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Probe into Rwanda ex-President's assassination dropped

Publish date: 07 January 2019
Issue Number: 805
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Criminal

The Rwandan Government has released a statement confirming that French Magistrates Jean-Marc Herbaut and Nathalie Poux have closed an ongoing investigation into the 1994 downing of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana’s aircraft. Habyarimana died in April 1994 when his plane was shot down near the Rwandan capital. The assassination marked a turning point in the struggle for domestic control of the country and was followed by a genocide that resulted in the loss of an estimated 800 000 people, most of them members of the Tutsi minority. The Jurist reports that France opened an investigation into the plane crash at the request of families of the French flight crew. The justices closed this investigation after a prosecutor recommended that the charges be dismissed due to a lack of evidence. ‘We welcome this decision which brings to an end a brazen attempt over two decades to obstruct justice for the Genocide against the Tutsi, and prevent accountability for both the perpetrators and their wilful accomplices,’ said Foreign Affairs Minister Richard Sezibera. Philippe Meilhac, the lawyer representing the Rwandan President’s widow, has appealed the decision. Emmanuel Bidanda, who represents the French crew members who were on the plane, is also considering appealing the decision.

Full Jurist report