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Rwanda report finds Hutus responsible for 1994 killing that sparked genocide

[JURIST] The Rwandan government [official website] released a report [text, PDF] Monday concluding that the 1994 assassination of then-president Juvenal Habyarimana [Britannica profile] was the work of Hutu extremists. An independent committee of experts found that Hutu extremists, including members of the president's own family, were opposed to the 1993 Arusha Accords [text, PDF], a power-sharing agreement supported by Habyarimana, designed to end his 20-year monopoly on power. The report asserts that Hutus used the assassination as a pretext for the 1994 genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in which more than 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, were killed in the span on 100 days. The report states that:

Members of the president's inner circle ... viewed the Accords as an existential threat to a Hutu-dominated Rwanda as well has their own political and economic standing. These men were not simply opposed to a reconciliation process; they were committed to the wholesale extermination of Tutsis. By the spring of 1994, they had the means, motive and opportunity to act ... and they did.

The committee's findings are consistent with conclusions of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) [official website] that the parties responsible for bringing down the plane were Hutus.

The committee of experts was established [JURIST report] by Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame [official website; BBC profile] in April 2007 to investigate the downing of the plane carrying the Hutu leader. In 2006, the Rwandan government also began a probe [JURIST report] into accusations that France assisted a Hutu massacre of Tutsis. In 2006, a French anti-terrorism judge recommended [JURIST report] that Kagame stand trial for the death of Habyarimana. Kagame denied any involvement. As of May 2009, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive], established for the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law during the Rwandan genocide, has rendered judgments or has trials underway [completion strategy report, PDF] for 68 suspects, with six suspects awaiting trials, one retrial, and 13 fugitives.

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