Washington, November 7, 2011 (FH) -  A former close aide to Rwandan president Paul Kagame who claims Kagame downed his predecessor's plane says he wants to be heard by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) or another independent court to "reveal all the details". Théogène Rudasingwa told Hirondelle News Agency on Friday that he was not just requesting but "demanding" this.

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"I would like to appear before the ICTR as soon as possible regarding this matter," he said to Hirondelle. "I am not just requesting this. I am demanding it as a witness to the most pivotal event in the 20th century whose consequences remain tragic almost two decades later."

The April 6, 1994 downing of the presidential plane that killed Kagame's predecessor, Juvénal Habyarimana, is widely considered the event that sparked the genocide.

In 1994, Rudasingwa was Secretary General of Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which came to power that year after the war and genocide. Rudasingwa later became Rwanda's ambassador to the United States (1996-1999) and then Kagame's principal private secretary (2000-2004). Rudasingwa went into opposition in 2004 and has been living in exile in the United States since 2005. On October 1, 2011, he published on his Facebook page a confession in English in which he accused Kagame of being "personally responsible" for the attack on Habyarimana's plane.

"I can confirm that Kagame told me he was responsible for the shooting down of Habyarimana's plane," Rudasingwa told Hirondelle. "I will divulge the details to the ICTR or the French Judge, or any other international jurisdiction. There is additional evidence that will be produced by others that will support my declaration."

The ICTR has always refused to investigate the shooting down of the plane. In France, a judicial investigation was opened in 1998 on behalf of family of the French crew who also died in the crash. This investigation was first led by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who concluded in 2006 that the RPF was responsible for the attack. It is now in the hands of  two anti-terrorist judges, Nathalie Poux and Marc Trévidic. Results are still awaited from ballistics experts who conducted a mission  to Kigali in September 2010 at their request.

"I am willing and ready to appear before the ICTR, the French Judges or any other, at any time, to set the record straight," Rudasingwa told Hirondelle.


© Hirondelle News Agency