KIGALI - THE Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, yesterday gave to the French legal team currently in the country to investigate the cause of the plane crash that killed former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, documents containing original copies of testimonies pertaining to how the plane was shot.
The handover took place at the Ministry of Justice and was attended by the Rwandan Deputy Chief Justice and the Prosecutor General.
“They requested to come and do a thorough investigation on this case so that they can be able to conclude on the file they have that was accusing senior government officials of having been responsible for the crash,” said Karugarama.
He added that they asked for several guarantees, including access to all places they would require to visit, access to all documents, especially the original testimonies of the witnesses cited in the Mutsinzi report.
According to the Minister, the investigators also wanted assurance that they could access any place and interview anybody.
“We gave them all those guarantees; they have been here for a week and they have been able to interview any person they wanted, visit any place they wanted, and we have given them all the necessary documents and documentaries,” said Karugarama.
“We handed them these documents in the presence of the civil party, our lawyers, the team of investigators and aviation and ballistic experts. Now that they have full cooperation and access to all the information they wanted, we are hoping that they will make an objective report on their findings”.
He however pointed out, “It is important for the world to know that what Rwanda objects to always, is people who sit in their small or big offices in Europe and start judging Rwanda without investigating.”
“The fact that these people have come here to do an on-the-spot investigation is a welcome development and we hope that they will act fairly, transparently and judiciously to be able to come up with the report,” he said.
In an interview with the press, the Deputy Prosecutor of Paris, Jean Julien Xavier-Rolai, who is part of the delegation, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation and facilitation the team got from Rwanda.
“Although we have not looked into these documents, we hope they will be useful,” he said. “It is very important to note that for the last 16 years, nobody had ever came here to investigate the facts from the ground, said Lef Forster, a defence lawyer in the case,.
“A lot has been discovered from these investigations”.
He strongly castigated French Judge Louis Bruguière’s findings saying that he never even had the courtesy to designate experts to analyze the testimonies.
“This is a very important step in the evolution of this dossier,” said Forster.