Corrected: France drops charges against Rwandan officials

 Corrected: France drops charges against Rwandan officials

(In first paragraph, correct date of president's assassination was 1994, not 1998.)

PARIS (Reuters) - Investigative magistrates in France have dropped charges against nine Rwandan officials investigated over the death of the country's president in 1994, an event that led to a genocide that killed more than 800,000 people, a judicial source said.

France launched the investigation, that also targeted Rwanda's former defence minister James Kabarebe, in 1998 following demands by relatives of the French crew who died when president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane was downed.

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

The judicial source said on Wednesday that the charges were dropped on Dec. 21. A French prosecutor had recommended in October that the charges should be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

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

(Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Inti Landauro)

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Updated Date: Dec 27, 2018 00:06:47 IST