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French inquiry a ‘vindication’ for Rwandan president

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-11

Rwanda on Tuesday hailed a French report into the 1994 plane crash that killed former leader Juvenal Habyarimana as a vindication for President Paul Kagame (pictured), claiming the downing of the plane was "a coup d'état" by extremist Hutus.

AFP - Kigali on Tuesday welcomed a French report into the 1994 downing of Rwandan leader Juvenal Habyarimana's jet as a confirmation of President Paul Kagame's innocence.

"Today's findings constitute vindication for Rwanda's long-held position on the circumstances surrounding events of April 1994," Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in a statement.

"With this scientific truth, Judges (Marc) Trevidic and (Nathalie) Poux have slammed shut the door on the 17-year campaign to deny the genocide or blame its victims.

"It is now clear to all that the downing of the plane was a coup d'etat carried out by extremist Hutu elements and their advisors."

An accompanying official statement praised a "high quality investigation, commissioned by French magistrates with impeccable credentials, and carried out by world-class experts."

"It clears those falsely accused of shooting down the plane and brings a decisive end to the lies and conspiracy theories that have, for far too long, tried to divert the world's attention from the actual authors of horrendous crimes that took place in Rwanda during the genocide," the statement added.

The experts' report concluded that the missile that downed the plane was fired from a base held by loyalist forces from Habyarimana's Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), lawyer Bernard Maingain said.

The assassination was one of the triggers that unleashed a genocide that left around 800,000 Rwandans dead.

The question of where the ground-to-air missile was fired was seen as key to establishing the credibility of two rival accounts of the attack.

Date created : 2012-01-10

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