Arusha, January 27, 2004 (FH)- The former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), General Romeo Dallaire, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that when he went to Rwanda for the first time in 1994, the RPF (Rwandese Patriotic Front) invasion had displaced more than 400,000 people. Gen.

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Dallaire was being cross-examined by a defence counsel for one of the accused in the so-called Military I trial on how a reconnaissance mission he was headed prior to his deployment in Rwanda dealt with the RPF. Many people were moved down from the RPF battle zone and the demilitarized zone, I found about 400,000 people had fled to North Kigali, said the general. The defence counsel then put it to the witness that the RGF (Rwanda Government Forces) thought it was unfair that they were being asked to do more than the RPF when they were asked to withdraw 10 km into their territory because the RPF could not go back into Uganda where they came from. The general explained to the tribunal that there was a joint military committee from both sides which discussed and agreed on an area which was identified as a demilitarized zone (DMZ). And that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) provided observers to foresee any problems with both parties. According to his testimony, the zone varied in distance, being wider in areas around Byumba and Ruhengeri, and thinner towards the Ugandan border where there was little or not distance defining the military zone. When the RPF invaded, it was proposed in the joint military committee that because the RPF came from Uganda and had no land in Rwanda, the RGF be deployed back 10 km in order to maintain the demilitarised zone, he pursued. Dallaire, who is the 37th prosecution witness, said, the RPF had fought hard to obtain the terrain they had and were finding it difficult to give it to the RGF. The defence inquired from the witness on the action he took as a UNAMIR commander to ensure that the RPF did not invade the demilitarized zone, which they did on a number of in violation of the accords. "I did not have equipment like Night Vision systems and helicopters to oversee the mountainous areaswhere the RPF occupied at the same time the NRA in Uganda were making it difficult for UN peacekeepers to conduct surveillance. ", he said. However the 37th prosecution witness went on to say that UNAMIR intervened and ensured that the DMZ was preserved according to the peace accord. "I received reports, I personally flew to the area, I told Kagame to pull out the troops and he did. "He later added that UNAMIR's role was not to talk about the tactical operation and strengthening of the two armies but to inform the two sides that they were supposed to act according to the peace accord. He further said, : "Our role was to inform the troops leaders that they are in a process of demobilizing and promoting security and not creating a war scenario. "The defense counsel challenged the former commander regarding the Arusha accord being lopsided supporting the RPF. The general insisted that even though the RPF as a rebel force got all they wanted after the accord, UNAMIR did not side with either party. The Arusha peace accord was more advantageous to the RPF as a rebel group than to the RGF but the government had signed the accord. The military side was there to make things work under directions we had been given by political leaders General Dallaire said. He pursued that, "We (UNAMIR) discovered more information that the tension would break up more but it only made us and Booh Booh (Jacques Roger, the Special Representative to the Secretary General), determined to work and not make the country go to hell, that's why we stayed. "He added that, "I did not agree with the solutions of General Paul Kagame who threatened that if the political scenario doesn't work, the RPF would go to war. "The military trial involves, the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defense, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora,Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva who was in charge of the Gisenyi military area (western Rwanda), general Gratien Kabiligi who was responsible for military operations at the headquarters of the army and Major Aloys Ntabakuze who was in charge of the Kanombe para-commando battalion. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Dallaire finished giving his testimony Tuesday and his former aide, Major Brent Beardsley is slated to be the next witness. This trial is taking place in Chamber one of the ICTR, presided by Norwegian judge ErikMose, assisted by judges Serguei Egorov from Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. SV/KN/AT/FH(ML''0127G)