Arusha, 30 May 2007 (FH) - The former military commander of the United Nations in Rwanda, the Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, was harshly blamed on Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by the defense of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, alleged to be "the mastermind" of the 1994 genocide. 

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 "General Dallaire could have made it so that the Rwandan tragedy did not take place or that it did not become as extensive", argued the principal council of Bagosora, Raphaël Constant.
Dallaire was one of the principal witnesses of the prosecution against Bagosora.
"Whatever human qualities of General Dallaire, he had the hardest time to play his part with competence", stated the lawyer French.
"Dallaire had, never in his life, been in Africa, he did not know Rwanda; had never lead a UN mission; he had never been on the scene of war ", explained Constant.
According to the lawyer, the United Nations' force did not take measures, in the night from the 6 to April 7 1994, to protect the persons of which it had the duty.
The lawyer reproached the General for having decided, without informing the command of the Rwandan army, to send on national radio the Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana.
The latter was killed on April 7 1994 by elements of the Rwandan governmental army.
The same day the 10 Belgian soldiers of the UN force who had been sent to escort her to the radio station from where she was to address the nation after the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana were killed.
The lead prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, alleged, in his indictment on Monday, that Bagosora had ordered these killings in order to create, on one hand, an institutional vacuum and, on the other hand, to cause the withdrawal of the UN force.
Constant declared that he had showed proof during the trial that the murderer of Mrs. Uwilingimana is the gendarme sub-lieutenant Ntawilingira who does not have "any link of any kind to Colonel Bagosora".
As for the Belgian soldiers, they were killed, according to him, by mutinous Rwandan soldiers.
The lawyer, in addition, refuted the allegation according to which Bagosora would have imposed himself, in the night from the 6 to April 7 1994, as the de facto leader of the country.
"He took his duties as Chief of Staff in the absence of the Minister (of Defense)", alleged Constant, stressing that Bagosora had done nothing but chair one meeting of the Chief of Defense Staff of the Army and the Gendarmerie.
"Since July 1994, my client has been the victim of propaganda portraying him under the blackest aspects... but by comparing all that has been written on Colonel Bagosora and what the Prosecutor presented as proof, one is in the presence of an abyss", indicated Constant.
"Bagosora took part in this legal process, not by an absolute belief in the legal process" but especially "to add his contribution to the building of the truth on what occurred in Rwanda", declared the lawyer.
The lawyer finally invited the judges "to ignore the tricks and intellectual manipulation and use only the law".
The former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense has been on trial for 5 years with three other officers: the former leader of the military operations in the Chief of Defense Staff of the Army, the Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi, the former Commander of the military sector of Gisenyi (northern Rwanda), the Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva and the former paracommando battalion commander Major Aloys Ntabakuze.
Accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the four accused have plead not guilty.
Since Monday, and until Friday, the Chamber has heard the indictment and the final arguments in this trial considered as one of the most important of the history of the ICTR.
© Hirondelle News Agency