Abdul Ruzibiza, key witness in Habyarimana assassination
Kigali – A lawyer for Rwandan officials indicted by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere for assassinating ex-President Juvenal Habyarimana is of the view that the death of Joshua Abdul Ruzibiza may not be due to natural causes.
Belgian attorney Bernard Maingain has asked Marc Trevidic, the judge who took over the case from Bruguiere, to request more details on the circumstances of Ruzibiza’s death.
Lt. Ruzibiza, 40, died Thursday in Oslo where he has been living for over a decade. The former RPF lieutenant claimed in a book that he was part of the commando unit that shot the President Habyarimana plane down and became the key witness in the investigation launched in 2006 by the French anti-terror judge.
Ruzibiza had retracted several of his claims when he was heard in France following the arrest of former chief of protocol Rose Kabuye. He said then that he made up the claims to get close to the French to “understand why they hated Tutsis”.
Ruzibiza was heard again recently by Trevidic in Norway and, according to an excerpt of the hearing published by French magazine Mariannne, Ruzibiza claimed he had gone back on his earlier revelations following intimidation from Kigali.
Now the defense wants answers.
“I have asked Trevidic to contact the police and judicial authorities in Norway and demand that it be urgently established whether the death was of natural causes,” Bernard Maingain told French news agency AFP by phone.
“I had not heard anything about him being sick,” he said.
Maingain was part of a group of experts, including Judge Trevidic, who were in Rwanda earlier this month to hear witnesses and visit sites related to the Habyarimana plane shooting.
He told AFP that there was much more to the hearing than what was published by the magazine ‘Marianne’ and said of Ruzibiza: “We have lost somebody who could have provided very interesting explanations on how the investigation was manipulated under Bruguiere.