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French Judge Closes Probe Into The Downing of Habyarimana Plane Again

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
6:00 pm

French Soldiers training Interahamwe during the genocide

A French judge has closed the purported probe into the downing of the Plane carrying former President Juvénal Habyarimana. This case has been re-opened by France three times in a row in the last twenty years.

Judge Jean-Marc Herbaut announced the ‘notice of closure’ of this case on Thursday, according to French Media.

The Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Republic of Rwanda Johnston Busingye confirmed the development.

In the aftermath of the 1994Genocide against Tutsi where more than a million innocent Tutsi were massacred, France started a rather outrageous probe to find the person who downed the plane that was carrying ex-president Habyarimana who led a regime that prepared the Genocide and executed it.

From the onset, Rwanda looks at these probes as one way France has used to conceal its role in the Genocide.

Genocide survivors testimonies show that instead of protecting the Tutsi, French troops fighting alongsidethe Genocidal regime abandoned them in the hands of the killers-interahamwe militia and the ex-Forces Armées Rwandaise (Ex-FAR), case in point is Bisesero in Western Rwanda.

Besides abandoning the Tutsi to be killed, they also trained the militias, according to witnesses.

The troops were implementing an already established elimination plan that was prepared by the regime in collaboration with French military and political officials.

France concealed all these scenarios and embarked on the campaign to issue arrest warrants against Rwandan officials who fought during the liberation struggle and stopped the Genocide accusing them of downing the plane.

On two occasions French judges closed the cases after realizing that it is unfound in 2011 and 2016 respectively.

Judge after judge would always re-open it claiming there were new witnesses in the matter.

The Last time the case reopened was on December 11th when an impromptu witness, one James Munyandinda claimed to have new evidence about the case.

“This is the third time the case has been closed. It is unprecedented and a sign that the case always involved fake testimonies, fake witnesses and had many attempts to manipulate the judges,” Johnston Busingye, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Republic of Rwanda told KT Press.

Busingye further said that the act was not a total closure, but, “a notice of closure.”

Legally, he said, this notice of closure gives a room for anyone to challenge the decision to close the case within 90 days.

After the 90th day, he said, if there is no appeal against the decision, the case will be closed permanently.

Rwanda is represented in this case by two lawyers; Lef Foster and Bernard Maingain.

With proof, they challenged the last witness whom they said presented fraudulent evidence and is misleading the court for selfish reasons including acquiring asylum.

They said, like his predecessors, the plaintiff was acting on behalf of Rwandan dissidents who want the unfounded case against Rwanda to remain open for no reason.