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Dallaire back in Rwanda to testify against old foes

With more than 800,000 people slaughtered in 100 days the Rwandan genocide stands as one of the most horrific mass murders of the past century. In the middle of the horror was a Canadian peacekeeper whose efforts to avert the tragedy were thwarted by political apathy and incalculable evil. CBC Digital Archives looks back at this sad chapter in Africa's history and how Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire managed to survive to become Canada's most famous casualty of war.

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More than a decade after he first arrived in Africa, Roméo Dallaire is back to testify against his old enemies. Under heavy security, Dallaire arrives at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where he will face down the alleged ringleaders of the 1994 genocide as a witness. This CBC Television documentary looks at the 2004 trial and Dallaire's emotional time on the stand. 
• In January 2004 Roméo Dallaire arrived at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He was called to serve as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Col. Théoneste Bagosora, the alleged architect of the 1994 genocide.
• According to Shake Hands With The Devil, the last time the two men had met was at a hotel in the later days of the genocide. Bagosora pointed a gun at Dallaire and threatened to kill him if he ever saw him again.

• Bagosora and three other former Rwandan military officials were charged with inciting genocide and crimes against humanity. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
• Dallaire spent seven days testifying, during which he singled out Bagosora as the "kingpin" behind the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans.

• In 1992 Bagosora was alleged to have stormed out of early peace talks with Tutsi representatives, shouting "I am preparing for the Apocalypse."
• Dallaire testified that during his initial meetings with Bagosora on April 7, 1994, the day after the killings began, the colonel and self-proclaimed leader was remarkably composed. "What I found incredible was I had never found someone so calm and so at ease with what was going on," Dallaire said.

• As of May 2005 the tribunal had yet to deliver a sentence in Bagosora's case.
• The lengthy UN tribunal delivered its first conviction in September 1998 when it found Jean-Paul Akayesu, a former mayor of Taba, guilty of inciting genocide in connection with the deaths of 2,000 Tutsis.

• Since then it has handed down 17 judgements involving 23 accused. Those convicted include the former prime minister of Rwanda, several businessmen, journalists, doctors, priests and nuns.
• Another 26 accused are currently on trial (May 2005).

• The political and economic climate in Rwanda has stabilized significantly. Hundreds of thousands of Hutu and Tutsi refugees have returned to the country and a Government of National Unity has been established to ensure members of both race are represented.
• On Aug. 25, 2003, Paul Kagame, the former Tutsi leader of the rebel RPF, was elected president of Rwanda. More than 90 per cent of the population voted for the Rwandan expatriate who fled his homeland in 1960.

• The UN tribunal was established in November 1994, with the first trial beginning more than three years later in January 1997. It is made up of 16 judges from around the world, including Sri Lanka, Turkey, Tanzania and the United States.
• The tribunal plans to have all trials completed by 2008, and all appeals completed by 2010.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: April 5, 2004
Guest(s): Hassan Bubacor Jallow, Roméo Dallaire, Lars Waldorf
Reporter: Raymond St. Pierre
Duration: 8:49

Last updated: March 27, 2012

Page consulted on August 18, 2015

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