Habyalimana Plane Shooting: Paris prosecutor calls for case dismissal

The Paris prosecutor’s office requested case dismissal for the nine Rwandans suspected of involvement in the attack of 6 April 1994.

Their lawyer, Bernard Magain, hails “a very important step in the recognition of the innocence” of his clients.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Paris has requested a dismissal in the case, investigated since 1998, on the attack on April 6, 1994 against the plane of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana.

In these requisitions, dated October 10 and signed by prosecutor Nicolas Renucci, the public prosecutor considers that the elements contained in the investigation file are insufficient for the nine Rwandans prosecuted in this case to be referred to a court of assizes.

The information was confirmed at Jeune Afrique by the Belgian lawyer Bernard Maingain, who defends seven Rwandans close to the Kigali government.

“This is an extra and very important step towards recognizing the innocence of our clients,” he said.

This turning point in the file could be an additional step in the ongoing reconciliation between Paris and Kigali.

For over twenty years, this judicial affair has poisoned diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On 6 April 1994, the plane of President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles as he was preparing to land at Kigali airport.

This event, which also cost the life of Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira at the time, marked the beginning of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.

In 1997, the family of one of the (French) crew members of the presidential Falcon 50 filed a complaint in Paris.

In March 1998, a judicial inquiry was opened, entrusted to Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, of the anti-terrorist unit.

Through these requisitions for non-suit, the Paris prosecutor’s office considers that the investigations conducted for twenty years do not allow, as it is, to return Rwandans indicted before a court of assizes against terrorism.

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