Mutsinzi report on who killied Habyalimana causes as many questions as it claims to solve

Published on by KANYARWANDA


Pambazuka News
Letters - Issue 467
28 January 2010
By Dr. Rene Lemarchand

Anyone familiar with the basic provisions of the Arusha Accords of 18 August 1992 (which among other things describes the composition of the transitional institutions agreed upon by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) and the Habyalimana government) is impelled to call into question Gerald Caplan's credentials in commenting on the merits of the Mutsinzi report. I refer to the crisply titled ‘Report of the Investigation into the Causes and Circumstances and Responsibility for the Attack of 06/04/94 against the Falcon 50 Rwandan Presidential Aeroplance, Registration Number 9x9-NN’.

Dr Caplan writes ‘It's never been entirely clear what motive Kagame would have had for murdering Habyarimana at the very moment when the president intended to implement the Arusha Accords. The RPF had been the huge winner at Arusha, about to receive substantial political and military power. Conversely, Habyarimana's officials were the great losers.’

I read the implications of article 55 and 62 of the protocol on the sharing of power very differently. In the Broadly Based Transitional Government (BBTG) the FPR and the pro-Habyalimana MRN Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour le Developpement (MRND) each get five portfolios, Hutu-dominated Mouvement Democratique Republicain (MDR) and Parti Social Democrate (PSD), respectively four and three, the pro-Tutsi but ethnically split Parti Liberal (PL), three and the Hutu-led Parti Democrate Chretien (PDC) one. Furthermore the MRND ended up with the key ministries, i.e. Defense, Civil Service, Planning, whereas the FPR ended up with Interior, Health, Transport and Communication, Youth and Social Movements, Rehabilitation and Social Integration. With five ministerial chairs out of 21 it is hard to see how the FPR could be described as the big winner. So also with regard to its control of the armed forces, where the FPR ended up controlling 40 per cent of the troops and 50 per cent of higher ranks.

In the Transitional Assembly the FPR, MRND, MDR, PSD, PL each received 11 seats, and the PDC four. Which in effect made it impossible for the FPR to block a piece of legislation, much less an amendment to the Arusha charter.

Crucially, Article 22 of the final protocol, dealing with ‘diverse questions and final disposition’, stipulates that the transition will last 22 months after the inauguration of the BBTG, only to be prolonged after a three-fifths majority of the Assembly. At the end of the transitional period multiparty elections were to be held, which in all likelihood would have given the Hutu parties an overwhelming majority.

Is this what Gerald Caplan calls the FPR's ‘huge victory’ at Arusha?

I beg to differ. I also disagree that it was ‘extremely functional’ for Hutu extremists to shoot down Habyarimana's plane unless he means that killing some of the key members of the Akazu, including the Chief of Staff, was to the advantage of Hutu extremists. His logic evades my grasp.

I have yet to read the Mutsinzi report from beginning to end, but, pending a more sustained exploration, the misinformation conveyed by Dr Gerald Caplan is enough to cast the strongest doubts on its veracity.

* René Lemarchand is emeritus professor of Political Science at the University of Florida.

The evidence points in one direction only
Pambakuza News
by Gerald Caplan
2010-01-28, Issue 467

Gerald Caplan responds to Professor René Lemarchand's criticism of his article on the Mutsinzi Report into the assassination of Rwandan President Habyarimana in 1994.

Professor Lemarchand is the doyen of the historians of Rwanda and Burundi, and we are all in his debt for his pioneering work.

But in recent years he has been arguing, to the surprise of many of his admirers, that the evidence was leading him to believe that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had attacked Habyarimana's plane.

Now I'm equally surprised that he would launch this criticism of me without having read the full Mutsinzi Report. If he had done so, he would have found, among other things, testimony from an abundance of eyewitnesses that leading Hutu extremists hated the Arusha Accords, were determined they never be implemented, and were ready to kill the president if he softened on this issue. Which is exactly what happened after Habyarimana formally declared on 2 April that he intended in six days to swear in the new broadly-based transitional government agreed at Arusha.

Many in the military were especially vexed by the key Arusha article that Professor Lemarchand himself describes in his letter: ‘with regard to its control of the armed forces... the FPR ended up controlling 40 per cent of the troops and 50 per cent of higher ranks.’ As the report of the OAU-appointed International Panel of Eminent Personalities stated: ‘On the all-important question of military strength, the accords seemed a complete capitulation by the government team to the RPF. The two parties agreed to integrate the two armies [Habyarimana's FAR 35,000, the RPF's 20,000] into a single force of 19,000. 60 per cent were to be FAR, 40 per cent RPF. The officer corps were to be split 50-50. This meant that more than 2/3 of FAR troops faced demobilisation’ and fully half its officers would lose their positions.

The report continues: ‘No one in the [Habyarimana] army, whether hardliners or not, would ever accept such a move. Indeed, the government's military advisers in Arusha made their disdain for the agreement abundantly clear at the time, and observers had little doubt they would do all in their power to prevent its implementation.’ I was present when a senior Tanzanian officer who had monitored the Arusha negotiations told the International Panel that FAR officers made little attempt to disguise their determination that the agreement would never be implemented. The RPF, by contrast, seemed quite satisfied with the outcome. After all, many in the two opposing camps saw everything in black-and-white ethnic/racial terms. From this perspective, the Tutsi, some 10-15 per cent of the population, had pulled off a gigantic coup. Hutu extremists were only too aware of this remarkable and unacceptable development.

Professor Lemarchand wonders why some key extremist Hutu leaders were on the plane when it went down, if their own fellow plotters were responsible. I asked the same sensible question myself in my analysis. If they knew the plane was to be attacked, why did they make the trip at all? I have no good answer. It's not implausible that the attackers considered giving up the lives of a few colleagues a small price to pay for getting rid of the president. As for the unlucky victims, perhaps they thought the plane wouldn't be attacked with them on it, and perhaps they had no alternative but to board if the president ordered them to. Had they demurred, they would have given the plot away. But this is mere speculation, and I criticised the Mutsinzi commission for not addressing this question.

Finally, as Professor Lemarchand will find when he actually reads the report, and as I stressed in my Pambazuka analysis, the commission treated their mandate as a typical criminal investigation. Who most plausibly had the motive, the opportunity and the means to attack the president's plane? Whose behaviour showed unusual, suspicious patterns? Whatever questions linger, such as why extremist leaders were aboard the doomed flight, the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence points in one direction only. It was not towards the RPF.

* Gerald Caplan has a PhD in African history. He recently published The Betrayal of Africa.

Rwandans Deserve Better Than This
Pambazuka News
2010-01-28, Issue 467

Given Rwanda's history of the elite manipulation of the past for political
gain, Gerald Caplan's analysis of the Mutsinzi Report is dangerous and thoughtless, writes Susan Thomson.

It remains shocking to me that reports like Dr Caplan's are given such priority in respected publications. This is the type of incendiary reporting that characterises the Rwanda socio-political landscape. Much of what Caplan writes is unbalanced in favour of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and is a dangerous thing as the RPF tightens its grip on political life in Rwanda in advance of the August 2010 presidential elections.

The Mutsinzi Report raises as many questions as it claims to resolve. Caplan supports the independence of the report without remarking on the one-sideness of the available evidence. As an academic, this is abhorrent. Good critical research is contextually situated and historically balanced. Instead, Caplan treats as solid the evidence ‘proving’ the complicity of Hutu extremists with little regard for any written or oral evidence pointing in the direction of the RPF.

Knowing that the political situation in Rwanda is tense, and the free speech is virtually non-existent, it is difficult to accept wholesale the testimony of the hundreds of witnesses. Note the RPF's silencing of Joshua Ruzibiza, the man who claims to have affected Kagame's order to shoot down the plane. He was harassed and threatened into submission in late 2008. His recanting is available on YouTube. His book is titled, "Rwanda: L’histoire secrète," and was published in 2005 by Editions du Panama.

Of identified informants, at least two dozen are members of the former government army, were interviewed under extreme pressure in the presence of RPF officials, in full awareness of what they were expected to say, and of the price to be paid if they did not. The validity of the narratives gathered by the report needs to be considered by any serious academic.

The Mutsinzi Report sets up a straw man and then proceeds to attack Hutu extremists. This is exact same tactic that was used by those in power before the genocide to argue for its implementation! Caplan is but fodder in this debate that presents half-truths as facts and fails to substantiate any of its claims.

Given Rwanda's history of the elite manipulation of the past for political
gain, Caplan's analysis is dangerous and thoughtless. Rwandans deserve
better than this.

* Susan Thomson is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa.
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Comment on this post

gigi 02/11/2010 14:18

Well, well, the RPA ofcourse did carry out some superb operations and they still have the clout to do so. Truth is, they did not shoot that plane, period. as for your revolution, dont forget that
for a revolution to succeed, it has to have a name and a motive, otherwise  you are bound to fail. your current motivation is hate - purely hatred for kagame's exploits and nothing else. he
has been nice to everyone. what you say about kibeho and congo, you all know that whatever happened was because there were elements using their own people as shields and shooting at RPA, who were
then quite worked up after years of intense figting with FAR, FRENCH ARMY, CONGOLESE, KENYAN,, CHADIAN ETC. actually they were very good at restraint, otherwise we would be talking about a double
genocide. anyway, let us see how you carry out your hate revolution. we will be waiting to give you another dose, a final dose.

KANYARWANDA 02/15/2010 16:25

Man I am not carrying out a hate revolution I am telling you the turth the truth is that if RPF hadnt attacked Rwanda no tutsi or hutu could have died but you sacrificed all Rwandans regardless of
what tribe they were just as you have put it for you to have a name.otheriwse double genocide as long as you have americans backing you the blood of innocent hutus and congolese will remain
unremembered until the world politics will change.but you should know that you being a tutsi or a hutu and me being whoever I am actually I am not even Rwandan AM  a congolese so the truth is
that RPF killed people some young hutu killed tutsis after seeing that RPF wanted to reinstate feudalism.both of these sides should face justice and Kagame first should face a terrosist court then
ICTR after that so that all Rwandans can sit together and coexisit in peace

Ismail 02/10/2010 14:38

Why discuss around the shooting of this plane? Nothing is impossible. The shooters only interpreted what we always see on movies and they succeeded. Otherwise, long before, how did RPF succeed to
rescued their convoy when attacked in Gatsata? They did not fly, they were surveyed, they had to go all that long way from CND, but they made it. Those Rwandans who fled to DRC have stories of how
these guys could move faster than anyone else could do, how they could infiltrate, etc. As for Mutsinzi's report, himself knows that what he compiled is not even a piece of play, but rather a
complete nonsese. However, knowing who killed Habyarimana is not an issue, what would this solve as problem anyway? He perished with a very small team on board. Millions died in DRC, in Kibeho in
the North, in circumstances yet to be detailed by history. So, no need to delay on this, guys. As for revolution, it never stops when it starts, as Che Guevara said. Whatever you do to stop it is a
wastage of time. You can only delay it for a while. 

KANYARWANDA 02/10/2010 19:21

thanks man help us to spread the truth about what is happening and what happened to our people in Rwanda kibeho in DRC and still now is happening the oppression increases day by day recommend this
site coz it contains information you will never get any where else but here

gigi 02/02/2010 14:38

There are small factors that we keep overlooking; if indeed RPF soldiers shot the plane, how then did the Presidential guards who immediately surrounded the area fail to apprehend them? they would
have been happy to parade them before commencing the genocide

- It would have been quite difficult for RPA soldiers to do the job and make it safely back to Parliament where RPA troops were based under surveillance of the UN and FAR troops and
- Ruzibiza was a mere Nurse who would not heve been entrusted with the gigantic and important operation like that of shooting down a presidentialplane deep in enemy territory
- I think that if these seemingly trivial factors are put into consideration, the debate on the shooting down of the plane should cease to waste anybody's time anymore. Its a fact that RPF was
happy with the Arusha accord; they even composed a song; Dushengurukanye see, they were a small ignored group fighting for their rights against a european supported government yet
they amanged to exert so much pressure to merit lots of respect. This was victory well deserved and they were happy to settle for what they earned. The extremists were by all means not ready to
co-habit with tutsis...thats the story, the rest are just academic blabberings  

KANYARWANDA 02/06/2010 16:25

Haha but those you call extremists are the ones that saved so many families.Another thing I should remind you the words that Kagame himself said in Gbadolite when He was asked whether he is ready
to coexist with Hutus in Rwanda.he outrightly said that the only relationship that Hutus and Tutsis have is the soil of Rwanda and he was not ready to live by side of any hutu. another thing is
what Kabuye said in 1992 that if she was given a chance she could make the majority minority and the minority the majority which she has succeeded to do so my friend unless a hutu accept
that a tutsi must live and a tutsi like you accept that I as a hutu I have the right to live then we are heading no where.more innocent blood will be shed

Jean 02/01/2010 00:24

That Caplan does not share Leamarchand and Thompson's anti-RPF/Kagame passion dosn't make him 'thoughtless'. Caplan has researched the 1994 genocide with more thoroughness and objectivity than
these two scholars. His findings happen to match with The Mutsinzi repot's findings. And he is not the only respected observer to give credit to a report whose only weakness is that he was not
produced by some (so called) western 'experts'.

Here is what Philip Gourevitch writes

The Mutsinzi Report on the Rwandan Genocide

I have obtained, and am posting here, the first English-language copy of a massive new report by a Rwandan investigative commission into the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana, the
country’s long-time dictator, whose plane was shot down by a pair of surface-to-air missiles and crashed in the backyard of his own palace on the night of April 6, 1994. As I have reported in my
1995 New Yorker article “After the Genocide” and in my book “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda,” Hutu Power extremists
used Habyarimana’s assassination as the pretext for going ahead with their plans for a genocide of the Tutsi minority—a program of massacres in which close to a million Tutsis were murdered in
the next hundred days.

I have not yet had time to absorb the new report and its multiple annexes in their entirety, but I have read around in it enough to offer some initial thoughts about this extraordinary historical
and political document. And the report makes for compelling reading, despite its dry and cumbersome title: “Report of the Investigation into the Causes and Circumstances of and Responsibility for
the Attack of 06/04/1994 Against The Falcon 50 Rwandan Presidental Aeroplane Registration Number 9XR-NN.”

As I wrote in The New Yorker:


Habyarimana’s assassins have never been positively identified, but at the moment the bulk of circumstantial evidence collected by international investigators points to a job sponsored by members
of the Hutu Power entourage. Immediately after the Presidential plane was shot down, the Rwandan Army sealed off the area around Kigali Airport, from which the surface-to-air missiles that hit
the plane had been fired, thus preventing an investigation by the U.N. and adding to speculation that top Rwandan officers had something to hide…. [But] regardless of who killed Habyarimana, the
fact remains that the organizers of the massacres were primed to exploit his death instantaneously.

In other words, the assassination was a coup d’etat. At the time of his death, Habyarimana was on the brink of implementing the Arusha Accords, a power-sharing peace agreement with the Rwandan
Patriotic Front, a rebel army led by Paul Kagame (who is now Rwanda’s president). But the Hutu Power genocidaires wanted to consolidate their power through their campaign of
extermination. Habyarimana, then, appeared to have been killed as a traitor to the Hutu Power cause; but his death was blamed on Kagame and the R.P.F. and turned into fuel for the Hutu Power

The new Rwandan report—known, after its lead author, Jean Mutsinzi, as the Mutsinzi Report—lays out this story in remarkably convincing detail. It draws on a number of previous international
investigations and on a remarkable collection of more than five hundred interviews that its own investigators conducted with former officers of the Hutu Power regime and other eyewitnesses, who
describe the events before, during, and after the assassination with convincing consistency.

The broad findings are not surprising. What makes the Mutsinzi Report most remarkable is the thoroughness and seriousness of the underlying investigation, which covers not only the events
leading up to the downing of the plane. It traces the history of earlier investigations into Habyarimana’s assassination and the genocide, and draws on these findings (which have never before
been collected and cross-referenced) to build its own. The Mutsinzi commission brought in independent British ballistics experts to establish the trajectory and origins of the missiles that
struck the plane; and, in passages of the report that read like pure farce, they traced the mystery of the black box from the cockpit, which kept disappearing and reappearing and ultimately

Obviously, the report serves President Kagame and his government’s interests. So why has it taken them so long to produce it? For more than a decade, critics held up the post-genocide
government’s seeming reluctance to examine Habyarimana’s death as evidence that Kagame had something to hide. That impression was encouraged further when the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, a satellite of the court at the Hague, opened an investigation into allegations of R.P.F. culpability in the shooting down of the plane, and Kagame’s government
fought hard and successfully to shut down this investigation. Then, in 2007, Jean-Louis Bruguière, a French anti-terrorism judge who had made his name capturing Carlos the Jackal, indicted nine
of Kagame’s closest associates for terrorism for bringing down Habyarimana’s plane. Rwanda promptly broke off all diplomatic relationships with France. Instead of merely denouncing Bruguière’s
case as a pack of lies, Kagame established the investigative committee that produced the Mutsinzi report. (Among the report’s surprises are damning passages drawn from investigations of the
same international tribunal that the Rwandans had stonewalled.)

France’s sponsorship of Rwanda’s genocidal regime is a steady subtext throughout the attached documents. Indeed, Habyarimana’s plane was a gift of the French, it had a French flight crew who
died with him, and the French military was in joint control with the Hutu Power forces of the area where the missiles were fired and the plane crashed. An earlier Rwandan government
investigative report that documented France’s role in the genocide was harsh and damaging, and its findings contributed to the work of the Mutsinzi commission. And yet this new report has
brought about a rapprochement between Kigali and Paris. Over the past two years, Bruguière’s case fell apart as his “eyewitnesses” recanted, until even the French press treated it as a joke.
Throughout that time Rwanda maintained a hostile public tone toward France; last fall Rwanda even joined the British Commonwealth. In private, however, Kagame maintained a constant dialogue
with France, and established communications with President Nikolas Sarkozy—and two months ago, on the day after Rwanda’s admission to the Commonwealth, France and Rwanda reestablished normal
diplomatic relations. Before that happened, of course, the Rwandans had shared the about-to-be-released Mutsinzi report with the French. The normalization of relations amounts to France’s
acceptance of the report’s conclusions—and in the past few days the French press has been covering the substance of the report in uncharacteristic tones of
admiration and respect.

The struggle of President Kagame’s regime to establish security, order, and a modicum of justice in Rwanda and to create conditions for economic and political development has always been in
large part a struggle for legitimacy in the eyes of an international community that failed—or worse, betrayed—Rwanda during the genocide. In this context, the report on Habyarimana’s plane is
the latest in a yearlong string of diplomatic and political moves that show the new Rwandan government achieving a level of sophistication, skill, and effectiveness in commanding international
respect that has rarely, if ever, been seen before in Africa. A year ago, Rwanda was being blamed for all the woes of the war next door in the Democratic Republic of Congo—and now those woes
have come to be seen overwhelmingly as the result of the continued presence of fugitive Hutu genocidaires in Congo. Leaders of these Hutu Power armies in exile, who had operated with
impunity from European capitals, are being rounded up. And this week, on the day that the report first leaked in the French press, France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, was in Kigali to announce the
establishment of a special court in France to prosecute refugees suspected of genocide. Today’s issue of Rwanda’s
official newspaper, New Times, announces that Sarkozy will visit next month.

At the top of France’s list for the new genocide court, New Times also reported, is Madame Agathe Habyarimana—the assassinated President’s wife, who has long been rumored to have been
in on his killing. The report details at length how openly the Habyarimana assassination plot was spoken about