de Kigali (PVK) said the philosophy led to the creation of youth wings in all parties.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) had Abakombozi and Faustin Twagiramungu’s Mouvement Democratique Republicain (MDR) founded the JDR (Jeunesse Democratique Republicain).
When internal strife hit MDR, the extremists created a “Hutu Power” faction whose youth wing was christened Inkuba (thunder), while the moderates came to be known as Amajyojyi.
Rutayisire Masengo, a Genocide survivor who was a member of the Liberal Party (PL) youth wing, said at first, all the youth in the opposition parties united against MRND.
“The tables were, however, turned when MRND branded all those opposing it accomplices of the Inkotanyi (Rwanda Patriotic Army).
Between January 8-15, 1992, opposition parties stormed public buildings, damaged Onatracom buses, burnt car tyres to block roads in protest over the nomination of Sylvestre Nsanzimana as prime minister (from MRND).
Rivalry heightened among the groups to the extent that an Interahamwe could not venture into the opposition camp and vice-versa.
‘Instructions’ used to be given during meetings of political parties which were not monitored by any government organ. Well known cases abound in MRND and CDR where party officials would make incendiary speeches.
They include the infamous speech Leon Mugesera made in Kabaya, Gisenyi prefecture.
Trained to kill
Some of the youth benefited from regular military training. More than 180 youths were recruited–including Rutura–and they trained from Angeline Mukandutiye’s compound in Kiyovu.
“My group spent two weeks there learning to handle guns. After the training, we started our mission of killing Tutsi around Kigali and outside, getting the munitions and briefing from Mukandutiye and reporting to her every evening,” he said.
Rutura said: “My brothers were more professionally trained from Gabiro military camp. After the training, they were deployed across the country on ‘missions.’”
Odette Nyiramirimo, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, recalls the killings that targeted Tutsi in Muhororo, now Ngororero District, in 1992.
“It was planned by President Juvenal Habyarimana and the Interahamwe did the execution,” she said.
The following day, we (PL) organised a walk from Nyabugogo to Kigali regional stadium in protest.”
In the protest march was Venantie Kabageni, Nyiramirimo’s elder sister, who would be designated a member of the interim parliament as was stipulated in the Arusha Accords. For this, Kabageni was one of the ‘most wanted’.
She was killed in early April 1994 when the Genocide started.
Impuzamugambi and Interahamwe operations increased in 1994 when RPA was deploying in Kigali to ensure security of politicians in the interim government.
“That day, my mother took me with some children in the neighbourhood to see Inkotanyi passing at Kinamba road. Upon returning, the militia stoned my mother and left her for dead, accusing her of being an accomplice,” recalls Leopold Nsanzimana, 30, a Genocide survivor from Kiyovu.
The Impuzamugambi were also sent to threaten the president of Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda, at his office in Nyarugenge.
Justice Jean Mutashya told this paper that extremist youth wingers accused Kavaruganda of being an accomplice of Inkotanyi because he had declined to endorse a list of MPs that included CDR.
“We were not paid, killing people and getting their belongings afterwards was our reward,” said Rutura.

 

JustDoItNow

JF-Expert Member
Dec 3, 2013
2,878
2,000
Parties and manipulation of youth in the Genocide

Interahamwe militia scour the streets of Kigali for Tutsi to kill. On the military jeep are former French troops. Net photo.
Rutura, 43, was halfway through his tertiary education in 1994 when Angeline Mukandutiye, then inspector of education in Nyarugenge Commune and MRND leader in Rugenge Sector, came to his home and demanded that he joins Interahamwe militia.
"She was my mother's friend who used to sell her charcoal. My mother said I should go," said Rutura, 44, who served a 14-year jail sentence for Genocide crimes.
"What gives me nightmares is that as an Interahamwe, I killed my own friends. There was no choice because once in the militia, one was supposed to obey the killing orders or expose both themselves and their family."
Rutura is not the former convict's real name and the condition of anonymity was to enable him speak freely.
When multi-party politics began in 1991, the ruling party, Revolutionay National Movement for Development (MRND), saw the need to create an "active" youth wing, believing–albeit wrongly–that they could easily handle the opposition.
When major opposition political parties ganged up against the MRND, it was forced to change tactics; not only did it create Interahamwe, it also blessed the creation of a Hutu extremist party, CDR, with a youth wing known as Abahuzamugambi.
Gervais Dusabemungu, then an employee of Prefecture de la Ville de Kigali (PVK) said the philosophy led to the creation of youth wings in all parties.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) had Abakombozi and Faustin Twagiramungu's Mouvement Democratique Republicain (MDR) founded the JDR (Jeunesse Democratique Republicain).
When internal strife hit MDR, the extremists created a "Hutu Power" faction whose youth wing was christened Inkuba (thunder), while the moderates came to be known as Amajyojyi.
Rutayisire Masengo, a Genocide survivor who was a member of the Liberal Party (PL) youth wing, said at first, all the youth in the opposition parties united against MRND.
"The tables were, however, turned when MRND branded all those opposing it accomplices of the Inkotanyi (Rwanda Patriotic Army).
Between January 8-15, 1992, opposition parties stormed public buildings, damaged Onatracom buses, burnt car tyres to block roads in protest over the nomination of Sylvestre Nsanzimana as prime minister (from MRND).
Rivalry heightened among the groups to the extent that an Interahamwe could not venture into the opposition camp and vice-versa.
‘Instructions' used to be given during meetings of political parties which were not monitored by any government organ. Well known cases abound in MRND and CDR where party officials would make incendiary speeches.
They include the infamous speech Leon Mugesera made in Kabaya, Gisenyi prefecture.
Trained to kill
Some of the youth benefited from regular military training. More than 180 youths were recruited–including Rutura–and they trained from Angeline Mukandutiye's compound in Kiyovu.
"My group spent two weeks there learning to handle guns. After the training, we started our mission of killing Tutsi around Kigali and outside, getting the munitions and briefing from Mukandutiye and reporting to her every evening," he said.
Rutura said: "My brothers were more professionally trained from Gabiro military camp. After the training, they were deployed across the country on ‘missions.'"
Odette Nyiramirimo, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, recalls the killings that targeted Tutsi in Muhororo, now Ngororero District, in 1992.
"It was planned by President Juvenal Habyarimana and the Interahamwe did the execution," she said.
The following day, we (PL) organised a walk from Nyabugogo to Kigali regional stadium in protest."
In the protest march was Venantie Kabageni, Nyiramirimo's elder sister, who would be designated a member of the interim parliament as was stipulated in the Arusha Accords. For this, Kabageni was one of the ‘most wanted'.
She was killed in early April 1994 when the Genocide started.
Impuzamugambi and Interahamwe operations increased in 1994 when RPA was deploying in Kigali to ensure security of politicians in the interim government.
"That day, my mother took me with some children in the neighbourhood to see Inkotanyi passing at Kinamba road. Upon returning, the militia stoned my mother and left her for dead, accusing her of being an accomplice," recalls Leopold Nsanzimana, 30, a Genocide survivor from Kiyovu.
The Impuzamugambi were also sent to threaten the president of Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda, at his office in Nyarugenge.
Justice Jean Mutashya told this paper that extremist youth wingers accused Kavaruganda of being an accomplice of Inkotanyi because he had declined to endorse a list of MPs that included CDR.
"We were not paid, killing people and getting their belongings afterwards was our reward," said Rutura.

Kwa maana hiyo kagame kaamua kulipiza kisasi si ndiyo? au sijaelewa koba ana maana gani? may be they are also re-arm again. Du hii nchi haifai. Bora Tungekafanya kawe ka mkoa ka Tanzania
 

jMali

JF-Expert Member
Nov 9, 2010
8,344
2,000
Parties and manipulation of youth in the Genocide

Interahamwe militia scour the streets of Kigali for Tutsi to kill. On the military jeep are former French troops. Net photo.

...This was after "unknown" people killed their Hutu president, Habyarimana who had just signed a peace accord with the royal tutsi army (RPA) that had been attacking and killing Hutus for a good 4 years!!
a kind reminder to everyone reading this that the leader of those guys on the pic above was actually a TUTSI!
 

murutongore

JF-Expert Member
Jun 29, 2013
2,043
2,000
...This was after "unknown" people killed their Hutu president, Habyarimana who had just signed a peace accord with the royal tutsi army (RPA) that had been attacking and killing Hutus for a good 4 years!!
a kind reminder to everyone reading this that the leader of those guys on the pic above was actually a TUTSI!


[h=2]Who killed the president of Rwanda?[/h] [h=4]Gerald Caplan[/h] [h=4]2010-01-21, Issue 466[/h] [h=4]http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/61625[/h] [h=4]Printer friendly version[/h] [h=4]There is 1 comment on this article.[/h]
cc Wikimedia
Debate over who was behind the assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana has raged for nearly 16 years, writes Gerald Caplan. But a new report, prepared by an ‘Independent Committee of Experts' appointed by the government of Rwanda, makes ‘a major contribution to settling the great question of who was responsible' for Habyarimana's death on 6 April 1994, two days before the genocide began.
Has one of the great political murder mysteries of our time finally been solved? I'd say the answer is probably yes, although we can be confident the solution will be rejected by many.

INTRODUCTION

On the evening of 6 April 1994, just as it was approaching Kigali, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana home from Tanzania was shot down by missiles fired from the ground. Also on the flight was the president of Burundi, Cyprian Ntaryamira, as well as several high-level Rwandan political and military officials. But from the first movement there was no doubt that the target was Habyarimana. What was in doubt was the culprit, and on this the debate has raged furiously for the past almost 16 years.

To most of those who have studied the genocide, commonsense always pointed to Hutu extremists in the Rwandan government and military. They passionately opposed the agreement that had been reached at Arusha, Tanzania, in mid-1993, for power to be shared among Habyarimana's followers, other political parties, and the Tutsi-led rebels of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). To prevent this betrayal, the extremists had decided on a final solution – the extermination of the entire Tutsi minority in Rwanda, between 10 and 15 per cent of the population. When Habyarimana was about to capitulate to international pressure and implement these power-sharing arrangements, they murdered him and implemented their carefully-planned genocidal conspiracy.

This analysis seemed logical enough in all respects, but there has never been an official investigation of the crash or evidence beyond the circumstantial. In fact, from the first there was an alternative interpretation. It has always been quite counter-intuitive and based on dubious foundations, and yet has been embraced not only among those who deny the genocide entirely, but also, quite surprisingly, among those who are hostile for whatever reasons to the RPF and particularly its long-time leader and now Rwanda president, Paul Kagame.

From the moment the plane crashed, Hutu extremist propagandists, directed by hate-radio station RTLM and echoed by officials of the government of France, pointed the finger directly at the RPF. From time to time, Belgium was implicated by France, as was Uganda. Uganda's only known connection to the crash was that it was an English-speaking country where the RPF had originally formed. But for France, speaking English is evidence enough of culpability when it comes to Africa.

It's never been entirely clear what motive Kagame could have had for murdering Habyarimana at the very moment when the president intended to implement the Arusha Accords. The RPF had been the huge winner at Arusha, about to receive substantial political and military power. Conversely, Habyarimana's officials were the great losers, about to surrender the monopoly on power and resources they had cherished for the previous two decades. How could the RPF benefit from the chaos, anarchy and lust for vengeance that was sure to follow Habyarimana's assassination? The on-and-off again low-intensity civil war since 1990 had bogged down in a stalemate; why assume the hot war that was sure to follow the plane crash would lead to an RPF victory rather than an RPF rout, especially if France came in behind Habyarimana's forces?

But if attributing the missile attack to the RPF didn't make much sense, it was extremely functional to the Hutu extremists. If the RPF was guilty, it meant the attack on the plane was not the first step in the genocide plan. The killings of the subsequent 100 days could simply be put down to mass Hutu fury at the murder of their beloved president, and no genocide would have taken place. This spin has been the motive driving many of those who have busily spent the past decade and a half devising a multiplicity of ‘proofs' to pin the evil deed on Kagame and his forces.

THE NEW REPORT

Now along comes a new document prepared by an ‘Independent Committee of Experts' appointed by the government of Rwanda, with the explicit title Report of the Investigation into the Causes and Circumstances of and Responsibility for the Attack of 06/04/1994 against the Falcon 50 Rwandan Presidential Aeroplane [sic], Registration Number 9xR-NN. The head of the 7-person committee was Dr Jean Mutsinzi, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Rwanda, now a judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. The other members are apparently lawyers or authorities on aircraft matters, but an annex offering their resumes is not unfortunately part of the commission's report (which is easily available online at mutsinzireport.com).

In my view, the Commission's report is largely persuasive. But you can immediately see how much more credible it would be if the members hadn't all been Rwandans appointed by the Kagame government. I am confident that an independent commission appointed, say, by the African Union, would have delivered the same conclusions but with far more credibility. An obvious precedent was the OAU-appointed independent International Panel of Eminent Personalities (IPEP) whose report, Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide[ PDF], has achieved a certain authority. But I readily acknowledge that genocide deniers, Hutu extremists and Kagame-haters will reject any and all conclusions that give Kagame the benefit of the doubt, and the evidence be damned.

Perhaps that's why his government consistently acts on its own, without waiting for external validation. It did the same with the report on the role of France in the genocide, delivered by a panel of Rwandans also appointed by the government and headed by well-known RPF militant. In my view its report was overwhelmingly accurate and appropriately damning for France. But I wished they had asked outside experts like Linda Melvern to undertake that project, to give it real international credibility. But that is not the way the Kagame government does things.

We are left, then, to judge the report on the plane crash on its merits, and in this respect it seems to me to have made a major contribution to settling the great question of who was responsible.

In a word, the ‘Committee of Experts' documents the logic most of us have accepted since the start. They pin the blame directly and fully on a group of Hutu extremists who were simply not prepared to accept the power-sharing provisions of the Arusha Accords. In this sense, they prove a terrible point: The very agreement that was to bring harmony to Rwanda led directly to the genocide. This is a staggering truth for all those involved in conflict resolution and peace-making to conjure with.

The committee took two years to complete its report, which contains 169 pages plus many appendixes with countless documents, plus a ballistics report from staff at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom based at Cranfield University. Its members heard 557 witnesses, including former officials of the UN military mission to Rwanda at the time (UNAMIR ), former members of the Rwandan army and Presidential Guard under Habyarimana; and they perused post-genocide reports by Belgium, France and the United Nations, plus the work of western authors who have studied the genocide, plus the book written by UNAMIR's head, General Romeo Dallaire, based on his experiences at the time. While all the authorities they consulted won't be happy with the way their work has been used, an overwhelming consensus emerges from the Committee's research and interviews.

Let me try to summarise briefly the main points of what is often lengthy, highly technical, and geography-specific material.

1. For months before Habyarimana's assassination on 6 April 1994, rumours abounded that senior government and military officials in his own government were determined the Arusha Accords would never be implemented. These stories included specific suggestions that the President would be murdered if he dared to put their power-sharing arrangements into practice. For years we have known that radio station RTLM and Kangura, a small publication that functioned as the voice of Hutu extremism, had publicly stated that something dramatic was going to happen to Habyarimana in late March or early April. In its cover story of December 1993, for example, Kangura declared that Habyarimana would be assassinated the following March. General Dallaire and others have cited the threat uttered at a social occasion on 4 April by Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, a leader of the extremists widely considered the mastermind of the genocide. ‘The only plausible solution for Rwanda,' Bagosora said to a small group that included Dallaire's senior Belgian aide, ‘appears to be the extermination of the Tutsi.'

What the new report adds to our knowledge is how widespread these stories were. Dozens of witnesses had heard them beginning late in 1993 and escalating through the early months of 1994. There was even a specific rumour that Habyarimana's plane would be shot down. The President himself had heard such stories, it appears, as had the French crew that came with the Falcon 50 that President Mitterrand had gifted to Habyarimana (apparently that's how a socialist president of France rewarded his favourite African presidents).

On 6 April Habyarimana flew to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a summit with fellow regional presidents. (The Burundian president, who had no luxury jet, made the fatal mistake of later hitching a ride home with Habyarimana via Kigali.) That summit is usually described as focusing on Rwanda. In fact, the new report informs us, it was about the unstable situations in both Rwanda and Burundi. Habyarimana began the meeting by telling his peers that he was implementing Arusha two days later, and the rest of the day was spent discussing Burundi's extremely turbulent political crisis.

But if Habyarimana was aware of threats against his plane, why did Habyarimana agree to fly to Dar es Salaam that day? He could simply have told them by phone or through an emissary of his intentions to introduce the Arusha arrangements. Why did his pilots agree to fly him there? Why did some of the leading plotters against him, like his brother-in-law Colonel Elie Sagatwa, an extremist Hutu ironically in charge of the president's personal security, agree to accompany him? All went down to their fiery deaths on 6 April, yet all apparently were aware of the risk. It is a glaring omission in the report that it never asks this obvious question, let alone attempts in any way to answer it.

Still, the fact remains that Hutu extremists were known to be furious at Habyarimana and were determined to stop the implementation of the Arusha Accords. Since the President announced explicitly on 2 April that he intended to swear in a new broadly-based coalition government on 8 April, it has always been logical to assume that attacking the plane on 6 April was the execution of their plan.

2. The RPF couldn't have infiltrated anti-aircraft missiles and missile launchers into Kigali. It could not have smuggled them into Parliament, where an RPF contingent was temporarily billeted, as agreed by the Arusha Accords. It could not have then snuck them to the area where those who blame the RPF claim the missiles were fired. The committee establishes persuasively that both UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) and above all the Rwandan army maintained very close surveillance of the RPF troops holed up in the parliament building, and these monitors could not possibly have missed the activity required to bring the missiles in, set them up and fire them. The committee also shows that the alleged firing area was constantly patrolled by Rwandan troops and no RPF soldiers carrying missiles and launchers could have infiltrated the area without being spotted.

3. The missiles could only have been fired from an area near the Kanombe military camp, the President's home, and the main Kigali airport, and this entire area was completely controlled by the Rwandan army. This is the area where Rwandan soldiers suddenly refused UNAMIR to enter during the day on 6 April. This key conclusion by the committee is based on a large number of eyewitnesses and what it calls ear witnesses, including pre-genocide Rwandan soldiers, employees of the adjacent airport where the plane was to land, and soldiers from UNAMIR and the Belgian Military Technical Cooperation.

Perhaps most significantly, it's also the conclusion of the report prepared for the committee by Mike Warden and Alan McClue of the Department of Applied Science, Security and Resilience, Cranfield University, Defence Academy of the UK.

The online documentation of the committee's work includes the formal contract that the committee signed with the two researchers, so that every part of it is transparent. In turn, the two presented a 109-page paper, often extremely technical, which concludes that the missiles must have been fired from the Kanombe area. Beyond dispute, this area was wholly controlled by Rwandan government forces. So the missiles were not fired from the area where those who blame the RPF say they came from, and they were fired from the area where only government soldiers (and French soldiers) could go.

It is hard to imagine staff at the Defence Academy of the UK exaggerating or falsifying their conclusions. It therefore seems to me that this independent ballistics report adds great credibility to the findings of the Committee of Experts, with which it of course concurs.

4. The committee shows that the Rwandan army possessed the kind of surface-to-air missiles that might have shot down the Focus 50, even though earlier reports, especially from France, claimed they did not. Conversely, it shows that the repeated assertion by those who blame the RPF – that Kagame's rebels received the missiles from Uganda (who got them from Russia) – is wrong and based on a deliberate deception at the time by Rwandan government soldiers, which enemies of the RPF have been only too happy to swallow.

6. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora is named as the instigator both of the attack on Habyarimana's plane and the genocide that it triggered, as planned. This corroborates the widespread view of Bagosora's role by everyone from General Dallaire to many of the historians of the genocide to the justices at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, who found Bagosora guilty of genocide and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

5. In the process of their report, the committee does a useful job of discrediting the hatchet job performed on the RPF by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere in his own 2006 report on the plane crash. Bruguiere, following completely the script long favoured by the French establishment, baldy accused Kagame and the RPF of shooting down the plane in order, somehow, to take power in Rwanda.

Bruguiere's research was always problematic, to say the least. He relied on alleged eyewitness who were dissident Tutsi RPF members, with plenty of motive to malign the RPF. Some of these have since recanted their accusations against Kagame and the RPF or claim they never said what Bruguiere claims they said. And while the judge, remarkably, never went to Rwanda to investigate the crash site or to interview anyone in the RPF government or army whom he indicted, he did go to Arusha to interview men being held by the ICTR for their alleged role in the genocide. This included Colonel Bagosora himself, who even before his formal conviction was almost universally believed to have been a leader of the genocide. At one stage Bruguiere writes of a particular matter: ‘The real nature of the message…was also confirmed by the evidence in Arusha from former FAR soldiers [Habyarimana's army].' He names four of these soldiers, including Colonel Theoneste Bagosora. This would be akin to asking P. W. Botha about apartheid and not asking Nelson Mandela.

6. France's cynical hand is felt throughout the committee's report, as indeed it must be in any recounting of the genocide. French soldiers were allowed in to the Kanombe military base on 6 April, while Belgian UNAMIR soldiers were not. French soldiers were at the plane wreck within moments, going through the debris and looking for the black box, which they removed. French officials scrupulously followed the original extremist Hutu line of blaming the Belgians, along with the RPF, for the missile attack. When the accusation against the Belgians had lost any credibility, President Mitterrand's senior Africa advisor, his chief of staff and the French ambassador to Rwanda all accused the RPF of responsibility. During the French parliamentary inquiry into the France's role in the genocide, French officials were anxious to implicate the Ugandan government in the plane attack. Never did they suggest that their close allies among the Hutu extremists, many of whom have long been hiding in France, may have had the slightest involvement.

As one former western diploma has put it, ‘In an ideal world, France would apologise to Rwanda, put 20 former senior French officials in the dock, and extradite 15 or 20 genocidaires living in France.' We will see whether the recent France-Rwanda rapprochement will usher in a more ideal world.

CONCLUSIONS

The report of the Committee of Experts could have been better (although I dare say this is true of every report ever written). The organisation and the writing are sometimes confusing. Loose ends are left hanging, not least obscure references to three ‘whites' who somehow might have been involved in the attack on Habyarimana's plane. At times it seems the plot to assassinate the president was hatched in late 1993, elsewhere that it all happened in the first few days of April 1994. It fails to analyse why Habyarimana agreed to fly to Dar es Salaam on 6 April even in the face of explicit death threats.

Despite an obvious attempt to be objective, its biases occasionally slip out. The committee asserts that ‘the practice of genocide against the Tutsi' was initiated by the first Hutu-dominated government in the early 1960s, and that 1994 was ‘the final stage of genocide'. This is bad, partisan history that is accepted by no reputable historians of whom I'm aware. The fact is the massacres launched against the Tutsi after 1959 stopped after Habyarimana's coup in 1973 and didn't begin again until 17 years later, with the RPF invasion of Rwanda. Those early killings were terrible, but they were just that – massacres, pogroms, not the first stage in a 45-year plan exterminate all Tutsi. The final genocidal plot only began some time after the 1990 RPF invasion.

These flaws reduce the authoritativeness of this report. They will be jumped all over by those who will never accept any conclusion that fails to blame Kagame and the RPF for Habyarimana's murder. So there's no point whatever in trying to prove anything else to these deniers and extremists. They have no interest in the truth.

But for those genuinely searching for the most convincing answer to this great political murder mystery, the strengths of the committee's report overwhelmingly outweigh its few unfortunate flaws. Of course it would still be best to have the definitive report by a truly independent group of international experts. But until we do, the conclusions of this report should stand. And if there ever were an independent external study, I'm confident its conclusions would echo those of this Rwandan committee of experts:

‘We know who shot Habyarimana's plane down. We know why they did it. We know how they did it. And we know that they came within an inch of success in their diabolical plan. Before they were defeated, the Hutu extremists who assassinated President Habyarimana wiped out thousands of decent Hutu who wouldn't go along with their fiendish plot and three-quarters of their country's Tutsi. The attack on the president's plane was the opening shot in one of the purest genocides of the past 100 years, launched for no better reason than the greed of a few power-hungry Hutu fanatics. It was one of the greatest man-made tragedies of our time.'

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Gerald Caplan has a PhD in African history. He recently published The Betrayal of Africa.
 

jMali

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Nov 9, 2010
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cc:mad:murutongore.

Memorandum on the 1994 Assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, President of the Republic of Rwanda

Félicien Kanyamibwa, Ph.D.
In collaboration with Organization for Peace, Justice and Development in Rwanda (OPJDR)
December 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.- Introduction
2.- History
3.- Climate – Spring 1994
3.1 Burundi


    1. Uganda
    2. Invasion of Rwanda3.3 Assassinations in Rwanda
    3. The Arusha Accord
    4. Warning Signs
      1. The RPF Battalion
      2. The RPF and the air traffic Corridor
      3. Meeting of the final preparation
      4. Delay Tactics
      5. Dallaire's Question
      6. Regional Summit of Heads of State on Burundi


4.- The Missile Attack on President Habyalimana's Plane
4.1 The Night of the Assassination
4.2 Different Reactions after the Assassination
4.2.1 Inside Rwanda
4.2.2 Rwandan Patriotic Front
4.2.3 UNAMIR
4.2.4 President Museveni and His Army
4.2.5 The Tanzanian Government
4.2.6 Government of Burundi
5.- Regarding the Arsenals Used to Shoot Down the Plane
6. Possible Suspects
6.1 The Burundese Connection
6.2 The Moderate Opposition
6.3 Hutu "Extremists" from the Former Rwandan Government
6.4 The Rwandan Patriotic Front, with Assistance from its Foreign Allies


      1. Motive
      2. The Plan to Remove Habyiramana
      3. The Means to Shoot the Presidential Plane

7.- The Investigation


    1. The Interim Government
    2. The RPF Government
    3. The United Nations Organizations
    4. Organization of African Unity
    5. The Belgian Government
    6. The French Government
    7. The American Government
    8. International Civil Aviation Organization

8.- Call for an Independent Investigation


    1. The Trigger Event of the Rwandan Tragedy
    2. Need for Justice and Fairness

9.- Conclusions
10.- Abbreviations
1.- Introduction
In April of 1994, the small, central African country of Rwanda broke out into an uncontrollable civil war when hostile missiles shot down its president's airplane. The chaos that followed created headlines around the world throughout that summer. The world was stunned by the violence perpetuated by what the media consistently referred to as normally peaceful people. Because the shooting of the plane was the trigger that spiraled Rwanda into chaos and civil war, in order to understand what happened, it is important to know who triggered these events, and why. However, there has been no investigation conducted by the UN to uncover the identity of the perpetuators of the sabotage of the presidential plane. In order to pursue peace and reconciliation in Rwanda, those who shot down the plane must be revealed and held accountable.
2.- History
In order to understand the significance of the events surrounding the downing of President Habyarimana's airplane on April 6, 1994, it is crucial to have at least a fundamental understanding of Rwanda's history. Rwanda's population traditionally consisted of 85% Hutu, 10% Tutsi, and 5% Twa. For nearly four hundred years, Tutsis, members of the minority ethnic group, headed by a Mwami (king) ruled the majority of the Hutu ethnic group. The Hutus were treated as "peasants", and did all of the manual work. Colonialists (Germany and later Belgium) accepted the status quo, and did not try to change the fundamental structure of Rwandan society. In early fifties, Hutus began demanding a better representation in the governing institutions. This led subsequently to the 1959 social revolution which was accompanied by fighting between the two ethnic groups. Consequently, an estimated 100,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries including Burundi, Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania. Bloodshed and violence was rampant during this period. In 1962, Rwanda became independent under their new president, Gregoire Kayibanda. The latter was member of the Hutu ethnic group. For the first time, Hutus were permitted to obtain secondary and post-secondary education.
In 1973, a coup established Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana as the new president Habyarimana who started a relatively peaceful era. Under his rule,Tutsis enjoyed peace and economical prosperity. It should be noted though, that Habyarimana did not allow those Tutsis who had fled during the wake of 1959 social revolution to return massively to Rwanda. The reason put forward was that the country was too small to accommodate such massive return. In fact, Rwanda is one of the most overpopulated countries in the world. However, this created tension, and those exiled Tutsis felt, perhaps justifiably, that they should have had the right to return to their homeland. Meanwhile within Rwanda, ordinary Hutus and Tutsis went to school together, went to church together, worked side by side, and helped build up an infrastructure that was the envy of that whole region of Africa.
3.- Climate - Spring 1994
In the spring of 1994, when Habyarimana's plane was shot down, things had become very tense. The peace, which the country enjoyed since 1973, had become increasingly fragile, and, by April, Rwanda was like a tinder-box into which the deliberate death of the president was like someone throwing a match. In order to understand what had created these new conditions, it is important to look at the political climate of the time, and at what had taken place in the years prior to 1994.
3.1 Burundi:
Events in neighboring Burundi undermined Hutu/Tutsi relations in Rwanda. Burundi has a similar ethnic makeup as Rwanda, with 10% Tutsi and 90% Hutu. Burundi gained its independence in 1962, but was mostly ruled by a military republic. They were not able to achieve peace between the two tribes. During the 1970's there were thousands of Hutu deaths, and again, after a military coup in 1987, there were more serious ethnic clashes. An example of this, is that in 1972 and 1988, Tutsi soldiers in Burundi's Tutsi dominated army, went into the public schools, separated the children by tribe, and massacred all of the Hutu children in each school that they visited. In 1993, the first democratically elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, was elected in Burundi. However, in October, 1993, he was assassinated by the monoethnic Tutsi army. This assassination was regarded by Hutus in Rwanda as a clear indication that the Tutsi minority in Burundi had the intention of preventing democracy there. Rwandan Hutus did not only have to look to the past to remember the oppressive rule of the minority Tutsi tribe, they only had to look at their neighbor to the South to see and fear the oppression which they had escaped in 1959.
3.2 Uganda:
The exiled Tutsi's whom Habyarimana had not permitted to return to Rwanda, had largely established themselves in Uganda, the country to the north of Rwanda. They had helped Uganda's current president, Yoweri Museveni, depose Present Okello in 1986. President Museveni was then in the position of owing this group a favor. This group was mostly composed of Tutsis who fled Rwanda after the 1959 social revolution. This group of Tutsis in Uganda formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and, on October 1, 1990, invaded Rwanda across the northern border, killing and torturing men, women and children who lived in villages along that border.
3.3 Invasion of Rwanda:
As mentioned above, the exiled tutsis who formed the bulk of President Museveni's army invaded Rwanda on October 1, 1990. Members of the RPF used Uganda as a base from which they launched all their attacks on Rwanda. These raids were notorious for their carnage and cruelty. By 1993, there were an estimated one million Hutu villagers fleeing these Ugandan-based raids by fleeing towards the interior of Rwanda. At that time, the population of Rwanda was approximately seven million. This means that, in the spring of 1994, one in seven people in Rwanda were refugees in their own country. Western media predicted a widespread famine in Rwanda that year due to this large displaced population. This too, of course, created tension in Rwanda, particularly in the northern area, where the RPF was attacking from, and where, as a consequence, there was increasing tension between the local Hutus and Tutsis.
3.4 Assassinations in Rwanda:
-In 1993, Emmanuel Gapyisi, a member of the political bureau of MDR, President of MDR in Gikongoro, and an active member of a group called "Forum Paix et Democratie" was assassinated.
-The same year, Fidele Rwambuka, a member of the National Committee of the Republican National Movement ofr Democracy and Development (MRND), was also assassinated.
-On February 21, 1994, Felicien Gatabazi, who was both the Executive Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and a member of the Rwandan coalition government, was gunned down at the entrance of his house.
-The following day, February 22, 1994, Martin Bucyana, the President of the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) was assassinated in Butare. There were strong presumptions among the public that these political assassinations were committed by the RPF. It is a well known fact that all of these hutu leaders had been opposed to the RPF and committed to the victory of democracy and republican ideals. There were strong presumptions among the public that these Hutu leaders were killed by RPF death squads. Their murders exacerbated differences among political parties, and added to the mistrust
and tension throughout the country.
3.5 The Arusha Accord:
In order to come to a lasting peace, President Habyarimana negotiated a peace accord with the RPF and various factions of his government. This accord guaranteed the Tutsi minority a percentage of seats in government within a power sharing arrangement in running the government. It was controversial, because many Hutus felt that Habyarimana had given too much to the 10% minority, while members of the RPF did not desire the full implementation of the agreement because it guaranteed that they would never have the total control on the governmental affairs. The UN sent on November 1, 1993 a mission to Rwanda known as the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), to assist in the transition.
3.5 Warning Signs
A document called "Environnement actuel et avenir de l'organisation" outlines an apparent scenario designed by RPF ideologues and strategists shortly after the signing of the Arusha accord. The plan was to evict Habyarimana within nine months. A review of the events following the signing of the agreement seems to support the existence of a calculated intention to oust Habyarimana.
3.5.1 The RPF Battalion:
On July 20, 1993 in Kinihira, the RPF had requested and obtained the installation of a battalion in the capital, Kigali. The purpose of this battalion of 600 soldiers was theoretically to protect RPF officials. This battalion was housed in the building of the National Council for Development (CND), the Rwandan National Assembly, a strategic site in the center of Kigali. The RPF requested that all supplies (even wood) be brought in from Mulindi (territory under RPF occupation). When supplies were coming from Mulindi, the RPF refused to submit to control at the check point of the territory controlled by the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). Security feared that they could be bringing in extra weapons and soldiers, but were unable to prevent it without the cooperation of the RPF. The Belgian contingent of UNAMIR in charge of escorting these convoys supported the RPF's refusal to be checked. The matter was brought to the attention of the commander of the UNAMIR, General Dallaire, but nothing was done about it.
Later events would confirm that those convoys had indeed helped in smuggling military equipment and additional reinforcement to the RPF battalion in Kigali, and that the battalion itself had played the role of a Trojan horse. Evidence strongly points to the fact that these supply convoys probably brought in the missiles used to shoot down the presidential plane. General Dallaire was apparently informed about the existence of these missiles, but did nothing about them.
3.5.2 RPF and the air traffic corridor:
In January 1994, the RPF requested that landing approach and take-off at Kanombe International Airport be prohibited from the downtown corridor of Kigali. It argued that airplanes using this corridor were flying over its military contingent, and therefore, its security was at risk. In a bold pressure tactic on the government, the RPF battalion housed in CND actually shot at a Belgian transport airplane, a C130 Hercules, approaching Kanombe International Airport from downtown Kigali. The plane was not hit. Although this action clearly contravened the Arusha Peace Accord, The UNAMIR intervened and pressured the Rwandan government to yield to the RPF request. Finally, the government gave in and agreed to change the permitted flight approach to the airport.
In retrospect, it appears that this was a tactical move to make it more possible to shoot down the presidential airplane three months later. It was now possible to shoot at the plane from one side, Masaka, a rural, covered area with little control.
3.5.3 Meeting of the final preparation:
It is reported that in March 1994, RPF strategists met in Bobo-Diuolasso, Burkina Faso. Manzi Bakuramutsa, an employee of the UN Development Program (UNDP), a Zairian citizen at the time, arranged the meeting. During this high level meeting, the last details of the plan to physically eliminate President Habyarimana were agreed upon. After its victory, the RPF appointed Manzi Bakuramutsa ambassador of Rwanda to the UN. He later served as ambassador to Belgium. Today, he is ambassador to Israel.
3.5.4 Delay Tactics:
On March 25, the RPF refused to attend the inauguration ceremony of the remaining institutions of the transition. Delays and refusal to cooperate with the implementation of the Arusha accord followed. Arguing over candidates of other political parties, on grounds that could not be supported by the Arusha Accord, they significantly delayed the implementation of the peace accord. Ntaribi Kamanzi recalls this situation in his book mentioned earlier. He says that when western diplomats based in Kigali went to Mulindi, the RPF headquarters, in March 1994 to try to persuade the RPF to change its position, a western diplomat expressed to them his disappointment at their refusal to cooperate.
While these delays and "foot-dragging" do not in themselves appear significant, they can be seen as important when viewed from a historical perspective. It is important to note that while there were opponents to the Arusha Accord on both sides, it was the RPF contingent that was delaying its implementation. Perhaps they believed that once the accord was successfully implemented, they would have no justification in the international forum to wrest the control from the current administration. A logical, tactical strategy, therefore, would be to delay and sabotage the transition long enough to gain full control of the country without international outrage at replacing a democracy with military rule. A 10% minority, of course, cannot rule by democracy.
3.5.5 Dallaire's Question:
On April 3, 1994, the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh, informed President Habyarimana that, according to diplomatic sources, the RPF planned to assassinate him. The UNAMIR was then informed of the plot to assassinate the President. The next day, two days before the assassination, during a reception at Hotel Meridien, General Dallaire asked a rather strange question of Ret. Col. Theoneste Bagosora. He asked; "Who is the designated successor to President Habyarimana?" Bagosora replied that he did not know. Although clearly warned of the plot, no apparent action was taken by General Dallaire and the UNAMIR to prevent the assassination. Dallaire merely inquired as to the successor.
3.5.6 Regional Summit of Heads of State on Burundi:
On April 6, 1994, the President went to Dar-es-Salaam for a regional summit of Heads of State on Burundi. There were many warning signs that this summit was a trap. The summit, originally called to discuss the situation in Burundi, discussed Rwanda's situation instead. Its final communiqué has not been published to this day. It was originally scheduled to be held April 5, 1994, in Arusha, and then was postponed to take place on April 6 in Dar-es-Salaam. Some of the scheduled participants did not show up for the summit. Why was the summit called, if it was not significant enough to stay on the agenda, and to publish its results? Why the changes in agenda, time, place, and participants? As it was upon flying home from this summit that President Habyarimana's plane was shot down, perhaps the answers to these questions will help shed light on that fateful assassination.
The summit ended later than previously scheduled mainly because of Uganda's President Museveni. First, he arrived in Dar-es-Salaam very late. Then, the meeting that was begun late was unusual. President Museveni slowed down the meeting using multiple and intemperate digressions. President Habyarimana and President Ntaryamira of Burundi signed the final communiqué at the airport just before embarking. They had asked to spend the night in Dar-es-Salaam, as their pilot had expressed concern for their safety on a late flight. However, President Mwinyi, their Tanzanian counterpart, had told them that no measure had been taken to have them spend the night. They had no choice but to fly home that night, later than planned, in the dark, and with concerns for their safety. Despite all of these last minute changes, out of the control of the Rwandan president, and their later than expected departure, caused in large part by Museveni, President of Uganda, their assassins were somehow expecting them, waiting in the dark, on a hillside (on the new air traffic corridor) outside Kigali.
4.- The Missile Attack on President Habyarimana's plane
4.1 The Night of the Assassination:
The airplane with a French crew took off from Dar-es-Salaam Airport at approximately 6:30 PM Kigali time, with the Rwandan and the Burundian delegations aboard.
The Rwanda delegation included:
1.- President Juvenal Habyarimana
2.- Major-General Deogratias Nsabimana, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army
3.- Ambassador Juvenal Renzaho, adviser in the President's Office
4.- Colonel Elie Sagatwa, the President's Private Secretary
5.- Doctor Emmanuel Akingeneye, the President's doctor
6.- Major Thaddee Bagaragaza
The Burundian delegation included:
1.- President Cyprien Ntaryamira
2.- Secretary Bernard Ciza
3.- Secretary Cyriaque Simbizi
The French crew included:
1.- Major Jack Heraud
2.- Colonel Jean-Pierre Minaberry
3.- Master Sergeant Jean Marie Perrine
At approximately 8:20 PM, local time, the presidential jet was shot down with missiles fired from a farm located in Masaka in the commune of Kanombe, near the Kigali-to-Kibungo highway. Of the two missiles shot, one hit the plane. By strange coincidence, the plane crashed into the courtyard of President Habyarimana's private residence. All passengers and crew died immediately.
Earlier that day, a group of soldiers, members of the Belgian contingent led by Lieutenant Lotin went to the eastern part of the country, the Akagera National Park, to escort RPF officials. This group of soldiers returned to Kigali in the evening and was given the assignment to escort Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana to Radio-Rwanda where she intended to address the nation. It is this group of soldiers who were killed in the military barrack of Kigali by mutineers on April 7, 1994.
4.2 Different Reactions After the Assassination
After the assassination, RPF propagandist and its sponsors spread a story that President Habyarimana died in an accident. General Dallaire's statement to this effect led to confusion and speculation. Dallaire knew that missiles had shot down the airplane. When RPF propagandists realized that this story would not bear up to scrutiny, they declared that the President had been killed by Hutu extremists, among them members of the Akazu (a circle of influential relatives around the President), including Habyarimana's wife. Later on, many observers acknowledged that the so-called "Hutu extremists" did not have the means or the interest in carrying out the assassination. They then suggested many possible hypotheses. An analysis of different reactions points to serious clues as to who conducted the assassination.
4.2.1 Inside Rwanda:
On April 6, 1994 around 9:15 PM Radio RTLM announced without any detail that the presidential jet had been shot down, and promised to provide further information in later broadcasts. At this time, the death of the President was not confirmed. Radio-Rwanda announced the President's death the next morning at 5:30 AM in a communiqué issued by the Ministry of Defense. In general the population of the capital reacted with anger and panic. However, some RPF sympathizers could not restrain their joy.
An impromptu meeting including officers of the army and the gendarmerie, the Ministry of Defense, the military barrack of Kigali, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, and Ret. Col. Theoneste Bagosora, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense took place at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army on April 6, 1994. The meeting started around 10:00 PM and went on through the night. General Dallaire, the UNAMIR Commander and Colonel Marchal, head of the Belgian contingent participated in this meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to take security measures to prevent possible violence, reassure the population, and preserve peace in this situation of power vacuum. After this meeting a delegation including Ret. Col. Bagosora and Colonel Rwabalinda went to meet the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh to seek his advice about how to manage the crisis. General Dallaire accompanied the delegation.
A meeting, which was suggested by Booh Booh at the US ambassador's residence, and which was supposed to include western ambassadors, General Ndindiliyimana, and Colonel Bagosora did not take place. Only the US ambassador showed up for the meeting. Others western ambassadors did not show up at the place designated for the meeting.
As agreed upon during the meeting held the night before at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army, a meeting of the heads of the Rwandan Armed Forces (the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense, military officers assigned to the headquarters of the army and the headquarters of the gendarmerie, field commanders, commanders of the barracks of the gendarmerie and the army) was held at the military academy of Kigali. General Dallaire participated in this meeting as well. This meeting set up a crisis committee with a mission to facilitate contacts with political leaders in order to fill the power vacuum created by the tragic death of the head of state and to monitor the security situation in the country.
On the same afternoon, following recommendations made by the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh, the executive committee of MRND held a meeting. The meeting had been suggested to find a replacement for the President. However, participants ran into two obstacles: the first obstacle was that the Arusha Peace Accord did not provide for a replacement of the President before the inauguration of the institutions of the transition; the second obstacle was that only an MRND convention could designate a candidate to the Presidency of the Republic. A second meeting became necessary to overcome these obstacles. This second meeting took place on April 8, 1994. Representatives from 5 political parties, members of the coalition government (MRND, MDR, PL, PSD, PDC) participated in this meeting. This meeting concluded an agreement that supplemented the Convention signed on April 16, 1992. Indeed, on April 8, 1994, Theodore Sindikubwabo, President of the National Assembly (CND) was designated President of the Republic as provided by the Constitution of June 10, 1991, and Jean Kambanda was designated Prime Minister. The Interim Government was sworn in on April 9, 1994.
4.2.2 Rwandan Patriotic Front:
Immediately after the assassination, the RPF battalion housed in CND in Kigali rejoiced and shouted "final victory". The headquarters of the RPF at Mulindi was immediately informed of the death of the President. In his book mentioned above, Ntaribi Kamanzi says that the RPF battalion housed at CND sent a message announcing the death of the President to the RPF headquarters at Mulindi around 8:30 PM, just after the assassination. The same night, in the wake of the assassination, General Kagame made a declaration of war on Radio Muhabura, the RPF radio station. Around midnight, the monitoring service of the FAR intercepted a radio message carried by the RPF radio communication network. In this message, General Kagame informed all military units of his army of the death of the President, congratulated all the military that had participated in the assassination, and put on high alert all military units.
On April 7, 1994, the RPF initiated attacks in the capital, Kigali and in northern Rwanda. The capital plunged into chaos and panic following the death of their president and the attack by the RPF. It is in this context that mutineers murdered Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and ten Belgian UNAMIR soldiers, believing them to be involved in the missile attack on the presidential jet. On the afternoon of April 7, Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) responded to RPF attacks carried out on all military fronts, and in Kigali, the capital city. The tragic civil war had then begun.
4.2.3 UNAMIR:
The group of soldiers led by Lieutenant Lotin had returned from a mission in Eastern Rwanda and was at Kanombe International Airport. It was ordered to protect Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and to escort her to Radio-Rwanda to the nation. It is important to point out that this mission had not been discussed at the meeting held at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army and in which General Dallaire had participated. Colonel Marchal confirms this information.
4.2.4: President Museveni and His Army:
On April 7, 1994, the day after the assassination, during the opening of an international conference held in Kampala, President Museveni could not conceal his satisfaction and complicity in the assassination. Speaking briefly of the death of President Habyarimana, he boasted of a mission well done these terms: "It was time to solve the matter."
It is not a secret that the Ugandan army actively participated in the major offensive and provided the RPF with logistics. Estimates say that more than 30,000 Ugandan troops participated in Rwanda's "civil" war. President Museveni himself acknowledged Ugandan army involvement at a summit held in Harare, Zimbabwe on August 9, 1998.
4.2.5 The Tanzanian Government:
When President Habyarimana left Dar-es-Salaam, Capital City of Tanzania in the evening of April 6, 1994, he left members of his delegation who were supposed to return to Kigali the next day aboard two Rwandan airplanes (a military North Atlas airplane and a Twin-Otter of Rwandan Airlines) stationed at the Dar-es-Salaam airport. Without any explanation, the Tanzanian government did not allow these airplanes to take off from the Dar-es-Salaam airport. The Rwandan delegation could not return to Kigali. These airplanes were handed over to Rwanda after the victory of the RPF. Some passengers and crew members went back to Rwanda, others went into exile.
Even though Habyarimana was assassinated as he was returning from Tanzania, the president of Tanzania did not send a message of condolences to the people of Rwanda. This looks particularly significant when one considers that it was he who denied hospitality to the President when Habyarimana had been concerned about the safety of a night flight home. Both acts are especially peculiar when one considers that they are not in line with the african tradition. One cannot help but question his involvement and motivations.
4.2.6 The Government of Burundi:
Burundi leaders' attitude towards this assassination is strange. Burundi lost its president, Cyprien Ntaryamira, and two secretaries in the airplane crash but the Burundese government reacted to this drama with indifference.
5.- Regarding the Arsenals Used to Shoot Down the Plane
After the assassination, the perpetrators left two containers of missile launchers in an embankment before vanishing. These containers were found on April 25, 1994 by internally displaced populations, who were resettling in the area (people fleeing from the violence on the Northern border), and were handed over to the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) the same day.
The FAR had no doubt that the material found on the scene of the crime was what had been used to perpetrate the assassination. Even though they were not familiar with the material, it was apparent that the missiles were made in the Soviet Union. The containers of the missile launchers had a green army Khaki color with the detailed inscriptions.
The inscriptions on the first launcher container are as follows:
9 il322-1-01
9M313-1
04-87
04835
C
LOD COMP
911519-2
3555406
The inscriptions on the second launcher container are as follows:
9 il322-1-01
9M313-1
04-87
04814
C
LOD COMP
911519-2
5945107
Engineer Lieutenant Munyaneza, a FAR officer, recorded these inscriptions. The missile launcher containers are significant because they are the only concrete evidence left by the assassins.
Despite the discovery of the arsenal used to shoot down the plane, and the detailed inscriptions being immediately recorded, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the origin and type of missile, and even whether there was indeed a missile attack at all. Despite the evidence of the wreckage and the discovered arsenal, western media persist in referring to the downing of the plane as a "mysterious plane crash". The tracing of the origin, type, and requisition of the missiles very directly implicates the perpetuators of the assassination. It is no small wonder that a great deal of misinformation has been generated around the existence and origin of the weapons used to shoot down the President's airplane.
Lieutenant Engineer Munyaneza, who studied engineering in the former USSR, was able to positively identify the arsenal discovered as missile launchers from the USSR. The Lieutenant translated and described in detail all relevant information from those arsenals in a report written on April 25, 1994. Despite this report, written less than three weeks after the shooting of the plane people have continued to create confusion about this arsenal.
In his book, "Rwanda: Trois Jours qui on fait basculer l'Histoire", Professor Reyntjens alternates terms in describing the arsenal discovered in the farm in the Masaka farm. Sometimes referring to "missiles", sometimes "missile launchers", and sometimes to "containers". The arsenals that were discovered are not missiles, but containers that are at the same time missile launchers. In fact, for this type of arsenals, the missile and the launcher are delivered as one piece and once the missile is fired, the launcher, which holds the missile becomes a useless container. Obviously, the arsenals discovered did not have the missiles with them because they had already been fired. It is very clear that information described on the container is consistent with the missiles utilized to shoot down the presidential jet. Hence, it is more appropriate to describe the arms that were utilized to commit the crime as missiles and the two arsenals discovered at MASAKA as the missile launchers. This clarification is therefore necessary and important to remove any confusion regarding terms utilized to describe the arms that shot down the plane.
A more serious confusion than simple terminology is based upon Professor Reyntjens' book. This is the confusion regarding the type of missile fired. Without demonstrating how he came to the conclusion, Professor Reyntjens states: "All we can say with certitude is that it is a missile of type SAM-16 Gimlet." He maintained this assertion before the Belgian Parliamentarian Commission for Rwanda without demonstrating any evidence to his conclusion.
Later, in his letter to the Chairman of the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise, he attested that the Rwandan Armed Forces, and particularly Ret. Col. Bagosora, provided the information to him, telling him that the arsenals were of Type SAM-16 Gimlet. As far as we know, the Rwandan Armed Forces, as well as Ret. Col. Bagosora, have always maintained that they discovered missiles of type SAM-7 and never said they were missile type SAM-16 Gimlet. Ret. Col. Bagosora sent Professor Reytjens, through his lawyer, Mr. Luc de Temmerman, a copy of the document written by Lieutenant Engineer Munyaneza. This document does not talk about missiles or type of missiles at all but mentions instead missile launchers. The copy sent by Ret. Col. Bagosora is exactly the same as the one that was cited in documents referred to by the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise. Adding to the confusion by basing their information on Professor Reyntjens' work, the French commission shows a photograph of a missile launcher (type SAM-16 Gimlet), and affirms that witnesses who found the missile launcher identified the picture as being the same as the one discovered on the farm on Masaka. However, farmers and people who uncovered the arsenal at Masaka consistently deny the French commission picture as being authentic.
The confusion between the types of missile is important because the Ugandan army, the established arm suppliers of the RPF, did not have any type SAM-16, and had only type SAM-7. Although all evidence, witnesses and inscriptions, point to the fact that the missiles fired were type SAM-7, Professor Reyntjens maintains that the missiles were type SAM-16, and uses this evidence to exonerate the RPF of the assassination: " the missiles belonging to the RPF, were coming most probably from the Ugandan Army inventory; however, the latter has only SAM-7, and not SAM-16, most likely utilized to shoot down the plane." Another writer, Colette Braeckman, also ignores witnesses and serial inscriptions to draw her own conclusions about the type of missile used: "Regarding, the assassination attempt itself, it was confirmed that it was a well prepared military operation, carried out by specialists of high flights and that the arsenal used has probably been a mobile SAM missile of serial Strela." Both conclusions are not factually based, and are used to exonerate the RPF from the assassination of President Habyarimana.
The confusion used in shooting down the presidential jet still persists. It runs a risk of misleading any future investigation. One would maintain that only a logical fact-finding mission, based on eyewitness accounts, and the inscriptions recorded, conducted by ballistic experts, should be able to draw conclusive results.
6.- Possible Suspects
Professor Reyntjens, the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise, and the Belgian Parliamentarian Commission for Rwanda all investigated the assassination, and all developed lists of who could be behind the shooting down of the presidential jet. Each developed a list of suspected groups who could have the motive to get rid of Habyarimana. While the wording of each is different, the groups are fundamentally the same. The four possible suspects are:
1.- The Burundese connection;
2.- Moderate opposition; the democratic coup that went horribly wrong, possibly with the help of the RPF;
3.- Hutu extremists from the former Rwandan regime, working with the army, and possibly the help of French operators;
4.- The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), with assistance from the Belgian military
Each investigation leans more heavily on various information, and none succeeds in coming to a convincing conclusion. The result of these investigations is a sense of further confusion. At this point, it is important to take a step further by putting all these hypotheses together and to proceed by eliminating improbable hypotheses that are essentially misleading.
6.1 The Burundese Connection:
Regional experts, as well as both commissions quoted above, have disqualified the Burundian lead. We think that their analysis and results are absolutely correct.
6.2 The Moderate Opposition:
No one among the moderate opposition has yet demonstrated motivation or technical ability to conduct such an operation. Furthermore, key players in the opposition, such as Mr. Faustin Twagiramungu, the designated Prime Minister, have expressed their strong views regarding the assassination issue. Regarding the possibility of a conspiracy between the RPF and the opposition, the latter would almost certainly have been led by the RPF and not the other way around. This would lead us back to hypothesis #4, which shall be reviewed shortly.
If we eliminate the first two hypotheses, we are left with two main possibilities: the Hutu "extremists", and the RPF. These are the two main leads upon which most opinions tend to agree. In investigating which of these groups may have done the assassination, the most relevant questions to be asked are: "Who benefits from the crime?", and "Who had the means to carry out the assassination?". In other words, it is important to determine who had the means and the motive.
6.3 Hutu "Extremists" from the former Rwandan Government:
Did the closest people to President Habyarimana have any interest to kill him? Nothing is sure. Detractors of Habyarimana and his entourage seem to believe that his closest allies, who wanted to remain in power, because they feared losing their privileges, may have killed him. Was the death of Habyarimana itself a guaranty to remain in power and keep their privileges? Their detractors believe the answer is yes. The President supporters affirm that Habyarimana had given up many concessions that Hutu extremists, as well as his closest people, could neither accept nor tolerate. According to this analysis, Habyarimana was killed to avoid handing the power to the RPF.
This hypothesis is not supported by the facts and chain of events before and after the signature of Arusha peace accord. In fact, the alliance between RPF and the Democratic Forces for Change (DFC) had been severely damaged after many confrontations, mostly resulting from the hegemonic behavior of the RPF that had reached its critical phase after the 1993 offensive. A large number of people from the DFC had come to believe that the main goal of the RPF was essentially using DFC as a stepping-stone to achieve its objective of gaining total political power. The great majority of the opposition had then switched their alliance. This did not depend on Habyarimana. Therefore, to assassinate Habyarimana, in these conditions, was not in the interest of the RPF's opponents.
Furthermore, many observers have noted that those so-called "Hutu extremists", both civilian and military, were not ready to take power. In fact, the assassination of President Habyarimana seems to have taken them by surprise, as most of them were seeking refuge from day one after the assassination. Some went to the French Embassy to be evacuated overseas, while others chose to hide in their homes under army and police protection, anxiously waiting for the next news and events highlights. No organized group emerged to take control of the situation and hence benefit from the sudden power vacuum. It is apparent that no plan was in place, even though rumors about the President's assassination had circulated for sometime before the actual event. Surely, if this group had orchestrated the assassination, indicators after the event would show a certain level of preparedness on their part. Instead, all indications point to the fact that they were caught by surprise.
An objective analysis does not lead one to think that Habyarimana's closest people, or Hutus that western media call "extremists", had any interest to loose a leader who obviously was in a position to better challenge RPF, and had good chances of winning the presidential election that was supposed to take place at the end of the transitional period. No other political figure had emerged as a potential replacement of President Juvenal Habyarimana in case he disappeared or was prevented from participating in the elections. There were various political wings among Hutus for whom coming up with a consensus on one leader was a distant dream. In any case for MRND supporters, Habyarimana was the charismatic figure with who winning presidential elections was an almost-guaranteed outcome. No one then could have foreseen any successful short-term political future without Habyarimana. His relatives and his closest entourage did not have any guarantee of keeping their power and privileges in case of the President death, or even if one of their own replaced him. The motive for this group appears to be very flimsy.
The means to organize and conduct this operation also seem to have been limited for this particular group. The Rwandan army did not have the means to conduct such an operation. Its key leaders were either killed or out of the country. The Defense Minister, as well as the bureau chief of the military intelligence, was in Cameroon; the army chief of staff was on the peace mission trip with the President, and hence perished in the same crash; the chief of military operations at the army headquarters was on a long term assignment in Egypt; and the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie was himself on vacation. Who could then have prepared this coup of force besides the army and police? No organized group has shown the capacity in the past for conducting an operation such as the one that killed Habyarimana.
Also important, in looking at who might be behind the assassination, is the summit that Habyarimana had attended directly prior to his assassination. The last minute change of agenda, location and timing are suspicious enough, that one wants to look at who had the opportunity in this meeting. The group labeled today as Hutu extremists did not have the control or the means to determine the date or location for the summit, and their participation in the meeting itself only lasted one day. Also out of the control of the "Hutu extremists", was the fact that President Museveni of Uganda, openly allied with the RPF, influenced the events of the day by arriving late, and slowing down the proceedings. Nor would they have influenced Tanzania's President to refuse hospitality to Habyarimana, and then to seize the two smaller planes traveling with him, and not return them until the RPF was in power.
Another point that needs to be underlined is the fact that advocates of the
"Hutu extremist" hypothesis do not show how the assassins could have had the technical expertise required to shoot down the Presidential plane. The missiles that shot down the plane were unknown to the Rwandan army and none of the military personnel had prior knowledge of how to manipulate such an arsenal. Needless to say, the civilians were not capable of conducting that operation. The report of the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise leads one to believe that there were some missiles found by the RPF, when they defeated the Rwandan army, that had never been utilized. This implies that the Rwandan army may have used missiles to shoot down the presidential plane. However, the mission only speculates from ambiguous, sometimes contradictory information provided by the French intelligence. No one from Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise has seen those missiles. No personnel from the Rwandan Army were trained to use these missiles. But detractors of the Rwandan Army and Hutus opposed to the RPF, affirm that mercenaries may have used these missiles. Findings show that there is no evidence of the presence of mercenaries in Rwanda. The idea was brought up by Colette Braeckman, and has not been taken seriously by objective observers.
Lastly, it is important to highlight the fact that if this group wanted to assassinate the President, they would not have had to take such a drastic approach as shooting his plane, because they were close to him, and had access to him. They could have used many available opportunities to assassinate him in such a way as to take the RPF by surprise and prevent them from reacting as quickly to the assassination as they did with his airplane crash.
It appears clear that no objective element works in favor of the thesis of the assassination of President Habyarimana by Hutu extremists, either civilian or military. They did not have a logical motive, they did not have the means, and they did not benefit from the death of the president.
6.4 The Rwandan Patriotic Front, with assistance from its foreign allies
We have now shown that the assassination was probably not carried out by any of the first three possible groups listed by the French and the Belgian commissions. This leads to the last possibility: the RPF. Did they have the motive and the means to carry out such an act? Did they benefit from the assassination? Is there any evidence that would lead one to conclude that is was indeed the RPF who shot down the plane? These questions are crucial when investigating their possible involvement.
6.4.1 Motive:
Some people state that RPF did not have the motive to assassinate Habyarimana because the Arusha accord was already going to give them a percentage of parliamentary seats that was highly disproportionate to its national political representation. However, while the Arusha accord did give the RPF some power, it did not give them all the power. If the Arusha accord were allowed to be implemented, the RPF would be virtually guaranteed that the Tutsi minority would never have a chance to monopolize the political power as it did before 1959. It is well documented that many among the RPF supporters felt that as the traditional rulers of Rwanda, they should not settle for power sharing. Their goal was 100% control. Therefore, if Habyarimana has been allowed to complete the transition period as stated in the Arusha accord, they would never have realized their goal. But if he were prevented from implementing it, they might have an opportunity. Particularly if he were prevented in such a way as to disrupt the stability of the country and allow them the opportunity to gain control. This presents a very strong motive to assassinate the president.
Compounding this motivation was the fact that the RPF had worked with other opposition groups, such as MDR and PL, to gain influence and to control a larger block of seats in parliament. However, these groups had begun to suspect that they were being misled, and saw signs which hinted to the real RPF intention: gaining full political power. These suspicions led to scissions between the RPF and within these opposition parties. With the assistance of these political parties, the RPF could have controlled 30% of the seats in parliament, but without them, its influence had greatly waned. This prospect of loosing control could further have motivated the RPF to make a last desperate grab for before the Arusha Peace Accord could have fully been implemented.
6.4.2 The plan to remove Habyarimana:
Despite statements to the contrary, after the signing of the Arusha accord, the RPF realized that their time was limited, and that they had to move quickly to oust Habyarimana. After concluding on the necessity to remove Habyarimana, the RPF decided on the means to conduct the despicable act. Reliable sources indicate that since November 1993, there was a "death squad" in Kigali with instructions to eliminate the President as well as some high ranking officers and civil servants.
Four important politicians within the government were assassinated within a few months of the signing of the Accord. As well, there were several aborted attempts to assassinate Habyarimana during this period. These attempts were prevented due to the vigilance of the Presidential guards. It is apparently after the death squad failed to carry out the assassination of the President, that the plan to shoot the presidential jet was devised.
6.4.3 The means to shoot the Presidential plane:
On January 5, 1994, intelligence sources received a report that the RPF battalion in Kigali, due to lack of vigilance by the UN Belgian contingent, had enough reinforcement personnel in the battalion as well as an arsenal of heavy weapons that far exceeded the limit agreed upon in the Arusha Accord. Reports included the existence of a missile SAM-7 being held by this battalion. It is also known that the RPF had trained personnel who had the technical capacity to use missiles. Finally, they had, through their unorthodox protests, managed to arrange a flight path that conveniently approached Kigali by passing a remote hillside.
As well as having the military supplies and technical capabilities, the RPF also had influence with Uganda's President Museveni. He was indebted to them for their assistance in his rise to power, and yet would surely have been uncomfortable with this foreign military force based on his soil. It was in his interest to return the "favor" and to get the RPF out of his own country. Museveni was key in organizing the conference, and was directly responsible for the late closing. He could easily have deliberately assisted in the last minute changes of location and in the refusal of Tanzania's President to grant Habyarimana hospitality for the night. It is interesting to remember that the day following the assassination, he implied his involvement by stating publicly; "Something had to be done".
Finally, the RPF had a clear plan that night. The RPF headquarters in Mulindi were informed immediately, almost simultaneously, of Habyarimana's death. They had extra troops and ammunitions on hand. The battalion within Kigali and in Northern Rwanda immediately began an offensive attack. Unlike the Hutu "extremists", the RPF did not appear scattered, and taken by surprise. An army with an estimated 20,000 soldiers moved in with rapid efficiency. The chaos sparked that night ultimately enabled the RPF to have an excuse to resume the war.
7.- The Investigation
7.1 The Interim Government (April 9, 1994 to July 14, 1994):
From its investiture, the interim government, led by Jean Kambanda, Prime Minister, contacted UNAMIR insisting on the imperative necessity of conducting an independent international investigation in order to determine clearly the circumstances surrounding the shoot down of President Habyarimana's airplain, which led to the death of two Heads of state, Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, as well as about ten of their close advisers.
The verbal request was followed by a letter dated May 2, 1994, addressed to the Prime Minister of the Interim Government from General Romeo Dallaire, Commander of the UNAMIR, confirming the UNAMIR's disposition to "set up an international Commission of Inquiry". In the same letter, Gen. Dallaire asked the Prime Minister to name countries the Rwandan government would wish to include in that Commission as well as to eventual modalities. In his letter dated May 7, 1994, the Prime Minister of the Interim Government replied to General Dallaire to whom he forwarded all the requested information. This correspondence did not have any follow up.
It is important to note that without international assistance, the interim government did not have any experts capable of conducting such investigation. In addition, the inquiry needed to be independent. Finally, it is worth noting that the RPF suddenly resumed the war. Therefore it was almost impossible for the Interim Government to conduct even a preliminary investigation. Only an independent commission with security guarantees from both warring parties would have been able to conduct such an investigation.
7.2 RPF Government (July 19, 1994 to this day)
Once in power, there was never a move on the part of the RPF to investigate the assassination of the Presidential jet. They have stated on many occasions that they believe the culprits are members of the rwandan armed forces (RAF), with the complicity of Habyarimana's entourage, being assisted by the French military or mercenaries. One would assume that if their enemies, the "extremist" Hutus, had done this act, that the RPF would have been only too eager to uncover evidence to prove their guilt. This would also justify RPF holding on power without being democratically elected. Instead, when the new minister of justice (a Hutu), Alphonse-Marie Nkubito, tried to set up an investigation, he was surprised to find out that the new government was opposed to investigating the assassination.
Even if, for the sake of discussion, one admits that the investigation was not a priority for a government made of people who wanted for a long time to remove President Habyarimana, it is difficult to understand after five years why no action has been taken to elucidate the circumstances surrounding the death of the heads of state of two countries. Instead, high-ranking authorities of the present Rwandan administration have relentlessly engaged in destroying all evidence of the investigation requested by the government of Burundi.
When the government of Burundi officially asked the new Rwandan government to investigate the death of President Cyprien Ntaryamira (who was also on the plane), the President and Vice-President's office of the Republic of Rwanda reacted by assigning the Justice minister, Mr. Nkubito, to send a letter to the special representative of the United Nations, Mr. Shahiyaar Khan, requesting UN intervention. It appears that the RPF not only had the means, motive, and opportunity to carry out this assassination, they also seem to have some motivation for not pushing for an independent inquiry. It should be noted, that Hutu "extremists" and those close to the former regime, have requested an investigation, desiring to be cleared of any involvement in the shooting down of the President's plane. These requests have all been turned down.
7.3 United Nations Organization:
In his letter dated May 2, 1994, General Dallaire gave hope to the Rwandan Interim Government that an international investigation on the conspiracy against President Habyarimana's jet would soon take place. However, the same general refused the offer made as early as April 7, 1994 for a preliminary investigation. He responded that he would require an American opinion first.
The hope raised by the May 2 1994 letter has for long since vanished because no investigation has been set up by the UN. The Security Council, in a limited request, asked the Secretary General, to "collect all information relevant to the affair by all means at his disposal." Nevertheless, despite the reminder, the request was never carried out.
Furthermore, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), set up by the United Nations on November 8, 1994, has not yet investigated the assassination of President Habyarimana. Since the president death triggered the chaos that followed, it would seem crucial to determine who was behind this tragic event that sparked the horrible violations of the international humanitarian law that this Tribunal has the mandate to investigate.
7.4 Organization of African Unity (OAU):
The Organization of African Unity, under the leadership of its Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim, friend of Uganda's President Museveni, the most important supporter of RPF in its war against the former Rwandan government, has supported the Tutsi rebellion since October 1990. The OAU has never denounced the assassinations of Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntalyamira of Burundi, or even offered its condolences to their families and to the Interim Government.
The OAU set up a commission to look into the causes and the consequences of the 1994 rwandan tragic events. The commission was headed by the former President of Botswana M. Keturnile Masire, Chairman of the Commission. The latter declared that the Commission would not change anything which has been said on these events but would rather draw lessons aimed at avoiding such tragedies in the future. However, it is clear that this Commission had no intention to investigate the assassination of President Habyarimana. The Commission did not seem to be interested in the truth which might have been uncovered by an independent investigation. It appeared to prefer to rely on accounts made by the supporters of the current government of Rwanda. This leaves the impression that the OAU wants to cover up a number of identities and countries involved in this conspiracy.
7.5 The Belgian Government:
One would think that the Belgian government would be interested in this investigation in order to find proof which refutes the accusations of complicity made by RPF towards Belgian soldiers who were part of the UNAMIR contingent. However, no official move has ever been made to remove suspicion of Belgian involvement.
The Commission of the Belgian Senate did not choose to investigate the implication of Lieutenant Lotin and his team. The latter, as mentioned above, carried out an unauthorized mission in Kagera National Park, escorting RPF members for a purpose that has not yet been clarified. This mission happened to return at the same time that the Presidential jet was shot down, and also happened to be in the location from which the fatal missile was fired. These coincidences cast a strong shadow of suspicion upon the Belgian's involvement. However, the parliamentary commission would not clarify contradictory information regarding the number of Belgian peacekeepers killed in Camp Kigali (army barracks) April 7, 1994. Some of the witnesses who appeared before the Commission mentioned a number of 10, others 11, while others report the accurate figure of 16 bodies of peacekeepers, including 2 Moroccans, whose autopsies were made in Nairobi. Analysts are of the opinion that among the slain peacekeepers were mercenaries hired to assassinate President Habyarimana. Their identities have never been disclosed.
Finally, The Commission of Belgian Senate has not explained why there was a C130 Belgian Hercules equipped with an anti-missile warning system that followed the presidential jet on its fatal flight.
7.6 The French Government:
France lost three citizens due to the assassination of the President of Rwanda, but seems to have adopted a "wait and see" attitude. Right after the tragic event, the French army offered to investigate the downing of the presidential jet but General Dallaire declined and said that he would refer the matter to the Americans first. However, nothing indicates that the Government of France ever officially requested that investigation. It appears that the French government was waiting for the UN initiative. France has not even asked the Secretary General what steps he has taken to comply with the Security Council instructions on this matter.
7.7 The American Government:
The American government has not expressed any intention to seek an investigation into this tragic event. Some analysts imply that the American government was behind the scenes to prevent any initiative that could lead to an independent investigation of this matter. These analysts are of the opinion that if the US wanted an investigation, it would have taken place long time ago, either under the UN or under the auspice of an independent international commission. Of course, as the only world superpower, the US could assert great influence on the new government in Kigali to co-operate with an independent investigation if they chose to do so.
7.8 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):
Through the United Nations and UNAMIR, the Interim Government had officially asked the ICAO to conduct an investigation. This matter was then placed on the agenda of April 25, 1994 but no investigation was ever initiated. In its letter dated March 28, 1996 to the Regional Representative of the ICAO, the RPF government has only requested an inquiry limited to the presidential jet.
The Organization has never shown an interest in this matter, although this event is covered the IOAC mandate. No information is available that the Organization ever acted on the RPF government request. One gets the impression that either the IACO does not want to be involved in such a highly political issue, or that it has been secretly prevented from taking any action. It therefore appears that all the involved governments were not interested in the investigation, with the exception of the Interim Government, headed by Jean Kambanda.
8.- Call for an Independent Investigation
8.1 The trigger event of the Rwandan Tragedy:
Analysts are unanimous in consider the assassination of President Habyarimana to be the event which sparked the massacres and the resumption of the war.
The UN Special Reporter, René Degni Segui, was the first to mention this in his preliminary report dated June 28, 1994. This statement was not revised in subsequent reports. In its preliminary report, the Special Reporter says; "the accident of April 6, 1994 which killed the President of Republic of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana, seems to be the immediate cause of painful and dramatic events the country is going through right now." Further in the same report, he added; "the attack against the presidential jet has to be investigated by the Special Reporter as long as there might be collusion between the assassination instigators and the perpetrators of the massacres". However, he did not conduct any investigation before his removal as the UN Special Reporter for Rwanda. He was reassigned at the insistence of the RPF government that found him too critical.
In their report, the UN experts have also noted that "this catastrophe has triggered planned violations of human rights..." They did not make any effort to uncover the assassins of the Presidents who would therefore be linked to the massacres.
According to Filip Reyntjens " it was extremely important for us to determine who shot down the president Habyarimana's plane that was the spark that set off the flame of genocide and sent Rwanda spiraling into the whole impasse the country found itself today." According to Guichaoua "...the downing of the presidential jet ... is certainly a decisive action which, from that moment, sparked the next dramatic events as things unfolded... and I think whoever took the initiative led the country into tragedy .."
Other observers think that without President Habyarimana's assassination, it would have been difficult to find an excuse to carry out massacres of that scale and to resume the war. The spirit of the Arusha Agreement would have prevailed without the assassination. Most Rwandans, whether close to the opposition or the supporters of the late President, are in agreement on this point. Only RPF supporters favor the thesis of a planned genocide by Hutus, although even they recognize that the assassination of the President triggered the massacres. It is therefore imperative to investigate the events surrounding this assassination, since it surely has something to do with the massacres.
8.2 Need for Justice and Fairness
It is absolutely necessary to conduct an investigation into the downing of President Habyarimana's plane for two reasons; first, in order to have justice for the victims of the massacres, and secondly, to uncover the real assassins which will vindicate those who are currently wrongfully accused of committing this crime. All Hutus who oppose the RPF have been labeled "genociders", and subsequently hunted down by the RPF government in Kigali and its allies.
After the RPF victory, the Rwandan prisons were rapidly overpopulated, and other detention centers were improvised in public buildings such as schools, communal offices, centers which were previously devoted to development initiatives. Even tents provided by humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) serve as corrections facilities.
It looks like that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been set up to try Hutus only, while Tutsis, especially RPF members, who have been accused of similar crimes have not been indicted. It is important to note that the ICTR has not found it relevant to conduct a full investigation of the assassination, and has chosen, rather, to endorse the RPF version of events. The RPF maintains that Hutu "extremists", and those close to Habyarimana, planned and carried out the President's assassination and subsequent massacres. It is our hope that this paper has shed some doubt on the RPF version of events, and that the reader is compelled to actively search for the truth, rather than accepting, at face value, the story that has been widespread in the international media.
9.- Conclusions
In conclusion, we know that the shooting down of the plane triggered widespread chaos and bloodshed throughout Rwanda. Tragically, huge numbers of civilian Tutsis, with no affiliation to the RPF, were killed in the wave of panic and hatred that swept the country. Also, and not acknowledged, huge numbers of Hutu civilians were killed as the RPF gained control of each region. The Hutu massacres continued in the "safety" of the refugee camps and continue within Rwanda to this day. There is no question that countless civilians have been massacred by both sides of this civil war. The questions that are outstanding are; Was this war planned? Was there a planned genocide? And, who was behind killing the President and subsequently triggering these maasacres at great scale and resuming the war? The key to answering these questions lies in discovering the perpetrators of the Presidential assassination. Without an independent investigation into these facts, there can be no truth and reconciliation within Rwanda. This investigation could be organized either under the UN or under any other neutral international body.
10.- Abbreviations
ANT : Assemblee Nationale de Transition
RPA: Rwandan Patriotic Army
AR: Armee Rwandaise (rwandan armed forces)
CDR Coalition pour la Defense de la Democratie
ICRC International Committee of Red Cross
CND Conseil National pour le Developpement (National Assembly)
HQ Headquarter of the Armed Forces
EM-AR Etat Major de l'Armee Rwandaise
EM-Gdn Etat Major de la Gendarmerie
ESM Military Academy
FAR Rwandan Armed Forces
DFC Democratic Forces for Change
RPF Rwandan Patriotic Front
KIBAT Kigali Battalion (Belgian Contingent of the MINUAR)
MDR Republican Democratic Movement
MINADET Ministry of Defense
MINUAR United Nations Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)
MRND Mouvement Republicain National pour la Democratie et le Developpement
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
UNO United Nations Organization
OAU Organization of African Unity
PDC Parti Democrate Chretien
PL Parti Liberal
UNDP United Nations Development Program
PSD Parti Social Democrate
RTLM Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines
ICTR International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
USA United States of America

source: Introduction
 

Gama

JF-Expert Member
Jan 9, 2010
11,252
2,000
Huu utafiti ni fake. Wasaidizi was PK wanakili RPF kuhusika Moja kwa Moja na ulipuaji wa ndege, huyu anayekanusha ni Nani?
 

Ngongo

JF-Expert Member
Sep 20, 2008
13,909
2,000
Nilisema tangu mwanzo kuiingiza Rwanda EAC ni majanga bado kuna mijitu iko CDM haione shida kuitetea serekali ya Kagame.
 

Commanche

JF-Expert Member
Dec 21, 2012
1,168
0
"In the wave of panic and hatred that swept the country" brother please! As if there were no deliberate persecution against Tutsi before the plane went down. This article is full of genocidaire propaganda trying to pin everything to the RPF. The author is confused and overtly biased. The piece is full of fabrications, hearsay and contradictions. At one point he claims the SAM was Russian but qoutes English inscriptions on the missiles or "shells"? If he knew anything about the military he would know that Russian weapons back then had Russian inscriptions. Habyarimana's plane was brought down by a Mistral missile given to FAR by the French (20 missiles were given to FAR) and were fired from FAR controlled areas. This nonsense of accusing the RPA of smuggling arms into the parlie building is also another fabrication. He even accuses Tanzania of complicity in the downing of the plane and that Dr Salim had a hand in this due to his supposed friendship with Pres Museveni, what a bunch of lies! This article is nothing short of marlakey.
 

murutongore

JF-Expert Member
Jun 29, 2013
2,043
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cc:mad:murutongore.

Memorandum on the 1994 Assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, President of the Republic of Rwanda

Félicien Kanyamibwa, Ph.D.
In collaboration with Organization for Peace, Justice and Development in Rwanda (OPJDR)
December 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.- Introduction
2.- History
3.- Climate – Spring 1994
3.1 Burundi


    1. Uganda
    2. Invasion of Rwanda3.3 Assassinations in Rwanda
    3. The Arusha Accord
    4. Warning Signs
      1. The RPF Battalion
      2. The RPF and the air traffic Corridor
      3. Meeting of the final preparation
      4. Delay Tactics
      5. Dallaire's Question
      6. Regional Summit of Heads of State on Burundi


4.- The Missile Attack on President Habyalimana's Plane
4.1 The Night of the Assassination
4.2 Different Reactions after the Assassination
4.2.1 Inside Rwanda
4.2.2 Rwandan Patriotic Front
4.2.3 UNAMIR
4.2.4 President Museveni and His Army
4.2.5 The Tanzanian Government
4.2.6 Government of Burundi
5.- Regarding the Arsenals Used to Shoot Down the Plane
6. Possible Suspects
6.1 The Burundese Connection
6.2 The Moderate Opposition
6.3 Hutu "Extremists" from the Former Rwandan Government
6.4 The Rwandan Patriotic Front, with Assistance from its Foreign Allies


      1. Motive
      2. The Plan to Remove Habyiramana
      3. The Means to Shoot the Presidential Plane

7.- The Investigation


    1. The Interim Government
    2. The RPF Government
    3. The United Nations Organizations
    4. Organization of African Unity
    5. The Belgian Government
    6. The French Government
    7. The American Government
    8. International Civil Aviation Organization

8.- Call for an Independent Investigation


    1. The Trigger Event of the Rwandan Tragedy
    2. Need for Justice and Fairness

9.- Conclusions
10.- Abbreviations
1.- Introduction
In April of 1994, the small, central African country of Rwanda broke out into an uncontrollable civil war when hostile missiles shot down its president's airplane. The chaos that followed created headlines around the world throughout that summer. The world was stunned by the violence perpetuated by what the media consistently referred to as normally peaceful people. Because the shooting of the plane was the trigger that spiraled Rwanda into chaos and civil war, in order to understand what happened, it is important to know who triggered these events, and why. However, there has been no investigation conducted by the UN to uncover the identity of the perpetuators of the sabotage of the presidential plane. In order to pursue peace and reconciliation in Rwanda, those who shot down the plane must be revealed and held accountable.
2.- History
In order to understand the significance of the events surrounding the downing of President Habyarimana's airplane on April 6, 1994, it is crucial to have at least a fundamental understanding of Rwanda's history. Rwanda's population traditionally consisted of 85% Hutu, 10% Tutsi, and 5% Twa. For nearly four hundred years, Tutsis, members of the minority ethnic group, headed by a Mwami (king) ruled the majority of the Hutu ethnic group. The Hutus were treated as "peasants", and did all of the manual work. Colonialists (Germany and later Belgium) accepted the status quo, and did not try to change the fundamental structure of Rwandan society. In early fifties, Hutus began demanding a better representation in the governing institutions. This led subsequently to the 1959 social revolution which was accompanied by fighting between the two ethnic groups. Consequently, an estimated 100,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries including Burundi, Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania. Bloodshed and violence was rampant during this period. In 1962, Rwanda became independent under their new president, Gregoire Kayibanda. The latter was member of the Hutu ethnic group. For the first time, Hutus were permitted to obtain secondary and post-secondary education.
In 1973, a coup established Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana as the new president Habyarimana who started a relatively peaceful era. Under his rule,Tutsis enjoyed peace and economical prosperity. It should be noted though, that Habyarimana did not allow those Tutsis who had fled during the wake of 1959 social revolution to return massively to Rwanda. The reason put forward was that the country was too small to accommodate such massive return. In fact, Rwanda is one of the most overpopulated countries in the world. However, this created tension, and those exiled Tutsis felt, perhaps justifiably, that they should have had the right to return to their homeland. Meanwhile within Rwanda, ordinary Hutus and Tutsis went to school together, went to church together, worked side by side, and helped build up an infrastructure that was the envy of that whole region of Africa.
3.- Climate - Spring 1994
In the spring of 1994, when Habyarimana's plane was shot down, things had become very tense. The peace, which the country enjoyed since 1973, had become increasingly fragile, and, by April, Rwanda was like a tinder-box into which the deliberate death of the president was like someone throwing a match. In order to understand what had created these new conditions, it is important to look at the political climate of the time, and at what had taken place in the years prior to 1994.
3.1 Burundi:
Events in neighboring Burundi undermined Hutu/Tutsi relations in Rwanda. Burundi has a similar ethnic makeup as Rwanda, with 10% Tutsi and 90% Hutu. Burundi gained its independence in 1962, but was mostly ruled by a military republic. They were not able to achieve peace between the two tribes. During the 1970's there were thousands of Hutu deaths, and again, after a military coup in 1987, there were more serious ethnic clashes. An example of this, is that in 1972 and 1988, Tutsi soldiers in Burundi's Tutsi dominated army, went into the public schools, separated the children by tribe, and massacred all of the Hutu children in each school that they visited. In 1993, the first democratically elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, was elected in Burundi. However, in October, 1993, he was assassinated by the monoethnic Tutsi army. This assassination was regarded by Hutus in Rwanda as a clear indication that the Tutsi minority in Burundi had the intention of preventing democracy there. Rwandan Hutus did not only have to look to the past to remember the oppressive rule of the minority Tutsi tribe, they only had to look at their neighbor to the South to see and fear the oppression which they had escaped in 1959.
3.2 Uganda:
The exiled Tutsi's whom Habyarimana had not permitted to return to Rwanda, had largely established themselves in Uganda, the country to the north of Rwanda. They had helped Uganda's current president, Yoweri Museveni, depose Present Okello in 1986. President Museveni was then in the position of owing this group a favor. This group was mostly composed of Tutsis who fled Rwanda after the 1959 social revolution. This group of Tutsis in Uganda formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and, on October 1, 1990, invaded Rwanda across the northern border, killing and torturing men, women and children who lived in villages along that border.
3.3 Invasion of Rwanda:
As mentioned above, the exiled tutsis who formed the bulk of President Museveni's army invaded Rwanda on October 1, 1990. Members of the RPF used Uganda as a base from which they launched all their attacks on Rwanda. These raids were notorious for their carnage and cruelty. By 1993, there were an estimated one million Hutu villagers fleeing these Ugandan-based raids by fleeing towards the interior of Rwanda. At that time, the population of Rwanda was approximately seven million. This means that, in the spring of 1994, one in seven people in Rwanda were refugees in their own country. Western media predicted a widespread famine in Rwanda that year due to this large displaced population. This too, of course, created tension in Rwanda, particularly in the northern area, where the RPF was attacking from, and where, as a consequence, there was increasing tension between the local Hutus and Tutsis.
3.4 Assassinations in Rwanda:
-In 1993, Emmanuel Gapyisi, a member of the political bureau of MDR, President of MDR in Gikongoro, and an active member of a group called "Forum Paix et Democratie" was assassinated.
-The same year, Fidele Rwambuka, a member of the National Committee of the Republican National Movement ofr Democracy and Development (MRND), was also assassinated.
-On February 21, 1994, Felicien Gatabazi, who was both the Executive Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and a member of the Rwandan coalition government, was gunned down at the entrance of his house.
-The following day, February 22, 1994, Martin Bucyana, the President of the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) was assassinated in Butare. There were strong presumptions among the public that these political assassinations were committed by the RPF. It is a well known fact that all of these hutu leaders had been opposed to the RPF and committed to the victory of democracy and republican ideals. There were strong presumptions among the public that these Hutu leaders were killed by RPF death squads. Their murders exacerbated differences among political parties, and added to the mistrust
and tension throughout the country.
3.5 The Arusha Accord:
In order to come to a lasting peace, President Habyarimana negotiated a peace accord with the RPF and various factions of his government. This accord guaranteed the Tutsi minority a percentage of seats in government within a power sharing arrangement in running the government. It was controversial, because many Hutus felt that Habyarimana had given too much to the 10% minority, while members of the RPF did not desire the full implementation of the agreement because it guaranteed that they would never have the total control on the governmental affairs. The UN sent on November 1, 1993 a mission to Rwanda known as the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), to assist in the transition.
3.5 Warning Signs
A document called "Environnement actuel et avenir de l'organisation" outlines an apparent scenario designed by RPF ideologues and strategists shortly after the signing of the Arusha accord. The plan was to evict Habyarimana within nine months. A review of the events following the signing of the agreement seems to support the existence of a calculated intention to oust Habyarimana.
3.5.1 The RPF Battalion:
On July 20, 1993 in Kinihira, the RPF had requested and obtained the installation of a battalion in the capital, Kigali. The purpose of this battalion of 600 soldiers was theoretically to protect RPF officials. This battalion was housed in the building of the National Council for Development (CND), the Rwandan National Assembly, a strategic site in the center of Kigali. The RPF requested that all supplies (even wood) be brought in from Mulindi (territory under RPF occupation). When supplies were coming from Mulindi, the RPF refused to submit to control at the check point of the territory controlled by the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). Security feared that they could be bringing in extra weapons and soldiers, but were unable to prevent it without the cooperation of the RPF. The Belgian contingent of UNAMIR in charge of escorting these convoys supported the RPF's refusal to be checked. The matter was brought to the attention of the commander of the UNAMIR, General Dallaire, but nothing was done about it.
Later events would confirm that those convoys had indeed helped in smuggling military equipment and additional reinforcement to the RPF battalion in Kigali, and that the battalion itself had played the role of a Trojan horse. Evidence strongly points to the fact that these supply convoys probably brought in the missiles used to shoot down the presidential plane. General Dallaire was apparently informed about the existence of these missiles, but did nothing about them.
3.5.2 RPF and the air traffic corridor:
In January 1994, the RPF requested that landing approach and take-off at Kanombe International Airport be prohibited from the downtown corridor of Kigali. It argued that airplanes using this corridor were flying over its military contingent, and therefore, its security was at risk. In a bold pressure tactic on the government, the RPF battalion housed in CND actually shot at a Belgian transport airplane, a C130 Hercules, approaching Kanombe International Airport from downtown Kigali. The plane was not hit. Although this action clearly contravened the Arusha Peace Accord, The UNAMIR intervened and pressured the Rwandan government to yield to the RPF request. Finally, the government gave in and agreed to change the permitted flight approach to the airport.
In retrospect, it appears that this was a tactical move to make it more possible to shoot down the presidential airplane three months later. It was now possible to shoot at the plane from one side, Masaka, a rural, covered area with little control.
3.5.3 Meeting of the final preparation:
It is reported that in March 1994, RPF strategists met in Bobo-Diuolasso, Burkina Faso. Manzi Bakuramutsa, an employee of the UN Development Program (UNDP), a Zairian citizen at the time, arranged the meeting. During this high level meeting, the last details of the plan to physically eliminate President Habyarimana were agreed upon. After its victory, the RPF appointed Manzi Bakuramutsa ambassador of Rwanda to the UN. He later served as ambassador to Belgium. Today, he is ambassador to Israel.
3.5.4 Delay Tactics:
On March 25, the RPF refused to attend the inauguration ceremony of the remaining institutions of the transition. Delays and refusal to cooperate with the implementation of the Arusha accord followed. Arguing over candidates of other political parties, on grounds that could not be supported by the Arusha Accord, they significantly delayed the implementation of the peace accord. Ntaribi Kamanzi recalls this situation in his book mentioned earlier. He says that when western diplomats based in Kigali went to Mulindi, the RPF headquarters, in March 1994 to try to persuade the RPF to change its position, a western diplomat expressed to them his disappointment at their refusal to cooperate.
While these delays and "foot-dragging" do not in themselves appear significant, they can be seen as important when viewed from a historical perspective. It is important to note that while there were opponents to the Arusha Accord on both sides, it was the RPF contingent that was delaying its implementation. Perhaps they believed that once the accord was successfully implemented, they would have no justification in the international forum to wrest the control from the current administration. A logical, tactical strategy, therefore, would be to delay and sabotage the transition long enough to gain full control of the country without international outrage at replacing a democracy with military rule. A 10% minority, of course, cannot rule by democracy.
3.5.5 Dallaire's Question:
On April 3, 1994, the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh, informed President Habyarimana that, according to diplomatic sources, the RPF planned to assassinate him. The UNAMIR was then informed of the plot to assassinate the President. The next day, two days before the assassination, during a reception at Hotel Meridien, General Dallaire asked a rather strange question of Ret. Col. Theoneste Bagosora. He asked; "Who is the designated successor to President Habyarimana?" Bagosora replied that he did not know. Although clearly warned of the plot, no apparent action was taken by General Dallaire and the UNAMIR to prevent the assassination. Dallaire merely inquired as to the successor.
3.5.6 Regional Summit of Heads of State on Burundi:
On April 6, 1994, the President went to Dar-es-Salaam for a regional summit of Heads of State on Burundi. There were many warning signs that this summit was a trap. The summit, originally called to discuss the situation in Burundi, discussed Rwanda's situation instead. Its final communiqué has not been published to this day. It was originally scheduled to be held April 5, 1994, in Arusha, and then was postponed to take place on April 6 in Dar-es-Salaam. Some of the scheduled participants did not show up for the summit. Why was the summit called, if it was not significant enough to stay on the agenda, and to publish its results? Why the changes in agenda, time, place, and participants? As it was upon flying home from this summit that President Habyarimana's plane was shot down, perhaps the answers to these questions will help shed light on that fateful assassination.
The summit ended later than previously scheduled mainly because of Uganda's President Museveni. First, he arrived in Dar-es-Salaam very late. Then, the meeting that was begun late was unusual. President Museveni slowed down the meeting using multiple and intemperate digressions. President Habyarimana and President Ntaryamira of Burundi signed the final communiqué at the airport just before embarking. They had asked to spend the night in Dar-es-Salaam, as their pilot had expressed concern for their safety on a late flight. However, President Mwinyi, their Tanzanian counterpart, had told them that no measure had been taken to have them spend the night. They had no choice but to fly home that night, later than planned, in the dark, and with concerns for their safety. Despite all of these last minute changes, out of the control of the Rwandan president, and their later than expected departure, caused in large part by Museveni, President of Uganda, their assassins were somehow expecting them, waiting in the dark, on a hillside (on the new air traffic corridor) outside Kigali.
4.- The Missile Attack on President Habyarimana's plane
4.1 The Night of the Assassination:
The airplane with a French crew took off from Dar-es-Salaam Airport at approximately 6:30 PM Kigali time, with the Rwandan and the Burundian delegations aboard.
The Rwanda delegation included:
1.- President Juvenal Habyarimana
2.- Major-General Deogratias Nsabimana, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army
3.- Ambassador Juvenal Renzaho, adviser in the President's Office
4.- Colonel Elie Sagatwa, the President's Private Secretary
5.- Doctor Emmanuel Akingeneye, the President's doctor
6.- Major Thaddee Bagaragaza
The Burundian delegation included:
1.- President Cyprien Ntaryamira
2.- Secretary Bernard Ciza
3.- Secretary Cyriaque Simbizi
The French crew included:
1.- Major Jack Heraud
2.- Colonel Jean-Pierre Minaberry
3.- Master Sergeant Jean Marie Perrine
At approximately 8:20 PM, local time, the presidential jet was shot down with missiles fired from a farm located in Masaka in the commune of Kanombe, near the Kigali-to-Kibungo highway. Of the two missiles shot, one hit the plane. By strange coincidence, the plane crashed into the courtyard of President Habyarimana's private residence. All passengers and crew died immediately.
Earlier that day, a group of soldiers, members of the Belgian contingent led by Lieutenant Lotin went to the eastern part of the country, the Akagera National Park, to escort RPF officials. This group of soldiers returned to Kigali in the evening and was given the assignment to escort Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana to Radio-Rwanda where she intended to address the nation. It is this group of soldiers who were killed in the military barrack of Kigali by mutineers on April 7, 1994.
4.2 Different Reactions After the Assassination
After the assassination, RPF propagandist and its sponsors spread a story that President Habyarimana died in an accident. General Dallaire's statement to this effect led to confusion and speculation. Dallaire knew that missiles had shot down the airplane. When RPF propagandists realized that this story would not bear up to scrutiny, they declared that the President had been killed by Hutu extremists, among them members of the Akazu (a circle of influential relatives around the President), including Habyarimana's wife. Later on, many observers acknowledged that the so-called "Hutu extremists" did not have the means or the interest in carrying out the assassination. They then suggested many possible hypotheses. An analysis of different reactions points to serious clues as to who conducted the assassination.
4.2.1 Inside Rwanda:
On April 6, 1994 around 9:15 PM Radio RTLM announced without any detail that the presidential jet had been shot down, and promised to provide further information in later broadcasts. At this time, the death of the President was not confirmed. Radio-Rwanda announced the President's death the next morning at 5:30 AM in a communiqué issued by the Ministry of Defense. In general the population of the capital reacted with anger and panic. However, some RPF sympathizers could not restrain their joy.
An impromptu meeting including officers of the army and the gendarmerie, the Ministry of Defense, the military barrack of Kigali, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, and Ret. Col. Theoneste Bagosora, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense took place at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army on April 6, 1994. The meeting started around 10:00 PM and went on through the night. General Dallaire, the UNAMIR Commander and Colonel Marchal, head of the Belgian contingent participated in this meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to take security measures to prevent possible violence, reassure the population, and preserve peace in this situation of power vacuum. After this meeting a delegation including Ret. Col. Bagosora and Colonel Rwabalinda went to meet the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh to seek his advice about how to manage the crisis. General Dallaire accompanied the delegation.
A meeting, which was suggested by Booh Booh at the US ambassador's residence, and which was supposed to include western ambassadors, General Ndindiliyimana, and Colonel Bagosora did not take place. Only the US ambassador showed up for the meeting. Others western ambassadors did not show up at the place designated for the meeting.
As agreed upon during the meeting held the night before at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army, a meeting of the heads of the Rwandan Armed Forces (the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense, military officers assigned to the headquarters of the army and the headquarters of the gendarmerie, field commanders, commanders of the barracks of the gendarmerie and the army) was held at the military academy of Kigali. General Dallaire participated in this meeting as well. This meeting set up a crisis committee with a mission to facilitate contacts with political leaders in order to fill the power vacuum created by the tragic death of the head of state and to monitor the security situation in the country.
On the same afternoon, following recommendations made by the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Roger Booh Booh, the executive committee of MRND held a meeting. The meeting had been suggested to find a replacement for the President. However, participants ran into two obstacles: the first obstacle was that the Arusha Peace Accord did not provide for a replacement of the President before the inauguration of the institutions of the transition; the second obstacle was that only an MRND convention could designate a candidate to the Presidency of the Republic. A second meeting became necessary to overcome these obstacles. This second meeting took place on April 8, 1994. Representatives from 5 political parties, members of the coalition government (MRND, MDR, PL, PSD, PDC) participated in this meeting. This meeting concluded an agreement that supplemented the Convention signed on April 16, 1992. Indeed, on April 8, 1994, Theodore Sindikubwabo, President of the National Assembly (CND) was designated President of the Republic as provided by the Constitution of June 10, 1991, and Jean Kambanda was designated Prime Minister. The Interim Government was sworn in on April 9, 1994.
4.2.2 Rwandan Patriotic Front:
Immediately after the assassination, the RPF battalion housed in CND in Kigali rejoiced and shouted "final victory". The headquarters of the RPF at Mulindi was immediately informed of the death of the President. In his book mentioned above, Ntaribi Kamanzi says that the RPF battalion housed at CND sent a message announcing the death of the President to the RPF headquarters at Mulindi around 8:30 PM, just after the assassination. The same night, in the wake of the assassination, General Kagame made a declaration of war on Radio Muhabura, the RPF radio station. Around midnight, the monitoring service of the FAR intercepted a radio message carried by the RPF radio communication network. In this message, General Kagame informed all military units of his army of the death of the President, congratulated all the military that had participated in the assassination, and put on high alert all military units.
On April 7, 1994, the RPF initiated attacks in the capital, Kigali and in northern Rwanda. The capital plunged into chaos and panic following the death of their president and the attack by the RPF. It is in this context that mutineers murdered Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and ten Belgian UNAMIR soldiers, believing them to be involved in the missile attack on the presidential jet. On the afternoon of April 7, Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) responded to RPF attacks carried out on all military fronts, and in Kigali, the capital city. The tragic civil war had then begun.
4.2.3 UNAMIR:
The group of soldiers led by Lieutenant Lotin had returned from a mission in Eastern Rwanda and was at Kanombe International Airport. It was ordered to protect Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and to escort her to Radio-Rwanda to the nation. It is important to point out that this mission had not been discussed at the meeting held at the headquarters of the Rwandan Army and in which General Dallaire had participated. Colonel Marchal confirms this information.
4.2.4: President Museveni and His Army:
On April 7, 1994, the day after the assassination, during the opening of an international conference held in Kampala, President Museveni could not conceal his satisfaction and complicity in the assassination. Speaking briefly of the death of President Habyarimana, he boasted of a mission well done these terms: "It was time to solve the matter."
It is not a secret that the Ugandan army actively participated in the major offensive and provided the RPF with logistics. Estimates say that more than 30,000 Ugandan troops participated in Rwanda's "civil" war. President Museveni himself acknowledged Ugandan army involvement at a summit held in Harare, Zimbabwe on August 9, 1998.
4.2.5 The Tanzanian Government:
When President Habyarimana left Dar-es-Salaam, Capital City of Tanzania in the evening of April 6, 1994, he left members of his delegation who were supposed to return to Kigali the next day aboard two Rwandan airplanes (a military North Atlas airplane and a Twin-Otter of Rwandan Airlines) stationed at the Dar-es-Salaam airport. Without any explanation, the Tanzanian government did not allow these airplanes to take off from the Dar-es-Salaam airport. The Rwandan delegation could not return to Kigali. These airplanes were handed over to Rwanda after the victory of the RPF. Some passengers and crew members went back to Rwanda, others went into exile.
Even though Habyarimana was assassinated as he was returning from Tanzania, the president of Tanzania did not send a message of condolences to the people of Rwanda. This looks particularly significant when one considers that it was he who denied hospitality to the President when Habyarimana had been concerned about the safety of a night flight home. Both acts are especially peculiar when one considers that they are not in line with the african tradition. One cannot help but question his involvement and motivations.
4.2.6 The Government of Burundi:
Burundi leaders' attitude towards this assassination is strange. Burundi lost its president, Cyprien Ntaryamira, and two secretaries in the airplane crash but the Burundese government reacted to this drama with indifference.
5.- Regarding the Arsenals Used to Shoot Down the Plane
After the assassination, the perpetrators left two containers of missile launchers in an embankment before vanishing. These containers were found on April 25, 1994 by internally displaced populations, who were resettling in the area (people fleeing from the violence on the Northern border), and were handed over to the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) the same day.
The FAR had no doubt that the material found on the scene of the crime was what had been used to perpetrate the assassination. Even though they were not familiar with the material, it was apparent that the missiles were made in the Soviet Union. The containers of the missile launchers had a green army Khaki color with the detailed inscriptions.
The inscriptions on the first launcher container are as follows:
9 il322-1-01
9M313-1
04-87
04835
C
LOD COMP
911519-2
3555406
The inscriptions on the second launcher container are as follows:
9 il322-1-01
9M313-1
04-87
04814
C
LOD COMP
911519-2
5945107
Engineer Lieutenant Munyaneza, a FAR officer, recorded these inscriptions. The missile launcher containers are significant because they are the only concrete evidence left by the assassins.
Despite the discovery of the arsenal used to shoot down the plane, and the detailed inscriptions being immediately recorded, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the origin and type of missile, and even whether there was indeed a missile attack at all. Despite the evidence of the wreckage and the discovered arsenal, western media persist in referring to the downing of the plane as a "mysterious plane crash". The tracing of the origin, type, and requisition of the missiles very directly implicates the perpetuators of the assassination. It is no small wonder that a great deal of misinformation has been generated around the existence and origin of the weapons used to shoot down the President's airplane.
Lieutenant Engineer Munyaneza, who studied engineering in the former USSR, was able to positively identify the arsenal discovered as missile launchers from the USSR. The Lieutenant translated and described in detail all relevant information from those arsenals in a report written on April 25, 1994. Despite this report, written less than three weeks after the shooting of the plane people have continued to create confusion about this arsenal.
In his book, "Rwanda: Trois Jours qui on fait basculer l'Histoire", Professor Reyntjens alternates terms in describing the arsenal discovered in the farm in the Masaka farm. Sometimes referring to "missiles", sometimes "missile launchers", and sometimes to "containers". The arsenals that were discovered are not missiles, but containers that are at the same time missile launchers. In fact, for this type of arsenals, the missile and the launcher are delivered as one piece and once the missile is fired, the launcher, which holds the missile becomes a useless container. Obviously, the arsenals discovered did not have the missiles with them because they had already been fired. It is very clear that information described on the container is consistent with the missiles utilized to shoot down the presidential jet. Hence, it is more appropriate to describe the arms that were utilized to commit the crime as missiles and the two arsenals discovered at MASAKA as the missile launchers. This clarification is therefore necessary and important to remove any confusion regarding terms utilized to describe the arms that shot down the plane.
A more serious confusion than simple terminology is based upon Professor Reyntjens' book. This is the confusion regarding the type of missile fired. Without demonstrating how he came to the conclusion, Professor Reyntjens states: "All we can say with certitude is that it is a missile of type SAM-16 Gimlet." He maintained this assertion before the Belgian Parliamentarian Commission for Rwanda without demonstrating any evidence to his conclusion.
Later, in his letter to the Chairman of the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise, he attested that the Rwandan Armed Forces, and particularly Ret. Col. Bagosora, provided the information to him, telling him that the arsenals were of Type SAM-16 Gimlet. As far as we know, the Rwandan Armed Forces, as well as Ret. Col. Bagosora, have always maintained that they discovered missiles of type SAM-7 and never said they were missile type SAM-16 Gimlet. Ret. Col. Bagosora sent Professor Reytjens, through his lawyer, Mr. Luc de Temmerman, a copy of the document written by Lieutenant Engineer Munyaneza. This document does not talk about missiles or type of missiles at all but mentions instead missile launchers. The copy sent by Ret. Col. Bagosora is exactly the same as the one that was cited in documents referred to by the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise. Adding to the confusion by basing their information on Professor Reyntjens' work, the French commission shows a photograph of a missile launcher (type SAM-16 Gimlet), and affirms that witnesses who found the missile launcher identified the picture as being the same as the one discovered on the farm on Masaka. However, farmers and people who uncovered the arsenal at Masaka consistently deny the French commission picture as being authentic.
The confusion between the types of missile is important because the Ugandan army, the established arm suppliers of the RPF, did not have any type SAM-16, and had only type SAM-7. Although all evidence, witnesses and inscriptions, point to the fact that the missiles fired were type SAM-7, Professor Reyntjens maintains that the missiles were type SAM-16, and uses this evidence to exonerate the RPF of the assassination: " the missiles belonging to the RPF, were coming most probably from the Ugandan Army inventory; however, the latter has only SAM-7, and not SAM-16, most likely utilized to shoot down the plane." Another writer, Colette Braeckman, also ignores witnesses and serial inscriptions to draw her own conclusions about the type of missile used: "Regarding, the assassination attempt itself, it was confirmed that it was a well prepared military operation, carried out by specialists of high flights and that the arsenal used has probably been a mobile SAM missile of serial Strela." Both conclusions are not factually based, and are used to exonerate the RPF from the assassination of President Habyarimana.
The confusion used in shooting down the presidential jet still persists. It runs a risk of misleading any future investigation. One would maintain that only a logical fact-finding mission, based on eyewitness accounts, and the inscriptions recorded, conducted by ballistic experts, should be able to draw conclusive results.
6.- Possible Suspects
Professor Reyntjens, the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise, and the Belgian Parliamentarian Commission for Rwanda all investigated the assassination, and all developed lists of who could be behind the shooting down of the presidential jet. Each developed a list of suspected groups who could have the motive to get rid of Habyarimana. While the wording of each is different, the groups are fundamentally the same. The four possible suspects are:
1.- The Burundese connection;
2.- Moderate opposition; the democratic coup that went horribly wrong, possibly with the help of the RPF;
3.- Hutu extremists from the former Rwandan regime, working with the army, and possibly the help of French operators;
4.- The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), with assistance from the Belgian military
Each investigation leans more heavily on various information, and none succeeds in coming to a convincing conclusion. The result of these investigations is a sense of further confusion. At this point, it is important to take a step further by putting all these hypotheses together and to proceed by eliminating improbable hypotheses that are essentially misleading.
6.1 The Burundese Connection:
Regional experts, as well as both commissions quoted above, have disqualified the Burundian lead. We think that their analysis and results are absolutely correct.
6.2 The Moderate Opposition:
No one among the moderate opposition has yet demonstrated motivation or technical ability to conduct such an operation. Furthermore, key players in the opposition, such as Mr. Faustin Twagiramungu, the designated Prime Minister, have expressed their strong views regarding the assassination issue. Regarding the possibility of a conspiracy between the RPF and the opposition, the latter would almost certainly have been led by the RPF and not the other way around. This would lead us back to hypothesis #4, which shall be reviewed shortly.
If we eliminate the first two hypotheses, we are left with two main possibilities: the Hutu "extremists", and the RPF. These are the two main leads upon which most opinions tend to agree. In investigating which of these groups may have done the assassination, the most relevant questions to be asked are: "Who benefits from the crime?", and "Who had the means to carry out the assassination?". In other words, it is important to determine who had the means and the motive.
6.3 Hutu "Extremists" from the former Rwandan Government:
Did the closest people to President Habyarimana have any interest to kill him? Nothing is sure. Detractors of Habyarimana and his entourage seem to believe that his closest allies, who wanted to remain in power, because they feared losing their privileges, may have killed him. Was the death of Habyarimana itself a guaranty to remain in power and keep their privileges? Their detractors believe the answer is yes. The President supporters affirm that Habyarimana had given up many concessions that Hutu extremists, as well as his closest people, could neither accept nor tolerate. According to this analysis, Habyarimana was killed to avoid handing the power to the RPF.
This hypothesis is not supported by the facts and chain of events before and after the signature of Arusha peace accord. In fact, the alliance between RPF and the Democratic Forces for Change (DFC) had been severely damaged after many confrontations, mostly resulting from the hegemonic behavior of the RPF that had reached its critical phase after the 1993 offensive. A large number of people from the DFC had come to believe that the main goal of the RPF was essentially using DFC as a stepping-stone to achieve its objective of gaining total political power. The great majority of the opposition had then switched their alliance. This did not depend on Habyarimana. Therefore, to assassinate Habyarimana, in these conditions, was not in the interest of the RPF's opponents.
Furthermore, many observers have noted that those so-called "Hutu extremists", both civilian and military, were not ready to take power. In fact, the assassination of President Habyarimana seems to have taken them by surprise, as most of them were seeking refuge from day one after the assassination. Some went to the French Embassy to be evacuated overseas, while others chose to hide in their homes under army and police protection, anxiously waiting for the next news and events highlights. No organized group emerged to take control of the situation and hence benefit from the sudden power vacuum. It is apparent that no plan was in place, even though rumors about the President's assassination had circulated for sometime before the actual event. Surely, if this group had orchestrated the assassination, indicators after the event would show a certain level of preparedness on their part. Instead, all indications point to the fact that they were caught by surprise.
An objective analysis does not lead one to think that Habyarimana's closest people, or Hutus that western media call "extremists", had any interest to loose a leader who obviously was in a position to better challenge RPF, and had good chances of winning the presidential election that was supposed to take place at the end of the transitional period. No other political figure had emerged as a potential replacement of President Juvenal Habyarimana in case he disappeared or was prevented from participating in the elections. There were various political wings among Hutus for whom coming up with a consensus on one leader was a distant dream. In any case for MRND supporters, Habyarimana was the charismatic figure with who winning presidential elections was an almost-guaranteed outcome. No one then could have foreseen any successful short-term political future without Habyarimana. His relatives and his closest entourage did not have any guarantee of keeping their power and privileges in case of the President death, or even if one of their own replaced him. The motive for this group appears to be very flimsy.
The means to organize and conduct this operation also seem to have been limited for this particular group. The Rwandan army did not have the means to conduct such an operation. Its key leaders were either killed or out of the country. The Defense Minister, as well as the bureau chief of the military intelligence, was in Cameroon; the army chief of staff was on the peace mission trip with the President, and hence perished in the same crash; the chief of military operations at the army headquarters was on a long term assignment in Egypt; and the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie was himself on vacation. Who could then have prepared this coup of force besides the army and police? No organized group has shown the capacity in the past for conducting an operation such as the one that killed Habyarimana.
Also important, in looking at who might be behind the assassination, is the summit that Habyarimana had attended directly prior to his assassination. The last minute change of agenda, location and timing are suspicious enough, that one wants to look at who had the opportunity in this meeting. The group labeled today as Hutu extremists did not have the control or the means to determine the date or location for the summit, and their participation in the meeting itself only lasted one day. Also out of the control of the "Hutu extremists", was the fact that President Museveni of Uganda, openly allied with the RPF, influenced the events of the day by arriving late, and slowing down the proceedings. Nor would they have influenced Tanzania's President to refuse hospitality to Habyarimana, and then to seize the two smaller planes traveling with him, and not return them until the RPF was in power.
Another point that needs to be underlined is the fact that advocates of the
"Hutu extremist" hypothesis do not show how the assassins could have had the technical expertise required to shoot down the Presidential plane. The missiles that shot down the plane were unknown to the Rwandan army and none of the military personnel had prior knowledge of how to manipulate such an arsenal. Needless to say, the civilians were not capable of conducting that operation. The report of the Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise leads one to believe that there were some missiles found by the RPF, when they defeated the Rwandan army, that had never been utilized. This implies that the Rwandan army may have used missiles to shoot down the presidential plane. However, the mission only speculates from ambiguous, sometimes contradictory information provided by the French intelligence. No one from Mission d'Information Parlementaire Francaise has seen those missiles. No personnel from the Rwandan Army were trained to use these missiles. But detractors of the Rwandan Army and Hutus opposed to the RPF, affirm that mercenaries may have used these missiles. Findings show that there is no evidence of the presence of mercenaries in Rwanda. The idea was brought up by Colette Braeckman, and has not been taken seriously by objective observers.
Lastly, it is important to highlight the fact that if this group wanted to assassinate the President, they would not have had to take such a drastic approach as shooting his plane, because they were close to him, and had access to him. They could have used many available opportunities to assassinate him in such a way as to take the RPF by surprise and prevent them from reacting as quickly to the assassination as they did with his airplane crash.
It appears clear that no objective element works in favor of the thesis of the assassination of President Habyarimana by Hutu extremists, either civilian or military. They did not have a logical motive, they did not have the means, and they did not benefit from the death of the president.
6.4 The Rwandan Patriotic Front, with assistance from its foreign allies
We have now shown that the assassination was probably not carried out by any of the first three possible groups listed by the French and the Belgian commissions. This leads to the last possibility: the RPF. Did they have the motive and the means to carry out such an act? Did they benefit from the assassination? Is there any evidence that would lead one to conclude that is was indeed the RPF who shot down the plane? These questions are crucial when investigating their possible involvement.
6.4.1 Motive:
Some people state that RPF did not have the motive to assassinate Habyarimana because the Arusha accord was already going to give them a percentage of parliamentary seats that was highly disproportionate to its national political representation. However, while the Arusha accord did give the RPF some power, it did not give them all the power. If the Arusha accord were allowed to be implemented, the RPF would be virtually guaranteed that the Tutsi minority would never have a chance to monopolize the political power as it did before 1959. It is well documented that many among the RPF supporters felt that as the traditional rulers of Rwanda, they should not settle for power sharing. Their goal was 100% control. Therefore, if Habyarimana has been allowed to complete the transition period as stated in the Arusha accord, they would never have realized their goal. But if he were prevented from implementing it, they might have an opportunity. Particularly if he were prevented in such a way as to disrupt the stability of the country and allow them the opportunity to gain control. This presents a very strong motive to assassinate the president.
Compounding this motivation was the fact that the RPF had worked with other opposition groups, such as MDR and PL, to gain influence and to control a larger block of seats in parliament. However, these groups had begun to suspect that they were being misled, and saw signs which hinted to the real RPF intention: gaining full political power. These suspicions led to scissions between the RPF and within these opposition parties. With the assistance of these political parties, the RPF could have controlled 30% of the seats in parliament, but without them, its influence had greatly waned. This prospect of loosing control could further have motivated the RPF to make a last desperate grab for before the Arusha Peace Accord could have fully been implemented.
6.4.2 The plan to remove Habyarimana:
Despite statements to the contrary, after the signing of the Arusha accord, the RPF realized that their time was limited, and that they had to move quickly to oust Habyarimana. After concluding on the necessity to remove Habyarimana, the RPF decided on the means to conduct the despicable act. Reliable sources indicate that since November 1993, there was a "death squad" in Kigali with instructions to eliminate the President as well as some high ranking officers and civil servants.
Four important politicians within the government were assassinated within a few months of the signing of the Accord. As well, there were several aborted attempts to assassinate Habyarimana during this period. These attempts were prevented due to the vigilance of the Presidential guards. It is apparently after the death squad failed to carry out the assassination of the President, that the plan to shoot the presidential jet was devised.
6.4.3 The means to shoot the Presidential plane:
On January 5, 1994, intelligence sources received a report that the RPF battalion in Kigali, due to lack of vigilance by the UN Belgian contingent, had enough reinforcement personnel in the battalion as well as an arsenal of heavy weapons that far exceeded the limit agreed upon in the Arusha Accord. Reports included the existence of a missile SAM-7 being held by this battalion. It is also known that the RPF had trained personnel who had the technical capacity to use missiles. Finally, they had, through their unorthodox protests, managed to arrange a flight path that conveniently approached Kigali by passing a remote hillside.
As well as having the military supplies and technical capabilities, the RPF also had influence with Uganda's President Museveni. He was indebted to them for their assistance in his rise to power, and yet would surely have been uncomfortable with this foreign military force based on his soil. It was in his interest to return the "favor" and to get the RPF out of his own country. Museveni was key in organizing the conference, and was directly responsible for the late closing. He could easily have deliberately assisted in the last minute changes of location and in the refusal of Tanzania's President to grant Habyarimana hospitality for the night. It is interesting to remember that the day following the assassination, he implied his involvement by stating publicly; "Something had to be done".
Finally, the RPF had a clear plan that night. The RPF headquarters in Mulindi were informed immediately, almost simultaneously, of Habyarimana's death. They had extra troops and ammunitions on hand. The battalion within Kigali and in Northern Rwanda immediately began an offensive attack. Unlike the Hutu "extremists", the RPF did not appear scattered, and taken by surprise. An army with an estimated 20,000 soldiers moved in with rapid efficiency. The chaos sparked that night ultimately enabled the RPF to have an excuse to resume the war.
7.- The Investigation
7.1 The Interim Government (April 9, 1994 to July 14, 1994):
From its investiture, the interim government, led by Jean Kambanda, Prime Minister, contacted UNAMIR insisting on the imperative necessity of conducting an independent international investigation in order to determine clearly the circumstances surrounding the shoot down of President Habyarimana's airplain, which led to the death of two Heads of state, Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, as well as about ten of their close advisers.
The verbal request was followed by a letter dated May 2, 1994, addressed to the Prime Minister of the Interim Government from General Romeo Dallaire, Commander of the UNAMIR, confirming the UNAMIR's disposition to "set up an international Commission of Inquiry". In the same letter, Gen. Dallaire asked the Prime Minister to name countries the Rwandan government would wish to include in that Commission as well as to eventual modalities. In his letter dated May 7, 1994, the Prime Minister of the Interim Government replied to General Dallaire to whom he forwarded all the requested information. This correspondence did not have any follow up.
It is important to note that without international assistance, the interim government did not have any experts capable of conducting such investigation. In addition, the inquiry needed to be independent. Finally, it is worth noting that the RPF suddenly resumed the war. Therefore it was almost impossible for the Interim Government to conduct even a preliminary investigation. Only an independent commission with security guarantees from both warring parties would have been able to conduct such an investigation.
7.2 RPF Government (July 19, 1994 to this day)
Once in power, there was never a move on the part of the RPF to investigate the assassination of the Presidential jet. They have stated on many occasions that they believe the culprits are members of the rwandan armed forces (RAF), with the complicity of Habyarimana's entourage, being assisted by the French military or mercenaries. One would assume that if their enemies, the "extremist" Hutus, had done this act, that the RPF would have been only too eager to uncover evidence to prove their guilt. This would also justify RPF holding on power without being democratically elected. Instead, when the new minister of justice (a Hutu), Alphonse-Marie Nkubito, tried to set up an investigation, he was surprised to find out that the new government was opposed to investigating the assassination.
Even if, for the sake of discussion, one admits that the investigation was not a priority for a government made of people who wanted for a long time to remove President Habyarimana, it is difficult to understand after five years why no action has been taken to elucidate the circumstances surrounding the death of the heads of state of two countries. Instead, high-ranking authorities of the present Rwandan administration have relentlessly engaged in destroying all evidence of the investigation requested by the government of Burundi.
When the government of Burundi officially asked the new Rwandan government to investigate the death of President Cyprien Ntaryamira (who was also on the plane), the President and Vice-President's office of the Republic of Rwanda reacted by assigning the Justice minister, Mr. Nkubito, to send a letter to the special representative of the United Nations, Mr. Shahiyaar Khan, requesting UN intervention. It appears that the RPF not only had the means, motive, and opportunity to carry out this assassination, they also seem to have some motivation for not pushing for an independent inquiry. It should be noted, that Hutu "extremists" and those close to the former regime, have requested an investigation, desiring to be cleared of any involvement in the shooting down of the President's plane. These requests have all been turned down.
7.3 United Nations Organization:
In his letter dated May 2, 1994, General Dallaire gave hope to the Rwandan Interim Government that an international investigation on the conspiracy against President Habyarimana's jet would soon take place. However, the same general refused the offer made as early as April 7, 1994 for a preliminary investigation. He responded that he would require an American opinion first.
The hope raised by the May 2 1994 letter has for long since vanished because no investigation has been set up by the UN. The Security Council, in a limited request, asked the Secretary General, to "collect all information relevant to the affair by all means at his disposal." Nevertheless, despite the reminder, the request was never carried out.
Furthermore, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), set up by the United Nations on November 8, 1994, has not yet investigated the assassination of President Habyarimana. Since the president death triggered the chaos that followed, it would seem crucial to determine who was behind this tragic event that sparked the horrible violations of the international humanitarian law that this Tribunal has the mandate to investigate.
7.4 Organization of African Unity (OAU):
The Organization of African Unity, under the leadership of its Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim, friend of Uganda's President Museveni, the most important supporter of RPF in its war against the former Rwandan government, has supported the Tutsi rebellion since October 1990. The OAU has never denounced the assassinations of Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntalyamira of Burundi, or even offered its condolences to their families and to the Interim Government.
The OAU set up a commission to look into the causes and the consequences of the 1994 rwandan tragic events. The commission was headed by the former President of Botswana M. Keturnile Masire, Chairman of the Commission. The latter declared that the Commission would not change anything which has been said on these events but would rather draw lessons aimed at avoiding such tragedies in the future. However, it is clear that this Commission had no intention to investigate the assassination of President Habyarimana. The Commission did not seem to be interested in the truth which might have been uncovered by an independent investigation. It appeared to prefer to rely on accounts made by the supporters of the current government of Rwanda. This leaves the impression that the OAU wants to cover up a number of identities and countries involved in this conspiracy.
7.5 The Belgian Government:
One would think that the Belgian government would be interested in this investigation in order to find proof which refutes the accusations of complicity made by RPF towards Belgian soldiers who were part of the UNAMIR contingent. However, no official move has ever been made to remove suspicion of Belgian involvement.
The Commission of the Belgian Senate did not choose to investigate the implication of Lieutenant Lotin and his team. The latter, as mentioned above, carried out an unauthorized mission in Kagera National Park, escorting RPF members for a purpose that has not yet been clarified. This mission happened to return at the same time that the Presidential jet was shot down, and also happened to be in the location from which the fatal missile was fired. These coincidences cast a strong shadow of suspicion upon the Belgian's involvement. However, the parliamentary commission would not clarify contradictory information regarding the number of Belgian peacekeepers killed in Camp Kigali (army barracks) April 7, 1994. Some of the witnesses who appeared before the Commission mentioned a number of 10, others 11, while others report the accurate figure of 16 bodies of peacekeepers, including 2 Moroccans, whose autopsies were made in Nairobi. Analysts are of the opinion that among the slain peacekeepers were mercenaries hired to assassinate President Habyarimana. Their identities have never been disclosed.
Finally, The Commission of Belgian Senate has not explained why there was a C130 Belgian Hercules equipped with an anti-missile warning system that followed the presidential jet on its fatal flight.
7.6 The French Government:
France lost three citizens due to the assassination of the President of Rwanda, but seems to have adopted a "wait and see" attitude. Right after the tragic event, the French army offered to investigate the downing of the presidential jet but General Dallaire declined and said that he would refer the matter to the Americans first. However, nothing indicates that the Government of France ever officially requested that investigation. It appears that the French government was waiting for the UN initiative. France has not even asked the Secretary General what steps he has taken to comply with the Security Council instructions on this matter.
7.7 The American Government:
The American government has not expressed any intention to seek an investigation into this tragic event. Some analysts imply that the American government was behind the scenes to prevent any initiative that could lead to an independent investigation of this matter. These analysts are of the opinion that if the US wanted an investigation, it would have taken place long time ago, either under the UN or under the auspice of an independent international commission. Of course, as the only world superpower, the US could assert great influence on the new government in Kigali to co-operate with an independent investigation if they chose to do so.
7.8 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):
Through the United Nations and UNAMIR, the Interim Government had officially asked the ICAO to conduct an investigation. This matter was then placed on the agenda of April 25, 1994 but no investigation was ever initiated. In its letter dated March 28, 1996 to the Regional Representative of the ICAO, the RPF government has only requested an inquiry limited to the presidential jet.
The Organization has never shown an interest in this matter, although this event is covered the IOAC mandate. No information is available that the Organization ever acted on the RPF government request. One gets the impression that either the IACO does not want to be involved in such a highly political issue, or that it has been secretly prevented from taking any action. It therefore appears that all the involved governments were not interested in the investigation, with the exception of the Interim Government, headed by Jean Kambanda.
8.- Call for an Independent Investigation
8.1 The trigger event of the Rwandan Tragedy:
Analysts are unanimous in consider the assassination of President Habyarimana to be the event which sparked the massacres and the resumption of the war.
The UN Special Reporter, René Degni Segui, was the first to mention this in his preliminary report dated June 28, 1994. This statement was not revised in subsequent reports. In its preliminary report, the Special Reporter says; "the accident of April 6, 1994 which killed the President of Republic of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana, seems to be the immediate cause of painful and dramatic events the country is going through right now." Further in the same report, he added; "the attack against the presidential jet has to be investigated by the Special Reporter as long as there might be collusion between the assassination instigators and the perpetrators of the massacres". However, he did not conduct any investigation before his removal as the UN Special Reporter for Rwanda. He was reassigned at the insistence of the RPF government that found him too critical.
In their report, the UN experts have also noted that "this catastrophe has triggered planned violations of human rights..." They did not make any effort to uncover the assassins of the Presidents who would therefore be linked to the massacres.
According to Filip Reyntjens " it was extremely important for us to determine who shot down the president Habyarimana's plane that was the spark that set off the flame of genocide and sent Rwanda spiraling into the whole impasse the country found itself today." According to Guichaoua "...the downing of the presidential jet ... is certainly a decisive action which, from that moment, sparked the next dramatic events as things unfolded... and I think whoever took the initiative led the country into tragedy .."
Other observers think that without President Habyarimana's assassination, it would have been difficult to find an excuse to carry out massacres of that scale and to resume the war. The spirit of the Arusha Agreement would have prevailed without the assassination. Most Rwandans, whether close to the opposition or the supporters of the late President, are in agreement on this point. Only RPF supporters favor the thesis of a planned genocide by Hutus, although even they recognize that the assassination of the President triggered the massacres. It is therefore imperative to investigate the events surrounding this assassination, since it surely has something to do with the massacres.
8.2 Need for Justice and Fairness
It is absolutely necessary to conduct an investigation into the downing of President Habyarimana's plane for two reasons; first, in order to have justice for the victims of the massacres, and secondly, to uncover the real assassins which will vindicate those who are currently wrongfully accused of committing this crime. All Hutus who oppose the RPF have been labeled "genociders", and subsequently hunted down by the RPF government in Kigali and its allies.
After the RPF victory, the Rwandan prisons were rapidly overpopulated, and other detention centers were improvised in public buildings such as schools, communal offices, centers which were previously devoted to development initiatives. Even tents provided by humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) serve as corrections facilities.
It looks like that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been set up to try Hutus only, while Tutsis, especially RPF members, who have been accused of similar crimes have not been indicted. It is important to note that the ICTR has not found it relevant to conduct a full investigation of the assassination, and has chosen, rather, to endorse the RPF version of events. The RPF maintains that Hutu "extremists", and those close to Habyarimana, planned and carried out the President's assassination and subsequent massacres. It is our hope that this paper has shed some doubt on the RPF version of events, and that the reader is compelled to actively search for the truth, rather than accepting, at face value, the story that has been widespread in the international media.
9.- Conclusions
In conclusion, we know that the shooting down of the plane triggered widespread chaos and bloodshed throughout Rwanda. Tragically, huge numbers of civilian Tutsis, with no affiliation to the RPF, were killed in the wave of panic and hatred that swept the country. Also, and not acknowledged, huge numbers of Hutu civilians were killed as the RPF gained control of each region. The Hutu massacres continued in the "safety" of the refugee camps and continue within Rwanda to this day. There is no question that countless civilians have been massacred by both sides of this civil war. The questions that are outstanding are; Was this war planned? Was there a planned genocide? And, who was behind killing the President and subsequently triggering these maasacres at great scale and resuming the war? The key to answering these questions lies in discovering the perpetrators of the Presidential assassination. Without an independent investigation into these facts, there can be no truth and reconciliation within Rwanda. This investigation could be organized either under the UN or under any other neutral international body.
10.- Abbreviations
ANT : Assemblee Nationale de Transition
RPA: Rwandan Patriotic Army
AR: Armee Rwandaise (rwandan armed forces)
CDR Coalition pour la Defense de la Democratie
ICRC International Committee of Red Cross
CND Conseil National pour le Developpement (National Assembly)
HQ Headquarter of the Armed Forces
EM-AR Etat Major de l'Armee Rwandaise
EM-Gdn Etat Major de la Gendarmerie
ESM Military Academy
FAR Rwandan Armed Forces
DFC Democratic Forces for Change
RPF Rwandan Patriotic Front
KIBAT Kigali Battalion (Belgian Contingent of the MINUAR)
MDR Republican Democratic Movement
MINADET Ministry of Defense
MINUAR United Nations Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)
MRND Mouvement Republicain National pour la Democratie et le Developpement
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
UNO United Nations Organization
OAU Organization of African Unity
PDC Parti Democrate Chretien
PL Parti Liberal
UNDP United Nations Development Program
PSD Parti Social Democrate
RTLM Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines
ICTR International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
USA United States of America

source: Introduction

[h=2]US government investigating FDLR official[/h] Friday, 12 December 2008 14:47 by RNA Reporter


Kigali: A senior official with the Rwandan militias in DR Congo - who Rwanda says is among the "hardliners wing", is under investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security, RNA can exclusively reveal.
Dr. Félicien Kanyamibwa – living in the State of New Jersey and working with pharmaceutical company, Hoffman-La-Roche based in Nutley, stands accused of having links with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda – FDLR.

"I don't have personal contact with the FDLR individual in New Jersey. I only learned that he is being investigated by U.S. authorities under the auspices of the Dept of Homeland Security", a source who has written on the militia group for US media said.

Dr. Kanyamibwa, 47, is Executive Secretary of a US-based political grouping of Rwandan exiles RUD/URUNANA which is gradually gaining more members as political alliances shift, and those who area dissatisfied with the FDLR, for whatever reason, according to African Rights that has been documenting the Tutsi Genocide. He comes from Nkuli, Ruhengeri – now part of the Northern Province.

RUD/URUNANA is headed by Communications expert Dr. Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, professor in the Department of Communications in Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The two academics have joined forces with other Rwandan exiled politicians to form a new political party - the Rwanda Democratic Opposition (ODR) - launched last week in Belgium. They claim to want to restore democracy in Rwanda.

According to correspondence between the Office of the Rwanda Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Security Council, Dr. Félicien Kanyamibwa is Number 7 on a list of 12 individuals described as the FDLR "hardliners".

The militias numbering about 6000 in the mountains of eastern DRC includes people accused of taking part in the Genocide – later to flee to Congo, where they have vowed to overturn the leadership in Kigali.

A World Bank funded demobilization program has seen thousands of the former combatants surrender and reintegrated into Rwandan communities. However, a combination of torture, threats, money and fear is said to be keeping almost two-thirds of the FDLR force hostage by 50 aging alleged Genocide perpetrators.

The Twelve singled out and names handed to the UN Security Council are classified as the "hardliner wing".

"These hardliners have indeed been forcibly preventing from returning to Rwanda many ex Forces armées rwandaises (FAR)/Interahamwe combatants who showed their readiness to give up their arms and to proceed in the footprints of their former Commander", Rwanda's correspondence with the UN says.

The FDLR is led by German-based Dr. Ignace Murwanashyaka – also subject to UN sanctions - and the group has already been classified by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Earlier this year, Rwanda provided DRC with a list of 6945 names that officials here say are either combatants of the FDLR or hiding in Congo – with Tutsi blood on their hands. A new deal signed last week between the two governments is to disband the group starting next year.

The Tripartite Plus summit last week called for tighter sanctions on the FDLR to close all the support gaps that the group has been enjoying. DR Congo says the are a "cancer" and want them to leave.

List of 12 individuals on the "Hardliner wing" list:

1. Col. Aloys Ntiwiragaba, alias Omar, based in the Sudan.
2. Col. Mudacumura (Commander of FOCA).
3. Ndayambaje Aimable, alias Limbana (commanded the Bwindi operation).
4. Nizeyimana Wenceslas (Major), based in Kampala.
5. Hakizabera Christopher (Brussels).
6. Nshimiyimana Alexis (Vienna).
7. Kanyamibwa Felicien (United States of America).
8. Higiro Jean Marie Vianney (United States of America)
9. Col. Léopold Mujyambere - Second Division
10. Brigadier-General Hakizimana Appollinaire, alias Poete - Commissioner for Defence
11. Mungu Seraphin (No clear details)
12. Brigadier-General Gaston Iyamuremye – 2nd vice-president of the FDLR

cc jMali,Rushasha aka (My mother is Tutsi)
 
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JustDoItNow

JF-Expert Member
Dec 3, 2013
2,878
2,000
"In the wave of panic and hatred that swept the country" brother please! As if there were no deliberate persecution against Tutsi before the plane went down. This article is full of genocidaire propaganda trying to pin everything to the RPF. The author is confused and overtly biased. The piece is full of fabrications, hearsay and contradictions. At one point he claims the SAM was Russian but qoutes English inscriptions on the missiles or "shells"? If he knew anything about the military he would know that Russian weapons back then had Russian inscriptions. Habyarimana's plane was brought down by a Mistral missile given to FAR by the French (20 missiles were given to FAR) and were fired from FAR controlled areas. This nonsense of accusing the RPA of smuggling arms into the parlie building is also another fabrication. He even accuses Tanzania of complicity in the downing of the plane and that Dr Salim had a hand in this due to his supposed friendship with Pres Museveni, what a bunch of lies! This article is nothing short of marlakey.

Man, Mnyamulenge, it seems that you were just there targeting the plane. Now tell us who pressed the button to let the missile kick off the plane?
 

JustDoItNow

JF-Expert Member
Dec 3, 2013
2,878
2,000
"In the wave of panic and hatred that swept the country" brother please! As if there were no deliberate persecution against Tutsi before the plane went down. This article is full of genocidaire propaganda trying to pin everything to the RPF. The author is confused and overtly biased. The piece is full of fabrications, hearsay and contradictions. At one point he claims the SAM was Russian but qoutes English inscriptions on the missiles or "shells"? If he knew anything about the military he would know that Russian weapons back then had Russian inscriptions. Habyarimana's plane was brought down by a Mistral missile given to FAR by the French (20 missiles were given to FAR) and were fired from FAR controlled areas. This nonsense of accusing the RPA of smuggling arms into the parlie building is also another fabrication. He even accuses Tanzania of complicity in the downing of the plane and that Dr Salim had a hand in this due to his supposed friendship with Pres Museveni, what a bunch of lies! This article is nothing short of marlakey.

Mnyamulenge, You are using lots of irrelevant jargon. Better write in your favorite National language - KISWAHILI. Or you are not belong according to your too much love to the president of other country? - KAGAME. You better apply citizenship in Rwanda..........LOL
 

murutongore

JF-Expert Member
Jun 29, 2013
2,043
2,000
Mnyamulenge, You are using lots of irrelevant jargon. Better write in your favorite National language - KISWAHILI. Or you are not belong according to your too much love to the president of other country? - KAGAME. You better apply citizenship in Rwanda..........LOL

If i were you i would write in Kiswahili...Lol
 

jMali

JF-Expert Member
Nov 9, 2010
8,344
2,000
jMali...your team at work. Teaching us english. Kazi unayo.

tunaona fahari kuongea kiswahili lugha yetu, wakati nyinyi "english speakers" mnaona fahari kutumia lugha ya ukimbizini Uganda. besides hapa kinachojalisha ni pointi tu, hata tukiongea kimende-mende!
 

Koba

JF-Expert Member
Jul 3, 2007
6,139
1,500
Mnyamulenge, You are using lots of irrelevant jargon. Better write in your favorite National language - KISWAHILI. Or you are not belong according to your too much love to the president of other country? - KAGAME. You better apply citizenship in Rwanda..........LOL

could you repeat that in English please?
 

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