Canadian daughter of slain Rwandan leader seeks justice 22 years later
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/authors/geoffrey-york> GEOFFREY YORK AND
JOHANNESBURG and MONTREAL The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 6:00AM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 10:06AM EDT
The daughter of Rwandas assassinated president, who took shelter in Canada
after the killing, has been waiting patiently for justice for her father for
Now, with the emergence of
nation-that-triggered-rwandan-genocide/article32316139/> fresh evidence in
the mystery, Marie-Rose Habyarimana is calling on Canada and other countries
to push for the answers that have been hidden since the Rwandan genocide.
There have been moments where we have felt powerless, she told The Globe
and Mail on Tuesday. As long as this affair remains unresolved, we live as
though we are still waiting. But I believe the truth will come out
eventually. The truth cannot be hidden forever.
The assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, a pivotal event
of the 20th century, ignited the genocide that killed 800,000 people. The
genocide sent shock waves through Africa and the world, leading to never
again promises and shaping the worlds beliefs on peacekeeping and
humanitarian intervention for decades to come.
nation-that-triggered-rwandan-genocide/article32316139/> Globe exclusive:
Probe revisits mystery of assassination that triggered Rwandan genocide
ime-spent-in-rwanda-during-genocide/article17848497/> Related: Humanitarian
worker reflects on experiences during Rwandan genocide
94562/> From the archives: Our Rwandan betrayal
Yet the United Nations has never conducted an inquiry into the
assassination, despite the presence in Rwanda of a UN peacekeeping force
headed by Canadian general Roméo Dallaire at the time of the murder.
A confidential 12-page deposition by a former close aide of Rwandan
President Paul Kagame, obtained by The Globe this week, accuses Mr. Kagame
of involvement in the assassination.
The sworn statement has led to the reopening of a French inquiry into the
case, provoking a furious reaction from Mr. Kagame, who has threatened to
freeze relations with France if the inquiry proceeds. The three-person crew
in the downed plane was French.
The deposition was provided by Mr. Kagames former army chief, General
Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who was head of military intelligence for Mr.
Kagames rebel army at the time of the assassination. He said he heard Mr.
Kagame and two senior aides describing how they orchestrated the missile
attack that destroyed the presidents airplane.
Mr. Habyarimanas daughter was a 24-year-old student in Quebec at the time
of the murder, and Canada gave her permission to stay in the country after
the genocide. She is now a Canadian citizen, living in Gatineau, where she
works as a translator, still hoping for justice for her father.
The absence of any UN inquiry and the long delays in the French inquiry are
part of an abhorrent neglect of the case, Ms. Habyarimana said.
I dont want people to be discouraged, she said. I would like not only
Canada to act but all countries to look more closely and seek the truth. I
would like to see all countries that profess to believe in world peace
actually take real steps to pursue justice in this matter, whether it is
France or Canada or the United Nations.
She said she had placed her faith in the UNs court, the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where Louise Arbour of Canada was the chief
prosecutor from 1996 to 1999. But the tribunal decided not to pursue charges
in the case of her fathers assassination.
If there had been international goodwill or a real desire for truth we
would have seen the International Criminal Tribunal investigate his murder,
but the UN court refused to do that, she said.
Mr. Kagames government has insisted that Hutu extremists shot down the
airplane carrying Mr. Habyarimana and Burundis president and other senior
officials. A report by the French inquiry in 2012 said the missiles were
fired from an area of the Rwandan capital that was normally controlled by
the Rwandan army, headed by Hutus. But this theory contradicted by earlier
investigations does not make sense, Ms. Habyarimana said.
People have closed their eyes, she said. They have been hypocritical. Two
Hutu presidents and a Hutu army chief were killed in a plane attack, and we
were supposed to believe that Hutus were behind this, as though they would
naturally sabotage themselves. Those who really wanted to see the truth, who
could have looked deeply, could have seen through these attempts to lie and
She said she was hesitant to speak publicly about the French inquiry because
Mr. Kagame had angrily called for a showdown with France and had vowed
that he would sort out the inquiry.
This is intimidating, she said. It makes people nervous.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, speaking to reporters in
Montreal on Tuesday, was asked about the new evidence in the assassination
of Mr. Habyarimana. He said he had not had time to look into the issue. I
am not in a position to answer for the moment, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Global Affairs department issued a brief statement.
The assassination of President Habyarimana is a crime that remains
unresolved and precipitated one of the worst tragedies in recent history,
Jocelyn Sweet said.
The federal government hasnt seen the documents obtained by The Globe, but
it supports any efforts to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators of this
crime and to see that justice is finally delivered, she said.
With reports from Bertrand Marotte in Montreal and Michelle Zilio in Ottawa
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