Arusha, February 3, 2003 (FH) – The personal assistant to general Romeo Dallaire during the time of the genocide, Major Brent Beardsley, on Tuesday completed his two day examination in chief before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the Military I trial. Major Beardsley has testified mainly against the former director of cabinet in the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora.

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This trial involves Bagosora and three other senior former military officials. Major Beardsley, the 38th prosecution witness in this case, told the court that Bagosora was in the front line of negotiations even after officially retiring from the army. ”In my fourth encounter with Bagosora on 24th December 1993, we heard that Bagosora had officially retired from FAR and he was in civilian attire but he was still the one speaking on behalf of the government,” Beardsley explained. He added that in that particular meeting, Bagosora was very confrontational with the RPF, arguing that individuals should have been allowed to carry weapons. The Arusha peace accord had stipulated that no individuals be allowed to carry weapons. “Civilians were also being trained in the military camps after the signing of the accord”, the major said. “We received about a dozen tips informing us that training was going on, we saw young men boarding Kigali buses heading towards Gabiro camp,” Bugasera and Bagogwe. Bagosora is accused by the prosecution of being the “mastermind” of the genocide in Rwanda that claimed the lives of an estimated one million Tutsis and Hutu members of the opposition between April and July 1994. Part of the indictment states that he had the power to put an end to the genocide but did not. Jointly accused with Bagosora are the former chief of operations of the former Rwandan army. Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former military commander of Gisenyi region, Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, who was the commander of the Para-commando battalion based in Kanombe (Kigali). All have pleaded not guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0203e)