Rwanda brands French probe into plane crash that sparked genocide a 'farce'

Friday July 3 2020


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Kigali. Rwanda on Friday branded a French investigation into the plane crash that sparked the country's 1994 genocide a "complete farce", after appeals judges in Paris rejected a request to reopen the investigation.

The case, implicating members of President Paul Kagame's inner circle, was "a travesty of justice, a total and complete farce that should not have happened in the first place," Justice Minister Busingye Johnston said in a tweet.

A plane carrying then President Juvenal Habyarimana, from Rwanda's Hutu majority, was struck by at least one missile while coming in to land in the capital Kigali on April 6, 1994, killing the president and triggering a 100-day murderous spree that left 800,000 people dead, mostly ethnic Tutsis.

The appeals court in Paris had been asked to revisit a 2018 decision to throw out a probe against nine members and former members of Kagame's entourage in a case that has poisoned relations between the two countries.

Judges on Friday rejected the request, but lawyers for the families of those who died when Habyarimana's plane was shot down said they will challenge the decision at France's supreme court.

The probe was opened in France in 1998 after a complaint by families of the French plane crew.