Kagame Appeals in French Court Against Verdict Favouring Journalist
By Ruth Nabakwe
Posted July 30, 2002
Kagame’s appeal filed on 25 July in the Appeals Chamber of the French High Court follows an earlier court ruling delivered on 3 June in which French Judge Dubrueil dismissed the Rwandan leader’s plaint of defamation on the grounds that the case was filed more than three months after the publication of a contentious book written by Charles Onana.
French Laws require that defamation charges on a book should be file within three months after the publication of a book that is the subject of a defamation suit.
The Book published in November 2001 entitled, "Les Secrets Du Génocide Rwandais, Enquête Sur les Mystères D’un Président [The Secrets of the Rwandan Genocide, Investigations on the Mysteries of a President]" was the subject of President Kagame’s initial law suit that was heard in the 17th chamber of the French High court against Journalist Charles Onana .
President Kagame charged that he was defamed in Onana’s publication which accuses the Rwandan leader of being the principle instigator of the missile attack of 6 April 1994 against the plane carrying a former Rwandan leader Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira who both died in the plane crash.
In the appeal case filed by Kagame the Rwandan leader as well as the Rwandan State seek to have the earlier court ruling annulled by the French Justice system that would open the way for Kagame’s Lawyers to institute defamation proceedings against Journalist Charles Onana.
Commenting on the pending appeal Onana expressed confidence that ‘’ truth would always triumph’’.
Onana described the appeal as an attempt by General Kagame to avoid confronting the truth.
‘’ Kagame seeks to give the impression that he wants Justice but in reality he wants to continue to stifle the truth because he knows that French Judge Bruguière is about to conclude his investigations on the plane crash that killed late Rwandan leader Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira, ‘’ Onana said.
The Journalist stated that by filing his appeal President Kagame was motivated by a strong desire to distract thousands of people who were waiting to see an end to Kagame’s years of lies and attempts to silence people on the reasons as well as his (Kagame’s) role in the death of late Rwandan President Habyarimana.
The "Secrets of the Rwandan Genocide- Investigations into the Mysteries of a President", was the latest publication by Journalist Charles Onana in a series of investigative books written by him which include ‘’ State Crimes Against A Journalist’’ which describes the death of Burkina Faso Journalist Nobert Zongo.
Onana has 15 days within which to respond to the appeal through his lawyers after which the French appeal chamber would fix a hearing date for the case.