Kabarebe was summoned to appear before the Paris judge on December 14th and confront James Munyandinda who says that he witnessed the involvement of RPA in the attack on 6th April, 1994.
Contesting the credibility of this witness, Kabarebe’s lawyers drastically declined the summons.
’’It is impossible to consider the Minister of Defense in office to go to France to face such a problematic person. Kabarebe’s lawyers declared on Monday December 11th in the office of Judge Jean-Marc Herbaut.
The judge assigned the judicial investigation on the attack of the plane of former President Juvénal Habyarimana. Judge Herbaut and his colleague Nathalie Poux demanded Kabarebe to face a witness identified as James Munyandinda.
A slow breakdown in diplomatic relations
On Monday, Maingain and Forster sent two French magistrates an eight-page letter outlining Rwanda’s grievances over an investigation which, since 2006, has provoked the irritation of the authorities and the Rwandan population. Since then, the two countries encountered a crack in their diplomatic relations. If the lawyers do not wish to speak on the file, one of their clients, however, agreed to deliver to Jeune Afrique the content of the mail (read below).
The lawyers’ argument is divided into five points. "Our clients have already cooperated with the courts and answered all questions regarding this case," they said. At the end of 2010, Gen Kabarebe, Franck Nziza and five other Rwandans suspected by the French courts attended a hearing in Burundi by Judge Trévidique who was in charge of the investigation.
The main point developed in the courier was the reliability of the witness’s statements dating back to 1994, that relate to the subject of the attack, or the conditions in which he claims to have left Rwanda in 2008.
On the first point, the defense provides an attestation before notary of Sam Nkusi. In his statement, Munyandinda affirms that back in December 1993, he delivered Motorola phones to Gen Kabarebe. He claims that the phones were used to plan the bombing out of prying ears.
But according to Sam Nkusi, these allegations are impossible: first, because he (Munyandinda) himself was living in Canada at the time and did not set foot in Rwanda between September 1993 and July 1994; plus, at that time, Rwanda did not have the infrastructure needed to use such devices.
As for his departure, Munyandinda signed a report on October 1, 2008 by Emmanuel Ndahiro, who was at the time, the personal physician of President Paul Kagame and head of the secret services.
"He told me that one of my old comrades, Richard Kabano, was a refugee in Uganda and that he threatened the national security by spreading information on the massacres perpetrated in Rwanda. He explained to me that he had chosen me because he knew how close I was to Richard Kabano.
Munyandinda pretended to accept the mission, he entered Uganda with an official passport that was given to him the day before, then he disappeared to avoid any retaliation.
"Since then I have been hiding in Uganda," he says. I know myself that I’m wanted by the Rwandan Security Services which seek to eliminate me. "
As hectic as it is, the version delivered by this miracle witness is actually stretched and the two Rwandans convened in mid-December delivered to the French justice a wheelbarrow of documents (some of which are published by JeuneAfrique here below, with the agreement of one of the interested parties) which clearly testifies this version as untrue. This includes a certificate from his own wife who still lives in Rwanda.
James Munyandinda actually left the country very formally, at his request, to go for a master’s degree in finance in Britain. Tuition fees were even partially paid by the Rwandan army which also provided a service passport specifically for this purpose.
For the defense of the seven Rwandans, Munyandinda would be only the umpteenth puppet to date which Rwanda National Congress (RNC) pulls the strings. This movement of opposition in exile, adept of a reversal of the regime by force, has indeed provided on a plateau to the French judges, since 2011, several miracle witnesses accusing the RPF of being at the origin of the attack.
Paradoxically, the lawyers of the indicted persons seem the most eager to finish, convinced that the charges against their clients have crumbled over the handling recorded in the instruction. "We confirm the request already formulated to close this instruction and we formally renew this request," they write at the end of their missive.