Arusha, September 10, 2002 (FH) - High-ranking military officials including three accused in the 'Military Trial' rallied opposition against Tutsis by equating the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to the former historical monarchy associated with Hutu oppression, expert witness Alison Des Forges told the Tribunal on Tuesday. Des Forges was commenting on several documents submitted by the prosecution as exhibits.

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One of them, she said, showed "officers of high command identifying Tutsis as the enemy and equating Tutsi civilians with forces that had attacked the country. "Des Forges told the court about a military commission set up by Rwanda's former President Juvénal Habyarimana in 1991 and referred to as the "Bagosora Commission" as the former Colonel Théoneste Bagosora presided it. Bagosora is one of the four suspects in the 'Military Trial'. He is in joint trial with three other senior military officers, Anatole Nsengiyumva, Aloys Ntabakuze and Gratien Kabiligi. Des Forges's testimony was, however, continually interrupted by objections by the defence teams and lengthy debates between them and the prosecution. The defence objected to some of the documents presented by the prosecution and at times objected that the prosecution was asking leading questions. Prosecutor Chile Eboe Osuji (of Nigeria and Canada) argued that he could ask the expert witness some leading questions to a certain degree. "Lets not be too academic. . ( )," he said. However, Bagosora's co-counsel Canadian Paul Skolnik was apparently at one point not happy with the prosecution's suggestion that he should cease objecting. "You may be tenacious but you should be a little open minded. This is a serious trial not an academic discussion we are having here," he said. The Chamber had to intervene on several occasions to direct the parties. The presiding judge, Lloyd George Williams asked both parties to avoid "raising up" without consulting the judges and hence wasting time. "I am not looking for arguments for the sake of arguments. We keep at a crawl, we are going at a snail's pace here," he said. He also advised the defence not to raise motions that were not directly related to the current witness's evidence in the middle of her testimony. In her testimony, Des Forges told the court that Nsengiyumva and Ntabakuze were members of the 'Bagosora Commission'. According to the witness, extracts from the commission's findings, defining the Tutsi as the enemy were circulated to troops in 1992 by orders of a letter from Nsengiyumva. The document specified that the enemy were being recruited from within certain social groups including: Tutsis within the country, Tutsi refugees, the Ugandan army and foreigners married to Tutsi women. Des Forges said that the list also included Tutsis living in certain countries namely: Burundi, Uganda, Zaire, Belgium, Canada and United States of America. The witness said that by associating the Tutsi with the former monarchy, it was an important strategy to dissuade discontented Hutus, from moving over to oppose the regime that was in power. "The monarchy had become a symbol of all forms of suffering," she said. She also said that there was "double language" as in the pretext of having a civic and psychological education course for soldiers on future integration with the RPF soldiers, the regime prepared them "by teaching them about the evils of the Tutsi monarchy. "The hearing continues on Wednesday morning before ICTR's Trial Chamber Three composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, (presiding) Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. SW/FH (ML-0910e)