The President of Rwanda, Paul Kigame, has for the first time been directly implicated in the killing of his predecessor, Juvenal Habyarimana. A French judge has recommended that Kigame be brought before the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which sits in Tanzania, to answer charges. International arrest warrants have been issued for nine of Kigame’s entourage, including the head of the country’s army. Kagame has always denied any involvement in the incident, which triggered Africa’s worst genocide of modern times. As a serving head of state, an arrest warrant cannot be issued in Kigame’s name.
The plane carrying Habyarimana, and his Burundian counterpart back from the Arusha peace talks was shot down near Kigali in April 1994. Their deaths led to a coordinated attempt by Hutus to eliminate the Tutsi population. Ethnic tensions exploded and in one hundred days, at least 800 thousand Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been massacred. Two million more had fled into neighbouring Zaire, now DR Congo.