Expatica news

Rwandan President denies genocide charge

11 March 2004

BRUSSELS – Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday rejected claims that he ordered the assassination of his predecessor, Juvenal Habyarimana, sparking the genocide that swept through his country in 1994.

Speaking at a press conference on the second day of an official visit to Belgium, Kagame said neither he nor the rebel organisation he led at the time “had anything to do” with a suspected rocket attack that brought down Habaryimana’s helicopter in 1994, killing the former president.

On Tuesday France’s Le Monde newspaper reported that a major report by France’s anti terrorist police had concluded Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) were behind the killing.

Le Monde said the report by Parisian investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere argues that Kagame was the brains behind the attack, which sparked a hundred days of inter-ethnic slaughter in Rwanda that left up to a million people dead.

Earlier on Thursday Belgian daily La Libre Belgique published an interview with Kagame in which he once again denied ordering the attack on Habyarimana’s helicopter.

“First, the accusations are not new,” Kagame told the newspaper.

“Secondly, nobody in the French establishment has the right to make any judgement on the responsibility for events in Rwanda in 1994,” he added.

Many analysts argue that French troops in Rwanda could have done more to prevent members of the country’s Hutu ethnic group massacring members of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority.

When La Libre Belgique asked Kagame if he thought the French government could have been behind the article in ‘Le Monde’ he replied: “I have no doubt about that.”

On Thursday Kagame had official meetings with Belgian King Albert II and the country’s Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news