Investigative magistrates in France have dropped charges against nine Rwandan officials investigated over the death of the country’s president in 1998, 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 December 21.

A French prosecutor had recommended in October that the charges should be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

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