Brussels, April 27, 2007 (FH) – “It’s craziness to accuse the RPF of having provoked the 1994 massacres,” Colette Braeckman said during her testimony at the Court of Assises which must try the Rwandan Major Bernard Ntuyahaga specifically for the murder of ten Belgian Blue Helmets in Kigali on April 7, 1994.
The Soir journalist was heard as a background witness. The previous day, the writer-journalist Pierre Pean spoke of a “tension strategy” of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Another background witness, Joseph Matata explained that “the Hutus were allowed to massacre because it was known that the RPF would later benefit.” “How is it morally imaginable that RPF soldiers deliberately allowed their families who lived in Rwanda to be sacrificed?” Colette Braeckman asked.
According to her, Matata has “become more a defender of Hutu rights than a defender of human rights.” Regarding Pean, the journalist and close to President Francois Mitterand who confided his desire for him to “lavish praise on France and the President” in his book on Rwanda.” She also criticized an insufficiency of sources.
Invited to name sources on the assassination of the Blue Helmets, she responded, “I spoke about it with other Blue Helmets who were still at Kigali airport when I arrived. They heard, as did others, the communications of the ten paras. Also, at this time there is also a report made by the Belgian military on these acts,” she explained.
Stating her “innermost belief,” Braeckman explained “if the companions of the Blue Helmets intervened, they could have saved a part of the 10. And if the Belgian repatriating Silver Back forces also intervened, they could have stopped the massacres” thus recalling the UNAMIR (United Nations)’ weakness and the inaction of the international community at the time of the genocide. Casting doubt on the credibility of Braeckman’s work, Mr. de Temmerman, Bernard Ntuyahaga’s lawyer told the jurors, “She’s a novelist. You will decide.”
Then, the historian Jean-Pierre Chretien recalled “the operationalization of the opinions in the media such as that of Radio-Television Libre Des Milles Collines (RTLM) and the Kangura newspaper. The media, added the CNRS emeritus researcher took on an anti-Belgian nature after October 1993. “There was effectively a campaign,” he said.
New incidents marked the hearing. The president Gerard scolded Temmerman during a cross-examination of the background witnesses. The latter left the hall in protest, and the president had to allow his two assistants to stand in.
Also, Mr. Jean-Paul Dumont, lawyer for one of the Rwandan civil parties, strongly attacked Marc Uyttendaele, lawyer for the families and the Belgian state. “It shocks the Rwandan victims that the Belgian state had the boldness to stand as a civil party and even more that the lawyers Marc Uyttendaele and Laurent Kennes are absent,” he decried.
© Hirondelle News Agency