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Arusha, November 2nd 2006 (FH) – The ex-commander of the military force of the United Nations in Rwanda, General Roméo Dallaire (Canada) was once more subpoenaed by the prosecution to appear before the International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) but his testimony is regularly postponed notably due to his psychological health. The former leader of the military operations of the United Nations in Rwanda during the genocide, now senator, has already testified twice in Arusha. This new hearing expected in «Militaries II», the trial of the former Chiefs of staff of the Army and the Police force, General Augustin Bizimungu and General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, has been actively prepared for several months.On September 15th, the chamber presided by Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) rejected the prosecutor’s request concerning the hearing of Dallaire via video-conference. On October 5th, the deputy prosecutor, Ciré Ally Bâ, gave it another try by setting forth another argument. He asserted that there was a risk that Dallaire’s trauma could grow worse if he was made to re-live the 1994 genocide that he admits to having witnessed helplessly, by testifying in court.Ciré Bâ admits that remaining in his country makes testifying no less painful for the retired general who says he suffers from the «post-traumatic stress syndrome».However, the Senegalese magistrate has declared that a hearing held from Canada via video-conference would allow Dallaire, if need be, to immediately receive the appropriate medical help that the small Tanzanian city of Arusha where the tribunal has its headquarters can not offer. Consequently on October 20th, the three judges of the chamber, concerned, reconsidered their decision and allowed General Dallaire to be heard from Canada via video conference. The chamber has scheduled the beginning of his testimony on November 15th. Dallaire was however taken aback by this date for he had made other plans. On October 25th, the prosecutor, in accordance with Dallaire’s wish, filed «an extremely urgent request» asking the chamber to postpone the opening of the hearing until November 20th. The Canadian senator has furthermore indicated that he would be available for thirteen days of hearing only. In addition to this, due to the time-lag between Canada and Tanzania, these hearings can only be held a few hours each day. «Thirteen days, this is really too short; we won’t have enough time for the cross-examination», Christopher Black exclaimed Wednesday during a «settlement conference». The other defence attorneys immediately echoed the words of Ndindiliyimana’s lawyer. «We need a month at least», the Canadian lawyer declared, suggesting the Chamber to delay this hearing until next January.The debates also bore on the precise location Dallaire would be testifying from. According to the conjectures of the prosecutor’s office, the retired general would be testifying in the Canadian General Staff headquarters in Ottawa. A «strange» choice in the eyes of the Bizimungu’s lead council, Mr. Saint Laurent who shares Black’s fear of pressures being exerted on Dallaire in case the hearing took place in these military buildings. Ciré Bâ has answered that he was not against finding «a more neutral» place. The chamber, after having heard both sides, has promised it would quickly issue an ordinance that would settle all the difficulties concerning Dallaire’s hearing. More than 2.000 witnesses, Rwandan survivors of the genocide or exiles for the most part, have been heard thus far by the ICTR. The tribunal has judged 31 defendants since it held its first hearing in 1997.The former commander of the MINUAR and author of the best-seller «J’ai serré la main du diable» (Shake hands with the devil) - a book relating his Rwandan experience - has already testified twice before the ICTR. The last time was in January 2004, shortly after the publication of his book. He had come with many bodyguards to testify in the trial «Militaries I» in which four accused appear, among whom Colonel Théoneste Bagosora accused of being the «brain» of the genocide. PIG/PB/MG© Hirondelle News Agency