Habyarimana plane crash findings out in February

KIGALI - The commission of inquiry set up to  investigate the cause of the plane crash  that was carrying former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana will release its findings by the end of February next year.
A soldier walks by the wreckage of the plane carrying President Habyarimana.
A soldier walks by the wreckage of the plane carrying President Habyarimana.

KIGALI - The commission of inquiry set up to  investigate the cause of the plane crash  that was carrying former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana will release its findings by the end of February next year.

The government recently extended the mandate of the commission chaired by former Chief Justice Jean Mutsinzi by another three months.

In a telephone interview the commission’s Vice President, Dr. Jean Damascène Bizimana, said that their mandate expired at the end of last month, but it requested the government to extend its work for three more months up to February next year, in order to ‘fully’ treat information it has gathered during investigations.

“We are entirely in the process of writing the report and fully treating all the information we have. We will hand in the report to government institutions by the end of February,” said Bizimana, who had also served on the committee that was charged with collecting evidence on the role played by the French during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

The Falcon 50 jet, which had on board 12 people, including the former president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was shot down over Kigali on April 6, 1994.

The Rwandan government set up the commission to carry out investigations on the crash in October last year. It is composed of seven members most of whom have a background in the legal field.

While the commission’s report was first due to be released last month, Bizimana explained that their term of office is always renewable whenever its commissioners find it necessary given the progress of their work.

“It is a normal procedure clearly stipulated by the law establishing the committee,” he said of the extension of their mandate.

The commissioners have kept current findings of their work a secret until they publish them in a report that is eagerly awaited by many.

“We have directives that we don’t have to disclose anything,” the committee’s president, Jean Mutsinzi, told The New Times last September.

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