02.12.06 – ICTR/MILITARY 1 – COL. LUC MARSHALL CONSIDERS THAT HABYARIMANA WAS KILLED BY THE RPF

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Arusha, December 1rst 2006 (FH) – Last Thursday, a Belgian officer, Col. Luc Marshall, second-in-command of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) during the 1994 genocide accused the ex-rebellion of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) currently in power in Kigali of having assassinated President Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6th 1994. It is the first time Col. Marshall testified before the ICTR. The retired Belgian officer said he was « positive (…) For me, the Rwandan Patriotic Front is to be blamed for the attack ». The plane in which President Habyarimana and eleven other passengers among whom the President of Burundi were traveling, was shot down by a missile as it neared the airport of Kigali. Col. Marshall declared that the army of the Rwandan government at the time owned no ground-to-air missiles but that a source at the French embassy in Kigali had confided to him that the RPF might be hiding ground-to-air missiles in their barracks of Kigali. Furthermore, the witness has accused the RPF of having favored the military solution over the diplomatic one after the death of President Habyarimana. « I have observed (from the RPF) no desire to stop the military operations and to conclude a ceasefire », Marshall said. He added that the rebels of the RPF had attacked positions of the regular Army in the afternoon of April 7th 1994 while the commander of the UN forces, General Roméo Dallaire (Canada) was meeting the leaders of the government forces. « The RPF did not wait for the result of the negotiation », Marshall said as he testified for the defense of Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi who appears before the ICTR alongside three other officers of the old Rwandan Army. His hearing is scheduled to end on Monday. ER/PB/MG Hirondelle News Agency