Former UN force commander testifies at Rwanda genocide trial

TThe retired Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who was Force Commander of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) from October 1993 until August 1994, testified about his encounters during that period with Col. Theoneste Bagosora, the Rwandan Defence Ministry’s former Director of Cabinet.General Dallaire told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is hearing the case in Arusha, Tanzania, that Colonel Bagosora attended all important government meetings during the period of the genocide and always spoke on behalf of the Government.The former Force Commander also told the court that Colonel Bagosora threatened his life twice over the issue of evacuating orphaned children.Colonel Bagosora, Lt. Gen. Anatole Nsengiyumva, Maj. Aloys Ntabakuze and Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi – all former members of the Rwandan military – face charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to genocide, murder, extermination, rape and persecution.The trial, which began in April 2002, is being heard before Presiding Judge Erik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from the Russian Federation and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji.Some 800,000 Rwandans were killed between April and July of 1994 in a systematic campaign of slaughter, which decimated the country’s Tutsi population while also targeting moderate Hutus. The Security Council, determined to put an end to such crimes and to bring those responsible to justice, created the Tribunal later that year.

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