Dec 10


Wikileaks: In France, the investigation of Rwanda was followed in high places
| 09.12.10 | 10:32 p.m. • Updated 10.12.10 | 12:57

In France, is justice independent of diplomacy? By revealing a hidden side of the investigation, Rwandan French investigating judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, as shown by memos made public by U.S. Wikileaks and analyzed by Le Monde , provide a nuanced answer to this question.

Just before leaving the bench, the anti-terrorism judge had one last hit [at] the headlines by issuing, in November 2006, nine international arrest warrants for senior Rwandan officials. The authorities in Kigali and were designated as responsible for the attack of April 6, 1994 against the plane of Rwandan President Habyarimana, which gave the signal for the genocide of Tutsis.

In response, Rwanda then immediately broke off diplomatic relations with France. Since then, the independence of the judiciary has consistently been put forward by French diplomats to deny any responsibility in this indictment of Rwandan figures.


The confessions made by Jean-Louis Bruguiere, to the United States Embassy in Paris, reflect a more complex reality. Classified “secret,” a telegram dated 26 January 2007 – date between the rupture of relations between France and Rwanda and the election of Nicolas Sarkozy – reports about Mr. Bruguiere. “He said, American diplomats suggest, that he presented his decision to French officials, including President Chirac, as part of his decision to be an independent magistrate, but chose to visit because he was convinced of the need to coordinate his schedule with the government. ”

The judge added that “he was not surprised by the official reaction of Rwanda” and that “the French government was prepared for what was expected as a violent response against French nationals” .

The judge then announced to the Americans that he will seek a mandate from member (it will be losing candidate in the parliamentary elections of 2007). “By the way, Bruguiere said that the post of minister of justice is his first choice , say the diplomats Americans who make him a tribute.


About the Rwandan case, the memo thinks they see ulterior motives to the judge: “Bruguiere has presented his case in a very professional manner, but he did not hide his personal desire to see the Kagame government in isolation. He warns that tightening U.S. ties with Rwanda would be a mistake. ”

Other confidences, made at the same time by a senior French diplomat, shed light even more raw. The official of the Quai d’Orsay “told the Americans the French government gave the green light to Bruguiere’s report to make [the warrants] [and] that France had wanted to respond to Rwanda’s decision to investigate the involvement of France in the 1994 genocide and its consequences ” .

According to the diplomat, the French government “made a miscalculation in not anticipating the severe measures that Rwanda would take in reprisal” .

Telegrams by the Americans illuminate a more recent episode of Franco-Rwandan relations. It is the arrest in November 2008 in Frankfurt, of Rose Kabuye , Chief of Protocol to President Paul Kagame , who was among the nine persons referred by Judge Bruguiere. The arrest of Mme Kabuye and her transfer to France helped to enter the French procedure on the attack in Rwanda in 1994, and to prepare a legal response for a resumption of diplomatic relations. The assumption that the Rwandan authorities have in fact accepted the arrest of Mme Kabuye, considered a pilot fish, is corroborated by several memos.

In June 2009, Roman Sherman , advisor “Africa” at the Elysee, “suggested that the case Rose Kabuye was made a test case to allow Rwandans to have direct access to the file” about it. “Both parties understood that this was the case on smaller ” file Bruguiere and that by defeating the prosecution’s case “could derail other arrest warrants” .


Two months before the restoration of diplomatic relations, Charlotte Montel , Advisor to the Office of Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner “admits that several French officials had kindly suggested to Rwandans that one of the nine agreed to be arrested” .

The diplomat acknowledged that Mme Kabuye “has always maintained that she never intended to get arrested” to serve as a test. But this version is contradicted by a telegram dated November 10, 2008 prepared by the U.S. Embassy in Kigali.

According to the memo, Rose Kabuye itself was entrusted to “contact the embassy” that “it would be better to go to France to fight the charges and be heard” . According to another source, ” [President] Kagame himself has expressed his fatigue from having to manage the visits of officials in different capitals in question (…) and suggested that other officers Kabuye protocol start to gain experience in organizing his trip ” .

What conclusion will lead the investigation into the attack in 1994? Americans are “not certain that the judge” shall conduct an inquiry in another way and cancel the arrest warrants, “given the independence claimed by the French justice” .

Philippe Bernard


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