Bagosora settles scores with Dallaire

21 November 2005 by our correspondent in Arusha

On November 17, the most notorious defendant at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, concluded his 17-day testimony. The former directeur de cabinet at the Rwandan Ministry of Defense shifted responsibility for the April 7, 1994 assassination of the Prime Minister and ten Belgian peacekeepers to UN mission commander General Roméo Dallaire.

Did Bagosora attempt to seize power in Rwanda in the morning of April 7, 1994, as the prosecutor alleges? The defendant and the prosecutor agreed on one point: after the attack that killed the Rwandan president and army chief-of-staff, the defendant did indeed refuse to place the Rwandan armed forces (FAR) under the authority of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. "I was convinced that she was the one who ordered the assassination of the president," explained Bagosora. "Is it not a coincidence that she was killed on April 7 after you took the reins of power?" countered the prosecutor. Bagosora forcefully denied the allegation, stating that the "committee crisis" that he chaired had not considered taking power but had merely helped set up a transitional government. He blames the assassination on the head of the UN peacekeeping forces (Unamir), Gen. Dallaire - a prosecution witness in this case - and accuses him of having decided "to drive the Prime Minister to the radio station, without the knowledge of the FAR high command."

"He said nothing to me"

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