The Paris Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal request by the widow of former Rwanda’s President Juvenal Habyarimana to end a probe into claims she played a role in the 1994 genocide.
Agathe Habyarimana has been under investigation since 2007 for “complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. She is suspected of being one of the masterminds of the genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Tutsis in 1994.
The request was deemed inadmissible on formal grounds, the source said. “It is not a question of the merits of the case but of legal arguments,” said her lawyer, Philippe Meilhac, on Monday.
In 2016, she was placed under the status of assisted witness, an intermediary between a witness and an accused, and has not been questioned since.
Now aged 78, she appealed against the probe and requested the judges to dismiss the investigations.
In 1990, the Rwandan Civil War began when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda.
Most of the RPF fighters were either refugees or the sons of refugees who had fled ethnic purges by the Hutu government in the middle of the century.
The attempt to overthrow the government failed, though the RPF was able to maintain control of a border region. As it became clear that the war had reached a stalemate, the sides began peace negotiations in May 1992, which resulted in the signing in August 1993 of the Arusha Accords to create a power-sharing government.
Agathe Kanziga Habyariman was born 21st January 1942 in Karago, Gisenyi prefecture, Western Province, Rwanda) and is the widow of former President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana and former First Lady of Rwanda from 1973 until 1994.
Kanziga is part of a Hutu lineage that long ruled an independent principality until the late nineteenth century. She was arrested by French authorities on 2 March 2010 in France following the French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Rwanda.
She was frequently regarded as one of the powers behind the throne during her husband’s 20-year presidency, and her family connections to powerful Hutu politicians are often regarded as having provided necessary political capital for Habyarimana. She was the centre of a powerful clique of northern Hutus called akazu (Kinyarwanda for “little house”), an informal organization of Hutu extremists whose members contributed strongly to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.