French judges, Marc Trevedic and Natalie Poux, have lifted arrest warrants against senior Rwandan military officers, which had been illegally issued by controversial French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.
The lifting of the warrants came after the two judges, currently investigating the alleged involvement of the Rwandan officers in the April 1994 downing of then president Habyarimana’s plane, realized the indictments were extremely fraudulent.
While the now-retired Bruguiere did not bother to give the accused a chance to defend themselves, before indicting them, it appears that the new investigators have taken measures to rectify their predecessor’s outrageous machinations. While they are still investigating the case itself, by lifting the arrest warrants, the judges have demonstrated that the indictments were baseless, after all.
Indeed, the 2006 arrest warrants were a result of political manipulation rather than a judicial process. The January, 2010 investigative report by the Mutsinzi Commission, which included conclusions from renowned international ballistic experts, thoroughly explained the circumstances under which the Falcon 50 presidential plane was shot down. The report blamed a clique of hardliners within Habyarimana’s regime, who were opposed to a peace deal with the RPF, for the deadly attack. These are well-known facts that Bruguiere and his allies attempted to manipulate in their campaign to smear the government of Rwanda.
Fortunately, the ongoing re-assessment of the case seems to be on the right track – technically. The lifting of the arrest warrants now means that Bruguiere’s victims are free to move around without any restrictions.
The next step now should be for the judges to quash the cases altogether, since they were evidently driven by non-judicial interests, and fully restore the dignity of the victims of this gross injustice.