Kagame 'not Excited' By France's Genocide Report

Published January 15, 2012 7:45PM (EST)

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Sunday he's "not very excited" by a report released by a French commission that found that the missile fire that brought down the Rwandan president's plane in 1994 and sparked the country's genocide came from a military camp and not Tutsi rebels.

The findings essentially clear several people close to Kagame, who was the leader of the Tutsi rebels at the time of the assassination. French judges had filed preliminary charges against Kagame's allies and were investigating the incident because a French air crew was killed in the plane crash.

Kagame told a national prayer breakfast that while he was happy with the findings, he said he takes issue with the idea that Rwanda or Africa should be judged and defined by outsiders.

"While I am happy with the findings and everybody in this country seems to be very excited, I am not very excited," Kagame said. "The reason is simple. All along, have we been waiting to be cleared by a certain French judge?"

The government had praised last Tuesday's conclusion, which is in line with its own investigation that pointed the finger at Hutu extremists.

Critics of the Rwandan government had questioned that investigation and, for years, some have said the rebel Tutsis who were fighting then-President Juvenal Habyarimana's Hutu-led government shot down his plane.

After the April 1994 crash, militants from the Hutu ethnic majority quickly set up roadblocks across the capital of Kigali. More than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in 100 days of frenzied killing — slaughter that was stopped when Kagame's Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, toppled the Hutu extremists.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in a statement after word of the French commission was made public that the findings vindicate Rwanda's standing on the downing of the plane, that it was a coup d'etat carried out by extremist Hutus.

By Salon Staff

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