November 27, 2020

France reopens probe into 1994 assassination of Rwandan president

French investigators have reopened their probe into the 1994 genocide-triggering assassination of a Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana to question a dissident general Kayumba Nyamwasa.

After a French-crewed plane carrying Juvenual Habyarimana was shot down with a missile on April 6, 1994, a campaign targeting Rwanda’s Tutsi population was unleashed. Within 100 days, some 800,000 people had been slaughtered.

The Rwandan former (1994-2002) army chief of staff whom French investigating magistrates want to question, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, lives in exile in South Africa, where he has survived at least two attempts on his life.

He is the subject of a previous French arrest warrant and has also been sentenced to 24 years in jail by a Rwandan court.

Like President Paul Kagame, he was a founder member of the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which took power in the central African country in late 1994, putting an end to the genocide.

In a notarised deposition submitted to the French investigation in June this year, Nyamwasa denied witness testimony that tied him to the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane, and said Kagame had instigated the attack, which also claimed the life of the then president of Burundi.

The deposition led French investigating magistrates to formally ask South Africa for its cooperation in having Nyamwasa questioned, according to case sources.

The French investigation had been effectively closed in 2014 and again in January this after previous requests to South Africa for cooperation came to nothing.

In 2006, Rwanda cut diplomatic ties with France after the investigating magistrate then in charge of the case issued arrest warrants for several people close to Kagame, including Nyamwasa.

Source: Yahoo News

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