Heads of political parties in Rwanda have praised the recently released expert report into the downing of a plane carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana from Dar-es-Salaam in 1994, saying it brings out the truth Genocide deniers and apologists have tried to shelve over the years.
The Rwanda Socialist Labor Party (PSR) took the lead in welcoming the findings of the report by experts commissioned by French Judges Marc Trévidic and Nathalie Poux.
The report identified Kanombe military barracks, a stronghold of former government forces, as the launching site of the missiles that brought down the plane on April 6, 1994.
“The PSR would like to thank these French experts for their efforts to shed light on the truth behind the downing of the plane,” stated party Chairperson, Jean Baptiste Rucibigango.
“The latest revelations disqualify what was said previously by Jean Louis Bruguiere, whose approach was highly flawed and politicised.
“Bruguiere neglected physical evidence as he favoured hearsay accounts from people like Ruzibiza and others, who would later retract their testimony or accuse Bruguiere of distorting their testimonies.”
“Trévidic’s findings collaborate with what was unearthed by the Mutsizi Report, which also vindicated Rwanda’s position,” reiterated Rucibigango.
Addressing a press briefing, Alphonse Mukama, who is in charge of Political Affairs in PSR said that the leadership of his party was at the forefront in criticising Bruguiere’s report, adding that they had also taken a lead among other political parties to support Trévidic’s findings.
“Trévidic brought a team of experts in aeronautics and ballistics in 2010, who carried on the ground investigations – this is something that Bruguiere deliberately ignored,” said Mukama.
Bruguiere had accused senior members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A), now Rwanda Defence Forces, of shooting down the plane.
However, the report reveals that Habyarimana was killed by his own henchmen who were against the idea of sharing power with the RPF.
In a separate interview with The New Times, Senator Perrine Mukankusi a senior member of Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda (UDPR) also welcomed the latest report.
“In my personal opinion, I believe this new report is going to clear the confusion the world had about the shooting of Habyarimana’s plane. I hope no one is going to bring up another contrary report,” said Mukankusi.
The Chairperson of Ideal Democratic Party (PDI) Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana,, said that although the report did not highlight anything extra-ordinary, it gives the international community a clear picture of who shot Habyarimana’s plane.
“There is nothing new they are telling us in Trévidic’s report, they are just confirming what was said by the Mutsinzi Report. However, we welcome Trévidic’s report since it gives justice a clear path,” he said.
Liberal Party (PL) Chairperson, Protais Mitali, also welcomed the development saying that Trévidic’s report adds value to what Judge Mutsinzi published in his report.
“We are grateful that the truth is finally out. This is big news to us and a blow to the revisionists who always claimed that the shooting down of the plane sparked the Genocide,” said the Chairperson of Social Democratic Party (PSD) Dr. Vincent Biruta.
Jean Thierry Karemera, a member of Party for Progress and Concord (PPC) said that now that the truth is out, those responsible should face justice.
“Trévidic’s report confirms what is in the Mutsizi report. Those that were using Bruguiere’s report to attack Rwanda have now lost the battle,” said Karemera.
According to the Mutsinzi probe, which preceded Trévidic’s, Habyarimana was actually in the know about a plot hatched by his inner circle to assassinate him and the masterminds included architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, such as Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Anatole Nsengiyumva, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Joseph Nzirorera.
They wanted to kill their own leader in order to block a power-sharing agreement known as the Arusha Peace Accords.