Arusha, January 21, 2003 (FH) –The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) currently in power in Kigali, planned for ”a country dominated by Tutsis” during its armed struggle against the Hutu government. This was said Wednesday by the retired Canadian General Romeo Dallaire during his testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Dallaire, a former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), is a factual witness for the prosecution. He has been testifying since Monday in the so-called “Military I” trial that groups together four senior officers of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR). Gen. Dallaire made the allegations during cross-examination by the lead counsel of one of the principle suspects in the trial, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora. Bagosora was the director of cabinet in the Rwanda minister of defence in 1994. The prosecution considers him 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. Dallaire stated that as time went on, he came to the conclusion that the RPF 's priority was not the well being of the Rwandan population, but a long-established plan that would result in a country being dominated by Tutsis. The Canadian General based his assumptions on the RPF's behaviour in January 1994 and its “political intransigence”. According to the peace accords signed in Arusha (Tanzania) in August 1993, Rwanda was supposed to put into place transitional institutions in early 1994. But political tensions prevailing at that time led to the genocide and the resumption of war. The accords stipulated among others, power sharing between the former government and the RPF as well as the integration ofrebel forces into the government army. General Dallaire then referred to the period between June and August 1994. “ It is then that I noticed that the RPF wanted to take control of the whole country, and was not necessarily interested in an ethnically balancedgovernment, but in the massive return of (Tutsi) refugees”, said Dallaire. Dallaire served in Rwanda from October 1993 to August 1994. The defence intends to demolish an opinion fuelled by some sections of the media during the Rwandan conflict that “portrayed the RPF as being the good side while the government forces were the bad ones”. Bgosora is jointly accused with 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, whowas the commander of the Para-commando battalion based in Kanombe (Kigali). All have pleaded not guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trial is taking place 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. KN/AT/CE/FH (ML'0121c)