Arusha, January 22, 2003 (FH) –The defence counsel for the former director of Cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defense, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora on Thursday tested the credibility of the retired Canadian General Romeo Dallaire testifying at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). General Dallaire, was a former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) from October 1993 until August 1994.

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He is afactual witness for the prosecution in the so-called “Military I” trial that groups together four senior officers of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR). The defence counsel Mr. Raphael Constant (France) lined up questions indicating that the general was biased, defending Tutsis and the RPF. “You did not counter check the information given to you regarding the government military situation when you sent a telegram on the 11th of April to the United Nations head quarters?” Constant once asked. He was challenging the general's testimony that he relied on an informant to provide him with information on what was going on in the government side. The general said the informant, Jean Pierre, told UNAMIR that there was a plan established to kill Belgian soldiers and that arms caches and structures were set up in order to kill Tutsis every 10-20 minutes. The general defended himself by saying that he was given clear orders from his headquarters not to investigate or carry out any operations on the information he was given. “There was a confidential letter from the headquarters in New York which informed me that I did not have any authority to investigate that information,” he explained. He continued that the response from his superiors, including the Special representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) who clearly ordered him to stop, “reflected a context of great fear by countries providing me troops. In view of what happened to Americans in Somalia, there was fear of UNAMIR being trapped”. Dallaire was also asked if he was aware of a CIA report in January 1994 which portrayed a resumption of war and which had a focus of 500,000 dead. Mr. Constant argued that the Americans supported the RPF. Dallaire replied in the negative that, “It was evident that the super powers had more information than I had in the field and they clearly refused toallow me access to this information which could be used to avoid the chaos that ensued”. The general also responded to a statement regarding UNAMIR being pro-RPF and lacking transparency. He said that he did not side with any party. “I wasunsatisfied by both the RPF and the government side,” he said. “Both sides declared in a December meeting that they would leave no stone unturned in the way towards peace but they were not adhering,” he added. He said that his role was also to report to his superiors in New York what went on with both parties. “In April I told them we were on the verge of war,” he said. “On 4th of April, general Paul Kagame told me that they were moving very fast towards the final decision in one way or another. Bagosora on the other hand repeated a firm notion that looking at what was happeningin Burundi and Uganda, they were faced with Tutsi hegemony, that Tutsis were working systematically to take up power,” he explained. The prosecution considers Bagosora to be 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. Bagosora is jointly accused with the former chief of operations of the former Rwandan army. Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former militarycommander 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, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to genocide, murder, extermination, rape and persecution. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed ofJudge Erik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia,and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0122e)