Historical truth at issue in France-Rwanda breach

It is vindicating that French complicity in the 1994 Rwanda genocide is finally coming to light. But it was actually Paris’ tit-for-tat of a judicial order for the arrest of Rwandan military officers following Rwandan charges of French support for the genocidaires that pushed the affair into the headlines by provoking Kigali to expell the French ambassador. The French judge has also called for Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame to face a UN tribunal for his alleged role in the plane crash that sparked the genocide. Some 25,000 rallied in support of Kagame in Kigali following the judge’s call. (Jurist, Nov. 23). Now, is it possible that Kagame’s forces really did shoot down the plane? Of course it is—just like it is possible that a lone Communist named Marinus van der Lubbe burned down the Reichstag in 1933. And if it is true, it will be just as meaningless—notwithstanding the claims of the French Rwanda-revisionists and their useful idiots.

Here how Kigali’s pro-government New Times is playing Rwanda’s rupture with France. Via AllAfrica, Nov. 25:

French Ambassador to Rwanda Expelled

The French Ambassador to Rwanda, Dominique Decherf has been expelled following the deepening dispute between the two countries. The extraordinary Cabinet Meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro yesterday, resolved that Ambassador Decherf leaves Rwanda within 24 hours, with the embassy closing as soon as the deadline expires.

The reactions come in the wake of arrest warrants issued by French Magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguierre, in which he claims that officers of the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) were involved in the shooting down of a plane carrying Rwanda’s former president Juvenal Habyarimana.

In a release signed November 24 by the Information Minister, Prof. Laurent Nkusi, the government also announced that all French-aided projects in the country close within 72 hours.

‘We see no reason to keep the French mission in Kigali active at this point. France is intent at destroying our government, we do not see any need for keeping any relationship with a hostile country,’ Nkusi is quoted saying in the release.

The expulsion of the French envoy preceded earlier summons by the Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Charles Murigande, a forum the minister used to formally express discontent at the latest attacks from Paris.

In a statement issued yesterday, Murigande sought explanations for the relentless attack and harassment of the government of Rwanda and its leadership by the government of France, ‘wishing to know how long this will last and how far it will be taken.”For the last twelve years, the government said, France has been waging both overt and covert war against Rwanda hoping to overthrow it and re-instate to power its former allies and perpetrators of Genocide,’ Murigande said in the release.

About a million Rwandans died in the 100-day genocide that followed the crash.

Red line

‘The issuance of international arrest warrants against senior Rwandan government military officers on allegations that they were involved in the shooting down of the plane carrying late Juvenal Habyarimana, is only the latest front opened by France in her war against the government of Rwanda,’ Murigande’s statement reads in part.

Amidst the boiling tensions between the two countries, Rwanda has also recalled its Ambassador to France, Emmanuel Ndagijimana.

Meanwhile, in a related development the Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama yesterday also took a swipe at France, describing its warrants as a move by France to “topple the Kigali leadership.”

“This is illegal. It is an attempt by France to topple our government,” he said on phone yesterday.

He added that it was not only illegal but also a strange legal exercise for a foreign country to issue arrest warrants for senior government officials of another country without even informing them.

He said the French government was trying to manipulate the politics of a stable and popular government in Rwanda. Karugarama said, however, that the government is prepared to wage a legal battle.

“We are going to launch a diplomatic offensive; a legal battle against these illegal arrest warrants that are based on mere rumours to show the world that this is an attempt to topple the government and nothing else,” Karugarama told The New Times on phone yesterday.

The Paris attacks have sparked anger among Rwandans, prompting many in Kigali city and the provinces to demonstrate against France over its role in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and the subsequent political witch-hunt against the current government.

See our last post on Rwanda and the struggle for Central Africa.