Arusha, February 5, 2004 (FH) –The former assistant to General Dallaire at the time of the genocide, Major Brent Beardsley, on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the general wanted the Americans to investigate the site where the presidential plane crashed. The plane carrying Rwanda's president Juvénal Habyarimana and other government officials was shot down as it was approaching Kigali airport, at about 8.

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30pm on the evening of April 6th, 1994. The plane crash marked the beginning of the genocide. During cross-examination by Mr. Raphael Constant (France), Theoneste Bagosora's lead counsel, Beardsley explained that after the plane crash, “General Dallaire was assured that Americans could be accepted by both sides to investigate the crash site. ”He thought these investigations could be carried out by American forces who had served in NATO or Somalia. Major Beardsley also explained that the investigations could not be carried out by French people. “Dallaire knew that the RPF would not accept the French. They hated the French,” he said. Paris was considered by the RPF as an ally of the Habyarimana regime, which was predominantly Hutu. Counsel Constant challenged the neutrality of the United States, explaining that Rwanda's current president, Paul Kagame, who was then the commander of the armed wing of the RPF, had been trained in the USA in 1990. “In spite of the fact that most Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) soldiers were trained in America, general Dallaire thought that America was neutral in investigating the airport sight?” Constant asked. “General Paul Kagame had gone to America not as a member of the RPF but as a Ugandan Major, Beardsley replied, adding that “both RGF and RPF went to the same college in America”. Kagame and several other soldiers from the RPF had served in the Ugandan army before launching their attack on Rwanda, in October 1990. No one has yet identified the people responsible for shooting down the presidential plane. ICTR's new prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, recently declared that he had no mandate to investigate on it. However, a French magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, has been investigating on that case for several years. He has not yet made his conclusions public. Major Beardsley was in the afternoon cross-examined by the defense counsel for the former military commander of Gisenyi region, Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, along the same lines. The cross-examination continues tomorrow. Bagosora and Nsengiyumva are jointly accused with the former chief of operations of the former Rwandan army. Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, who was the commander of the Para-commando battalion based In Kanombe (Kigali) in the so called “MILITARY I” trial. All have pleaded not guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, presided by Norwegian judge Erik Mose, assisted by judges Serguei Egorov from Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0205e)