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Rwanda's President Ready for Inquiry Into Former Leader's Death

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame says he is ready to co-operate with an international investigation into the death of former leader Juvenal Habyarimana. Kagame dismissed as false accusations that he ordered the plane carrying the former leader to be shot down. But Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama denies a popular belief that the shooting down of the plane carrying the former president led to the country’s genocide that saw scores of people killed.

Karugarama said that the government had always maintained its willingness to co-operate with an international inquiry into the death of President Habyarimana.

“The President was asked specifically about that and there should be no impression given at any one time or by anybody that there has ever been hesitation to co-operate with any international inquiry into the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s plane,” he said.

Karugarama said that the government invited international investigators into the country to ascertain the truth about the former president’s death.

“I do remember, when Dr. Charles Murigande the current Minister for Foreign Affairs was the Minister for Transport. He did write, inviting the international transport authority and urging them to come and conduct an investigation into the shooting down of that plane. The letter is on record,” he said.

Karugarama said opponents of the government are wrong to blame the death of the former leader on President Kagame.

“I think the people who are blaming the President or leaders here are people who are misinformed. There is plenty of evidence that is available to anybody that is impartial, that is credible, that wants to tell the truth, and speak it out, and seek only the truth. And the motif is the truth. Then the evidence is available for any type of serious person,” he said.

Karugarama said he was disappointed opponents of the government are peddling untruths about the death of the former president.

“When you have people who talk carelessly, who talk about things they haven’t investigated, who make serious statements in the media and in the political cycles, then they are obstructing the truth, “ Karugarama noted.

He said there is enough evidence of those involved in the country’s genocide.

“Unfortunately, the International Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, has pronounced itself that genocide happened in Rwanda. There is a plea of guilt entered by the genocide government of Prime Minister Jean Kambanda,” he said.

Karugarama added that there is evidence that also showed that the genocide was planned.

“At the tribunal, there is a lot of evidence of pleas of guilt, and other testimonies that there was genocide, and that it was planned, and that it was executed in accordance with the plan. The shooting down of the plane being used as an excuse, some people saying it triggered genocide as if there was a trigger waiting to set genocide, I think, is obstructing the course of justice. I think it unfortunate. It is negating genocide and taking us many years back,” he said.