By Robert Walker
The commander of United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide has accused his superiors of refusing him permission to act to prevent the massacres.
Testifying before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, retired general Romeo Dallaire, said he warned UN headquarters three months before the genocide about the stockpiling of arms.
General Dallaire says his warnings were ignored
But he said they refused his request to raid the arms caches later used in the massacre of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The retired Canadian general's evidence serves as a damning indictment of the role of United Nations in Rwanda as the 10th anniversary of the genocide approaches.
Taking his stand in the witness box for the second day, the former commander said he requested authorisation to raid arms caches in January 1994.
But General Dallaire said UN headquarters informed him this was outside the mandate of his mission.
Some 800,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide
Three months later, a wave of killing swept Rwanda.
General Dallaire is appearing as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora and three other senior Rwandan military officers.
The prosecution alleges the four officers organised the massacres and the trial is seen as one of the most important to come before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
General Dallaire was traumatised by his failure to stop the genocide and retired from the Canadian army in 2000, suffering from post traumatic stress.