A prominent French Journalist and author, Jean-Francois Dupaquier, has revealed grave manipulation of evidence in the case of French Judge Louis Bruguiere implicating top Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) officers for downing a plane carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana.
In an interview with Billets d’Afrique last month, Dupaquier, who has vastly researched and authored books about Rwanda, said that the shooting on April 6th was “a complete manipulation from A to Z”.
He exclusively told the French paper that Bruguiere ‘erred’ in using the testimony of Richard Mugenzi, a key witness in the case, to accuse RPF of the assassination. Mugenzi who has since retracted his testimony, intimated this to Dupaquier in an interview.
According to Dupaquier, Mugenzi, a Radio Operator in Gisenyi at the time of the shooting said that the message which he apparently intercepted and which Bruguiere would later go on to use as evidence against RPF was manipulated.
“On April 7th, 1994 at around 8.45am, Richard Mugenzi is supposed to have intercepted a radio message from RPF claiming responsibility for the attack, 12 hours earlier in Kigali.”
“This message was broadcast ‘in clear’, contrary to the usual practice of ‘coding’ RPF used at the time, needless to say, of all armies at the time. Judge Bruguiere thought he had absolute proof of RPF responsibility in the attack,” Dupaquier says.
Dupaquier in a tell-it-all interview said that Mugenzi later revealed that the messages broadcast in clear language on public media after the attack on April 6th had been manipulated and were dictated to him (Mugenzi) by Col. Anatole Nsengiyumva, in what seemed as a planned move to trigger off the Genocide.
One of the messages loosely translated in English reads “the invincible died in his plane, the gorillas have lost, and the wagtails have won. Victory is at hand. Congratulations to the reinforced squadron, the war resumes.…”
“Practically, Nsengiyumva, one of the most senior military extremists, handed him (Mugenzi) a piece of paper and asked him to copy it as if it were a message he had intercepted from the RPF. I admit I was stunned by this revelation,” Dupaquier reveals in the interview.
“These revelations of the former radio spy all at once clarified this episode; this was a clear, deliberate manipulation,” Dupaquier observes.
He adds that Nsengiyumva, an assistant and accomplice to Col. Theoneste Bagosora, came up with the manipulated evidence 12 hours after the attack in a bid to initiate a hate campaign that would see over a million Tutsi’s killed in the Genocide.
The two renowned planners of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are now serving life sentences at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
In the damning revelation, Dupaquier who closely followed the trials of the two since 2002, says that French had a hand in the radio espionage centre in Gisenyi referred to as ‘very sophisticated’ at the time.
“I discovered that the French military had played a role in this centre, and that Richard Mugenzi had received training in radio espionage from these French soldiers,” he adds.
Dupaquier adds that the messages which were later to be continuously aired especially on Radio Television des Mille Collines (RTLM) claiming that “the Tutsi RPF killed the Father of the Nation, all Tutsis deserve death” were meant to radicalize masses urging them to exterminate the Tutsi.
The message added efficiency to the already heightened tension that had been created by the hate propaganda that had been carefully implanted among the masses.
During the interview, Dupaquier also tackles the inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence gathered by Bruguiere including the testimony issued by Jean-Pierre Mugabe, a journalist who apparently in his earlier publication accused four members of the Presidential Guard of having played a role in the downing of the plane.
In a twist of events, he (Mugabe) later in the testimony issued to Bruguiere, shifts the blame to the RPF.
Dupaquier also touches on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the “black box” of the Presidential Falcon, but later, a cockpit recording device said to belong to the Falcon, was found to be that of a Concorde.
Another French Journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupery in April 2009 reported in the French paper Le Monde that the black box was hijacked on the tarmac of airport of Roissy in France and was probably doctored to include conversation on the tarmac of Kigali.
“It is not difficult to guess what “services” the person who committed such manipulations, so subtle and yet so stupid, could belong to.”
“In April 1994, faced with Genocide and the resumption of the war, the soldiers of RPF had other more pressing concerns, and surely not this ability of falsifying evidence,” Dupaquier adds.
There is also evidence that the missile tubes found near the airport that Bruguiere extensively refers to as evidence were also planted and there was evidence that they had been manipulated and were actually new missiles, but the French Judge carelessly ignores that.
These revelations come ahead of the release of the much awaited report commiisioned by government to investigate the shooting of the plane which was carrying Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira.