Brussels, 22 May 2007 (FH) – The killing of the peacekeepers was premeditated, estimated a soldier before the Crown Court judging an ex-major Bernard Ntuyahaga. He bases these comments on an audio recording presented Monday in session.
Commander Yves Theunissen provided the court with an audio cassette of communications of another blocked Belgian platoon of UNAMIR, on the afternoon of April 7 1994 at the outside of the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, under the threat of an armed crowd.
The recording illustrates that the soldiers saw themselves proposed by a "gendarme", following the example of the fifteen peacekeepers, an escort towards a “Headquarter" of UNAMIR in exchange of disarmament.
"There is a similarity between this situation and that of Lieutenant Lotin and his men", he said. According to him, "it is not a chance. That proves that the escort was a trick to capture and to kill the peacekeepers". The soldiers had escaped the worst thanks to the shooting a sergeant which had created a diversion, allowing them to retreat towards the Stadium, he explained.
Furthermore, several of the witnesses confirmed to have heard on the radio that Lieutenant Lotin, at the time with his men at Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, whom they were to escort, speaking about a "major" who proposed to take them to a UNAMIR base.
"There were many bases. It appeared obvious to me that this proposal referred to one of these bases or the KIBAT High Command and not to the camp ", commented Commander Maurice Timsonet concerning the choice of Bernard Ntuyahaga to take the mortar platoon to the military camp of Kigali where they were killed.
Yves Theunissen specified that he had made two requests for an intervention to help them. He "did not receive an answer".
The recording also testifies to the low regard for the military hierarchy. Thus, one of the blocked soldiers in front of the Amahoro Stadium is heard evoking the threatening attitude of certain gendarmes. "With respect to the crowd? ", Colonel Luc Marchal number two of UNAMIR asked him. "Not, with respect to us! ", he answered curtly.
According to M.Theunissen, "Colonels Marchal and Dewez were honest in their decisions, but they sinned per too much confidence with respect to the Rwandan Armed Forces, in particular Marchal. As for Dewez, he made errors of appreciation, it is undeniable”
Commander Patrick Collin as for him ensured that many decisions of Colonel Marchal "came from Belgium". "He received regularly by telephone the orders of the Ministers Willy Claes (Foreign Affairs) and Léo Delcroix (Defense) as well as General Charlier (Staff), he stated testifying to have been present to some of these calls.
If, according to Mr. Timsonet, UNAMIR ensured the protection of civilians presenting themselves at the base, Mr. Collin stated to him that "the political directives of Brussels were not to preoccupy themselves with the Blacks". He declared that a phone call "from a minister" instructed Colonel Marchal: "We do not risk the life of any Belgian for a Rwandan"
© Hirondelle News Agency