Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UN Political Prisoners in Arusha Respond to Mutsinzi Report

UN Political Prisoners in Arusha Respond to Mutsinzi Report

[It will soon be 16 years since the double assassination of two sitting African heads of state triggered what has come universally to be considered one of the most gruesome mass crimes of the 20th Century: The Rwandan Genocide of 100 Days (6 April to 16 July, 1994).

And though all the evidence gathered by the French investigative magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, and by various agents (mostly Defense lawyers) of the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, have built an ironclad case against the current military dictator of Rwanda, General Paul Kagame, and his Rwandan Patriotic Front, those international institutions that should long ago have been clamoring for an investigation into this signal terrorist event, have found themselves bound and gagged by those member-states (US, UK and Israel) who have been the chief sponsors and beneficiaries of the Rwandan genocide--as well as all the other military interventions in service of globalized waste capital.

Seven years after the Rwandan genocide, a similar civil aviation-related terrorist event occurred that also triggered mass killing across the globe: the September 11, 2001, attacks on NYC and Washington, DC. And just as with 4/6/94, nothing that could seriously be called an independent investigation of 9/11/01 has ever taken place.

Almost as an admission of its complicity in the crime, the US government ordered the 911 Commission Report, a sort of brazen comb-over of the few brittle evidentiary hairs to cover the bald-faced lies that founded the popular narrative of what happened on that sunny Black Tuesday in 2001. Ever the star pupil, Kagame’s Rwanda has aped the 911 Commission Report with two of its own: the Mucyo Commission—charging France with complicity in the Rwandan Genocide of 100 Days—and the Mutsinzi Commission—absolving the RPF and charging the former Rwandan (majority Hutu) government with the assassination of its own leader and the liquidation of 10% of its population. Neither of the reports of these Rwandan Commissions is worth the disk space they’d take up on your computer, and the UN political prisoners in the Detention Facility out by the Arusha airport, have put the lie to both of them. And in doing so they have kept hope (for Truth, Justice, and Peace through Reconciliation) alive.

The Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder seems to want to keep the gravedigger’s shovel off the 911 dossier, as well. His idea to try KSM and his associates in NYC—near the putative scene of their putative crime—has brought some interesting opposition—mostly from the Bush/Cheney extended families and their as yet unindicted co-conspirators. I cannot imagine a more bracing, a more enlightening and ennobling experiment than placing the events of 911 into the crucible of the American criminal justice system. Just the discovery hearings—with some of that ADAD crew on D—would give the consensus nonsense mongers the dribbling squirts.

But for now, take some cues—and some clues—from the UN Political Prisoners in Arusha on Rwanda’s 911. –mc]


Arusha, 18 February 2010

ICTR Detainees
United Nations Detention Facility (UNDF)
Arusha, Tanzania

The President of the UN Security Council,
The UN Secretary General,
The President of the ICTR,

Subject: An independent inquiry into and the prosecution of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack against the airplane of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana on 6th April 1994.

Your Excellencies,

We, the undersigned detainees of the ICTR, have the honor of sending you, herewith attached, our reaction to the report by a Committee[1] established by the Rwandan government to investigate the attack on President Habyarimana’s airplane. As you will notice, we have demonstrated, on the basis of evidence, the falseness of the report produced by this so-called independent Committee.

Actually, this committee of Experts, composed of eminent RPF members, was given, by the current President of Rwanda, General Paul Kagame, the mission of fabricating exculpatory evidence in order to absolve him and his henchmen, who took part in the murders of the Heads of State of Rwanda and Burundi, seven of their collaborators, as well as the three French crew members of the presidential Falcon 50 airplane. This Committee was also put in place to block the international arrest warrants issued by the French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière after his eight year inquiry into the terrorist attack of 6 April 1994. In the Mutsinzi Report, we see the RPF’s final attempt to completely silence the truth of its responsibility in the Rwandan tragedy, in general, and in the assassination of President Habyarimana, in particular.

Given its creator, its composition, and its real mission, the Mutsinzi Committee can hardly be independent. It can not produce an objective report because from the first outline of its methodology, it considered a priori that the RPF is innocent and reflexively charged “the Hutu extremists within the former regime” with being the perpetrators of the attack. This is the postulate that prevailed throughout the drafting of the report.

Aside from Paul Kagame’s sycophantic admirers, most commentators, from the moment it was published, described the Mutsinzi Report as partial. Prof. Filip Reyntjens, the Belgian researcher, said that “it is an opportunistic political report of highly dubious quality.”[2] Belgian Colonel Luc Marchal, former UNAMIR officer and the Commander of the Kigali Sector, said: “We had the feeling of having been an audience to a parody of an investigation, the script of which had been written in advance.”[3]

In the long preliminary section about its methodology, the Mutsinzi Committee indicated that it interviewed a large number of witnesses and read hundreds of documents from different sources, including those available from the ICTR. Actually, after reading the report, one discovers that the Mutsinzi Committee systematically excluded all relevant witnesses and documents that were likely to contradict its postulate.[4]

Concerning the motive and circumstances of the attack, the Mutsinzi Committee did not hesitate to repeat, in its conclusions, the outdated theory of a planned genocide of the Tutsi by the former regime, a theory the ICTR Prosecutor has failed, up to now, to demonstrate despite his tremendous efforts and the vast material means at his disposal.[5]

With regard to the technical part of its report, the Committee commissioned a pair of British experts to clarify two points: i.e., to determine the place from where the airplane was fired on, and to identify the type of weapon fired on the airplane. Concerning the place from where the missiles were fired, the two experts were content to read testimony handed to them by the Committee. Without any critique or cross-checking, they concluded exactly what the Committee wanted them to conclude. However, the Committee had excluded all testimony given by the local residents of Masaka and Kanombe that did not support its theory. With respect to the identification of the weapon that was used to perpetrate the crime, the British experts brought nothing substantial to the Mutsinzi Committee. In short, one must conclude that the report of the two British experts is rather fanciful. It is colored by a troubling feebleness that suggests a complicity in the lies and intoxication of public opinion. In our Reaction to the Mutsinzi Report, we demonstrate clearly that the missiles were fired from the Masaka farm and that those missiles were part of the RPF arsenal.[6]

In our Reaction, we looked particularly into those responsibile for the attack. Our conclusion is irrevocable: in the face of Judge Bruguière’s overwhelming evidence against Kagame and his accomplices in the attack of April 6, 1994, the Mutsinzi Committee has made every possible effort to fabricate elements that might impede, however momentarily, the French judicial proceedings. The publication of the Mutsinzi Report fits right into the political stratagem launched by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner with an aim toward renewing diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali. As Professor Filip Reyntjens[7] quite aptly stated, it is frightening that justice can be so cynically sacrificed on the altar of politics.[8]

The Mutsinzi Committee indicates, without credible basis, that some of those under indictment at the ICTR are the perpetrators of the attack against President Habyarimana’s airplane.[9] These false accusations are nonsense. All those named by the Committee have been in the custody of the ICTR Prosecutor for many years. Despite the fact that the attack against President Habyarimana’s airplane is regarded by the international community as the event that triggered the genocide, the Prosecutor has never charged any of them with that attack. On the contrary, he has continuously avoided arguments on this important factor in the Rwandan tragedy. By so doing, he has prevented the ICTR Judges from hearing evidence in the case. It is in the same attitude that the Prosecutor vehemently opposed the oral motion recently filed by the defense for Joseph Nzirorera in Trial Chamber III, on 18 January 2010.

Since the memorandum on the assassination of President Habyarimana sent you in a letter dated 3 June 1999, the ICTR detainees have constantly reminded you, in their numerous correspondences, of the necessity for an independent inquiry into this terrorist attack. Various commissions of inquiry created to look into the tragic events in Rwanda 1994 have issued recommendations to that effect.[10]

Whereas they have been called upon many times to investigate the assassination of President Habyarimana, the ICTR Prosecutors invariably claimed that this terrorist attack does not fall within their mandate. This position was once again strongly affirmed by ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow at the Symposium on the ICTR held in Geneva from 9 to 11 July 2009:

“All the Prosecutors, I believe, have taken a similar position with regard to the
shooting down of the aircraft, and this is that it is not a matter which falls within
the mandate of the ICTR.” [11]

However, there is a notable exception: Mme Carla Del Ponte was dismissed from her position as ICTR Prosecutor because she had expressed an inclination to prosecute the RPF, notably on the basis of the investigation conducted by the French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière. Previously, she had publicly stated:

“If it is the RPF that shot down the plane, the history of the genocide must be rewritten.”

ICTR Prosecutor Hassan B. Jallow put a stop to all the inquiries that might implicate Kagame and his henchmen. Obviously, he takes advantage of the indifference of the UN toward the assassination of two sitting Heads of State. However, the UN Security Council did not hesitate a single moment in setting up commissions of inquiry into the assassinations of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri or
the former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Various independent personalities and NGOs have continuously denounced the impunity granted by the ICTR to RPF members responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. They rightly consider that such impunity irreparably compromises the reconciliation of the Rwandan people.

Therefore, we fervently request that an inquiry by a genuinely independent commission be initiated to determine those responsible for the 6 April 1994 attack carried out in an area under UNAMIR control, and that the perpetrators be duly prosecuted. This is the only way to counter the dictatorial Kagame regime’s last desperate attempt to bury the truth of the RPF’s responsibility in the Rwandan tragedy. Should the ICTR not be willing to deal with this matter that falls well and truly within its jurisdiction, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly are duty bound to come up with a mechanism for entrusting the case to another independent international tribunal.

Yours sincerely,
The signatories: [See the attached list.]

[1] Independent Committee of Experts charged with the investigation into the crash on 06/04/1994 of the Falcon 50
aircraft, registration number 9XR-NN. That Committee was created by Prime Ministerial Decree no. 07/03 of
16/04/2007 (hereinafter called Mutsinzi Committee).

[2] Filip Reyntjens : Rwanda : Analyse du Mutsinzi Report sur l’attentat contre l’avion présidentiel, p. 25 [non official translation]

[3] Rwanda: Analysis of the MUTSINZI Report By Luc Marchal & The Collective for the Truth [translated from French by CirqueMinime/Paris], January 31, 2010.

[4] We demonstrated this manipulation in Sections 2 and 3 of our Reaction to the Mutsinzi Report.

[5] We demonstrated the falseness of these allegations made by the Mutsinzi Committee on that subject in Section 1 of our Reaction to the Mutsinzi Report.

[6] See Sections 2 and 3 of our Reaction to the Mutsinzi Report.

[7] Filip Reyntjens : Rwanda : Analyse du Rapport Mutsinzi sur l’attentat contre l’avion présidentiel.

[8] The visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Kigali, scheduled for 26 February 2010, will mark the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

[9] These individuals are : Théoneste Bagosora, Anatole Nsengiyumva, Aloys Ntabakuze, François Nzuwonemeye, Joseph Nzirorera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse.

[10] The Special Rapporteur of United Nations Committee for Human Rights, Mr. René Degni Segui (Report of 28/08/1994), the Commission of Experts (Report of 09/12/1994), the Inquiry Commission of the Senate of Belgium, the Information Commission of the French Parliament and the International Group of Prominent Personalities designated by OAU.

[11] Geneva Symposium, Session 5, p. 12.

Reaction of the ICTR Detainees on the Mutsinzi Report [this document is in French. The translation in English will follow].

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Analysis of the MUTSINZI Report - by Luc Marchal & The Collective for the Truth
[This one’s for Prof. Mihailo Markovic:

Is knowing the Truth important? Or is it just prideful and dangerous—maybe too dangerous ?

Is it important to cleave to the Reality Principle--in History as in Science? Adorno said, “Reality provides too many legitimate reasons for fleeing it to be met by the indignation of an ideology sworn to harmony.” (Aesthetic Theory, TW Adorno, ed. Robert Hullot-Kentor)

In our world of an ever-more administered Reality, it is difficult for crusaders who would interrogate the consensus version of events, challenge la pensée unique and seek to apply honesty and decency as correctives to the collective false consciousness, to get traction. And trying to carry out intellectual search and destroy missions against the Historical lies and moral manipulations of a thoroughly unregenerate waste culture, where sentimentality is the general anesthetic that renders painless the theft of all the Developed World’s critical organs, only gets one labeled a Truther, or a Revisionist, or a Holocaust (genocide) Denier—and your contributions are no longer required.

Those with the courage to wage this kind of struggle for Truth and Justice are rare. We just lost such a scholar/warrior in the Serb Historian Mihailo Markovic. I met him only once, in Belgrade in 2003, and we had an all too brief discussion of the old 20th Century for my daughter Yana’s documentary camera. We disagreed sometimes, but his enormous erudition and natural wisdom was always expressed with kindness and never became arrogance. He looked a little like Bob Hope (one of my bites noires), and, having taught at Chico State at one time, was kind of a homeboy to me. Now that he’s gone I realize what a real privilege it was to spend even a little time talking with him.

Colonel Luc Marchal is another courageous warrior/scholar. His work on the Rwandan drama of 1994, some of which can be found right here on this blog, is the sort of clear, detailed, boots on the ground sort of analysis that is so deadly to the sentimentalists who feed on the misery of the very victims they pretend to protect and serve. These jackals (that the jackals would despise) have come out in packs to bay at the latest slapdash attempt to make an obvious lie (the heroic innocence of the current RPF regime in Kigali in the destruction of the Rwandan people and their revolutionary society) a little less obvious, a little more ambiguous, though no less a lie: The Mutsinzi Report. And if people like Col. Marchal didn’t step up to set the record straight, Rwanda would just quietly take its place in the long line of victims of Anglo-Saxon rape, pillage and military occupation.

But Col. Marchal has the details—a lot of details—and his case against The Mutsinzi Report is damn near ironclad. Look, it takes a pretty large set to go up against the Kagame junta these days—there are far too few here in France (Dr. Kouchner still has to sit down to pee), so our Belgian camarade is most welcome.

And I think Prof. Markovic would approve. –mc]


Analysis of the MUTSINZI Report[1]

by Luc Marchal & The Collective for the Truth
[translated from the French by cm/p--
original French PDF attached]

Introductory Observations

The Truth is not one-sided. It is a reality made up of many aspects. One must note that the truth about the tragic events of 1994 in Rwanda is especially difficult to get the mind around. Here, nearly 16 years after they happened, and while the attack of 6 April 1994 has been universally recognized as the spark that set off the genocide, the United Nations, which was assigned to help Rwandans in the difficult search for peace, has never found it worthwhile to conduct an international investigation of this attack. After which the entire region of the African Great Lakes was turned into an enormous battlefield, where the victims are numbered in the millions.

The current document is a contribution to this search for the Truth. It is the result of the work of a collective, and only a synthesis of that group-work is presented. But this document should nonetheless allow the reader to come to a more personal understanding of the complexity of the Rwandan situation, in general, and of the intrinsic quality of the Mutsinzi Report, in particular.

If this collective endeavor is signed by only one person, that is because of concern for preserving the security of those who took part in this writing.

The different paragraphs that follow are in the order of the chapters of the Report.

General Introduction

Composition of “Independent Committee of Experts”

The real independence of the Committee is, to say the least, difficult to determine when one considers that its title was subject to the approval of the Chief of State, who, himself, was under official investigation by two European judges.

On the other hand, one cannot help but notice the total absence of any international-grade experts on this exclusively Rwandan Committee that, throughout its work, had to deal with technical areas well outside strictly national bounds.

It is very difficult, in such a configuration, to calm all the concerns over the real independence and expertise of this Committee. Especially when its presiding director [Mutsinzi] is a founding member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Methodology employed

Right away the Committee postulates that the authorities in post-genocide Rwanda had nothing to do with the attack of 6 April 1994, and that accusations to the contrary are motivated by ideology, and made by génocidaires and their allies. It is most astonishing that an “independent” commission whose objective is, specifically, to tweeze the true from the false, would begin its work with such an a priori judgment. If this is the starting point for the Mutsinzi Committee, there is every reason to fear that all the elements of its Report will be oriented toward showing the pertinence of its postulate and not the reality of the facts.

As to the selection of witnesses, about all that can be said at this stage of the analysis of the Report is that nearly all of them were found in Rwanda. A more nuanced comment might be possible after we have looked at the quality of theses witnesses. It is mentioned that General Dallaire was contacted, unsuccessfully, to get his testimony, so it seems strange that the same effort was not made toward Mr. Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and the official head of the mission [i.e., Dallaire’s boss].

In the chapter on methodology, it is stated that the Committee placed a great deal of importance on testimony drawn from officials of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). In particular from those blue helmets assigned to Kanombe airport the night of 6 April 1994, certain of whom were working at key positions, like in the control tower. As the chief of the Kigali Sector of the UNAMIR, I can state specifically that no blue helmets were working in any capacity or were even present inside the control tower.

Political context leading up to the 6 April 1994 attack

No one is arguing that this context was anything like simple or peaceful. It would be chancy to try to present a systematic analysis of the Committee’s version of the political scene, which, in any case, winds up being a pretty feckless polemic. Let’s note, after reading this part of the Report, that the Committee imputes the entire responsibility for the degradation of the political atmosphere in Rwanda to President Habyarimana and his inner circle, as well as to the hard core of politicians and military officers opposed to any form of democratization of the regime and, more specifically, to the Arusha peace deal[2].

In a general way, let’s look at some of the evidence that might have been included in this part of the Report to make it reflect a more realistic description of the political climate of that time.

1. The four attacks carried out by the RPF (October 1990, January 1991, June 1992, February 1993) are simply passed over in silence. Is it really imaginable that this military violence had no negative effect on the relations between Hutu and Tutsi?
• How can one explain the attack of June 1992, considering that since April a coalition government, led by a Prime Minister (Dismas Nsengiyaremye) from a party in opposition to President Habyarimana and his MRND, had been in place?
• What should be said of the major attack of February 1993, launched in the middle of peace negotiation in Arusha?

2. Not a single word about the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, run off their hillside homes by RPF troops, who found themselves in unspeakable misery at the gates of Kigali. One wonders, could this strategy of terror conducted by the RPF have caused direct blowback against the Tutsis inside Rwanda?

3. The role played by Radio Rwanda and Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in exacerbating the tensions between communities is emphasized. If it is appropriate to consider this reality, why was there not a word about Radio Muhabura (the RPF’s station) nor of the equally radical discourse that it broadcast.

4. One should also consider concepts like “Akazu, death squads, Network Zero, and AMASASU[3],” presented as indisputable realities, evidence of the criminality of the ruling regime. Whether one likes it or not, the innumerable hours of recorded hearings at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) contain nothing at all that would confirm the material existence of these expressions, which over the years have come to be used as vaporous dogma.
However, the declarations of several witnesses who held no particular sympathies for the President’s Movement, put evidence on the record of the existence of an actual strategy directed at demonizing President Habyarimana. This strategy was aimed as much at Rwandans as it was at the International Community. An example of this is the famous letter sent to General Dallaire on 3 December 1993. It was written by so-called loyalist officers and was meant to bring Dallaire up to speed on Habyarimana’s Machiavellian plans to carry out multiple mass killings and then blame them on the RPF. In fact, Mr. Alphonse Marie Nkubito, the former Justice Minister in the first RPF government, acknowledged that this letter was a fake, written by the Opposition and typed by his own brother.

5. Having personally attended the meeting of the Crisis Committee that followed the attack, I can confirm that, contrary to what is stated in the Mutsinzi Report, the officers present were not “essentially extremist officers.” Far from it. Moreover, it was General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, who presided at the meeting. At the end, he pleaded with General Dallaire to convince the International Community that the Army was not trying to pull a coup d’état and that the greatest desire of the military was to hand off authority to the politicians as set forth in the Arusha Accords. As for the others present, if there had been some other purpose for that meeting than to bring an end to the emergency measures necessitated by the absence of the Head of State, neither General Dallaire nor I would have been invited to take part.

6. Last but not least, this Independent Committee of Experts should be reminded that, after 410 days of hearings held over five years and with 30,000 pages of reports, 1,600 pieces of evidence and 4,500 pages of conclusions, the Judges at the ICTR acquitted Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, for years depicted as the “brains of the genocide,” along with his co-defendants, of leading an organization intent on committing genocide. This is a judicial reality that the Committee should have had to incorporate into its presentation.

Part One: the circumstances of the preparations for the attack and its execution

Several different areas are discussed in this part of the Report. We will take them up in a sequential fashion.

Revelations before the attack on President Habyarimana

1. Information announced by the leaders of Hutu Power.
2. Information known within the Rwandan military.
3. Information known from President Habyarimana and from foreign sources.


A great deal of the testimony cited is in just one direction: the attack against the Head of State, by Extremist Rwandan politicians and military officers, had been public knowledge for a long time. Apparently, no witnesses who might, instead, have implicated the RPF were heard. However, there certainly were some. There were quite a few. Jacques-Roger Booh Booh and Honoré Ngbanda (a former adviser to Zairian President Mobutu) both, in fact, wrote of threats to eliminate President Habyarimana coming from the highest levels of the RPF, even of support for these RPF threats coming from neighboring countries. Who could be the next RPF target, after the assassinations of Emmanuel Gapyisi[4] (May 1993) and Félicien Gatabazi[5] (February 1994), many observers wondered, if not the president, himself?

Here again it is pointless to go over testimony after testimony and to analyze the whole with regard to the elements we know today. Let’s just say that the way witnesses were picked, and this applies in a general way to the entire Report, causes a certain queasy feeling. In effect, were the 557 Rwandan witnesses contacted in a position to be able to express themselves without second thoughts? Many former members of the RGF[6] and the Rwandan Gendarmerie are prisoners, and so they find themselves in a position where their credibility must be considered to be, at the very least, ambiguous. The example of General Laurent Munyakasi, cited several times in the Report, is significant in this regard. This former officer in the Rwandan Gendarmerie joined up with the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and there rose to a high rank, before finding himself in front of a military tribunal that handed him a life sentence. One wonders how such a witness can have no other priority in mind than the search for Truth? And what is also surprising is that the military tribunal that tried and convicted him did not accept the arguments put forth by his defense, while the Mutsinzi Committee bestowed its total confidence in this witness.

Setting aside whatever legitimate suspicions one might have with regard to all these “managed witnesses,” let’s enter into evidence a reality that has been totally occulted by this Committee of Independent Experts. Knowing that the hardcore of extremists, as of March 1994, no longer had any interest in getting rid of President Habyarimana. We will not go so far as to pretend that this idea never crossed their minds during that period right after the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords. Still, it would be necessary to demonstrate this in an incontestable way. In fact, the evolution of the political situation, between mid-November 1993 (the deployment of the UNAMIR) and the beginning of April 1994, is nowhere to be found in the work of the Committee. As if this process had been, all at once and for all time, irrevocably frozen at a certain point. This is far from being the case. The view, that some have tried to perpetuate, is one of a near-hysterical rejection by the reactionaries of any and all concession on part of the ancestral enemy. But, during the second half of March 1994, the political horizon in Rwanda was all lit up. Under the direction of the apostolic nuncio, several ambassadors posted to Kigali started work to find a solution to points that were still obstructing the establishment of the transitional government and assembly: the representation of the Parti Libéral and the integration of the Coalition pour la Défense de la République (CDR) into the peace process. This political group, opposed to the Arusha Accords, had refused to sign the “Charter” linking the political parties along ethnic lines during the peace process. At the end of March, the CDR formally accepted to play by the rules of the democratic game, but the RPF did not want this integration. The last real attempt to put the transitional institutions in place, 25 March 1994, failed after the RPF representatives to the swearing in ceremonies didn’t show up. This is what made Mr. Booh Booh say, “The RPF finally seems to dread the democratic outcome of the peace process.”

Why this dread? Because the RPF had known for some time by then that the free elections that were supposed to take place at the end of the 22-month transition period would not allow them to take the political leadership of Rwanda. Along the same lines, the reactionaries, along with many others, wound up accepting the fact that they could get it all if they let the peace process run its course. Besides, within the President’s own party, the majority opinion was that it was better to have the RPF inside than outside the government. So, by March 1994, there was no longer any objective reason (supposing there had been one before) for those designated as his assassins by the Mutsinzi Report to do away with President Habyarimana.

Organization and the stakes at the Dar-es-Salaam Summit

In this section, the principal subjects covered are the controversies over the assignment, untimely or not, of General Déogratias Nsabimana (Chief of Staff of the RGF) by Colonel Bagosora, and how the Dar-es-Salaam Summit played out.


The Committee delves into the conditions surrounding the departure of General Nsabimana for Tanzania. Mediated by various testimonies, the narrative through-line that emerges from this inquiry is that if Col. Bagosora was preparing a coup d’état, there is obviously nothing illogical about his wanting to kill two birds with one stone. That would leave his hands free to apply his “final solution” without any further constraints, since the Head of State and General Nsabimana, who did not share his vision of things, would die in the attack.

In reality, the Committee’s scenario is rather far out. Colonel Bagosora had no part in assigning General Nsabimana to the Dar-es-Salaam mission. Nsabimana had been aware of the mission abroad since 29 March, the date on which he filed for a diplomatic passport. Furthermore, given that the Minister of Defense was on a mission to Cameroon and could not have accompanied the President to Dar-es-Salaam, it is policy that the assignment go to the Chief of Staff of the Army. Finally, Bagosora had no authority to sign orders for a foreign mission. That was the prerogative of President Habyarimana, himself.

The regional Summit at Dar-es-Salaam was organized at the instigation of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. This patronage deserves mention because of the role Museveni played throughout the course of that day and considering that nothing about him is mentioned in the Mutsinzi Report.

Authoritative and credible sources have come up with a completely different scenario from that presented by the Committee of Independent Experts. This scenario deserves particular attention in view of the tragic events of 6 April 1994 and their consequences.

On April 5 in the morning, President Habyarimana was asking himself about the sudden interest of President Museveni in the Burundian question. He got to the Summit around 10 am, but it wasn’t until the early afternoon the discussions really began. According to witnesses, the talks were dragged out by President Museveni, which made it impossible for the Rwandan Head of State to get back to Kigali in the daytime. An impromptu meeting was held at the airport, further delaying the departure. The Falcon 50 finally took off around 7:30 in the evening. But the initial flight plan, known to the Tanzanian authorities, had anticipated a 5 pm return to Kigali. This offered the necessary flexibility, in case of little delays, to be back before sunset, in conformance with security regulations. A difference of more than three hours from the initial time plan raises some legitimate questions. It is worth noting that the Report does not answer a single one of them.

Finally, when word of the attack reached Dar-es-Salaam, the Rwandan delegation that was still there was disarmed and not permitted to return to Rwanda, despite the availability of aircraft to bring them home. Strange way for a host country to react to the grief of their Rwandan “brothers.” As if the death of President Habyarimana had suddenly made them enemies.

Executing the attack and what followed

This part goes over the many futile attempts to set up an international investigation of the 6 April 1994 attack. It also describes in great detail the “saga” of the black box from the presidential Falcon 50.


How to explain that nearly 16 years after the event, no international inquest has been conducted into the attack, the modus operandi, and, especially, on who furnished the assistance necessary to put it together and carry it out? To report that nothing was done seems to us just a little light-weight on the part of the Committee. First off, how do you not look for the reasons why the Ugandan and Tanzanian presidents didn’t put everything they had into a search for the truth behind this assassination of two of their fellow African leaders? Especially, since, in principle anyway, they must have felt involved to a certain extent in the origins of this tragic finale.

Note then, in comparison, that barely a month and a half after the February 2005 terrorist bombing that took the life of the ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of a International Commission of Inquiry to find evidence of who was behind in this hit. The same actions were taken one year after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. But for Rwanda and Burundi there is still nothing, and for Burundi this was the second democratically elected president to be assassinated within six months. In this context, was the meeting on 6 April 1994, between Pierre Buyoya[7] and Patrick Mazimpaka[8], at the hotel Kilimanjaro in Dar-es-Salaam, a pure coincidence, or were there other reasons for these two men to find themselves together, exactly on this date, on the fringes of the Regional Summit?

A veritable omerta seems to have been imposed over the attack of 6 April 1994, even though the ICTR has all that is necessary to bring this event into the light of day. Should we recall how Louise Arbour (the former ICTR Chief Prosecutor) buried the file on this attack put together by investigator Michael Hourigan? The removal of Carla Del Ponte, another ICTR Chief Prosecutor, for expressing a desire to consider evidence of crimes by the RPF, is just one more example of how it is not necessarily always good to speak the truth. Such an attitude is much less justifiable when, today, no one denies that this attack was the trigger for a long period of wars, massacres, suffering and mourning for the people of Rwanda and the eastern provinces of Congo.

As for the black box from the Falcon 50, things could not be more obscure and confused. The Committee has done nothing to clarify this problematic, which holds no clues as to who was actually behind the attack, anyway. The only thing that seems not to be in doubt here is that the plane was equipped with a double black box. If this was really the case, where is it and where is the data recorded in it? This remains for the moment a mystery. And any serious investigation into the attack has to be able to answer these two questions, among others and beyond a shadow of a doubt.

How the attack went down as reported by eye-witnesses

The acceptable witnesses were airport technicians, soldiers from the Presidential Guard who were present at the airport, and certain Belgian soldiers belonging to the UNAMIR or the Technical Military Cooperation mission. The Belgians’ testimony came from various dossiers. As to the Rwandans, they were part of the 557 witnesses about whom we have already expressed our doubts.


The Committee dispenses in just a few lines with the testimony of people from the hills near the site of the attack, on the grounds that: “Due to a lack of technical knowledge, their stories are unclear on the nature of the observed phenomena and are sometimes even improbable.” And there you go. Those who in 1994 were the first to testify that the missiles were fired from the area around a place called “The Farm,” at the foot of the Masaka hill, are no longer considered to be suitable to testify. In reality, the Committee does not want to hear any evidence about the Masaka valley and hopes against hope that the missiles came from Camp Kanombe or from area right around it. As is well known, this zone was under the control of the RGF.

After reading the testimony of the acceptable witnesses, one has to wonder just why the criteria used to exclude the local folks from around the hills were not also invoked against the other witnesses? In fact, some of them saw two missiles and others saw three. As for the missiles’ trajectory, there is something for everyone: “. . . they came at the plane from the front, . . . they seemed to come up from behind the plane, . . . they came up from underneath the plane, . . . they didn’t come from either in front of the plane or behind it, but rather from its left side.”

Likewise, the testimony of the UN blue helmets does not seem to us to be any more convincing. The first one was assigned to the old control tower and said he “saw two points of light leaving the ground from a spot situated inside Camp Kanombe.” The problem is that from where he was it was not possible to see Camp Kanombe, which he, himself, acknowledged when he specified: “(. . .) from this place, you could see all the runways but not the RGF camp, which was located down below.” On the other hand, if one draws a line on a map from the old control tower toward Camp Kanombe, it will run into “The Farm,” the place pointed out by the Masaka villagers. The second blue helmet was 19 km away from where the missiles were fired. He stated that the trajectory of the missile toward the plane was at a 70° angle. On what basis did the Committee conclude that this angle corresponded to Camp Kanombe? One can only laud the presence of mind of this witness for having read that angle, but one has to wonder just how he did it. It was pitch dark and reference points were no longer visible at that moment. Or was he, in fact, getting his bearings from every which way?

From the whole body of testimony about the place from where the missiles were fired, one element stays with us, because it was mentioned in the same way by many different witnesses. The destruction of the president’s plane brought immediate automatic weapons fire from troops posted at the end of the runway and at Camp Kanombe. All this firing was in the direction of Masaka. By all evidence, it is from that spot that everything jumped off and not from Camp Kanombe.

Access to the site of the attack

This section places great significance on the fact that the Belgian blue helmets, however neutral they were supposed to have been statutorily, were not allowed access to the crash site by the Presidential Guard, while this was not at all the case with the French military personnel. This inconsistency leads to the logical conclusion that if the Belgians did not have access to the area in question, it is because there was something compromising to hide from the UNAMIR.


If it is true that the decision to put the crash site under guard by the blue helmets was taken by the common agreement of those present at the Crisis Committee meeting that followed the attack, the soldiers of the RGF can explain their actions (while not excusing them) with some very simple elements. The UNAMIR were doubtlessly not considered by Rwandans to be neutral. And with good reason, after the aborted investigations of the massacres at Kirambo and Mutara, and the total absence of any reaction to the assassination of Félicien Gatabazi, a little more than a month before, as well as the quintuple massacre at Kinihira two weeks earlier. Then there were the many incidents, amply commented on by the RTLM, involving the Belgian blue helmets. But we think what was most apparent in the attitude of the RGF was their assumption that the Belgians bore some responsibility in the death of the President and the Army Chief of Staff. There is no need to go looking for other reasons.

If the RGF’s attitude toward the French was different, remember that the Committee acknowledged that Lt.-Colonel de Saint-Quentin was able to get in to see the wreckage of the plane “accompanied by a Rwandan officer whom he knew and who served to guarantee him safe passage through the check-points of a Presidential Guard who had become very nervous.” So, even for the French allies things were not as obvious as all that.

Situation of the RPF on the Conseil National de Développement (CND—site in Kigali of the Rwandan National Assembly)

In this part of the Report, the Committee details different situations. First of all, the control exerted by the UNAMIR over the RPF detachment on the CND and its trips out, especially to RPF headquarters in Mulindi to renew its supplies of firewood. Then, there was the more or less discrete surveillance set up by the RGF to observe the actions of the RPF. Finally, the specific situation of the RPF on the CND the night of the attack and the following days. Concluding that the conditions enumerated did not permit the RPF either to bring in weapons or missiles from Mulindi, or to send out a hit-team to shoot down the plane.


The Committee describes all the procedures that were in effect within the protocols of the Arusha Accords regarding the Kigali Weapons Secure Area (KWSA)[9], but it omits to mention that it was only with great ill will that the RPF complied. As the Commander of the Kigali sector of the UNAMIR, charged with enforcing the “rules of the game,” I can attest that nothing was simple with the RPF. The situation on the CND was at one point so difficult that General Dallaire had to reinforce my troops with an additional unit of observers, led by a Russian Lt-Colonel. As thing did not always get sorted out, he replaced the Bangladeshi detachment, unfit for any mission, with a Tunisian detachment taken from another UNAMIR sector. Though we Belgians had the reputation of being pro-RPF, I was never threatened with a weapon (before 6 April 1994) by a RGF soldier. On the other hand, I was threatened at different times by troops of the RPF. That is to say that our relations were sometimes rather tense.

To pretend that no one could have gotten out of the CND is just fatuous. At the end of March 1994, the Commander of the Tunisian detachment showed me several breaches in the fence around the CND. The tracks left behind showed an intensive use of these passage points. In order to shed light on this matter, an operation was planned for the night of 6-7 April. The purpose was to keep the whole of the CND area under observation using night-vision equipment. As a chance of history, this measure was being put in place at the very moment the president’s plane was shot down.

As concerns the shipments of firewood from Mulindi, it is no longer a matter of bad faith, but really something else again. In the course of these missions, the reports filed by the head of the armed escort made it clear that once it had arrived in Mulindi, the truck to be loaded with wood, at some time or another, got away from him. I had to bring this up several times for clarification to the RPF battalion commander, Charles Kayonga. Nothing was done, and each new arrangement was skirted. War weary, I demanded and obtained from General Dallaire the authorization for an operation to search at the entrances to the KWSA. The situation was so serious that I figured an entire company would have to be deployed in the Zone to do the searches in such a way as to discourage the RPF from any bellicose reactions. Unfortunately, the violent troubles that afflicted the country at the end of February, the many attempts at installing the transitional government institutions and the relief of the Belgian battalion throughout the month of March, made it impossible for me to get this project up and running before the attack.

Obviously, I can’t present any material evidence of the actual purpose of the wood transports. But my personal conviction is that the RPF was, in fact, in a position to bring surface-to-air missiles on to the CND by way of the nearly daily shuttles between Kigali and Mulindi. Reading the explanation given by ex-RPF Lt. Abdul Ruzibiza on this issue, on pages 244 & 245 of his book, “Rwanda l’histoire secrète” [Rwanda: The Secret History—but, sadly, still only in French, as far as I know—cm/p], I felt it had the scent of truth. Nevertheless, there is one thing that is off in this passage: we CERTAINLLY DID suspect these were more than mere shipments of firewood.

It is no secret that, at the beginning of the 2000s, I wrote a book about my experience in Rwanda: “Rwanda: la descente aux enfers” [“Rwanda: A Descent into Hell”—but no English version found—cm/p]. One of the chapters is entitled “D’étranges transports de bois”[Strange Shipments of Firewood]. I explain there, with no particular joy, our “relations à couteaux tirés” [relations with knives drawn] that were often how we got along with the RPF. This is recorded in the personal daily log I kept while in Kigali.

As to the “Constant and discrete surveillance of the CND by the Presidential Guard,” I don’t question that reality at all. It was regularly discussed in command meetings of the UNAMIR. But it must be added that the RPF was certainly never inactive and confined to their encampment. As evidenced by the murders (on 7 or 8 April) of two French junior officers taking part in the Technical Military Cooperation mission, Chief Adjutants Meyer and Didot, and Didot’s wife. Didot was a ham radio wonk and had a complete set-up at his house. Unfortunately, because of the antennas that were sticking out the property, the RPF suspected him of listening in on their radio network. And it didn’t take much to kill the three French nationals, their dog and the houseboy who was there at the time.

To bring up the “permanent control” under which the RPF was supposed to be kept by the UNAMIR, in an attempt to prove that it was impossible for a hit squad to get out of the CND, is to advance a scenario that has almost nothing to do with reality. Sort of a way of planting a tree that you hope will hide the whole forest. Whatever it was, when, on 22 February 1994, the convoy returning from Mulindi was ambushed, at the top of the hill in Gatsata, the first on the scene were elements of the RPF. Neither General Dallaire nor I had been informed that they had left the CND without an escort.

Montage of radio messages by the RGF and their attribution to the RPF

This section certainly questions the testimony of Richard Mugenzi, the RGF radio operator who listened in on the frequencies used by the RPF. It explains especially how his work was not limited to listening, but that toward the end of 1993 a complimentary activity was added. In fact, it figured in his reports of false messages dictated to him by Lt-Colonel Nsengiyumva, commander of the Gisenyi sector. Such is the case with the message of the morning of 7 April blaming the RPF for the attack of the night before.


The Committee’s interest in the testimony of radio operator Mugenzi is that it punches a hole in one of the elements of Judge Bruguière’s findings that supports his charges against the RPF.

It is possible that Mugenzi is telling the truth. What he describes is all perfectly normal in the context of the total war that the RGF and RPF had been engaged in since 1990. However, the Committee should have paid more attention to the reasons Mugenzi gave to explain why his testimony changed. He testified before Judge Bruguière, but also before the ICTR in the Military I trial of Col. Bagosora et alia. It is quite simple: if he told the truth to the Mutsinzi Committee, then he committed perjury before the ICTR, where he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The same goes for Abdul Ruzibiza, who is in a similar situation for nullifying the testimony he made under oath in Arusha.

How much credibility does a witness have when he says ‘black’ one minute and then ‘white’ the next? One can’t help comparing the testimony of the ex-Presidential Guards in the previous section, who testify today that their surveillance of the CND made it impossible for the RPF to get out, with what they said back in 1994, when these same guardsmen accused the RPF of having killed “their president.” Whatever the case may be, even if Mugenzi is telling the truth, his statements do not in any way support the conclusion drawn by the Committee: “. . . the extremist officers of the RGF, like Bagosora and Nsengiyumva, made up some messages that were supposedly broadcast on the RPF frequency, with the precise intention of hiding their own project to assassinate President Habyarimana and his traveling companions.”

Round of principal questions relating to the shooting down of the Falcon 50 executive jet

“Establishing the responsibility in the attack on the presidential plane requires, first, that answers be given to question relating to the flight path of the aircraft on its final approach to landing, the place where it fell to earth, the spot where the plane was impacted by the missiles, the type of weapons used and the place from where the missiles were fired.”


This part of the Report, a kind of partial conclusion, seems to us a little bizarre. It brings nothing specific to the general consideration.

There is scarcely any material about the flight path of the plane’s landing approach. In fact, after the RPF had fired anti-aircraft weapons on a Belgian C-130 that was flying over the CND (8 January 1994), a decision was made to close down the runway on the 100° axis. This just left the 280° runway open.

The place where the Falcon 50 fell has never, since 1994, been a point of the least contention, and for good reason.

As to the type of weapons used, the Committee does a lot of babbling without coming up with any new information, which might be because it only addresses itself to independent experts. These experts, however, have not brought any significant elements to the Committee’s investigation. It could not have been otherwise, because these technical experts only had that testimony relating to the missiles having been fired out of Camp Kanombe or its surroundings. They were not able to encounter the Masaka villagers, because the Committee made the decision not to record their testimonies. Finally, it did not cite any simulations that might establish the plausibility of their conclusions, which remain, in any case, very general.

In the matter of just where the Falcon was hit, our astonishment hit the max. First off, the Committee cites a sketch taken from a book by Professor Filip Reyntjens, “Rwanda : trois jours qui ont fait basculer l'histoire” [Rwanda: Three Days that Shook History—in French edition only—cm/p]. For the Committee, this sketch is the confirmation that the Falcon 50 was actually hit when it was directly above the presidential residence and, thus, crashed practically straight down from the point of impact. We consulted the reference cited, and it is clear that, in his sketch, Professor Reyntjens does not designate just where in space the plane was struck, but very clearly where it came down. So, the Committee concludes that “the place where the plane was hit by the missiles is not any significant distance away from the presidential residence.”

Stronger still in supporting this conclusion, the Committee cites “most of the witnesses living particularly in Rusororo and Masaka, . . . ,” while just a few pages before it had impugned these same witnesses claiming that “their stories were unclear on the nature of the observed phenomena and are sometimes even improbable.”

If the president’s plane was hit when it was directly above his residence, it is impossible for it to have fallen almost straight down. The distance on a map, scaled at 1/50,000, between the residence and the beginning of the runway, is exactly 2 km. This means that the plane was not only still flying at some altitude, but also that it was flying at considerable speed. Under similar flight conditions, it would have to have been hit well before it arrived above the presidential residence.

Conclusion of Part I on the causes and circumstances of the attack

In this section, the Committee revisits different elements that it developed in the first 93 pages of its Report. We have already made our observations on these themes. So there is little use of going back over them.

But let’s take another look at two passages that jumped out at us.

First: “(. . .) the assassination of President Habyarimana was not the cause of the genocide because President Habyarimana was, himself, one of the planners of the genocide (. . .).” We have read and reread this idea many times to better understand its significance. Is the Committee trying to tell us that the President sacrificed himself so his genocide could be brought to a successful conclusion?

Second: “Neither is his assassination the event that triggered the genocide because the genocide was begun in a step-by-step fashion as early as 1959 (. . .).” The Committee should be reminded that if it wants its arguments to be seriously considered, it should take into account the content of recent judgments by the ICTR.

Notes to Part I:

[1] The Report of the inquest into the causes, circumstances and responsibilities for the attack of 6 April 1994 against the Rwandan presidential FALCON 50, Tail No. 9XR-NN.

[2] The Arusha Accords were signed 4 August 1993 and called for the deployment of a neutral international force and the setting up of transitional government institutions. The 22-month period of transition was to be concluded by democratic elections.

[3] Alliance des Militaires Agacés par les Séculaires Actes Sournois des Unaristes (French: Alliance of Soldiers Annoyed by the Underhanded Secular acts of the Unarists)

[4] Director of the political party Mouvement Démocratique Républicain (MDR).

[5] Minister of Public Works and of Energy.

[6] Rwandan Government Forces.

[7] President of Burundi from 1987 to 1993. He was succeeded in 1993, by Melchior Ndadaye, after democratic elections. Ndadaye was assassinated on 21 October 1993 and succeeded by Cyprien Ntaryarmira, who was, himself, assassinated on 6 April 1994 along with his Rwandan counterpart, Juvénal Habyarimana.

[8] One of the principal directors of the RPF.

[9] A zone of 10 to 15 km in radius around the city of Kigali in which weapons, munitions and military patrols were strictly controlled.


Part II: Responsibility

Different hypotheses on the perpetrators of the attack

The Committee takes up the different known hypotheses:
* Belgian soldiers in UNAMIR
* Soldiers and other members of the Burundian opposition
* President Mobutu
* The RPF
* Hutu extremists


Nothing new to report with regard to what is already known.

The Burundian hypothesis, which could well be merged into a larger conspiracy, recalls the meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, on the fringes of the Regional Summit, between Major Buyoya and Patrick Mazimpaka.

As to the criminal involvement of the RPF, to which the Committee dedicates two pages, we would like to know the exact nature of the escort mission carried out by Lt. Thierry Lotin, to the benefit of the RPF. No ranking authority in the UNAMIR approved this mission, which, according to Deus Kagiraneza, was arranged directly between him and Lt. Lotin. This escort, which covered over 400 km, passed on the way out and on the way back very close to the place from where the missiles were most probably fired. Was this just chance? Or rather is there a direct relationship between the supposed involvement of the Belgians in the attack and the speed with which this accusation spread? This question is still out there unanswered.

As to the theory about the Hutu extremists, much more detailed in the Report, the Committee cites, as support for its thesis, the ICTR indictment in the Prosecutor v Col. Bagosora et alia. It neglects to mention, however, that the Prosecution’s arguments relative to the planning were not accepted by the judges of this same Tribunal.

Elements proving the involvement of the RGF and the Akazu in the attack

This part of the Report covers various areas relating to the attack. Straight away a comment on the general character has to be made. The principal complaint made by the current Rwandan authorities, with regard to the Bruguière investigation, is that it was conducted completely as a prosecutorial exercise (i.e., without countervailing arguments from the defense). We think the Committee of Independent Experts should be a little more sensitive in doing their own investigation, as to just how this criticism might turn around and bite them.

The motive for the attack

The theory according to which the extremist officers sought the elimination of President Habyarimana because they did not want the Arusha Peace Accords even to be contemplated. But, the RPF had as compelling a reason for not wanting these same Accords to go into effect. We dealt with this question in the first part of this writing.

The witnesses called by the Committee in support of its thesis don’t add anything in particular to the discussion. Specifically:

• It is again a question of the AMASASU and of its activities. Remember that at the time that James Gasana was the Minister of Defense, an investigation was conducted on this pseudo-terrorist group and nothing concrete was uncovered. And again, as mentioned above, the arguments before the ICTR had a similar outcome.
• To pretend that the RGF, one week before the attack, “was openly preparing for war by replenishing its stocks of arms and munitions in the military camps of Kigali” is pure fantasy. The keys to the arms depots and ammunition dumps were in the hands of the UNAMIR observers. These stores remained under constant observation. A first-hand inventory of their contents was taken every week.

The means for carrying out the attack were activated

The different parts of this section will be discussed later.

The provocation for the withdrawal of the Belgian contingent of the UNAMIR

It is quite true that the Belgian contingent was the object of several attempts at destabilization. But as we noted earlier, for this particular political situation, a notable improvement was also being undertaken over time in this area. The incidents, and there had been many just after the arrival of the Belgian contingent, had ceased during March. In any case, the elements put forth by the Committee bear no direct relation with the attack on the person of the President.

The preparations for executing the hit in the days just before the attack

According to the Committee, the witness Jean-Berchmans Birara “reported, on the basis of information held by the top hierarchy of the RGF, that Col. Bagosora returned to Kigali to coordinate the preparations for the assassination of the Chief of State.” In the body of his testimony, one discovers that the “top hierarchy of the RGF” is in fact Col. Léonidas Rusatira. Knowing that Bagosora and Rusatira were like fire and water, it is very difficult to imagine that Rusatira would be approached in any way by the conspirators.

The UNAMIR was blocked from entering Camp Kanombe before the attack

The testimony relating to this brusque change in attitude seems solid. But it only concerns the Belgian blue helmets, because UNAMIR military observers were stationed on a permanent basis inside Camp Kanombe. And these soldiers were not run out and were able to continue doing their work. In this theory, where the Belgians were kept from entering so the RGF could move out some heavy artillery, the Committee does not explain what role this heavy weaponry played in the attack. And it is difficult to see the purpose of all this chicanery, when six 37 mm anti-aircraft guns were set up all along the runway at Kanombe airport.

In this way of seeing things, the Committee thinks that all the soldiers and gendarmes were powerful extremists. In a great sense, the divisions in Rwandan society were also found within the armed forces. For an important number of soldiers and gendarmes, the peace process represented, among other things, a hope for putting an end to three years of war. They understood, at different levels of perceptions, that peace was worth making a few concessions for.

Moreover, the Committee cannot ignore the fact that certain officers of the RGF collaborated with the RPF. Two well-known examples from that period are Alexis Kanyarengwe and Théoneste Lizinde. These two ex-RGF officers were well connected within the Rwandan Army. From them we can imagine a conspiracy’s being hatched, but certainly not one in plain view and in full knowledge of everyone.

The monitoring and quick changes to the military communications

There is nothing extraordinary about changing radio frequencies. That is part of what is called “SOP”—Standard Operating Procedure. Such changes are ordered by a competent authority whenever there is any suspicion that the network may have been tapped into. Which in the context of that moment could not have been more likely.

The fact that the radio operators had first to speak with staff members and transmit to them all the messages they had is nothing out of the ordinary. It is something more common than live communication between operators.

There is truly nothing to any particular action that has any direct and acknowledged connection with the attack.

The forced evacuation of the Mulindi marketplace near Kanombe

Apparently, the Committee does not know what to make of this element: “In so far as the RGF organized the attack against President Habyarimana’s plane, it is likely that they did not want to have a lot of people in and around the places where the action was going to take place. This could have been the motive behind the exceptional clearing out of the Mulindi marketplace (. . .).” If this is the case, why evacuate Mulindi, which is not that close to where the Committee places the missile firing, instead of Kanombe and the surrounding area, which are certainly closer?

Deployment of the Presidential Guard before the attack and its going into action immediately after the attack

The deployment of the Presidential Guard on 6 April is not of any more importance than on any other day. In fact, it was systematically deployed everyday.

In as much as the President’s entourage was already very concerned about the significant delay in getting out of Dar-es-Salaam, it is not unreasonable that this worry would be manifest in a larger than usual deployment. But it was consistent with a normal situation in the security plan.

It seems to us useful to offer this specification. When the Head of State is returning from abroad, security measures are always more important. The Presidential Guard covers all the routes he is likely to take. Moreover, diversionary and deterrent plans are also part of the strategy. The presence on board the Falcon 50 of the Burundian president and a part of his delegation must doubtlessly have been taken into account when evaluating the whole situation.

As to the deployment of the Reconnaissance Battalion, which was noted by various witnesses, it was not justified in the context of the KWSA. But were we still working within a peace process? In the eventuality (and this was not envisaged by the Committee) that it was not the Extremist Hutus who were responsible for the attack, the sectioning off of the city center by Major Nzuwonemeye’s armor is an elementary security measure.

We should also stress that certain testimony from the blue helmets, not taken up in the Report, states that several roadblocks that were present in the early hours of the evening were removed in the course of the night.

As concerns the actions of the Presidential Guard after the attack, they are well known. The Committee does not view them as effected by the reaction to the deaths of President Habyarimana and General Nsabimana, who were considered as gods by the Presidential Guard.

Other actions that indicate preparation for the attack by the RGF

The actions in question are surely to be considered, even though the testimony is weak. Note that all the presumptions are made to support only one hypothesis: that the attack was prepared by the reactionaries. For example, in the eventuality of an imminent resumption of hostilities by the RPF, the mass of assumptions takes on a whole different significance. This alternative also concerns the other elements developed in this section: “The preparations for taking action in the days just prior to the attack.”

The hypothesis of the resumption of hostilities by the RPF is far from wacky. On 30 March 1994, late in the afternoon, I met with General Nsabimana in the course of my duties as the Commander of the Kigali sector of the UNAMIR. I was looking at a man who seemed preoccupied. After dealing with the problems that had necessitated our meeting, he got into it. “I’m afraid,” he said, in a voice etched with concern, “that the RPF will start a war in the next few days. The information that I have, unfortunately, leaves no room for doubt. For several weeks, they have been staging their forces in Uganda, along the border, with stocks of ammunition and equipment; in short, everything necessary to support military operations.

In light of the above, most of the assumptions placed in evidence by the Committee of Independent Experts take on quite a different significance from what is suggested in the Report.

Coup d’Etat on the night of 6 April 1994 revealing the motive for the attack

Reactions revealing prior knowledge of the attack plan

These two themes reveal nothing we don’t already know. The Committee reads events in a way that supports its own version of history and pays no attention to any other interpretation. This caught us up short because if Bagosora and his collaborators really organized and carried out a coup d’état, things would have gone quite differently. Further on, “the attempted coup d’état could not succeed after the advice Bagosora received from Western diplomats and representatives of the UN (. . .),” as a conclusion, seems a little short. Those who decide to carry out a coup d’état have a well-established plan and they follow it with determination. They make sure beforehand they have enough loyal backing to assure the success of the endeavor. They also prepare different scenarios and predetermine the actions to take in each case. They certainly don’t take on the advice of those who have nothing to do with their action. But this is not at all the sort of thing that happened, even if there are still grey areas about the role assigned to Bagosora.

An interesting exercise, which the Committee might have attempted, is to try and answer the following question: How would the situation have developed if, in the eight to ten days after the attack, the RPF had agreed to any of the numerous ceasefire requests made by the RGF and, especially, by the UNAMIR?

The RGF had anti-aircraft specialists

The RGF did, in fact, have anti-aircraft guns. These were manned by the LAA (Light Anti-Aircraft and not lutte contre avions) stationed at Camp Kanombe. This battalion was equipped with 37 mm double-barrel canons and 14.7 mm four-barrel mobile machine guns. There is no mystery here. Neither is it unusual for the Recon Battalion to have surface-to-surface MILAN-type missiles. But here is where the precision of the Report of the Committee of Independent Experts Report stops.

To posit that, “The technicians of the LAA were trained in the use of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles (. . .),” is just wishful thinking. These two missile systems are completely different and demand specific skills that are normally not found in “an experienced warrant officer who has spent a number of years in the military.” When one considers what one of these missiles costs, it is quickly apparent that no one would want to waste one of these items!

Moreover, training for the use of a surface-to-air (i.e., SAM) missile comes along with the purchase agreement, in as much as each weapons system has its own technical peculiarities and so demands a specific training program. To imagine the educating of a missile operator, without knowing what type of missile he will be using, is just nonsense.

The possession of missile-launchers and missiles by the RGF

The different purchase orders for missiles and missile-launchers

These are two aspects of a single issue and are treated together.

The Committee begins its demonstration with a postulate: “The convergence of the elements of proof that exist today, (. . .), lead to the conclusion that the RGF possessed anti-aircraft weapons (. . .), including missiles.” What follows is a series of observations that explain the desire of the RGF to acquire a SAM weapons system and the different proposed purchases entertained. But at the end of the explanation, the Committee does not present any proof that a single SAM system was acquired or that a single RGF member was ever trained in its use. Here one wonders if the Committee figures its readers for chumps.

However, the Committee of Experts cannot be ignorant of the fact that more is necessary than just having an operator and a missile system. It is also necessary—and this is indispensable—for the operators to be able to maintain their skills, which requires the existence of a firing simulator. Something the RGF did not have.

From there, the postulate relative to the RGF’s possession of missiles is unfounded.

The results of investigations by the UNAMIR and independent investigators

Let’s go over, one by one, the various elements considered under this heading.

1. Two reports, one from the UNAMIR, the other from Human Rights Watch, note the stocks of armaments confiscated by the Zairian Armed Forces after the RGF’s retreat into Zaire. The two documents agree on the presence of from 40 to 50 SA-7s, but differ as to the existence of 15 Mistrals. Nowhere is it specified when this inventory was taken. In any case, it was not in April 1994, as is set forth in the Committee’s Report. The earliest such a count could have been made was mid-July. Once again, the fact that the RGF had or could have had SAMs at this time is not valid evidence that they had them in April in order to carry out the attack. We know how easy it is during a time of war to get arms and ammunition of all sorts, from suppliers who always find a way to supply them. Business is Business is Business, as Gertrude Stein might have put it.
2. How could the Belgians in the UNAMIR have noticed the presence of 15 Mistrals in the RGF arsenal, when they did not even have access to the different arms and ammunitions depots? Moreover, there is no correlation between this bogus assertion and the fact that the Belgian C-130 that had to land in Kigali in the evening of 6 April 1994 was equipped with an anti-missile defense system. This plane was the only one in the Belgian fleet to be so equipped. So it is normal that it should be assigned a mission in Africa. If Belgium had had the slightest fear about the RGF, they would not have left a C-130 permanently since November in Kigali. Beyond that, why would they distrust the RGF any more than the RPF? The RPF had already fired on a C-130, something the RGF had never done.
3. The Committee cites a passage from General Dallaire’s book, “Shake Hands With the Devil” (pp. 112-113 in the French edition titled “J’ai serré la main du diable”), in which he indicates that the RGF had an indeterminate number of SA-7s. The Committee, however, neglects to add that in the same passage on the subject of anti-aircraft defense, Dallaire states: “Missiles were banned. The RPF declared its possession of a certain number of short-range missiles procured from Eastern countries, (. . .).”
4. If the research of French journalist Patrick de Saint Exupéry suggests that, at the end of 1993 or the beginning of 1994, the Rwandan government had prepared an order for two SAMs, this confirms that the RGF was still looking for this type of weapon. But no element in the file shows that this order was ever finalized by a delivery.
5. The Committee would have us believe that the serial numbers appearing on a pro forma invoice (pursuant to an order made by Col. Serubua—ed.) are the same as those found by the RGF on the missile containers at Masaka. This assertion is unfounded, because the serial numbers in question indicate the type of weapon and not the identification number of the missile. Moreover, the dates of manufacture of the missiles differ by several years.
6. One witness, Richard Mugenzi, claimed that France had delivered the RGF some SAMs brought back from the war in Iraq. This claim was damaged by Professor Reyntjens, with a demonstration to back him up. Still regarding these same missiles, the Committee finds it troubling “that the Mission d’Information Parlementaire Française (MIP—French Parliamentary Information Mission) published a series of missiles that were found in the stocks of the Ugandan Army along with their respective serial numbers, but kept quiet about the list and serial numbers of the missiles brought back from Iraq by the French troops. This does not seem to be an innocent oversight (. . .).” There may have been malice on the part of the French head-of-mission, but only because they did not want to admit officially that they had brought back booty from the war. It is not a question here of their hiding a future delivery of SAMs to the RGF, as the Committee would have it, because the list of ID numbers exists and none of them corresponds to the launchers found in Masaka.

Possession of the missiles by the RPA is not a confirmed fact

Weakness of the evidence from the French Parliamentary Information Mission (MIP)

From observations made on the basis of several extracts from documents used by the MIP, the Committee launched into a demonstration that validates one thing and its opposite. In one part the Committee claims there is nothing that confirms the RPF had SAMs, and in another part the documents consulted lead it to conclude: “(. . .) it is clearly understood that the RGF had taken several new SAM-16 missiles from the RPF and, as a consequence, as far as this transfer is true, the RGF had them in its arsenal in 1994.”

The Committee’s kite just flew off!

Here is what stays with us from this truncated demonstration:

1. If the RGF really had one or more SAMs, why would they continue to expend so much energy trying to procure them?
2. One swallow does not a Spring make, as we all know. The same goes for missiles. Having one or two surface-to-air missiles does not necessarily give you an anti-aircraft capability. This type of weapon needs a logistic and technical network to keep it “operational,” that is to say, in working order. The RGF had nothing like that.

The phony story about finding a missile in the Akagera Park in 1991

The MIP’s suspicious oversight in not making public a note from General Quesnot confirming the possession of a new missile by the RGF

The contradictions or the lie of Colonel Bernard Cussac

General Ndindiliyimana’s doubts about the missiles the RPF had

Aware of the ambiguity, if not the incoherence, of its reasoning, the Committee continued to push a series of elements that tried to prove the opposite of what it had tried to establish just before. All this is inconsistent and is not really deserving of our time.

From whence the missiles were fired

The Committee takes up this question once again. Remember our major criticism with regard to their methodology was that it consistently, and without objective justification, excluded those folks living on or around the hill in Masaka. But then taking their testimony into account when it served the Committee’s purposes.


This is the area from which, according to testimony taken in 1994, the missiles that shot down the President’s plane were fired. We know that for the Committee these missiles were fired from Camp Kanombe or its environs. We have shown, in the first part of this writing, the reasons why we were led to conclude that the Committee was not at all justified in its view.

New elements emerged that led the Committee members to come to the following conclusion: “The Army and Gendarmerie were abundantly present in the area of Kigali-Masaka-Kabuga.” And consequently, all access to this disputatious area by the RPF was impossible.

We are not going to nit-pick about the fact that the CEBOL (previously identified as “The Farm”) is located a little to the south of the Kigali-Rwamagana road where there is a governmental army presence. We are simply saying that access to the CEBOL by a commando unit of the RPF was certainly not an impossible mission. After the resumption of hostilities on 7 April, we were disconcerted to notice the ease with which the RPF got its battalions into Kigali. The different positions held by the RGF to block the access routes to the capital saw nothing get past them. We have spoken of the active collaboration with the RPF of certain officers of the RGF. There is nothing to say that the RPF did not benefit from the same sort of collaboration from certain of the villagers from Masaka. All this to say that things are much more complex than we might think or than certain people would like to have us believe.

Alleged discovery of the missile-launcher tubes at Masaka

Questions arising from the alleged discovery of the missile-launcher tubes

As it was with the previous case, we return to the same ostracism by the Committee of the testimonies of the villagers. These witnesses “testified to different dates (for the discovery of the launcher tubes—ed) sufficiently far apart as to seem to be more manipulations, or even continuations in a series of staged events that the RGF has often used.”

In fact, the Committee does not want to consider the testimony of these villagers that locates the discovery of the launcher tubes in the second half of April. However, that testimony is completely congruent with that taken in 1994.

The Committee prefers the version that the discovery of the tubes was within two or three days of the attack, and this is based on testimony of soldiers, certain of whom remember even the exact hour fourteen years after the fact.

This divergence in the timing lets the Committee claim that “the so-called discovery of weapons at the CEBOL raises a series of questions that cast doubt on the authenticity of these facts.”

It would be very awkward for the Committee to admit the missile-launcher tubes were at the CEBOL, and then continue to contend that Camp Kanombe was the spot from where the missiles were fired.

In fact, they prefer a quick recovery of the tubes also because it allows them not to put too much weight on the identification, which was made on 25 April, by Lt-engineer Augustin Munyaneza. But, this date is much closer to the date of the villagers’ discovery than that by the soldiers. These two tubes have a history. They were carried away by the RGF during their exodus and then turned over to the Zairians pending an international investigation into the attack. In 1997, at the time of the fall of Kinshasa to the forces of Laurent Desiré Kabila (putative father of the current president of DRC), the tubes were at Camp Kokolo. After that, the trail of the tubes goes cold at the moment that the current Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army, James Kabarebe, was the Chief of Staff of the Congolese Army. The Camp Commander at Kokolo was none other than John Numbi, the current inspector general of the Congolese Police and one of the authors of the joint operations by Congolese and Rwandan troops against the FDLR (Forces démocratique de libération du Rwanda) in the east of Congo. One or both these men must know what happened to these key pieces of evidence. To be continued?

Questions raised by the photos of the alleged missile-launchers given to France by Lt-Col. Ephrem Rwabalinda

A question that isn’t a question and leads to some Byzantine reflections. The discussion is over a photo of one of the two missile-launchers found by the RGF at Masaka. At the end of the various arguments, one can only conclude that no conclusion can be drawn from this photo.

Conclusion on the hypothesis that Masaka is from where the missiles were fired

The Committee lists the various elements that lead it to exclude the CEBOL or “The Farm” as the area from which the missiles were fired.

We explained the reasons why we cannot agree with these arguments.

Different places in Kanombe

This part describes as facts different testimonies from the first part of the Mutsinzi Report, and comes up with four spots, all located in the area of Kanombe, from whence the missiles could have been fired.

1. From inside the closed yard of the presidential residence or very near the residence.
2. From Nyarugunga and Nyandungu
3. From within the area around Camp Kanombe.
4. From inside Camp Kanombe.

Nothing new to what has already been said. The same goes for the comments we have already made.

Assessment of the witnesses and their stories

On the subject of the credibility of the witnesses, the Committee acknowledges that the ex-RGF “present the disadvantage of belonging to an army many elements of which were principal actors in the genocide and the massacres (. . .).” As we have already pointed up, they are in a very difficult situation because: they are in prison, or before the Gacaca courts or have to answer for their pasts. In other words, they are all uncertain of their futures and so become “managed witnesses.” This does not, however, stop the Committee from considering them as perfectly credible. On this one point, that they all locate the spot from which the missiles were fired as the area of the presidential residence. A firing position in front of the on-coming plane and on the place where the plane came down. To believe this you have to take the shooters for Kamikazes! As to the choice of witnesses from the ex-members of the Presidential Guard, let’s note that none of those on duty at the residence was questioned. The same goes for the members of the President’s family who were right down front for the event.

As for the technicians at the airport, their familiarity with the locale gave their “testimonies an important degree of reliability and credibility as to the just where the missiles were fired from.” In all, six technicians testified. Three saw nothing of the attack. One mentioned a shot from the front as well as three missiles being fired. Two others spoke of two missiles, without being able to describe the trajectory of the shots. None of those who saw the missiles mentioned the place where the airplane was shot down. We can only marvel that these witnesses are the most reliable they could come up with!

“As for the members of the UNAMIR who were cited, their testimonies are also difficult to impugn.” Here is what there is to that:

• Mathieu Gerlache was on the platform of the old control tower. He stated: “from this spot, you could see all the runways but not the RGF camp, this was down below.” A little further along he said: “I saw a point of light leave the ground. The direction the point departed from was Camp Kanombe.”
• Logically, if he was not in a position to see Camp Kanombe, he could not have seen “the point of light” leave the ground. We also specified that, in relation to where he was standing, if he was looking in the direction of Camp Kanombe, he was directly in line of sight with “The Farm.”
• As to Nicolas Moreau, he was 19 km as the crow flies from the place where the missiles were fired. Let’s get serious.

The perpetrators of the attack

Logically, the Committee of Independent Experts came to its conclusion: “Consequently, for the Committee, there is no possible doubt that the missiles were fired at the presidential plane from the military domain of Camp Kanombe, where unauthorized persons could not have entered. Consequently, the Rwandan Government Forces (RGF) are responsible for the attack.”


In beginning this analysis of the Mutsinzi Report, we expressed a legitimate concern as to the real independence of this Committee of Experts. The Committee, officially ordered to shed investigative light on the circumstances of and those responsible for the assassination of President Habyarimana, also had an underlying mission: to neutralize the evidence discovered in the investigation of French anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière.

After having read the Mutsinzi Report, our questions had not at all been answered, but quite the contrary. We had the feeling of having been an audience to a parody of an investigation, the script of which had been written in advance. Throughout the 186 pages of this document, we were subjected to a long, one-side legal argument, the sole intention of which was to demonstrate the total innocence of the RPF and the Machiavellian guilt of the Extremist Hutus. The Committee did not even try to fake objectivity. The delicate issues, those that might have cast doubt on its “independence,” were systematically discarded without a second thought. The Rwandan authorities might well have criticized Judge Bruguière for not having been more balanced in his investigation. But the Mutsinzi Committee is certainly more than holds its own in this regard.

Based on calculations, on claims that do not take into account the years of work by the ICTR, on sometimes giddy hypotheses, on postulates that demonstrate nothing or even go counter to the truth, the whole thing supported by testimony from witnesses whose freedom of speech is more than a little uncertain, the Committee develops throughout its Report a train that can only be taken where it has to go. And, at the end of the line, one has to notice that it doesn’t prove a single thing. For an investigation whose objective is to uncover the various workings of the attack, the results are quite thin. We know those who were designated as the general organizers, but we remain ignorant of everything about the author or authors, of their modus operandi, even of the weapons used in the crime. At least it should be acknowledged that the Bruguière investigation is far and away more precise on these basic questions. Even if we do not necessarily share his way of seeing things. The paradox of the situation is that since the work of the Independent Committee of Experts approaches inconsistency on this point, it only gives further credibility to the work of the French judge and his staff; while its original goal was to reduce the Bruguière effort to naught.

What happened on 6 April 1994 is not just a little problem among Rwandans. The events that have scarred the Great Lakes region for the last 20 years effectively show that the real stakes are far too great to be contained within the borders of the country of a thousand hills. The players in this Rwandan drama are well known. However, we do not know (officially, at least) who is pulling cable backstage and who are co-responsible for the murders of several million people. This international dimension, in which the attack that took the lives of two Heads-of-State and their entourages occurred, was totally avoided by the Committee. We can only take note of this and regret it.

There are many who have waited for years simply to learn the Truth of the tragic events of 1994. Only a real exchange of ideas, difficult certainly, but indispensable, will allow the Truth to come out.

At the end of this effort we have undertaken, one thing is clear to us: NO, the Truth will not emerge victorious from this sickly exercise delivered to us by the Mutsinzi Committee.

The Collective for the Truth
Luc Marchal
Former Commander of the Kigali Sector of UNAMIR