KIGALI - Another “key witness” in the case brought by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière against several senior officials of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) has retracted his testimony.
Richard Mugenzi, 48, recently said the radio message that was used as a testimony by Bruguière was in fact dictated to him by his extremist superiors, the FAR, as part of anti-Tutsi propaganda.
Bruguière in 2007 indicted nine Rwandan officials, all former members of the (RPA) now Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), accusing them of having a hand in the downing of the plane that was carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994.
Mugenzi was a member of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) and testified during the Bruguière investigation, that as a radio signaller, he had intercepted communication from the RPF rebels linking them to the April 6, 1994 shooting down of the plane.
Mugenzi has retracted the testimony on the grounds that he was manipulated and that: “the attack on the plane had nothing to do with the RPA.”
Mugenzi is the fourth Bruguière witness to retract his testimony after the retractions from Abdul Ruzibiza, Deus Kagiraneza and Emmanuel Ruzigana.
They all claim to have been coerced to give false testimonies, with some accusing top officials in the French government of having been part of the deal to wrongfully implicate the Rwandan officials.
Ruzibiza, in an earlier interview claimed to not having met the judge for “not more than 20 minutes” during his interrogation, saying that he was just presented a document bearing what would be his testimony to sign.When contacted, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama refused to comment on the issue saying that: “it’s a matter that is before court so I can’t comment on it.”
It was on the basis of this indictment that led to the controversial arrest last year in Germany of Rose Kabuye, the head of State Protocol.
Kabuye, who was later transferred to France on her insistence. She is currently free while awaiting trial though a French court has suspended her arrested warrant.