France drops charges against Rwandan officials

Investigative magistrates in France have dropped charges against nine Rwandan officials probed over the death of the country’s president in 1994, Reuters reports quoting an unnamed judicial source.

The killing of president Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, sparked a genocide that killed more than 800,000 people, displacing millions in the East African state.

Habyarimana’s private jet was shot down near the Kigali International Airport, also killing the President of Burundi Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan military among others.

France launched the investigation in 1998 following demands by relatives of the French crew who died when the plane was brought down.

The investigation, compounded by accusations by Rwandan officials that France was complicit in the 1994 genocide, damaged relations between the two countries for several years.

Reuters reports the judicial source to say that the charges were dropped on December 21.

A French prosecutor had recommended in October that the charges should be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Rwanda said on December 24 that it welcomed the definitive end of what it called a politically-motivated investigation.