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Arusha, December 1st 2006 (FH) – Col. Luc Marshall (Belgian), second-in-command of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (MINUAR) in 1994, told the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that with the support of the military units dispatched by the Armies of France, Belgium and Italy to evacuate their co-citizens after the breakout of the genocide, the Blue Helmets could have stopped the massacres. In the first days of the genocide, France, Italy and Belgium had organized evacuation operations of all the foreigners on the Rwandan territory. According to Marshall, France had sent 450 men, Italy 80 and Belgium – with already one battalion engaged in the UN forces, had sent one thousand more. « I am persuaded that in these circumstances we could have intervened and prevented the massacres from continuing », the retired colonel declared. « I am personally convinced that a portion of the Rwandan army would have rallied around this mission in order to pacify the country », he added. According to him, the UNAMIR alone was unable to stop the massacres by « lack of munition and of a sufficient warrant for intervention and because of the dispersion of its elements on the field » at the beginning of the events. When the massacres began on April 7 1994, the headquarters of the United Nations in New York had forbidden the UNAMIR to intervene, stating that it was « a domestic issue » for Rwanda, the witness recalled. As he recounted the assassination of ten soldiers of the Belgian para commando unit, Col. Marshall denied that the massacre had been premeditated. He said that they had been killed « by a group of mutineers » who had escaped the control of their commandment. Furthermore, the Belgian officer said that the Rwandan government forces were undermanned and thus could not fight the rebels of the Rwandan PAtriotic Front (RPF) and stop the massacres as well. He accused the old rebel forces now in power in Kigali of having ignored the calls to a ceasefire of the UNAMIR and the regular Army. The UNAMIR had been sent to help the RPF and the Rwandan government enforce the peace agreements they had signed in August 1993 in Arusha, Tanzania where the ICTR sits. Luc Marshall, who appears for the first time before the ICTR, has been testifying since Thursday in the defense of Brigadier general Gratien Kabiligi who used to be in charge of the military operations for the General Staff. At the end of the direct examination conducted by Mr. Paul Skolnik, Marshall praised the « attachment » of Kabiligi « to the peace process ». « If I ever had the slightest doubt about Kabiligi’s responsibility in what happened in Rwanda » in 1994, « I would not have come to testify for him », Col. Marshall continued. His testimony will be resumed on Monday and will continue during the week. Kabiligi is judged in « Militaries I » alongside three other officers among whom the ex-Ministry of Defense cabinet director, Col. Théoneste Bagosora considered as « the brain » of the genocide. ER/PB Hirondelle News Agency