Rwandan Genocide - The Book Which Makes Kagame Tremble?

By Ruth Nabakwe

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 29, 2002

Who shot down the plane of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, which provoked the 1994 Rwandan genocide? Why were the Belgian blue berets in the United Nations peacekeeping force killed on the eve of the falcon 50 plane crash?

These and many more questions which have haunted a majority of minds the world over since almost eight years of the Rwandan genocide could perhaps find better responses in a new book entitled, "Les Secrets Du Genocide Rwandais-Enquête Sur Les mystères D’un Président (The Secrets of the Rwandan Genocide-Investigation on the Mysteries of a President)".

The principle thesis of the book revolves around the responsibility of the current Rwandan President Major General Paul Kagame as well as the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPF) in the Falcon 50 plane crash of kagame’s predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana who met his sinister death in the crash together with his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira.

According to the author of the book Charles Onana, a Paris-based African independent investigative journalist, it was through the orders of President Paul Kagame that four RPF military soldiers shot down Habyarimana’s plane on 6 April 1994 at about 20H30 (Local Time).

For his investigative research, the author supports his thesis from the Rwandan Intelligence Service reports, as well as witness testimonies from Kagame’s direct collaborators among them one of Kagame’s former intelligence officers Jean Pierre Mugabe who was in the process of watching television with Kagame on the same evening of the plane crash.

In his testimony, Mugabe describes to the author how the plan of the plane crash was prepared as well as the attitude of Kagame when suddenly one of his officers entered the television room to announce to him that the Falcon 50 plane had been shot down.

Kagame immediately left the room in the company of the official and gave orders to his RPF army units for the war to start, in other words for them to launch a military offensive on Kigali which was still under the Habyarimana’s forces.

To reinforce his thesis on Kagame’s implications in the plane crash Charles Onana quotes a confidential United Nations report which he obtained and which implicates Kagame and his RPF army in the plane crash.

‘’Today our investigations have found three sources inside the current Tutsi regime who declared having been members of a secret elite commando (unit) known as the Network, which with the aid of a foreign army shot down the Presidential (Habyarimana’s) plane. The three sources confirm that Gen. Paul Kagame was responsible for the (commando network) operation and precisely describe the evolution of the process,’’ according to the UN report which was prepared by an Australian Advocate Michael Hourigan who worked for the UN International Tribunal for Rwanda.

Hourigan led a team of investigators known as the National Team which was charged with investigating suspects in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The author poses several other questions among them the reasons which provoked the Rwandans to massacres the Belgian UN Blue Beret peacekeepers. According to the author these peacekeepers were charged with missions other than that which was prescribed by the UN. In the evening soon after Habyarimana’s plane crash, these peacekeepers were coming from the Airport on their way to the residence of the former Rwandan Prime Minister Agatha Uwilingyimana to take her to the Rwandan National Radio to make a declaration. But she never made the declaration since she was assassinated by Habyarimana’s Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) on the 7 April 1994, the eve of the plane crash.

Several moments later the Belgian peacekeepers were equally assassinated in a military camp in Kigali in circumstances which the author says are yet unclear.

Onana poses questions in his book as to what prevents the UN to launch an international investigation on the death of these Belgian peacekeepers. Similarly, Onana does not understand why Belgium was and still is not eager to investigate on those who assassinated its own peacekeepers. But while the Belgian government dilly -dallies the author meanwhile reveals in his book that a Rwandan officer Bernard Ntuyahaga accused by the Belgian Senatorial Commission as being responsible for the death of the Belgian Blue Berets is currently languishing in a Tanzanian prison on charges of being in Tanzania ‘’ illegally’’ for lacking residence papers.

Yet, Ntuyahaga who before his arrest by Tanzanian authorities, had earlier presented himself to the UN Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha to give his testimony on the Rwandan tragedy and the Tribunal found him not guilty of any genocide charges. But as soon as he walked out of the Tribunal ostensibly a free man, ‘’ the Tanzanian authorities promptly arrested him for lack of residence papers’’.

During his investigations the author obtained and published in his new book a letter written by Ntuyahaga in which he (Ntuyahaga) demands to be tried in a Belgian court in order to defend himself against the Belgian authorities allegations against him.

The author reveals that while a judicial process was launched against Ntuyahaga in Belgium by the Belgium government, curiously, the Belgian authorities do not again wish to have anything to do with the court process but surprisingly, the Belgium Media were recently awash with the court process of four Rwandan Catholic nuns who were condemned in a Belgium court for genocide.

The author wonders why Belgium would be so interested to flash news with immense vigour and robust energy about the four Rwandan nuns through a lot of publicity on these cases in its Media but seemingly finds it convenient to forget about their own judicial initiative at the Belgian Appeal Court against Ntuyahaga whom they accuse of killing their own Belgian nationals. In normal circumstances the need to investigate the death of Nationals for any given country should take precedence over those who allegedly caused the death of foreigners. Belgium’s behaviour therefore leaves a lot of questions than answers.

And while Belgium plays low key on the assassinations of its own peacekeepers in Rwanda, its courts have acquired a whole new international jurisprudence to judge cases of human rights abuses which happened or are still happening outside of its borders. A flood of cases are being filed in the Belgian courts against dictators from every corner of the globe, against human rights abusers ranging from former President Hissene Habre of Chad in West Africa to Israeli prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Middle East and back to Central Africa’s Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville. The big unsettled question is why Belgium courts could possibly judge these cases and keep a strange silence on the need to pursue investigations on suspects who killed their own Belgian citizens in Rwanda.

The interrogations posed by the author as well as the hot-potato-like revelations which emerge from his book have earned the author Charles Onana a court process launched by President Kagame and the Rwandan State.

The author is being accused of defamation in a court process that would begin on the 8 April in a French High court.

Interrogated about his defence, the author says his main motivations for writing the book was to bring out the truth about the Rwandan genocide by scrutinizing the shadowy zones and the silence of the international community on the Falcon 50 plane crash which even the UN admits was at the origin of the Rwandan genocide.

The author therefore questions why today the International Justice system could bring to trial those suspected of the Rwandan genocide at the UN Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania without the international community seeking or even demonstrating a keen desire to wish to investigate on who shot down Habyarimana’s plane, an incident which sparked off the 1994 genocide.

Onana gives precisions of testimonies from a member of Habyarimana’s presidential security which he found ‘’troubling’’.

According to the security official’s testimony, just a few minutes before the late President boarded the plane, the chauffeur of Gasana Anastase who was Rwanda’s ambassador to the Unites States, had told other chauffeurs in his (security official’s presence) in the Kiswahili language that Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira would be killed.

Two hours later, this information was verified since the plane was shot down at 20H30 on 6 April. The author therefore questions how this chauffeur who was close to the Rwandan Patriotic Army could have such sensitive information several hours before the plane crash incident.

Onana contends that today, it was crucial that no stone be left unturned in clearing the mysteries surrounding the plane crash that led to the Rwandan genocide. He recalls that the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière was presently investigating the plane crash incident and hopes that the truth would not be stifled.

Onana expresses confidence saying the upcoming court process against him offers a welcome opportunity to clearly know who were really responsible not only for the Rwandan genocide but also the unending instability in the entire Great Lakes region.

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