Colonel Bagosora's denial

07 November 2005 by our correspondent in Arusha

Leading ICTR defendant Colonel Théoneste Bagosora began giving testimony on October 24 for the period leading up to the fateful date of April 6, 1994 - the day the Rwandan genocide began. The former directeur de cabinet in the Defense Ministry denied responsibility for disseminating a "definition of the Tutsi enemy" within the army in 1992. He especially denied being the colonel of the "apocalypse."

After delivering some sensational statements during the first two days, during which he denied the existence of the Tutsi genocide, Bagosora began to relate the facts in a calmer tone. In December 1991, President Juvénal Habyarimana appointed ten officers to a military commission, including colonel Bagosora and Rwanda's current Minister of Defense, General Marcel Gatsinzi. Bagosora, who presided the commission, said that its aim was to "assess the military situation" after a year of fighting with Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels. He stated right away that no one had appointed him to chair the commission, but that he had become its de facto leader since he was the "oldest and highest-ranking officer" of the group.

Ancestral warmongering

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