Call for International Inquiry into the 1994 Rwandan Presidential Plane Attack: A Plea from the FDU-Inkingi Regional Council in France

Dr Emmanuel Mwiseneza

On April 5, 2024, the FDU-Inkingi Regional Council in France, represented by Dr. Emmanuel MWISENEZA, issued a press release from Paris, demanding an independent international investigation into the 1994 Rwandan presidential plane attack. This tragic event, which occurred on April 6, 1994, led to the deaths of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, their entourages, and three French crew members. The attack, occurring during the aircraft’s landing at Kigali Airport, plunged Rwanda into chaos and anarchy, effectively derailing the peace process initiated by the Arusha Accords signed on August 4, 1993.

Recognized by the United Nations as the trigger for the Rwandan Genocide, this attack extinguished hopes for peace and initiated a dark period in Rwanda’s history. Despite the passage of 30 years, the perpetrators remain at large, protected by unprecedented impunity. Various investigations conducted by the UN and judicial systems in Belgium, Spain, and France have been hampered by political pressures, leading to inconclusive results.

As Rwandans commemorate the 30th anniversary of this tragedy with sorrow and reflection, the FDU-Inkingi Regional Council in France emphasizes the necessity of justice for reconciliation. The council criticizes the current Rwandan government’s attempts to enforce a selective memory of the genocide, which exacerbates divisions rather than fostering reconciliation among Rwandans.

The current regime in Rwanda, led by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), is accused of lacking interest in a thorough examination of the 1994 plane attack’s circumstances. Acknowledging responsibility for the attack could undermine the regime’s constructed narrative as genocide heroes, challenging the very foundation of its legitimacy. In response, the FPR regime is alleged to launch smear campaigns against researchers, journalists, and politicians who seek to investigate the incident, branding them as deniers or revisionists.

In light of these concerns, the FDU-Inkingi Regional Council’s call for an independent international inquiry aims to uncover the truth behind the attack. Establishing factual accountability is deemed essential for facilitating genuine, comprehensive reconciliation among the Rwandan people and fostering a nation built on unity and respect for human rights. The council’s plea underscores the importance of justice not only for healing historical wounds but also for securing a future where such tragedies are never repeated.