Juge Bruguière deception

Posted: September 25, 2010 in Genocide Denial
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By Dr. Jean-Paul KIMONYO

Juge Bruguière ordinance to the Paris public prosecutor’s office for the purpose of issuing international warrants for arrest of nine Rwandese army leaders for their alleged involvement in the attack against President Habyarimana’s plane is based on three types of evidences: 1) contextual elements; 2) a testimonial evidence; and 3) the recalling of a tangible evidence, i.e. two missile launcher tubes.

The following analysis only deals with the tangible evidence tabled by Juge Bruguière. In view of the seriousness of the charges and the highly political nature of the whole issue, the tangible evidence should be unquestionable and likely to gather the judge’s conviction beyond any reasonable doubt as the expression goes. Finally, a review of the tangible pieces of evidence provided by Bruguière enables to shed a light on his methodology.

The following elements highlight the tangible evidence provided by Juge Bruguière.[1]

Juge Bruguière bases his defence speech on the fact that he was able to authenticate the origin and trail of the missiles used to shoot down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994. To his view, RPF leader Paul Kagame while preparing the shooting of the plane could not ignore that this action would trigger masse reprisals killings.

Because the real tangible evidence – the missile launcher tubes – that would had helped the judge in tracking the origin and trail of the missiles have disappeared in Zaire, Bruguière bases his tracking on an identification report of the missile launcher tubes and on pictures of the missile launchers taken by the Rwandese Armed Forces in April, 1994.

Bruguière explains that the identification numbers of the missiles were obtained from the two missile launcher tubes allegedly found unattended on the scene of the shooting. Some peasants allegedly found the two unattended tubes in the bush in the area of Masaka, near the Kanombe camp, and brought them to the Rwandese Armed Forces who recorded their identification numbers.

The Judge goes on to state that on April 24 and 25, 1994, Lt-Engineer Augustin Munyaneza had examined the two tubes and drafted a handwritten report stating the identification numbers of the missile launchers as 04-87-04814 for the one and 04-87-04835 for the other. A photocopy of this one-page report was attached as an annex to the French Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission Report on the role of France between 1990 and 1994.[2]

Pictures of the missile launchers were taken and on the pictures, the reference number of one of the missile launcher was clearly legible and indeed corresponds to one of the two numbers stated above. Copies of the pictures were also attached to the Fact-finding Mission Report.[3]

Juge Bruguière succeeded in establishing that in May 1994, in Paris, the photos were handed over to General Huchon (who was at that time transferred to the French Cooperation Ministry) by Lt-Col. Ephrem Rwabalinda, accompanied by Col. Sébastien Ntahonbary, the Defence Attaché to the Rwanda Embassy in Paris. The pictures were then handed over by the Cooperation Ministry to the Military Intelligence Department (Direction du Renseignement Militaire – DRM).[4]

Mr. Juge Bruguière explains that as part of the implementation of a legal assistance request, the Moscow Military Prosecutor’s Office established that the two missiles bearing reference 04-87-04814 and 04-87-04835 were made in the USSR and were part of an order of 40 SA 16IGLA missiles delivered to Uganda in execution of an inter-State contract.

According to Juge Bruguière, in view of the Ugandan origin of the missiles and of the fact that for him, the armament of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (FPR), including its anti-aircraft weapons, originates from the Uganda military arsenal, therefore President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by FPR.

In his demonstration, Juge Bruguière abundantly quotes the Fact-finding Mission Report which is his main source of information on the missiles, and merely had such information confirm by witnesses the majority of whom are FPR opponents or French servicemen. The only new information as compared to the extracts from the Fact-finding Mission Report is the tracking of the origin of the missiles, including their soviet origin and previous inclusion in the Uganda military arsenal.

However, the trail of missile launcher N° 04-87-04814 and N° 04-87-04835 was rejected by the French Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission, which clearly showed that this was an attempt manipulation.

The best way to proceed here is to replicate the findings of the review of the missile issue by the French Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission.

To better understand these findings which mention Prof. Reyntjens, it is useful to know that the reference numbers of the two missile launchers mentioned by Filip Reyntjens in his book Rwanda, Trois jours qui ont fait basculer l’histoire[5] are fully consistent with the numbers mentioned in the handwritten report by Lt-Engineer Augustin MUNYANEZA, a copy of which is attached as an annex to the Fact-finding Mission Report.

The numbers are as follows[6] :

First Launcher

Second Launcher
9 M 322-1-01 9 M 322-1-01
9 M 313-1 9 M 313-1
04-87 04-87
04835 04814
9M 519-2 9M 519-2
3555406 5945107

Below is the review by the parliamentarian fact-finding mission of the documents pertaining to the missiles, and essentially the handwritten report by Lt-Engineer Augustin Munyaneza and the pictures of the missile launchers. This material is pasted as per its available format on the Internet.

b) Lessons learnt from the materials provided to the Mission on the type and origin of the missiles

  • · In order to supplement the information resulting from the hearings that it conducted, the Mission requested to be provided with documents which were communicated to it either by the Executive or by appearing witnesses the list of whom is attached as annex. Some of these documents were of particular interest to the Mission.

The French Defence Ministry forwarded to the Mission identification pictures of the missile launchers taken in Rwanda on April 6 and 7, 1994, as provided to it by the DRM which received them from the Military Cooperation Mission. Attached to these was a photocopy of the DRM register pages from May 22-25, 1994 as well as original pictures of an anti-aircraft missile. Attached to the documents were also two lists of SAM 16-type missiles drawn by the DGSE, the first of which provides an inventory of missile stockpiles in the Ugandan army and the second one listing missiles retrieved by the French army from Iraqi stockpiles during the Gulf War.

  • · As a result of the review of such documents and the supplementary hearings conducted by your rapporteur, it can be said that :

— the pictures taken in Rwanda were only recorded in the DRM register on May 24, 1994 ;

— such pictures show a launcher – and merely one – with legible identification numbers corresponding to one of the two launchers mentioned by Prof. Filip Reyntjens in his book Rwanda: Les trois jours qui ont fait basculer l’histoire;

— following a primary thorough examination of the pictures, it is likely that the missiles contained in the launchers have not been shot: on the photocopies of the pictures, the tube is in order, the caps at the edges of the launcher are in place, and so were the firing grip, the cell and the battery.

— the reference numbers provided for the launchers (9M322) seem to be associated with SAM-16 “Igla” models the Russian reference number of which is 9K38.

In view of these elements, the following observations should be made:

— as the number on the launcher in the picture forwarded by the Ministry of Defence is consistent with one of the two missiles identified by M. Filip Reyntjens on the basis of a testimony by a Rwanda Army Forces (FAR) officer in exile, Mr. Munyasesa, and since the pictures show launchers likely to be full, it therefore means that the missiles identified by the Belgian academic are in all likelihood not the weapons used for the attack, unless it is assumed that the registration dates in the DRM book are erroneous;

— in the forwarding slip of the missile pictures to the Mission, as communicated by MMC to the DRM, as well as in the DRM register where records were kept of the pictures, no mention was made of the author of such pictures, their venue or the conditions surrounding their forwarding to the French central authorities, which significantly alters the scope of these materials.

When asked about the origin of the pictures and the reasons why their existence was not mentioned during the hearings in which they were involved, both Messrs Michel Roussin, a former French Cooperation Minister now providing political trusteeship to MMC and Jean-Pierre Huchon, former Head of MMC, stated that they could not remember having been addressed the said pictures at the time of their recording, while MMC was, according to the slip communicated by the Defence Minister to the Mission, the transit administration of the pictures before they reached the DRM. It should also be noted that, from the information gathered by the Mission, these documents were allegedly extracted in 1998 from the archives of the Ministry of Cooperation before being availed to the Parliament for its proceedings.

In his book, Prof. Filip Reyntjens states that the launchers, the number of which he communicates, were allegedly retrieved near Masaka, around April 25, 1994. And yet, the pictures corresponding to one of these launchers were only recorded by the DRM in its registers a month later, i.e. on May 25, with no explanation provided to the Mission to help understand the reasons for such delay, or to determine the conditions for forwarding such documents.

Finally, it results that the missiles identified by Mr. Filip Reyntjens, one of which corresponds to the above-mentioned pictures, feature in the Ugandan serial numbering and not in the French one.

  • · However, these remarks do not situate any liability in the performance of the attack. Beyond the doubts already expressed regarding the reliability of the pictures provided to the Mission, we know from consistent sources that in 1990 and 1991, the FAR had retrieved soviet missiles from military operation scenes and from FPR, and could have used such missiles to commit the attack.

These missiles were mentioned in a telegraph from the French Defence Attaché dated May 22, 1991 as follows : “The Rwandan Army General Staff is prepared to hand over to the Defence Attaché a sample of soviet SAM 16 ground-air defence weapon retrieved from rebels on May 18, 1991 during a fight in the Akagera Park. The weapon is new; it could be of Ugandan origin; it bears various inscriptions the details of which being provided hereafter could help determine its country of manufacture” (Cf. Annex). “In case any agency is interested in acquiring this weapon, I hereby request you to kindly indicate its destination and transport arrangements in France”, concludes the French Defence Attaché, Mr. Galinié.

Furthermore, in a correspondence addressed to the Mission following the publication by Libération, of a paper reporting on the mission by the two rapporteurs to Kigali, Sébastien Ntahobary, former commander in chief of the Rwandese military aviation, mentioned the information he had regarding the ground-air weapons stockpile held by FPR, thereby partly corroborating the piece of information held by Col. René Galinié.

  • · The featuring of these missiles among a Ugandan list as such does not mean that FPR is the author of the attack for the following reasons :

— Hutu fundamentalists, who did not have anti-aircraft weapons, could have used those retrieved from the FPR to commit the attack against the presidential plane, either by resorting to mercenaries, or to Rwandese servicemen specially trained in the operation of such weapons;

— since genuine uncertainty still surrounds the date and conditions of shooting of the pictures provided to the Mission, nothing prevents to say that these are missiles retrieved from the FPR and shot by the FAR before or after April 6;

— finally, France having been, in many instances, accused by foreign journalists or observers of having directly or indirectly lent a hand to the perpetrators of this attack, why wait four years to provide the evidence of the guiltiness of FPR and Uganda using these pictures and the lists of their accompanying missiles?

c) Outstanding Issues

A careful review of the materials provided to the fact-finding mission as well as the hearings conducted to supplement the review allow to make a few observations:

— in view of the strong likelihood that the missile launcher in the picture has not been used, this missile can by no means be, in reliable manner, considered to be the weapon used to shoot down President Juvénal Habiarymana’s plane;

— since the attached picture of the missile displays one of the numbers corresponding to those published by Mr. Filip Reyntjens, it is therefore unlikely that the missiles identified by the Belgian academic correspond to those actually used to shoot down President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane;

— there is consistency between the theory disseminated by the exiled faction of the FAR (Cf. documents forwarded by Mr. Munyasesa to Mr. Filip Reyntjens) and the theory originating from the materials communicated to the Mission with the view of arbitrarily designating the FPR and Uganda as the likely perpetrators of the attack (Cf. attached pictures and lists of missiles). This assumption was made by some French government officials, with no further precautions, as witnessed by the hearings of Messrs Bernard Debré, former Cooperation Minister or François Léotard, former Defence Minister;

— since the consistent information provided by both the parliamentarian mission and some academics – though having been disseminated by variable channels – appear to be very relative, and since they have not succeeded in pointing at the weapon used for the attack, the question is now to know the reason for such a confusion. The involvement of the exiled faction of the FAR in this attempt disinformation is likely to point at the latter faction as possible proponents in an attempt dissimulation. Unless in full sincerity, the exiled faction of the FAR itself was manipulated; but, in this case, by whom?

Source: National Assembly, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, page 242-245 in the Internet-based version. http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/dossiers/rwanda/r1271.asp#P3836_543860


This abstract of the Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission Report shows, for that matter, the integrity of the members of the Mission, who refused to be manipulated by former FAR members, the Military Intelligence Department (DRM) and former ministers Debré and Léotard over such a serious matter. The parliamentarians went further in denouncing this attempt manipulation, even though, as regards French institutions and personalities, they do so without having to spell things out.

Thus, following close examination of evidences, they disqualified the track related to missiles N° 04-87-04814 and 04-87-04835 which proves to be an attempt manipulation, although it is proven that the two missiles originate from the Uganda military arsenal.

The trick is quite simple. Ground-air missiles were eventually seized from the FPR during confrontations in the Eastern part of the country. Thus, on May 18 1991, during a clash with the FPR troops, the FAR had retrieved a SAM 16 missile of serial number 04-87-04924.[7] This missile was identified by the Moscow Military Prosecutor’s Office as being part of a series of 40 missiles sold to Uganda in like manner as the two missiles which are of concern to us. Nothing tells that this was the only SAM 16 missile retrieved under such conditions.

Following the attack against President Habyarimana’s plane, the FAR must have taken two of such missiles out, pretending that they were found on the scene of the attack. The FAR produced an identification report with the reference numbers and took pictures of the SAM 16 missiles. On the pictures, only one number is visible and corresponds to one of the two numbers in the missile launcher tube identification report. The fact is the launcher did not shoot the missiles resulting in the pictures showing loaded missile launcher tubes[8]. These missiles, one of which is clearly identified, can therefore not have been used to shoot down the presidential plane.

It is this attempt manipulation, now discovered since 1998, that Juge Bruguière is trying to recycle by making it one of the main grounds for his accusation against President Kagame and his military collaborators.

Finally, on November 17, 2006, the date of the signing of his ordinance, Juge Bruguière could not ignore that the Arusha ICTR has been for months now in possession of pieces of evidence indicating that the FAR had SAM 16 missiles and that it is very likely that these were purchased in Egypt.[9]

In the meantime, the French judge makes this assumed lack of SAM 16 missiles in the FAR military arsenal one of the grounds for his accusation against the FPR.

Juge Bruguière is displaying intellectual dishonesty by drawing the only clues of tangible evidence he has to show from the proceedings of the French Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission, while keeping away – though only to reject it –[10] from reproducing the full assessment which denounces a manipulation manoeuvre. Thus, Juge Bruguière knowingly makes himself a relay for this attempt manipulation masterminded by a few FAR military leaders accused of triggering the genocide, such as Col. Bagorosa and Major Ntabakuze[11],  and some French servicemen.

Kigali, Friday, November 24, 2006

[1] These elements can be found in page 35 and 45 of the Judge Order cum-Communiqué.

[2] National Assembly, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome II, Annexes, p. 265.

[3] Ibid, p. 263-264.

[4] The tracking of these pictures until the French Military Intelligence Department (Direction du Renseignement Militaire – DRM) is an input by Juge Bruguière. The DRM did not find it useful to provide such information to the Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission.

[5] Filip Reyntjens, « Rwanda. Trois jours qui ont fait basculer l’histoire », Cahiers Africains N°16, 1995, p. 44-45.

[6] We reproduce the set of numbers because the Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission Report does not use the same types of numbers as those used by Juge Bruguière. It uses the first line of the table (Launcher Model), while Bruguière uses the third one (month and year of manufacture) and the fourth one (Launcher serial number).

[7] The FAR had given it to Colonel René Galiéné, the then Defence Attaché and Head of the Military Cooperation Mission who, at that time, drafted a detailed report a copy of which was attached as an annex to the Fact-finding Mission Report.

[8] Beyond the thorough examination commissioned by the Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission, a mere look at the copied pictures in the annexes to the Mission Report enables to notice this in a very obvious manner.

[9] Also included in the Bagorosa file was a letter from Serubuga, Chief of Staff of the FAR, explaining that the FAR were in imperative need of SAM16 missiles. Another document shows a SAM16 sale offer from an armament company based in Egypt. Finally, in the Bagosora affair, the anti-aircraft commander admitted that the FAR were in possession of the SAM16 prior to April 6, 1994.

[10] This may be done by having the pictures of the missile launcher and the identification report undergo a second opinion.

[11] Juge Bruguière reveals that he interviewed Col. Bagosora and major Ntabakuze in their detention centre in Arusha. They both share the same ICTR bill of indictment in their alleged part in the 1994 genocide. They confirmed to Bruguière having seen the said missile launcher tubes at the FAR headquarters and provided him with a copy of the identification report prepared by Lt. Augustin Munyaneza, which is similar to the one published by the Parliamentarian Fact-finding Mission.

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