Death of the “colonel of the apocalypse” in Rwanda

“RIP daddy. “ Saturday, September 25, Achille Bagosora has just announced on his Facebook page the death of his father, Théoneste Bagosora, one of the most important persons responsible for the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Locked in Koulikoro prison, 57 km from Bamako (Mali), where genocidaires convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are serving their sentences discreetly, Bagosora succumbed to a heart problem at the age of 80 years old. Far from his family, his children, including Achille who lives in France.

This man orchestrated our destruction in 1994 and he lost everything. Even the killers die! It makes me weird ”, Jeanne, a survivor of the Tutsi genocide, confided to us on Saturday evening. Nicknamed “The colonel of the apocalypse”, Théoneste Bagosora was serving a sentence of thirty-five years in prison for the crime of genocide. If, in 2011, the ICTR’s appeals chamber had not concluded that he had ordered the crimes of which he was accused – contrary to the judgment at first instance – it considered that he knew that they were going to be committed. and had done nothing to prevent them.

High-ranking military man, known to be one of the most radical of the ruling clan under the presidency of Juvénal Habyarimana, Bagosora, born in 1941, was born in the province of Gisenyi (north-western Rwanda), from where the hawks of the Hutu regime were from. Her eldest daughter is a goddaughter of the first lady, Agathe Habyarimana. A student at the minor seminary, he spent his entire career in the army. Among his brilliance, his participation in the 1973 coup d’état perpetrated by Juvénal Habyarimana and the Hutu clan of Gisenyi province.

Taking advantage of the rapprochement between France and Rwanda under Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and especially under François Mitterrand, Bagosora was trained by the War School and was auditor of the Institute for Higher National Defense Studies (IHEDN). He held several positions in the defense ministry and in the army command, appearing on the side of the most radical of the regime.

His extremism disturbs even Juvénal Habyarimana who retires him in 1992. A measure which does not prevent him, on the eve of the genocide, from being director of cabinet at the ministry of defense. According to a note from the DGSE dated September 1994, his retirement would have pushed him, along with Laurent Serubuga, the former chief of staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), to sponsor the attack against the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). plane from Habyarimana, April 6, 1994.

For the French secret services at the time, this “Retirement (…) was the source of heavy resentment and a noticeable rapprochement with Mrs. Agathe Habyarimana, widow of the president and often considered one of the main brains of the radical tendency of the regime. “ The attack “Would have been premeditated for a long time by the Hutu extremists”.

On the death of President Habyarimana and the Army Chief of Staff, Théoneste Bagosora was the highest military authority in the country, in the absence of the foreign defense minister. He is opposed to the then prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a Hutu democrat, from exercising power. She was immediately assassinated by the presidential guard, along with the ten Belgian blue helmets responsible for protecting her. Bagosora was then at the initiative of the interim government formed at the French Embassy and responsible for the genocide. For General Roméo Dallaire, commander of the peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994, Bagosora was “Either the most insensitive person in Africa, or the reincarnation of Machiavelli executing a devious plan” (1). Wanted for his role in this genocide, he was finally arrested on March 9, 1996 and extradited to the ICTR.

“This disappearance raises a question: where will Bagosora be buried?? “, asks, after the announcement of this death, the collective of civil parties for Rwanda (CPCR). In fact, several members of his family reside in France, and the SCRC fears that his remains will be received in France, as were those of other Rwandan genocidaires: ” It should not be ” let his grave “Become a ‘place of pilgrimage'”.


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