26.11.07 - ICTR/ZIGIRANYIRAZO - A DEFENCE EXPERT REJECTS THE THEORY OF A PLANNED GENOCIDE

Arusha, 26 November 2007 (FH) - An defence expert in the trial of Protais Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of former President Juvénal Habyarimana, rejected Monday the thesis of a planned genocide supported by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).   
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The French historian Bernard Lugan, professor at the University of Lyon III, highly criticized the point of view developed by Alison Des Forges, an American historian and specialist of Rwanda, called by the prosecution in this trial that has been in progress since October 2005.
 
Bernard Lugan taught at the National University of Rwanda between 1972 and 1983 and published several books and articles on the history of Rwanda.
 
Alison Des Forges had affirmed that the genocide committed against Tutsis had been planned by acquaintances of Juvénal Habyarimana, killed in an air attack on 6 April 1994.
 
Zigiranyirazo is the brother of Agathe Kanziga, the wife of Juvénal Habyarimana.
 
According to Lugan, the principal weakness of Mrs. Des Forges it is that she "commits scientific autism. She is locked up in a postulate. She draws aside all that can contradict it, even denying the obvious" to support the thesis of a planned genocide.
 
"Mrs. Des Forges says to us that she is more and more persuaded of the planning of the genocide. A few lines later, she says that she has no evidence. We are no longer in a scientific debate but in a religious type debate. There is a dogma and we cannot discuss it ", continued the defence expert which read a report that he submitted to the ICTR in this trial.
 
Bernard Lugan indicated that contrary to other experts of the prosecutor, like the Belgian political economist Filip Reyntjens and the French sociologist André Guichaoua, who, according to him, evolve on the basis of what is known, "with Mrs. Des Forges, we are in the postulate and the belief".
 
The defence expert affirmed that the indictment of Zigiranyirazo lies within the scope of a campaign carried out since the 1990’s by the opposition to demonize the family of President Habyarimana.
 
Arrested in Belgium in July 2001 for genocide and crimes against humanity, Protais Zigiranyirazo has pleaded not guilty. He is resting his case this week.

AT/PB/MM
 
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