Rwanda Information Portal

Shame to France of Sarkozy – Rusesabagina Pleads for Habyarimana’s Widow

Letter from Paul Rusesabagina to Pres. Sarkozy on Mrs. Habyarimana’s Detention.

From: Paul Rusesabagina

Chicago, 09 March 2010

Paul Rusesabagina, President Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF).

Paul Rusesabagina, President Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF).

Hotel Rwanda Foundation Rusesabagina Foundation
P. O. Box 11001
Chicago, IL 60611-0001

To: His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy
President of the French Republic

Subject: The arrest of Mrs. Agathe Habyarimana

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the organization Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation and on my own behalf, allow me to express my deep dismay following the arrest of Mrs. Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of former President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda, the Prosecutor General in Paris Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
Let me also clarify at the outset, it is as a humanitarian and a victim of the tragedy of 1994 that I inform you of my deep concerns that affect both the pattern and extent of this inquiry, and the period during which it occurs.
One thing is certain: it is imperative that there be trial, the court record by Mrs Habyarimana should be decided by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and not by the Kigali regime unable to deliver justice fairly and impartially.

Mr. President,
The public and I have learned that Ms. Agathe Habyarimana was interpelée based on an international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda and the ground that it participated in planning the 1994 genocide.
This inquiry, which came a day after your visit to Kigali, where there is not very long regime grinding of black against France at the point of breaking off diplomatic relations with your country following the arrest warrants of incriminating French dignitaries RPF in the deadly attack against the plane of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana April 6, 1994, feels hints of retaliation.
Indeed, a complaint filed by Mrs Habyarimana and other plaintiffs had been the source of the French investigation.
This question is even more absurd that Mrs Habyarimana has not once been sought for prosecution by the ICTR, for 16 years that the court exists.
The widow of the former head of the Rwandan Government was therefore suspect until last week, only to view the Rwandan regime and today she is also in the eyes of French justice.
In other words, Paris and Kigali want to make the world believe that Mrs Habyarimana, who has never chaired or attended any council or government of the General Staff of the Rwandan army, would have had the authority to use military and governmental structures in place to plan and execute the removal of her own husband, President Juvénal Habyarimana, and his brother, Colonel Elijah Sagatwa, both died in the plane April 6, 1994 to carry out his plan of genocide.

Mr. President,
This indictment in France for the former first lady of Rwanda is a serious focused both detrimental to the image of France and the victims of the Rwandan genocide.
First, Mr. President, make sure that for 16 years, Rwandans know perfectly well, unfortunately unable to do anything, that is the source of their misfortune in 1994, before 1994, and of after 1994, and the suspect is not that the French judiciary has put on the dock.
But curiously, the lawsuit last week seems to say aloud that France gleefully mocks the intelligence of the Rwandans, of our national tragedy which claimed over one million of our brothers and sisters, and pain of the relatives of those who perished in the plane, without forgetting that French citizens and Burundi.

Then, until last week, it was unthinkable that France, a great member of the Security Council United Nations at the forefront of defending human rights, can abdicate its image in the battle, proudly, morally and historically, should be his own: that of justice and truth, the fight against the inhumanity of man to man.

Photo op Nicolas Sarkozy with Gen. Kagame et his generals, all indicted by French Justice for crimes against humanity (feb. 2010)

Photo op Nicolas Sarkozy with Gen. Kagame et his generals, all indicted by French Justice for crimes against humanity (feb. 2010)

When you see in Kigali box right by General Paul Kagame and behind by the Chief of Staff of the Army and the national commissioner of police in Rwanda, two of which are responsible for the greatest number of deaths since the Second World War are also covered by the French arrest warrants, we measure the shaking of the authority of the French judiciary and the embarrassment of the French nation. Is it not shameful that France, sung daily by the current regime in Kigali as having actively participated in the Rwandan tragedy, do not even try to bleach before the world and history by requiring the placing on foot of a neutral international investigation on the tragedy of Rwanda, failing to enforce the provisions of the judicial inquiry report of the French justice?

It is unacceptable that we want today for political purposes and without forensic evidence, monster into a woman who has herself been overshadowed by those that triggered the genocide by shooting down the plane with her husband.
To attack the dignity of Mrs Habyarimana based solely on allegations of frivolous Kigali regime comes not only add to her grief but also to undermine the dignity of the people of Rwanda itself.
If France wants to play the game libelous practiced excessively by the Kigali regime against its political enemies, or when one of the great marketing without feelings of the Rwandan genocide to the chagrin of the victims is his right but the wrong choice,
If France is not morally offended by the cynical commercial exposure throughout Rwanda for the human bones of victims of humble social origin when relatives of dignitaries were buried in the respect that they deserve,
If the France is not outraged by the sham annual national mourning, as is the case next month,
it is his right but the wrong choice to history.

The fact that this arrest occurs immediately after your visit to Rwanda is also far from reassuring regarding the benefits that the Rwandan people had every reason to expect the restoration of relations between your country and Rwanda.
It shows both that Mrs Habyarimana may be a bargaining chip for the return of France in favor of General Paul Kagame and the fear remains, on the other hand, the resignation of France in defense of rights against the Kigali regime.
This impression is reinforced by the fact that, paradoxically, your government is making no effort, nor to defend the honor of French soldiers who participated in Operation Turquoise, which are unfairly soiled by the Kigali regime, or to execute warrants of arrest of Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere against the Rwandan officers suspected of having shot down the plane of President Habyarimana.

Mr. President,
My statement above does not force your government to line up behind one or another component of the Rwandan population.
It is intended to take France to encourage and support the people of Rwanda in its struggle for democracy and respect for human rights. It also aims to France to avoid the repetition of serious errors of appreciation that you yourself have complained in Kigali.
Unfortunately, despite this laudable effort of recognition of past mistakes, your decision to resume diplomatic with Rwanda seems to be another miscalculation, since it comes at a time when popular support to the RPF regime is the lowest, as evidenced by events in Kigali in recent weeks.

So let me conclude by asking you again to make every effort to ensure that France does not commit the serious mistake to put Mrs Habyarimana in the hands of the Rwandan justice system, but rather between those of the ICTR in Arusha where there is enough evidence to get there.
I would also ask you to reassure us that France wants to remain on the side of the values that made his reputation as a country of human rights and prevent the restoration of relations with Rwanda might result in loss of life.
One of the best approaches for achieving this is to assure that your government believes in the judicial action of French magistrates who identified the perpetrators of the attack on April 6, 1994 that plunged our country into the disaster to allow the ‘arrival in Rwanda just justice.
Another important contribution of France would probably bring General Paul Kagame to sit down with all his political opposition, as is constantly claimed by the majority of Rwandans to make all the arrangements for political management and economic future of our country. The Rwandan people would greatly appreciate it and the French people would be highly magnified.

Paul Rusesabagina


Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation


– Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of UN
– Members of the Security Council of United Nations (all)
– Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Union
– Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union

French version (original): Honte à la France de Sarkozy – Rusesabagina plaide pour Veuve Habyarimana


1 Alex Gordon { 04.04.10 at 12:49 pm }

This article makes me painfully sad. Mostly because Mr. Rusesabagina is proving to us who admired his novel that he is not a writer. He lacks command of language, falls prey to petty emotions, and has unfortunately lost touch with the reality of what’s happening in his country. Having spent the last three years living in Rwanda, it is amazing to see the consensus of citizens who reject Mr. Rusesabagina and his opinions. He does not speak for Rwanda, and 100% of all Rwandans I’ve spoken to say that he falsified the majority of Hotel Rwanda. Think…if he were the hero he portrayed himself to be, why wouldn’t he return to Rwanda for a hero’s welcome? He has never been back to his native country! I am so deeply saddened that he would be writing to defend the widow of a mass-murderer. If he stands for Human Rights, where was his letter to Sarkozy when Rose Kabuye was arrested? Unfortunately, Mr. Rusesabagina is as partial, biased, and radical as the Kigali regime he attacks in such a surface, uneducated manner.

2 Colored Opinions { 04.15.10 at 5:25 am }

Alex Gordon, calling president Habyarimana a mass murderer is baseless slander. You apparently don’t understand the Rose Kabuye case either. You are not aware of the ICTR rulings which make it impossible for the widow of Habyarimana to be convicted, listen to Bernard Lugan on this topic

Pretending that you know what the people of Rwanda think is both naïve and shows lack of respect.

Leave a Comment