Pierre Péan has rediscovered the footprints of the perpetrators of the attack that unleashed the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis. Judge Bruguière too!
It was not those it was believed to be
Judge Bruguière is not doing well. For many years now he fails in attempts to find Prefect Erignac’s assassins; he has followed a mistaken route. His process against the Chalabi network of support for the Islamic Fundamentalists ended with the absolution of half of those imprisoned.
In Spain, Judge Garzón has snatched his position as world star with the launch of the process against Pinochet. Moreover, despite all the efforts, Kadhafi returns to the international scene.
But now Judge Bruguière has a strong file that causes the powerful to tremble and makes news on television: the origin of the Rwandan genocide – those three Spring months of 1994 in which eight hundred thousand people were exterminated by the fascist Hutu military. This was unleashed by the launching of a missile, on April 6th at 20 25 hours, hitting the plane of President Juvénal Habyarimana (Hutu) that was also carrying the President of Burundi. Some hours later the massacre began.
As far as the entire world was concerned the incident’s perpetrators were obviously the extremist Hutus who had been planning the crimes for many months, now that they were accusing their President of taking a weak political stance in the peace negotiations with the Tutsis.
Today Judge Bruguière has much evidence to the contrary. The plane was shot down by a Tutsi commander at the order of the current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, fully conscious that the attack would provoke a massacre.
In March 1998 Judge Bruguière was put in charge of the case proceedings after the widow of the plane’s French co-pilot presented a denunciation. Now the case has accelerated. Judge Bruguière travelled to Tanzania before summer and has sent investigative commissions to Russia, Switzerland and Rwanda. Within his circle it is hoped that six months from now will see him deliver an international arrest order against Kagame in person. It is the first time since Milosevic that an active Head of State has to face such humiliation. The panic amongst European governments following the petition for the imprisonment of Augusto Pinochet should be remembered. It seems that nothing will be able to stop the French judge. All the materials that we have been able to gather demonstrate that he could issue arrest warrants against Heads of State.
Kagame, the black Khmer
The file has been re-opened this year by the National Post. In March, this Canadian paper published a confidential UN document, strangely forgotten since August 1997 in the archives of Kofi Annan, the organisation’s Secretary General. This document emanates originally from Michael Hourigan, one of the past figures responsible for the investigation of the Arusha International Tribunal (commissioned to judge the crimes against humanity in Rwanda). He had taken the initiative of writing up three pages for the UN special services after having gathered the ‘revelations’ of ‘three Tutsi informers’. These informers gave the names of the members of the command called Network that had launched the missile at Kagame’s order, with the “complicity of a foreign power”.
These reports confirm the data that Bruguière has been compiling over the last two years. The judge had already been told by Captain Barril, the handler of the case of the Vincennes Irish and for a time representative for the widow of President Habyarimana: because of having been to Kigali twice during the genocide, Barril possessed documents that he put “at the disposal of justice”. Judge Bruguière retrieved these documents. And now, since the publication of the confidential UN report, he has asked his friend, Commissioner Roger Marion1 to search for proof in all corners of the planet.
On the investigation’s fringes we also have been able to gather other materials: documents, testimonies with names, dates and unedited details.
To begin with, there is a person who must remain anonymous. African, he was a front line ‘anti-imperialist’ militant before becoming a businessman. He visited many in opposition in the ’70s and ’80s with whom one now crosses in the realms of power. He found himself on several occasions with Paul Kagame, who he calls by the nickname of ‘Peace’, as do his intimate friends. “The RPF leaders (Rwandan Patriotic Front) boasted amongst themselves of having shot down the plane. It’s part of their arrogance. Since the death in 1990 of their old chief caused by the explosion of a mine in Rwanda, Paul Kagame had sworn that he would finish with President Habyarimana. The launching of the missile is, first and foremost, revenge!”
* Had Kagame measured the consequences for the Tutsi population?
* Of course. His strategy for seizing power was war, chaos and destabilisation. Unavoidably, before the victory he knew that there would be a massacre.
* Hadn’t he anyway foreseen the genocide?
* The whole world knew what the Hutu militia were preparing. But that’s war! It cannot be forgotten that he was trained in Maoist doctrine.
* Hence his nickname?
* The black Khmer….Kagame has a similarity with Pol-Pot. He has an almost mythic dimension for his men. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke and he can go several days without eating. The troops take him for certain as someone supernatural. He has built a pure and hard dictatorship.
The testimonies of this past militant corroborate those of Jean-Pierre Mugabe, ex head of editing for the Tribun du Peuple and official in the investigation of the RPF, later in the G2 office of the Rwandan National Police. At the time of the April 6th attack Mugabe was working at Kagame’s headquarters (located in Mulindi, in the area within Rwanda controlled by the RPF since their offensive in 1990). Now that he has chosen exile he is talking:
“The decision to shoot down Habyarimana’s plane was the detonator in an unprecedented tragedy. Kagame had taken it with heart and soul. His thirst for power has been the cause of the extermination of our families. The simple have praised him as our saviour. Nonetheless, he is at the origin of our wretchedness. He put a number of families, who gave him copious sums, under protection, while our relatives were given to the Interhamwe like fodder”2.
A third testimony picked up in Kinshasa (the capital of ex-Zaire) confirms his story. Christophe Hakizabera, ex-official of the RPA (RPF army) also found himself in Kagame’s headquarters.
“The origin of it all, explains our ex militant is found at the end of the ’70s in the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. There were to be found the young revolutionaries of Southern Africa, in exile or in training. Many young leaders had made a pact: each one would help the other to take power. Amongst them was Museveni, future President of Uganda. Rwigema and Kagame, the RPF leaders, were involved in this, the Tutsi party in exile”.
During the ’80s the Tutsis incorporated themselves into Museveni’s militia. In exchange, when he became President in 1986 he put his infrastructure, his financial means, intelligence services, communications, men etc. at the RPF’s disposal. The Ugandan army and the RPF troops go together to train in Libya. In autumn of 1990 the RPF is ready to invade Rwanda. This is when Rwigema perishes from a mine and Kagame swears to his men that that he will avenge him.
Rwanda at this time is lead by Habyarimana. This little country is populated largely by Hutus and is for a long time now under the dominion of the Tutsi minority installed in power by colonising Belgium. Horrified at the rise to power of his English-speaking neighbours who do not hide their desire for conquest, Habyarimana draws close to France. But the times have changed. At Baule’s Franco-African summit François Mitterrand turns his back on thirty years of African politics. There is no help without democracy. Mitterrand will help him but he will demand a peace process. France will supply the military formations.
The missiles were delivered in separate pieces alongside the food
Three years of effort, of cease-fire and of bloody combats will be necessary to arrive at the Arusha peace accords that go, disgracefully, to seal Rwanda’s fate.
It is August 4th, eight months before the genocide. The peace accord is a success for France, but for the Hutus as for the Tutsis, it is a sham that they have no intention of respecting. Everyone wants to gain time: the Hutus to reorganise, the Tutsis to infiltrate Rwanda. The accords anticipate power sharing. The future Rwandan army will be composed of 19,000 men, of whom 40% are soldiers of the RPF. The latter is authorised to immediately install a battalion of 600 men in Kigali. An international force is deployed to watch over the fair application of the agreements. Resolution 772, adopted on October 5th 1993 by the UN Security Council, creates UNMAR, United Nations Mission of Assistance to Rwanda.
Panic spreads amongst the Hutu extremists. The ancestral enemy is returning in force! The program of genocide begins. On the part of the Tutsis a double discourse is cultivated “During the negotiations points out our ex-militant, Kagame explained to his troops: “with accords or without them, our objective is to bring down Habyarimana”. Jean Pierre Mugabe confirms: “after signing the accords, Kagame visited all the army units saying: “have your arms at the ready, do not trust in the Arusha accords”. He well knew that although the agreements were being applied, the RPF could not win the elections. Mathematically the Hutus were in the majority; the RPF was the loser. He was also fully aware that the presidential police and the Interhamwe militia had received arms and training to massacre the Tutsis in the instance of their taking power by force. He did not ignore the fact that almost all the Tutsis were to die and that the teams or groups in charge of the killing had been positioned amongst the population”.
The Hutu radio Mille Collines stokes up anti-Tutsi hate and every day makes a call to former militia. Kagame’s men are conscious of this. “Our own radio, Radio Muhabura, did not stop repeating it, explains Jean Pierre Mugabe. We knew that the worst was approaching… “. Kagame, however, advances: he wants to use the 600 men sent to Kigali, in line with the horse of Troy strategy.
“Kagame had visualised various scenarios for bringing down Habyarimana, confirms our ex-militant. Knowing that he could send these men overland, he chose the attack against the presidential plane”. Jean Pierre Mugabe illustrates this strategy: “the RPF President, Alexis Kanyarengwe, returned from a visit to Tanzania. We met in the headquarters. He related a proverb to us cited by the Tanzanian President: “Instead of fighting against a cat by stoning it outside your house, it is better to enter and to kill it inside”.
“The whole plan rested on the possibilities offered by the encampment of 600 men in the centre of Kigali, explains the ex-militant. The genius of the plan lay in pretending that the RPF men could only eat the food prepared by RPF members. Suddenly, every day a special convoy left Kagame’s headquarters in Mulindi to provision the Kigali battalion. But inside the lorry were hidden 2 or 3 elite soldiers, dressed as civilians. Inside the food were camouflaged weapons of war in separate pieces: this is how they sent the missiles that would serve to bring down the plane. By the end of winter there were 3,200 RPF men passing as civilians in Kigali, all armed, alongside the 600 soldiers already encamped”.
The third witness, Christophe Hakizabera, specifies that the cell in charge of organising the attack was composed of three men: Karenzi Karake, current Chief of Operations of the Rwandan army, Alphonse Mbayre, who became First Secretary of the Rwandan Embassy in Nairobi, (he was in charge of installing the RPF in power and organising a selection between acceptable and ‘Francophile’ Hutus, the latter of which he gave orders to have assassinated immediately), and James Kabarere, key man in the affair. “Kagame trusted the whole operation to Kabarere, the current Rwandan army Sub-chief of staff the ex-militant explained to us. You shouldn’t ignore the fact that in the RPF, as with Maoists, the true chiefs are always the number twos. James Kabarere had distinguished himself amongst the guerrillas. A man of information. Very large in size, very strong, a man of good living and good eating. A man faithful to Kagame. He conceived the plan of the conquest of Rwanda. He chose the men who formed the command in charge of shooting down the plane”.
The President needs to be lured out of Rwanda!
Today, the investigative commissions sent to Russia by Judge Bruguière ought to allow permit him to reconstruct the route followed by the missiles to Uganda, where they were handed over to Kagame with Museveni’s backing.
Concerning this point, the judge’s investigation could reveal itself like an explosion. Our militant-turned-businessman says: “Museveni respected the old pact with the RPF: so, then, he organised the assassination of his Rwandan counterpart. And I think that Tanzania was also involved in the plot”.
And Bruguière knows this too, which will oblige him to issue two arrest warrants against the other two Presidents mentioned, and moreover against a court of ministers and military chiefs, with the worrying danger of provoking a greater diplomatic crisis with the United States, Great Britain, and the Low Countries (main supporters of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania).
“Four militia (trained abroad to launch missiles) were positioned in the ‘missiles’ section of the Mulindi RPF guerrillas, commanded by the Deputy Joseph Kayumba, explains Jean Pierre Mugabe. Towards the end of February 1994 the Deputy Colonel Kayanga, battalion chief of the 600, called them to his side in Kigali. Kayumba obeyed. Two weeks before the attack, Kagame sent Kabarere to Kigali with the missiles”. The four SAM-16s arrived in separate pieces, hidden in lorries that were transporting the supplies.
At the beginning of April everything is ready for a final apocalypse. Nothing remains except to make Habyarimana leave the country: Ugandans, Tanzanians and RPF delegates together construct a diabolical scene.
The first thing is to find a good pretext for organising a conference uniting the region’s leaders. The Rwandan President will necessarily leave his country.
As if by accident, the capital of neighbouring Burundi is suddenly seen wrapped up in fire and blood; the Tutsis and the Hutus confront each other…. At the end of March, Tanzania, less suspicious than Uganda, proposes to organise a conference in its country to look at the region’s inter-ethnic problems.
The RPF men go to the capital, Dar es Salaam, and they organise themselves to give minute to minute information to Kagame in his headquarters concerning Habyarimana’s smallest acts and gestures, reports relayed to the Kigali command.
So at the beginning of April the Heads of State of the African Great Lakes region must meet, although suspicion is widespread. So much so that on the eve of the summit’s opening Juvénal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, head for Zaire to get the support of ‘big brother’ Mobutu. The Major-general calms them. He thinks to accompany them, but he is not to move: at the last minute he will be warned of the danger.
“I spoke with Mobutu’s ex special advisor states the businessman. He knew that something was going to happen, perhaps even an attack”.
The meeting should start at 6 in the morning. On the 5th, the President of Burundi notifies that his personal plane has broken down. This will allow the statement that the death of the Burundian President was an accident, as nobody could have known that he would take the Rwandan plane back home. But on this point also, new information held by Bruguière inverts the established ideas. We know that on the same day, the 5th, in the afternoon, the French customs of the Geneva-Cointrin airport inspected one Athmon Rwamigabo, Lieutenant-colonel of the Burundian army, pilot of the Burundian presidential plane. The man had many diplomatic visas, amongst which one for Switzerland, mentioning a first entry into Geneva on March 30th 1994. The official stated that he flew the presidential plane to Geneva in order to carry out maintenance operations and that he was accompanied by the Assistant Officer of the President of the Republic of Burundi. This officer was just completing a journey from Geneva to Paris the previous April 2nd. So now then, what did the customs officials find in the pilot’s suitcase? A handful of confidential documents, photocopied, containing a project of attack against a plane in flight….
In the face of the evidence some knew what to stand by and they did everything possible in order that President Ntaryamira went in the same plane as Habyarimana.
Conclusion: those responsible for the attack wanted to kill two birds with one stone. The Burundian President could do no other than to travel to Dar es Salaam in a Foker 28 plane, requisitioned, slow and not very comfortable, the only one available.
On April 6th in the morning the conference opens in Dar es Salaam. It begins after a long delay. They are still waiting for Mobutu. The Tanzanian President Mwinyi opens the session. Suddenly Habyarimana surprises them all. He stands down. He accepts a transition government, as visualised in the Arusha agreements. He then decides to adjourn the session and return rapidly to Kigali. A big surprise. Everyone notes the efforts made by the Ugandan President Museveni to retain him, who then persuades the Burundian to take the ‘speedier’ Rwandan plane. In this way the machine cannot take off until the evening. This was imperative: the Kigali command needed a dark night to unveil itself: the space in which it had to manoeuvre was below the strict control of the Rwandan security forces….
Kagame watches a football match
Thanks to Museveni, when Habyarimana’s Falcon 50 took off, everything was ready in Kigali for ‘the reception’. The commando arrived at a place called La Ferme, located in Masaka, a small hill in the surroundings of the capital’s airport. Jean Pierre Mugabe explains: “Some RPF leaders belonging to Habyarimana’s army had given advice concerning the placement of the missiles. They had indicated the place where the planes began their approach to land in Kanombe. These people are the Colonels Alexis Kanyarengwe and Théoneste Lizinde”.
In Kigali, the wife of co-pilot Jean Pierre Minaberry is accustomed to listening to the plane’s radio communications3. Her husband has given her the frequencies. Everything occurs as normal. But the approach ritual suddenly becomes abnormal. The airport’s control tower asks five times if the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi are on board. The pilot is not in the habit of communicating the names of his passengers. Angered, he ends up by replying “there are no passengers on the plane”.
This conversation will for many be the proof that the Hutus are the authors of the attack. If not, why so much insistence? Good sense supplies the answer: Habyarimana has changed his instructions. One can imagine the panic of protocol and of the airport officials. Red carpet, or not? Fanfare? Bodyguard?
We know that at this precise hour the Network command is already in place at the foot of the runway, and that they have four missiles to strike the blow.
The first missile fails it objective. A second projectile touches the plane that explodes in flight before crashing. Mrs Minaberry, neighbouring the airport, hears an explosion. The plane’s bodywork falls like a ball of fire on the presidential residence. It scatters over the property’s gardens. It is 20 25 hours, local time.
At the same moment, Kagame is to be found in the television room of his headquarters. In the company of various officials he watches a football game: the semi-final of the Africa cup, Mali versus Zambia. They are playing the final minutes. Colonel James Kabarere enters the room and approaches Kagame. He whispers to him that the operation has been successful.
“After a short dialogue with Kagame, they leave together relates Jean Pierre Mugabe. The Tutsi high command unit immediately takes up combat preparations and that same night attacks the regular Rwandan forces. This unit acts under the direct mandate of Kagame and Kabarere. All the other RPF units go to the attack without any forewarning”.
Mitterrand had something to do with it
The first massacres by the Hutu militia against the Tutsis began the following day. The 3,000 Tutsis infiltrated into Kigali organise the chaos. They want to achieve the exit from the country of western witnesses. The blue berets, guarantors of the peace accords, are taken as targets.
The RPF wants to deter all western interference. The war must reach its end. Now though, ‘the object’ is not Rwanda, as was demonstrated later. The pact between Ugandans and Rwandan Tutsis was much broader. It concerned controlling the countries of the Great Lakes (Burundi included) in order to attack Mobutu’s Zaire, in collaboration with the Lieutenant-general’s opponent, Laurent Kabila. Zaire gives control of equatorial Africa: the petroleum of Gabron is only a cannon’s throw away.
That is why, whilst in Rwanda the military on all sides massacre the Tutsi population at an incredible rate of 1,000 deaths per 20 minutes, the RPF demands the withdrawal of the blue berets, as it wants to prevent France from sending a humanitarian mission. On launching, at the end of June, operation Turquoise, France was on the point of spoiling the plans of Kagame and Museveni…. Too late to save Mobutu’s Zaire. Kagame and Museveni organised the assassination of the two Presidents of the Republic in order to conquer equatorial Africa. They conceived their war as a Napoleonic epic. The price was 70,000 deaths a day. In a hundred years this butchery will, at best, be celebrated like Austerliz was in France: with this cynicism that will permit a greeting of the first attempt to re-draw a continent’s frontiers laid down by nineteenth century Europe.
Judge Bruguière is the only one capable of changing the story’s moral. Irony: he, who so detested socialist power, can be the one who turns to rehabilitate François Mitterrand in this dossier. At the height of the genocide, the French President found himself accused of being the accomplice of the Hutu fascists.
Some journalists believed they had identified “two DAMI French military” (military assistance and instruction body) who had fired on the plane4. The journalist Pascal Krop specified: “strangely, not long after the hit, two members of DAMI, the sub-chiefs René Maïr and Alain Didot, were found assassinated in their lodgings located in the airport surroundings”5 of Kigali, where the attack took place. Very strange.
This thesis was only discussed later by a few isolated voices, amongst which was Stephen Smith, the ‘Libération’ specialist who remarked that only the RPF had missiles with infra-red sights6. But the torture of the Tutsi population drowned this evidence under a blanket of blood. André Gluckman was heard to demand, live on ‘France inter’, the resignation of Mitterrand, because “France had a hand in an utterly horrible affair, a massacre, a pure genocide….”
But the hypothetical process that would allow a final end to this affair cannot make one forget the words of Jean Pierre Mugabe: “The Hutu genocidalists who have killed the defenceless Tutsis should not use the present evidence to negate the existence of a genocide against the Tutsis and to claim that Kagame’s crime perpetrated against Habyarimana gave the right to massacre the Tutsis. Those responsible for the 1994 genocide should be prosecuted in accordance with international and national justice”.
1. To know more about the methods of this ‘rand flic’ see Le Vrai Papier Journal no.2 and the investigation by Frédéric Charpier, ‘Ce flic que Pasqua a sacrifié’, p.37
2. Interhamwe: extremist Hutu militia
3. Information gathered by Colette Braeckman in her book ‘Rwanda, histoire d’un génocide’, ed. Fayard
4. Pascal Krop, ‘Le génocide franco-français: faut-il juger les Mitterrand?’, ed. Jean Claude Lattès, 1994, p. 91. On this point, Krop backs himself up with Colette Braeckman’s investigation, world-wide respected specialist on Africa, journalist in Le Soir of Brussels, in an article published on 17-06-94.
5. Ibid, p.92
6. Libération, 29-07-94