Arusha, January 21, 2004 (FH) –The former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), General Romeo Dallaire on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that he found the RPF soldiers to be more organized and disciplined than the soldiers of the Rwandan government. Roméo Dallaire reached this conclusion after leading an evaluation mission in Rwanda, in August 1993, two months before the UNAMIR was sent there.

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The Canadian general has been testifying since Monday since Monday in the so-called “Military I” trial that groups together four senior officers of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR), including the former director of cabinet in the ministry of Defence, colonel Théoneste Bagosora. The prosecution maintains that Bagosora is the « mastermind » behind the genocide. Talking about the former chief of staff of the Rwandan army, major general Déogratias Nsabimana, Roméo Dallaire declared that « he didn't have the qualities I could have expected from someone holding such a position". General Nsabimana was killed on April 6, 1994 in the plane crash that also claimed the life of President Habyarimana. According to Dallaire, the Rwandan army was so badly organized that it could be seen as a “danger”. Dallaire's opinion on the then rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, currently in power in Kigali) was very different. The former commander of UNAMIR admitted he admired the war tactics of the chief of the RPF and Rwanda's current president, Paul Kagame. "I respect himas much as (German fieldmarshall Erwin) Rommel and other German generals", he said. Rommel displayed extraordinary military qualities during the Second World War, in particular while in North Africa, where he earned his nickname of « desert fox ». The general was being cross-examined for the first day by Bagosora's lead counsel, Raphael Constant (France). Dallaire is considered as one of the most important witnesses to testify in this trial because he monitored closely the military activities at the time in Rwanda. This trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes is Taking place in 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 (ML0121e)