Arusha, 18 January 2008 (FH) - The United Nations military officials dispatched to Rwanda before the genocide were fed with misleading information by the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), claimed a Belgian officer testifying for the defence before the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Colonel Luc Marchal, who commanded the UN forces in Kigali sector, stated that the famous Jean Pierre, who had claimed of secret presence of hidden weapons in the Rwandan capital, was in liaison with the representatives of the RPF, including the liaison officer between the United Nations and the rebels.

He claimed that UN officers just on their arrival in Rwanda, received a purported letter from officers of the army denouncing a "Machiavelli plan" by then President Juvenal Habyarimana, which was going to lead to massacres and assassinations.

"This letter proved to be a forgery", he told the UN Court.

The revelations of "Jean Pierre", considered credible at the beginning, forced the then head of the United Nations forces in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, to ask his headquarters in New York for the authorization to intervene in the issue but was refused.

"It was [RPF's] constant program of feeding false propaganda to UNAMIR and the international public ", alleged the retired Belgian Officer, who was also Deputy Commander of UN Forces in Rwanda.

He cited several officers whom he knew belonged to the Rwandan army and who later joined the ranks of the RPF following their victory in 1994.

"Many books, articles as well as the project to kill ‘a thousand Tutsis in 20 minutes' formed part of a concerted false propaganda plan", explained the Belgian officer, who is testifying in favour of the former chief of staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who is accused of genocide and crimes, alongside with three other officers in a joint trial, known as "Military II".

The Belgian Officer continues to testify on Monday.

© Hirondelle News Agency