Request of a UN inquiry on the assassination of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira

6th April 2019

To: All Members of the UN Security Council:

  • His Excellency Ambassador MA Xhaoxu of China.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Francois Delatre of France.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Vassilt Nebenzia of Russian Federation.
  • Her Excellency Ambassador Karen Pierce of the United Kingdom. 
  • His Excellency Ambassador Kacou Houadja Leon Adom of Cote d’Ivoire.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Anatolia Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea
  • His Excellency Ambassador Mansour Al-taibi of Kuwait
  • His Excellency Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra of Peru.
  • Her Excellency Ambassador Joanna Wrenecka of Poland.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve of the Belgium.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Jose Singer of Dominica Republic. 
  • His Excellency Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of Germany.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani of Indonesia.
  • His Excellency Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila of South Africa.

Re: Request of a UN inquiry on the assassination of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira.

Dear Honorable Ambassadors,

We are writing to express our grave concern at the failure of the UN to investigate the assassination presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprian Ntaryamira, which occurred in Kigali, Rwanda, 25 years ago today. 

Your Excellency will recall that the UN security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to “prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and neighboring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994″. The UN Commission of Experts’ preliminary and final reports (S/1994/1125 and S/1994/1405) on whose the Security Council set up the International criminal court for Rwanda  had pointed out that ” Individuals from both sides to the armed conflict in Rwanda during the period from 6 April 1994 to 15 July 1994 perpetrated serious breaches of international humanitarian law, in particular of obligations set forth in Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions and relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts of 8 June 1977 and that Individuals from both sides to the armed conflict perpetrated crimes against humanity.” Crimes described Article 3 common to the Geneva convention include acts of terrorism and hence covers the shooting down of the plane carrying President Habyarimana, a physical terrorism act that triggered genocide. 

Unfortunately, the ICTR closed it work, unable to investigate that terrorist act and its attempt to investigate was meticulously suppressed.

We are calling to your attention that the United Nations has in the past hastened to request commissions of inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister, Hafik Hariri, Pakistani, leader Benazir Bhutto, or even John Garang former leader of the South Sudanese rebellion, but the UN has never committed  such an inquiry in which two serving heads of state were assassinated and set the Great Lakes region ablaze.  

Indeed as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the international Federation of Human Rights pointed out in their letters to the Security Council regarding the work of the ICRT: “justice must be impartial and must be done and seen to be done for all, regardless of who the victims or perpetrators are” and that “true reconciliation in Rwanda can only come about if the rule of law does not discriminate for or against any one”.  As scholars and human rights defenders mentioned in their letter addressed to the UN Secretary on June 1, dated June 1. 2009 “to insist on the right to justice for all victims, as did the [1994] UN Commission of Experts, is not to deny the genocide, nor does such an insistence equate war crimes with genocide; it simply asserts that all victims, regardless of their affiliation, regardless of the nature of the crime committed against them, and regardless of the affiliation of the perpetrator, must have equal opportunity to seek redress for the wrongs done them”. 

For the sake of justice, national reconciliation, peace and security in Rwanda and the Great lakes Region and for the sake of UN integrity, impartiality and human rights and peace values, We call upon the UN Security Council to establish an international commission of inquiry to identify the people or group of individuals responsible for the shooting down of the plane that was carrying President Habyarimana, a terrorist act that triggered genocide against the Tutsi 25 years ago today.

Kind regards.

Jean Marie Minani

Head of Justice Team


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