Rwandan President Paul Kagame has warned France that attempts by Paris to reopen investigations into the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana will have consequences on the relations between the two countries.
The Rwandan leader reacted angrily to plans by French investigators to delve afresh into the circumstances surrounding the downing of the presidential jet in which President Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprian Ntaryamira died on April 6, 1994. The incident is believed to have been the trigger of a long planned genocide against the Tutsis by Hutu extremists.
While addressing an audience that included Western diplomats during the launch of the Judicial Year Monday, President Kagame expressed annoyance that after investigating the case for two years and “not finding anything they wanted”, investigators wanted to start all over again.
“I have no problem with that, but starting all over again means a lot of things,” President Kagame said.
“Starting all over again means I have to remind some people that this is Rwanda, the judicial system of Rwanda is not subordinate to France or to France’s interests,” he added.
President Kagame said that Rwanda’s willingness to cooperate with investigators to end the case, had been abused, adding that the French should be answerable over what happened in the country.
“I think where we are being put by these countries, is actually where these countries should be. What I am saying is, France should be in the dock being tried. Not anybody in Rwanda and not Rwandans,” he said.
Rwanda has always accused France of having had a hand in the genocide.
The country broke off diplomatic relations with France in 2006 following the issuance of nine arrest warrants by a French judge against Rwandan officials in connection with the attack against President Habyarimana’s French-crewed plane.
The diplomatic relations were restored in 2009.
The new development was likely to upset the diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France. President Kagame warned that “starting all over again” may mean cutting ties again.