Arusha, April 30, 2010 (FH) - France has launched new investigations into the death of  the former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana whose plane was shot down by unknown assailants as it was approaching the capital, Kigali, on 6 April, 1994.  

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President Habyarimana's assasination triggered the 100-day mass killings of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

"Judge Marc Trevidic intends to go to Rwanda along with experts that he has nominated and reach conclusions within a year," French daily "Le Parisien", reported Wednesday.

The judge has commissioned five experts entrusted with ascertaining the circumstances, mandates and authors of the downing of the aircraft, which also killed Burundian President Cyprian Ntaryamira.

Both presidents were returning from a regional peace meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Judge Trevidic has thus revived the French judicial investigations into the responsibilities of the crash of the presidential plane, which severed diplomatic ties between Kigali and Paris some three years ago. The relationship was only restored in December last year.

In November 2006, Judge Jean-Louis Brugiere had issued arrest warrants against members of the entourage of current President Paul Kagame, suspected of having had a responsibility in the episode.

According to the version of Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front, the responsibilities in the crash of Habyarimana's plane are attributed to the Hutu extremists who committed the massacres of 1994.

France and Rwanda are now enjoying fresh diplomatic ties which also saw President Nicolas Sarkozy visiting Kigali in February, first French to do since 1994 genocide.


© Hirondelle News Agency