05.09.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - RENZAHO DID NOT HAVE DIRECT AUTHORITY OVER THE SOLDIERS, LUGAN SAYS

Arusha, 5 September 2007 (FH) - The prefect of Kigali at the time of the 1994 genocide, Tharcisse Renzaho, currently on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), did not have any direct authority over the gendarmes or the soldiers who defended the city, insisted Bernard Lugan, a French historian called as an expert witness.   
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As much as for the maintenance and the re-establishment of law and order (MROP) entrusted to the gendarmerie than the defence of the territory entrusted to the army, the prefect was disarmed, explained Lugan to the Hirondelle agency by basing himself on the Rwandan administrative procedures and the testimony of a French officer, Colonel Michel Rebardey, in charge at the time of restructuring the Rwandan gendarmerie.
 
In the first case, law and order, the prefect could have requisitioned the gendarmerie but it was committed against the rebels, explained the historian. Between 1200 and 1500 gendarmes were, however, present in the city but they were directly positioned in three areas of the front, according to him. The line between the belligerents passed, moreover, through the Kami camp where were located his headquarters he explained.
 
To maintain order in the city, the prefect had 250 municipal police officers of whom only 40 came to work on 7 April, explained the researcher. "It was the police of the markets" he explained.
 
Bernard Lugan, lecturer at the Université de Lyon III was called by the defence of Prefect Renzaho at the end of his case to show that the prefect, although a soldier, did not have any authority to restore order in the city during the genocide. Accused by the prosecutor of being a "right-wing anarchist" he admitted this qualification by adding a "musketeer tendency" to it.
 
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