Plane crash findings to be released in March

KIGALI - A French legal team that is currently in the country to investigate the cause of the plane crash that killed former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, will release its findings in March, 2011.
The French Judges at Rutongo Hill in Gasabo District yesterday (Photo: T. Kisambira)
The French Judges at Rutongo Hill in Gasabo District yesterday (Photo: T. Kisambira)

KIGALI - A French legal team that is currently in the country to investigate the cause of the plane crash that killed former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, will release its findings in March, 2011.

This was announced by Jean Julien Xavier-Rolai, a prosecutor who is part of the delegation.
“We intend to visit 12 sites mentioned in Judge Louis Bruguière’s file, and thereafter, we will release a final report on findings on the ground in March next year,” said Xavier-Rolai.

In 2006, French judge Bruguière issued indictments against top Rwandan officials for the death of Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 a day before the commencement of the Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed over one million people.
Xavier-Rolai added that: “So far, we are receiving good cooperation from the Rwandan government in terms of facilitating our work”.

The French team is currently trying to verify testimonies contained in the file and determining how the Falcon plane was shot down as it descended on Kigali International Airport.

The team is made up of two anti-terrorism judges, Marc Trevidic and Nathalie Poux, and a five-member team of surveyors, ballistics as well as explosive and fire experts.
On Wednesday, the entourage visited a former base of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) in Rutongo Sector, Gasabo District, to verify a testimony by a UNAMIR observer, Moreau Nicolas, who claimed to have seen the missile that hit Habyarimana’s plane.

According to Bruguière’s file, Nicolas testified that he saw shots clearly moving towards the plane from his left side and he evaluated the angle of the shots at 70 degrees.
However, a Rwandan investigation early this year ruled out the possibility, with experts arguing that it is impossible for someone in Rutongo to have seen a bullet shot from Masaka with such precision.

The Mutsinzi report blamed the attack on an extremist faction within Habyarimana’s ranks, which used the incident as an excuse to commit Genocide against the Tutsis.

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