Rwanda report finds Hutus responsible for 1994 killing that sparked genocide

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.