Following the release of findings by French Judges Marc Trévidic and Nathalie Poux, on the responsibility for 1994 plane crash, which led to the death of former President, Juvenal Habyarimana, The New Times sought the views of a cross-section of Rwandans about the report.
The two judges undertook the investigation after their predecessor; Jean-Louis Bruguiere had released an earlier report, which was largely seen as politically motivated, implicating former leaders in the then Rwandese Patriotic Army, now the Rwanda Defence Forces.
The latest report, on the contrary, concluded that the plane crashed after being hit by missiles launched from the Kanombe army barracks, which was under the control of the then government army.
Joseph Kalisa, Kigali motorcyclist;
“Though they do not exactly point at the person who did it, it is evident our government officials are not responsible and therefore we don’t risk any bad fate, or disappointments. The next step now should be continuing to search for the culprits and put all the truth to light.”
J.M Vianney Hakizimana, casual gardener
“Since the report matches Mutsinzi’s, and it was done by Frenchmen themselves, then we should now celebrate the innocence of our leaders and continue to concentrate on our development programmes as usual, instead of wasting more time quarreling with foreigners.”
Marie Louise Uwizeye, a student at SFB;
“The report disapproves the issues of bad leadership in Rwanda, as denoted by some foreign figures.
“This gives us more confidence in our leadership and continues to disapprove the ill talk aimed at Rwanda by people who have never stepped in the country. It now shifts that blame to those who bring up these claims; and we hope to continue progressing this way.”
Ereneste Nikubwayezu, cyclist
The good thing is that if the report discovered that the missile was fired at Kanombe military barracks which I am sure was then controlled by national army, this means that the presidential plane was downed by the (then) national army itself. In my understanding, the first report was just trying to break off Rwanda-France relations.
Jean Luc Munyakazi, a fisherman
I heard about it on radio today but I have not followed much of it. However, after this report, I hope that the air will be cleared. A lot of speculation has been going on for over 17 years now but with this report, the world will see the truth in it and the mystery be solved once and for all and the country moves on with normal business.
Germain Twagirimana, security guard
“This proves that Bruguiere’s report was just biased and should not be relied upon. We also welcome the report because; imagine if it had produced results that matched Bruguiere’s? We should be happy that the truth has prevailed.
Mignone Umwari, a hairdresser in Nyamirambo,
“Rwanda has been relieved of the risk of being implicated again in another foreign report.
“I sometimes used to believe that these people could continue their prejudices on Rwanda, and end up implicating our leaders in even things they are innocent of; simply because they are superpowers. This would cause commotion even politically; so, thanks to God that the truth is coming out slowly by slowly.”
Protegene Niyonsenga, a supermarket attendant in Kacyiru, Kigali “I take it as a genuine report because it was done by the French themselves, and using methods everyone deems reliable.
“The next thing the French should consider doing is helping us to get their people who were possibly involved, because it has been said that some of their nationals were implicated. The French should also go ahead and apologise, so that we cement our cooperation.”
Stephen Gasore, a local leader
We welcome the new report that brings out the truth behind who shot the plane that was carrying former president (Juvenal Habyarimana). We were very scared that the new report will mislead the world like a previous one. As the report said that the plane was downed in a coup d’état carried out by Hutu extremists, this is clear that most of them had seen Habyarimana as a moderate who would turn down their propaganda.
Bernard Kayumba, Karongi District Mayor
People who say that Genocide was triggered off by the plane crash are telling lies.
It’s a positive development that those who have repeatedly hidden the facts are fighting a losing battle. The truth may take long but it will certainly emerge with time.
Ephrem Kayiranga, journalist The Trevidic report is more accurate compared to the earlier report by Jean Louis Bruguiere who relied more on hearsay and had never been to Rwanda. So, this report will boost Rwanda’s international image.
Diplomatically, Rwanda’s image was stained and with the new report, the government officials who were indicted by the French courts will prove their innocence thus further improving the relations between Rwanda and France.