Paris, Dec 27 (IANS) France has dropped a long-running investigation into the shooting down of a plane carrying former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death in 1994 was a trigger for the genocide in the country.
Over one million Tutsi people were killed by the then Hutu majority government in the course of 100 days.
“We have to interpret this decision by French judges as a form of resignation faced with a political context which prosecutors did not know how to fight,” the BBC on Wednesday quoted a French lawyer as saying.
“Rwandan authorities have never sought to help bring the truth to light,” he added.
A French inquiry began in 1998 at the request of relatives of the French crew members who died.
In 2006, a French judge had accused Tutsi rebels, led by current President Paul Kagame, of the attack. Arrest warrants were issued for a number of his aides.
French prosecutors had recommended in October the charges be dismissed because of insufficient evidence against the suspects.
The charges were dropped on December 21, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
The plane carrying Habyarimana was shot down by a missile in April 1994, triggering the Rwandan genocide.
Habyarimana — a Hutu who had signed a peace deal with Tutsi rebels — was flying into the capital, Kigali, when a missile brought the plane down, killing all on-board.
The investigation was a major source of tension between France and Rwanda. President Kagame described it as being politically motivated and accused France – which supported the former Hutu regime – of having played a direct role in the genocide.
Relations between the two countries later improved. In 2012, a report by a French judge cast doubt on the idea that the rebels had shot down the plane, and suggested that Hutu extremists could have been responsible.
An inquiry by Kagame’s government said the missile that brought down the jet had been fired from an army camp controlled by Hutus.