04.09.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - A FRENCH HISTORIAN AFFIRMS THAT KIGALI WAS UNMANAGEABLE IN 1994

Arusha, 4 September 2007 (FH) - A French historian, Bernard Lugan, called as an expert witness by the former prefect of Kigali during the 1994 genocide, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, stated Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the Rwandan capital was "unmanageable" during the 1994 genocide.   
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"Renzaho was in an unmanageable situation ", affirmed Professor Lugan, refuting the allegations according to which the defendant could have maintained or restored law and order in Kigali.
 
He is accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the former prefect is being prosecuted for his acts and his omissions, according to the prosecutor.
 
"He did not have any means; he was disarmed ", continued the French African studies expert, stressing that the former prefect could not even requisition the gendarmerie because it was on the front to try, with the army, to contain the offensive of the rebels from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), currently in power.
 
Prof. Lugan indicated that in spite of this lack of means, Renzaho "did not flee his responsibilities, he assumed his duty".
 
The historian, on the other hand, blamed the Canadian Commander of the United Nations force in Rwanda, at the time, General Roméo Dallaire, qualifying his behavior as "total cowardice" and "pusillanimity".
 
The presiding Judge, Erik Mose, asked whether the Canadian officer could have exceeded the mandate which had been given to him by the Security Council, the expert witness answered that as a military leader, Dallaire should have taken his responsibilities towards the massacres.
 
At the time of his cross-examination by Jonathan Moses, from the office of the prosecutor, Lugan, however, admitted that there is "a share of subjectivity" in the work of a historian.
 
He did not hold back in attacking the strategy of the prosecutor, accusing it of trying "to furnish even artificially an empty case ".
 
On more than one occasion the presiding judge intervened to moderate the sharp comments of the expert.
 
It is the third time that Professor Lugan comes to the rescue of a defendant at the ICTR.
 
He has already testified at the request of the former Minister of Finances, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, who was sentenced to life in prison, then the supposed "mastermind" of the genocide, the former cabinet director of the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, who is awaiting his verdict

ER/PB/MM
 
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