Belgian Senate

SESSION OF 1997-1998


Parliamentary commission of inquiry regarding the events in Rwanda


in the name of commission of inquiry by Mr. MAHOUX and Mr. VERHOFSTADT


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Chapter 4 - Chapter 5

    1. Origin and creation
      1. Rwanda ad hoc group
      2. Rwanda special commission
      3. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
    2. Mission and competences of the commission of inquiry
    3. Commission of inquiry’s working method
      1. Working method
        1. Hearings with victims’ families
          1. Rwanda special commission
          2. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
        2. Witnesses
          1. Rwanda special commission
          2. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
        3. Exchange of views with the commission's experts
        4. Comparisons 28
          1. Rwanda special commission
          2. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
        5. The legal dossiers of Rwandans in Belgium
        6. Meetings of the commission’s bureau
        7. Visit to C Ops-SGR
        8. Visit to Rwanda
          1. Rwanda ad hoc group
          2. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
        9. Documents
          1. Rwanda ad hoc group
          2. Rwanda special commission
          3. Rwanda parliamentary commission of inquiry
        10. Duties to investigate
          1. Legal framework
          2. Duties to investigate carried out by the commission of inquiry
        11. Rules
          1. The meetings of the commission of inquiry
          2. Publicity
          3. Obligation of secrecy
          4. Witnesses and expert
          5. Minutes of the hearings
          6. Working method
          7. Specialists
          8. Press
          9. Final report
        12. Statistics
      2. Restrictions faced by the commission
        1. Restrictions to the King’s inviolability
        2. Restrictions due to the UN authorities’ refusal to co-operate
        3. Restrictions due to the link between the parliamentary inquiry and the legal inquiry
        4. Restrictions due to the refusal of foreign information services to communicate information
    Preliminary remarks
    A. Geographic, economic, social and historical survey
    1. Elements of physical and human geography
    2. Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. 1980-1989
      3. 1990-1994
        1. Creation of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)
        2. Impoverishment, growing inequalities and violence
        3. A war economy beginning in 1990
    3. Historical elements
      1. Pre-colonial period
      2. Colonial period and independence
      3. The crisis of 1990 and the Arusha agreements
      4. The Arusha agreements
    B. Extracts from the "Joint evaluation of emergency assistance to Rwanda
    Study 1: Historical perspective: Some Explanatory Factors"
    C. Extracts from the "The Rwanda Crisis. History of a Genocide, by professor G. Prunier
    1. The United Nations’ decision
      1. U.N. general framework
        1. The Security Council
        2. The Secretariat
        3. The permanent Belgian representation
      2. The theoretical framework of the various peacekeeping operations
        1. General framework
        2. Peacekeeping operations
          1. Definition
          2. Characteristics
          3. Topology
      3. The peacekeeping mission’s operational framework
        1. General remarks
        2. Preparation of the mandate
        3. Preparation of the ROE'S (rules of engagement)
        4. Communications between on-site forces and the peacekeeping department
      4. The UN’s decision to intervene in Rwanda
        1. Creation of UNOMUR
        2. The Arusha accords
        3. Establishment of UNAMIR
        4. Decision to create UNAMIR-- UN Resolution nr. 872
    2. Belgium's decision to participate in UNAMIR
      1. The decision-making process
        • 4 August 1993
        • 25 August 1993
        • 8 September 1993
        • 10 September 1993
        • 17 September 1993
        • 22 September 1993
        • 24 September 1993
        • 29 September 1993
        • 4 October 1993
        • 5 October 1993
        • 8 October 1993
        • 14 October 1993
        • 15 October 1993
        • 21 October 1993
        • 25 October 1993
        • 31 October 1993
        • 3 November 1993
        • 8 November 1993
        • 10 November 1993
        • 12 November 1993
        • 17 November 1993
        • 19 November 1993
      2. Politics
        1. LeBlanc of Belgium's colonial past on participation in UNAMIR
        2. The decisions of October 1990
        3. Support for the Arusha accords
        4. Habyarimana’s visit to Belgium on 4 October 1993
        5. The presence of a Belgian community in Rwanda
        6. Information on the anti-Belgian and anti-UNAMIR campaign
      3. Technical/military aspects
        1. The reconnaissance commission report in Rwanda, known as the Recce report
        2. Negotiations on staff
        3. The absence of a second credible contingent
        4. The various missions, including the QRF (Quick Reaction Force)
        5. The scattering of quarters
        6. The problem of armament and munitions
        7. Staff preparation
        8. Limitations of the mandate and ROE'S (Rules of Engagement)
      4. The experience acquired during previous operations
    3. The execution of the UNAMIR operation
      1. The assessment of the degradation of the political situation
      2. The assessment in Rwanda and the monitoring of the threat to KIBAT/UNAMIR
        1. The assessment of the threat against KIBAT/UNAMIR in Rwanda
          1. The Rwanda ad hoc group’s report
          2. The plan to poison Belgium’s UN peacekeeping contingent
          3. "Jean-Pierre's" information
          4. The assessment of the threat to the Belgian’s
        2. The assessment in Belgium of the threat to KIBAT/UNAMIR
          1. By the military authorities
          2. By the political parties
            1. in Rwanda
            2. in Belgium
          3. Other sources of information
        3. Operational problems
          1. The demand for additional munitions
          2. The insufficient armament of men on the ground and the difficulty of distributing arms and munitions
          3. The poor condition of the CVRT's
          4. The number of men and the absence of an own reserve
          5. The absence of an operational and credible QRF
          6. The difficulties with the other foreign contingents
          7. The dispersion of quarters
          8. The laborious creation of the evacuation plan and the absence of a catastrophe scenario
          9. Preparation of KIBAT II
          10. Communications problems
          11. The difficult collection and insufficient use of information
            1. The fact that there was no UN information service
            2. The attempt to organise information services and various levels in Kigali
            3. Information from military/technical co-operation
            4. Co-operation with Rwandan and foreign information services
            5. Information processing at the various levels in Kigali and in Evere
            6. SGR operations in Evere
            7. The information of political authorities and the co-ordination between the national ministries of defence and foreign affairs
              1. National defence
              2. Foreign affairs
              3. Co-ordination between the to ministerial departments
          12. Co-operation with the armed Rwandan forces
            1. UNCIVPOL and co-operation
            2. What was the attitude of the Rwandan gendarmes during operations with UNCIVPOL and UNAMIR?
            3. Co-operation during the events of 6 and 7 April
        4. The behaviour of the Belgian troops
          1. Behaviour of troops in service
          2. The attitude of soldiers not in service
    4. The execution of the mandate and the ROE'S
      1. The interpretation of the mandate
        1. The mandate
          1. Mandate background
          2. Assessment of the mandate
          3. The application of the mandate on the ground
        2. The ROE'S
          1. The definition
          2. The interpretation of the ROE'S
          3. On site application
      2. UNAMIR'S contribution to maintaining the security of the village of Kigali and in the demilitarised zone
        1. The "Kigali Weapon Secure Area" (KWSA)
        2. Safety patrols
        3. Road Blocks
      3. Belgium's attempts to change the mandate, ROE'S or to increase staff numbers
    5. The events of 6 and 7 April 1994
      1. The assassination attempt against the president's plane
      2. The assassination of ten paratroopers
        1. The behaviour of general Dallaire and the UN's special representative, Mr. Booh Booh
          1. What were the circumstances in which general Dallaire decided on the 7 April escort mission?
          2. Was general Dallaire aware of the Lorin group’s situation?
          3. What prevented general Dallaire from taking an initiative?
        2. The behaviour of major Maggen
        3. The behaviour of colonel Dewez and major Choffray
          1. Was the Lorin group's situation alarming before 9 a.m.?
          2. Was the Lorin group's situation disturbing after 9 a.m.?
          3. Was an intervention to free the Lorin group envisaged or proposed?
          4. Did colonel Dewez and the other Belgian officers know or could they have known where the Lorin group was being held?
          5. Was a disengagement intervention contrary to the ROE'S?
          6. Why did colonel Dewez continue to believe in an intervention by the gendarmes or by the FAR?
          7. Can colonel Dewez's attitude be explained as "psychological disarmament"?
        4. The attitude of colonel Marchal
      3. The murder of Belgian citizens
    6. The genocide
      1. Introduction
      2. Definition and recognition
        1. Definition of the concept of genocide
        2. Recognition of the genocide in Rwanda
          1. The genocide of Tutsis
          2. The murder of Hutus
      3. The carrying out of the genocide
      4. The planning of the genocide--Violation of human rights
        1. Planning--General remarks
        2. Creation of militia
        3. Preparation of lists of people to be killed
        4. Purchases of machetes
        5. Other elements illustrating the planning of the genocide
      5. Elements in Belgium’s possession concerning the planning of the genocide
    7. Massacres attributed to the FPR
    8. The withdrawal of Belgian troops
      1. The atmosphere in Kigali
      2. Timetable of events
      3. The decision to withdraw troops
        1. Attempts to modify the mandate and evacuate nationals
        2. The withdrawal of Belgian troops
          1. The decision
          2. The UN's reaction
          3. The reaction of military personnel on site, staff and troops
        3. Belgium's campaign to convince the members of the Security Council to completely suspend the UNAMIR Operation
          1. The Belgian campaign
          2. The UN's attitude
      4. Consequences of the non-reinforcement of UNAMIR, the non-application of article 17 of the ROE'S and partial withdrawal
        1. Non-application of article 17 of the ROE'S
        2. Impact of the withdrawal on the genocide
        3. Reactions in Belgium
          1. In Parliament
          2. The press and public opinion
        4. Assessment of the decision
      5. The drama of the ETO (Ecole Technique Officielle des Peres Salesians de Don Bosco)
    9. Summary of parliamentary activities concerning the events in Rwanda (January 1993-August 1994)
      1. The period from 1 January 1993 to 19 November 1993 (the date of Belgium's decision to participate in UNAMIR)
      2. The period from 20 November 1993 (Belgium's participation in UNAMIR) to 5 April 1994
      3. The period following the events of 6 and 7 April 1994
      4. Genocide
      5. The withdrawal of Belgian troops from UNAMIR
      6. The assessment of the events and Belgium’s policy vis-à-vis Africa and political conclusions relating thereto
    10. The reception and accompaniment of members of the victim’s families
      1. At the heart of the crisis
      2. The announcement to the families
      3. Saying goodbye to the paratroopers
      4. Deficient psychological, social and medical accompaniment
      5. Measures taken with close relatives
    11. The RTLM (Radio Television des Mille Collines) dossier
      1. The role of RTLM
        1. The role of RTLM in the development of an anti-Belgian and anti-UNAMIR campaign
          1. From the end of 1993 to 6 April 1994
          2. After 6 April 1984
        2. The role of RTLM in the genocide
      2. By whom and with what resources was RTLM founded?
        1. The founding of RTLM
        2. Possible links between RTLM and the highest authorities in Kigali
        3. Where there links between RTLM and Belgian or European players?
          1. Georges Ruggiu
          2. Training in Brussels of Rwandan communications technicians
          3. The involvement of Belgium and European political groups
      3. Was Belgium aware of the role played by RTLM and the involvement of the highest Rwanda and political authorities?
      4. The actions taken by the Belgian authorities against RTLM
        1. Diplomatic actions
        2. Military actions
    12. Political and unofficial private channels
      1. Introduction
      2. Attitude of the Christian Democrat International vis-à-vis democratisation in Rwanda
      3. The role of Mrs. De Backer
      4. The mission of attorney Johan Scheers
    13. Legal and administrative dossiers on Rwandans in Belgium
      1. The problem of refugees and asylum applicants in Belgium
      2. Legal dossiers regarding Rwandans in Belgium
    14. Belgian-Rwandan co-operation
      1. Co-operation structure with Rwanda
        1. Multilateral co-operation and international co-operation
        2. Direct bilateral co-operation
        3. Indirect bilateral co-operation
        4. Military co-operation
      2. Assessment
        1. Multilateral co-operation
        2. Bilateral co-operation
        3. NGO’s
        4. Military co-operation
    15. The handling of the Rwanda dossier by military authorities
    1. The shortcomings of United Nations Security Council's decision-making process at the time that the peacekeeping force was sent to Rwanda
    2. The shortcomings of Belgium's decision to participate in the UNAMIR peacekeeping operation
    3. The lack of effective technical preparation of Belgian troops in UNAMIR
    4. The deficient performance of the United Nations secretariat and DPKO (department of peacekeeping operations) during the mission
    5. The deficient performance of the general staff and the Evere operations centre during the operation
    6. The absence of an on-site information service and effective analytical capacity
    7. The refusal to provide protection to informant Jean-Pierre
    8. The deficient co-ordination between the department of national defence and the army's general staff
    9. The deficient monitoring of the Rwanda dossier by the council of ministers and the departments of national defence and foreign affairs
    10. The weakness of diplomatic efforts aimed at reinforcing UNAMIR'S mandate
    11. The incorrect assessment of the situation and passive attitude on 7 April 1994 of the UN secretary general’s special representative and high-ranking officers of UNAMIR
    12. Lapses in the reception and accompaniment of victims’ families
    13. The unilateral decision to withdraw Belgian troops from UNAMIR
    14. The absence of an effective reaction against RTLM
    15. Interference by unofficial political channels and intermediaries
    16. The biased handling of the Rwanda dossier by the military authorities
    17. The presence of Rwandan refugees in Belgium--the possibility of protection in the handling of legal dossiers


The mission of the parliamentary commission of inquiry consisted of examining the policy implemented by the Belgian and international authorities, in particular the actions they undertook, and of possibly formulating conclusions regarding responsibilities and the measures that should be taken in the future.

The commission would like to point out that during several months in 1997, it heard more than 100 witnesses and consulted innumerable documents. It goes without saying that account must be taken of the fact that the commission was aware of the events that took place more than three years ago in Rwanda. Nevertheless, it tried to avoid the trap of interpreting the events with hindsight and to set the documents against their original time context before making a judgment.

In this chapter, the commission notes, among other things, a number of failures and responsibilities, thereby incurring the risk that, by doing so, the positive elements may no longer be visible. The commission would like to stress that many people and organisations, both civilian and military, showed genuine commitment and significant competence.

When preparing this report, the commission did not base its work on political considerations, but it felt that more than three years after the dramatic events, it was time to officially note lapses and to recognise the errors committed at the different levels. In addition to noting that many of those involved performed their work effectively, the commission's intention is not to point the finger at individuals, but rather, to examine the errors that were committed from August 1993 to April 1994, in order to learn a few lessons for the future and avoid committing the same errors that were committed in the past. This is the best homage that we can render to the ten paratroopers murdered and to all of the victims of genocide in Rwanda, in order to ensure that they did not die in vain.

The commission would like to begin by recalling that the murder of the ten Belgian paratroopers and the genocide were committed by Rwandans. The commission believes that the genocide was prepared, initiated and orchestrated by Rwandan leaders belonging to a small circle gravitating around those in power. This genocide was executed by members of the presidential guard, FAR’S, gendarmes and two militia (the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi).

Civilians participated in this genocide, stirred up by the heinous comments of political leaders and civil authorities, for example prefects and burgomasters, and provoked by RTLM. It is the role of justice to identify and punish the guilty. Consequently it is the International Tribunal for Rwanda that must devote itself to this task (created by the United Nations’ Security Council’s resolutions 808,827 and 955) and Rwandan and Belgian legal authorities. All resources must be employed to carry out this mission and no obstacle may be placed in the way of this mission. Impunity is itself a source of violence.

The commission notes that, for several reasons, the international community did not take sufficiently account of information concerning violations of human rights and the preparation of massacres.

With regard to the murder of the Belgian UN peacekeepers, the commission has collected several pieces of evidence that suggest that this murder was part of a plan whose purpose was to provoke the departure of UNAMIR by attacking its strongest component. Nevertheless, it is possible that this murder was the result of rumours claiming that Belgians had perpetrated the assassination attempt against the presidential plane. These rumours were part of a campaign against the Belgians. In any case, the murder of 10 paratroopers was perpetrated by Rwandan soldiers with the active and passive complicity of the presidential guard, and did not provoke any reaction on the part of the army's staff or from the Rwandan gendarmes. Finally, we should note that these events are part of a context of armed, latent or declared conflict, depending on the moment, for which the belligerents are responsible.

Moreover, the commission is convinced that, in addition to the Rwandan leaders, the political and military authorities of Belgium, the United Nations and the entire international community are directly or indirectly responsible for certain aspects of the dramatic events following 6 April 1994 in Rwanda. No single authority or individual person is fully responsible for what happened.

A combination of circumstances, negligence, incorrect assessment and errors that led to the drama that took place during the months of April and May 1994 in Rwanda. The commission has examined these responsibilities in light of the memorandum of the Senate's service of legal and documentary affairs, entitled "the assessment of political responsibilities by a Senate commission of inquiry." (1)

Moreover, the commission feels that the consequences of the Rwandan drama have not been treated sufficiently by military authorities or by political authorities (the government and the parliament). In addition, the commission deplores, in the strongest possible terms, the refusal of the United Nations secretary-general, Mr. Kofi Annan, to allow United Nations employees to testify before the commission. Although this does not fall under its competence, the commission believes that it is necessary to examine more closely the role played by France before, during and after the events.

The commission feels that there is a need to examine 17 areas in which errors and lapses were committed. In this connection, the commission examined the authorities and people who were responsible for the above.


The commission feels that there were several lapses in the United Nations’ operations and in its structures during the UNAMIR operation. These lapses or deficiencies concern both the origin of the decision and the functioning of the secretariat during the operation.

With regard to the origin of the decision, the commission feels that the permanent members of the Security Council, in particular the United States, had excessive weight in a decision where the success of the mission was often subordinated to the selfish and often contradictory interests of the council’s members. With regard to UNAMIR, the decision process did not take sufficient account of the reports that were available on human rights violations. The report of the United Nations’ special reporter, Mr. Ndiaye, for example, which is dated August 1993 and contains the first use of the term “genocide” to qualify the many murders, was only discussed in March 1994 in the United Nations’ ad hoc bodies. Finally, most of the members of the Security Council had little interest in the Rwandan dossier and were even less willing to provide troops to UNAMIR.

All of the above removed the substance of the mandate as it had been set out in the Arusha agreements and gave rise to a restriction on the number of staff committed.

The commission feels that the governments of the permanent members of the Security Council bear considerable responsibility in this area.


The commission feels that Belgium's decision to participate in the UNAMIR peacekeeping operations was deficient on several levels (political/psychological and technical/military).

With regard to political and psychological factors, the government based its actions mainly on the belief that the Arusha accords--in which everyone believed at the time--would succeed, that the two signatories to these accords wanted Belgium to participate and that Belgium was the only militarily credible country that was willing to provide troops in the short-term as part of the peacekeeping force referred to in said accords. Little or no question was asked as to whether or not Belgium’s participation was actually desirable in view of the following elements:

With regard to technical and military aspects, the head of the general staff, lieutenant general Charlier, despite the limitation of staff, assumed responsibility for the operation; however, when Belgium decided to participate in UNAMIR, insufficient attention was paid to the following points:

Consequently, the commission notes that from a political, as well as a technical/military point of view, the government’s decision to participate in UNAMIR was deficient and was due to an erroneous assessment. This observation is especially deplorable since lessons should have been learned from analyses of previous operations. It is clear that too much focus was placed on the search for a compromise between the political approach of the Rwandan dossier (involving a symbolic participation in the UN's peacekeeping force, as well as budgetary limitations) and the technical/military wishes and preoccupations of general Dallaire and the Belgian army. The commission notes that due to this compromise and the absence of a credible second contingent, Belgium was forced to form the backbone of UNAMIR, even though, from the beginning, the government wanted to avoid this at all cost.

In any case, the commission feels that, although the entire government is responsible for the decision, the minister of national defence, Mr. L. Delcroix did not inform it sufficiently of all the military consequences of the option selected and the impact that it could have on site.

For his part, the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. W. Claes, was not aware of the insidious weakening of the mandate and the consequences that this could have on the success or failure of the mission.

Although our country is not a member of the Security Council and was therefore not entitled to negotiate, it did not take advantage of its position as provider of the most credible contingent in order to attend to prevent this weakening of the mandate.

Finally, the commission notes that the decision to participate in the UNAMIR operation was not communicated by the government to the parliament, nor was it debated in parliament.


The commission feels that, from a technical/military point of view, although the preparation of the Belgian contingent of paratroopers that was to participate in the UNAMIR peacekeeping operation was rapid, it was deficient. This was reflected in nearly all areas.

The commission assigns the responsibility for this defective preparation to the entire military hierarchy, in particular the general staff and C Ops, the ground force staff, the paratrooper brigade (training and operation of men) and to the SGR. With regard to the leaders of the C Ops and the general staff, we refer the reader to point 4.5.


The commission notes the following lapses with regard to the performance of the United Nations secretariat and the DPK0 during the mission:

The commission feels that the United Nations organisational structure, in particular with regard to peacekeeping missions, the Security Council, the general secretariat, led at that time by Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and the DPKO, which was led at that time by Mr. Kofi Annan, bear responsibility for these lapses.


The commission noted that from the Belgian side, UNAMIR faced a series of technical/military difficulties that should have been resolved by the Evere operations centre, staff and general staff. In practice, important problems were handled belatedly or were not resolved. However, all of these bodies were directly informed of most of these problems by the sector and battalion commander(s) present in Kigali. Moreover, they received reports from major Guerin (31 January 1994) and lieutenant-general Uytterhoeven (25 February 1994), which listed and analysed all of the difficulties on the ground.

The commission notes that these are serious lapses that served as arguments to justify the practical impossibility of setting free the Lotin group on 7 April 1994.

The main difficulties were as follows:

The commission also notes that the general staff and the Evere C Ops never used the full contingent of 450 men that had been authorised. Despite the fact that there was a clear problem of insufficient manpower on the ground, including of drivers and gunners for the CVRT'S, never engaged more than 428 men. Finally, the commission feels that the general staff also made errors in the selection of staff officers that Belgium sent to the UN These offices were recruited on the basis of their own candidacy, and general staff did not seek out the most suitable candidates for exercising these important functions.

The commission notes that the operations are under the direct responsibility of the general staff, who is responsible for their preparation and support, as well as for monitoring their performance.

In particular, the commission feels that lieutenant-general Charlier, admiral Verhulst, colonel Flament and lieutenant-colonel Briot, as the commanders managing the operations centre, were responsible for the lapses observed.

They did not--at least not sufficiently--take account of the lessons learned from previous operations.


The commission notes that, in addition to the absence of a specific UN information service, there were deficiencies in the crucial collection and processing of information, both on-site and in Belgium. Although it is true that the Belgian civilian and military authorities had a large volume of information on the situation in Rwanda, they failed to inform those on the ground of these analyses and this information, both on-site and in Brussels.

The commission believes that this situation resulted from deficiencies at three levels:

  1. To begin with, on the ground, where there was no specific information service, although KIBAT and Force information officers made political analyses, in addition to collecting technical information. This situation was further aggravated by the nearly complete absence of co-operation between KIBAT information officer, the Force information officer, the CTM-MTS, the Embassy and Belgian officers working in the Force under general Dallaire. In addition, there was a lack of knowledge of the local language, Kinyarwanda, the result of which was that certain facts were not noted. Finally, there was a complete absence of feedback. Those with responsibility on the ground did transmit information to the higher ranks, but the latter very rarely sent the information that they had obtained from other sources on the actual situation on ground.
  2. Secondly, the military information service (SGR) failed in its mission in the Rwanda crisis. The SGR had or could have had all of the information necessary to making serious analyses of what was happening in Rwanda. The SGR was the only authority in Belgium to be informed by information officers, CTM-MTS and by officers working for the Force; it was also the only entity that had access to the daily battalion, sector and Force reports. In addition, it received a copy of most of the telexes sent by our Embassy in Kigali.
    Despite all of this information, the SGR did not produce any or nearly any pertinent diagnosis which, in the opinion of the commission, was due to the following elements:
  3. Thirdly, the Belgian government did not have any analytical and co-ordination tool to prepare its policy, by the collection, analysis and transposition into recommendations of information from the various sources of available information (foreign affairs, SGR, state security and others). With regard, more particularly, to Rwanda, the "African" unit of the department of foreign affairs was not equipped for this mission and lacked staff. As a result, it is not capable of issuing in-depth analyses or making necessary recommendations during periods of crisis.
    With regard to the lack of co-ordination on the ground, the commission feels that general Dallaire and, to a lesser extent, the sector commander, colonel Marchal, did not take sufficient initiative to mollify this shortcoming. With regard to the SGR’S work , the commission believes that the Rwanda analyst, major Hock, paid excessive unilateral attention to information from technical/military co-operation in Rwanda. As for his superiors, major-general Verschoore and major-general Delhotte, they were unsuccessful in adapting the department’s operations to the requirements of Belgium's participation in the UNAMIR operation. Finally, the commission feels that successive governments have not paid enough attention to developing an effective "African" unit at the department of foreign affairs, and have not made available sufficient resources to create such a unit.


Informant "Jean-Pierre", the author of essential information with regard to the threat to the Belgians and the preparation of the genocide, requested asylum and protection for himself and for his family as a guarantee of information that he was committed to continue to give.

The commission notes that neither western embassies nor the United Nations agreed to provide this protection.

The commission does not understand the manner in which the international community, in this case the United Nations, United States, France and Belgium handled the problem of this source of information, which was subsequently confirmed by facts.


Although pursuant to the Royal Decree of 19 December 1989, the preparation of troops and the conduct of operations were managed by a staff and although, in addition, there were regular contacts between the head staff, lieutenant-general Charlier, and the minister of national defence, Mr. Delcroix, and/or his head of cabinet, Mr. Schellemans, the commission feels that the exchange of information between the staff and the cabinet was not optimal. Not all of the head staff's daily briefing reports were sent on a daily basis to the minister. It is also clear that the cabinet assigned the general staff few or no specific missions with regard to the information that it received.


The commission noted that at a political level, co-ordination between the two departments was almost exclusively limited to regular contact between the two heads of cabinet. In general, there were, during the course of one or more operations, weekly co-ordination

meetings between the two departments; the prime minister’s advisers and those from co-operation in development also attended these meetings. However, these meetings sometimes took place at too low a level for the purposes of policy co-ordination. In addition, it seems clear from the reports in question that these meetings rarely addressed anything other than specific and practical problems.

Apart from weekly communications by the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. W. Claes, concerning the international situation, Rwanda did not appear on the agenda of the council of ministers between the end of November 1993 and the end of March 1994, with the exception of the communication of 4 March by the minister of foreign affairs concerning Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire.

The commission is amazed that the minister of national defence, Mr. L. Delcroix, did not feel the need to include Rwanda on the agenda, either because his information was incomplete, or because his assessment of the situation was not correct.


The commission notes that the Belgian government and, more specifically, the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. W. Claes, made efforts to modify UNAMIR'S mandate during the operation.

Although this modification did not take place before the dramatic events of 6 and 7 April 1994, this was mainly due to the refusal of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Nevertheless, the commission feels that the efforts made by the minister of foreign affairs were insufficient. Indeed, we can only wonder why, given the specific threat to the Belgian paratroopers, the minister of foreign affairs accepted a limited (all things considered) reinforcement, of the action in the framework of the existing mandate (the transfer to Kigali of Ghanaian soldiers belonging to UNAMIR who were housed in the north of Rwanda), instead of demanding a "modification" or an "enlargement" of the mandate or an "larger reinforcement of the action in the framework of the mandate" by a less restrictive interpretation of the mandate and rules of engagement. Why wasn’t a diplomatic offensive launched before 5 April, the date on which the Security Council was due to extend UNAMIR’S mandate, since, barely ten days later, such an offensive took place with the members of the Security Council, during the withdrawal of the Belgian blue berets?

Although the commission recognises that many efforts were made, it remains convinced that the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. W. Claes, did not explore all possibilities available to him to reinforce the mandate or, at least, the means of action available in the framework of the existing mandate.


Rwandans perpetrated the horrible murder of the paratroopers. The commission believes that those who must be held responsible for this crime include those who physically carried out this act against our military staff, as well as certain Rwandan political and military authorities and all those who carried out the anti-Belgian campaign, which began with the deployment of our troops and which culminated after the assassination of the president. It is up to the courts to judge the guilty.

In this connection, the commission recalls that our soldiers were murdered inside a Rwandan army barrack, which is therefore a public edifice under the protection of the authorities of a "friendly" country with which we enjoyed close co-operation in development and technical/military matters. The commission also recalls that a few hundred meters from the drama, nearly all of the high-ranking officers of the FAR'S were gathered for a crisis meeting. General Dallaire attended this meeting.

The commission believes that many of the events of 7 April 1994 may be explained by the observation that UNAMIR I only partially accomplished the missions for which it was responsible. In particular, in the Kigali region, it only carried out a limited number of disarmament actions. Moreover, the military attitude that it adopted prior to 7 April 1994 played an important role. Among other things, this attitude meant that UNAMIR became less and less credible in the eyes of the Rwandans (for example, by refraining from liquidating arms cachets, by not reacting to numerous provocations, etc.), which consequently gave the impression that they could impede UNAMIR’S work with impunity. For UNAMIR’S men, this passive attitude, combined with the "fear of mistakes", produced a state of psychological disarmament. Moreover, the restricted interpretation of the ROE'S made some of the men lose their normal instincts regarding legitimate defence. In addition, the trust that UNAMIR placed in the Rwandan armed forces meant that the blue berets were not sufficiently careful with Rwandan troops and gendarmes. It is likely that this partially explains why lieutenant Lotin allowed himself to be disarmed and why no armed effort was made to free him. The United Nations and general Dallaire are responsible for the above. The Belgian military commanders on site are also partially responsible for the above.

To begin with, the commission, in its analysis of the events, could not help but notice that there was no co-ordination at any level, much less a scenario that would have made it possible to deal with the dramatic events of 7 April 1994.

The commission also believes that the United Nations secretary-general's special representative, Mr. Booh Booh, as well as several high-ranking UNAMIR officers did a poor job of assessing the scope of the events during the night of 6 to 7 April. This incorrect assessment led said officers to adopt a passive attitude, while the Lotin group, which was at the Rwandan prime minister’s residence, was experiencing problems. This attitude was maintained after the Lotin group had been taken prisoner and lynched at the Kigali camp.

The commission believes that in the critical moments of the Rwanda crisis, the following people did not react to the events in an effective matter and, in some cases, did not act professionally.

Moreover, according to his own letter dated 4 July 1997, sent to the commission, colonel Dewez did not have "a normal reaction for a soldier" at the time of the events. He committed the error of not giving lieutenant Lotin the necessary clear instructions.

In the night of 6 to 7 April1994, he and major Choffray made the mistake of not taking the necessary measures to distribute to the KIBAT companies the heavier munitions and arms stored at Rwandex.


The commission notes several serious lapses with regard to the reception and accompaniment of the members of the victims’ families.

The families complained about the way that they were treated by international and national authorities.

The work of the general staff’s social service was highly insufficient in several areas, and on both a human and material level. The death of these men was communicated without any diplomacy or tact to family members. In addition, the commission can only condemn the attitude of battalion commander, colonel Dewez, who provided erroneous information concerning the paratroopers’ deaths in a detached manner. A suitable mourning process requires that the victims’ families be provided with a correct version of the facts. In addition, the family members did not have a chance to say goodbye to their dead in a dignified and intimate manner as a result of army’s strict rules and protocol. The commission feels that the staff’s competent services (and people) neglected to accompany the family members from both a medical/social and psychological point of view. The necessary training was given in a particularly deficient manner. The commission feels that the general staff bear a heavy responsibility for this failure.

The commission cannot accept the fact that documents were submitted for signature by the army’s services to family members without the latter having been informed of the consequences of their signature with regard to their future rights.


The decision to withdraw Belgian troops from UNAMIR was taken by the government after the latter had contacted the United Nations authorities, in particular the secretary-general, the deputy secretary-general (DPKO) and the members of the Security Council. Contacts were held in a state of considerable confusion due to communications problems between New York Kigali and Brussels, which is clear from the contradictory declarations by Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Willy Claes. Finally, the decision of the United Nations and that of the Belgian government were inconsistent with one another.

The decision to withdraw Belgian troops was preceded by diplomatic measures undertaken in order to determine UNAMIR’S role in the event of massive deaths and to know if the mandate included the provision of protection to known Rwandan political leaders. In addition, there was a question of whether or not it was possible to engage UNAMIR troops to evacuate expatriates. It appears that it was impossible to reinterpret UNAMIR’S mandate and role in this sense. Finally, Belgian troops were sent, outside the framework of the United Nations, to evacuate expatriates. This evacuation decision was justified by the specific threats against the Belgians, who were accused of being responsible for the assassination attempt against the presidential plane, which were in addition to other accusations against the Belgians.

The commission feels that responsibility for the dramatic events that took place after 7 April 1994 was collective.

To begin with, the responsibility of the international community, in particular the United Nations Security Council, which, from the beginning of the Rwandan drama, neglected to modify, reinforce or enlarge the mandate. At no time did the United Nations authorities or military authorities on site apply article 17 of the ROE'S, which stipulates:

"Ethnically motivated criminal acts may also be perpetrated during this mandate and will morally and legally require that UNAMIR use all means available to terminate the same. Examples: execution, attacks against displaced people or refugees, ethnic riots, attacks against demobilised soldiers, etc. When this happens, UNAMIR military personnel shall follow this directive’s ROE'S, in support of UNCIVPOL and the local authorities, or in their absence, UNAMIR shall take the necessary action to prevent any crime against humanity."

Although it appears that the situation on the ground justified the application of this article 17 and that international law permitted, or indeed required, a military action to prevent the massacres, it is necessary to assess the balance of power on the ground. Although it appeared, on many occasions, that UNAMIR, in particular its Belgian component, was in difficulty on the ground, the pooling of all of West’s military forces available in Kigali or in neighbouring countries would have made it possible to avoid the scope of the genocide.

The commission feels that in addition to the international community, our country is also responsible for what took place. The government took a unilateral decision to withdraw the Belgian component of UNAMIR as a result of its analysis, i.e. that the United Nations did not want to modify the mandate, the Belgian government believed that the Belgian troops were in danger and had become useless and that Belgium could not act alone. Prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene told the commission that if the situation were to repeat itself, he would take the same decision.

This decision was taken after the Belgian blue berets left the Don Bosco school, where 2,000 Rwandans were under the protection of UNAMIR. The international community and the

Belgian authorities were aware of the many political murders and the systematic massacres of the Tutsi civilian population. In addition, this decision to withdraw the Belgian component of UNAMIR was not accompanied by a guarantee that it would be replaced by another contingent.

The commission feels that the responsibility for this unilateral decision to withdraw troops lies with the government. The parliament is also responsible. This government’s decision did not raise any protests. On the contrary, the various parliamentary groups, with the exception of a few members who linked the withdrawal to certain conditions, supported the decision to withdraw the blue berets. This can only partially be explained as a lack of information and the emotion that the murder of the ten paratroopers gave rise to in Belgian public opinion.

In any case, the commission cannot understand the Belgian diplomatic offensive which, in parallel to the decision to withdraw, was intended to terminate the entire UNAMIR operation, mainly for psychological reasons.

In any case, and with hindsight, the international community, and some of its components, including Belgium, failed in April 1994.


The commission notes that the Belgian authorities knew that president Habyarimana, or at least his direct entourage, controlled this radio station, which promoted racial hatred. The commission also notes that the Belgian government intervened on several occasions with the Rwandan president in order to have the anti-Belgian broadcasts banned, but to no avail.

However, during the period from November 1993 to 7 April 1994, no one scrambled or tried to prevent RTLM broadcasts, despite the fact that this was technically possible.

Given the threat that this station represented, the commission is amazed that the Belgian government did not make such a request with the United Nations in New York or UNAMIR. Nor does it understand why neither the UN nor the force commander, general Dallaire, did not take such an initiative themselves.


The commission notes that various political circles and personalities interfered in the official position of the Belgian authorities on the Rwandan problem. The commission believes that this interference took place in two ways. On the one hand, attempts were made among high-ranking Rwandan leaders to develop parallel channels for diplomatic consultation, in order to influence the attitude of certain Belgian political circles and the court. On the other hand, the Christian Democrat International, at least prior to 4 August 1993, made efforts with the Belgian government and certain Rwandan political circles to achieve the rapid organisation of free elections, contrary to what had been planned in the Arusha accords with regard to power- sharing. The commission notes that these attempts did not influence the position of the Belgian government, which continued to demand the unconditional application of the Arusha accords. However, it is possible that this perspective on the matter encouraged the Rwandan political circles who were opposed to the Arusha accords to reject these efforts.


The commission believes that after the dramatic events of 7 April 1994, the military authorities attempted to convince others of a version of the facts that did not correspond to reality.

The commission finds it inadmissible that the army only looked into the mistakes and errors committed by the Belgian detachment engaged in Rwanda. None of the possible deficiencies in the work of the military authorities in Belgium (general staff, C Ops, SGR ground force staff, paratrooper brigade staff, etc.) was examined. In any case, colonel Marchal and colonel Dewez were never asked to attend any of the meetings in which those present discussed the lessons to be learned from Rwanda. It was only in 1997 that the current minister of national defence, Jean-Pol Poncelet, assigned such a mission to lieutenant general Van Hecke, who sent his report at the end of August 1997 to the parliamentary commission of inquiry.


The commission notes that during and after the events in Rwanda, many requests for recognition as political refugees were made by Rwandans. According to the information in its possession, the general commissioner on refugees has not changed its position on the admissibility, acceptance or rejection of these requests.

Nevertheless, the commission notes that regard to three specific political refugee candidates who were turned down, the standing chamber of appeal has not made a decision on the requests that they submitted, even though nearly two years have passed since the decision of the general commissioner on refugees.

Moreover, the commission notes that many of the dossiers of Rwandan nationals currently residing Belgium were the subject of legal procedures. The Court of Cassation has rendered a number of relinquishments of jurisdiction in the Arusha international criminal court.

The conclusions reached on many dossiers have been sent to the state prosecuting office by the examining judge. The commission can only note the limited nature of the resources made available in these cases. It also notes that the Brussels state prosecutor’s office did not or is not acting with due diligence in the monitoring of the procedure, which currently appears to be blocked.

Finally, the commission has not obtained a response to the question of why the advocate general in the case of Vincent N. decided on a formal request that was contrary to his own conclusions and to the position taken for many months by the state prosecutor’s office.

In addition to these lapses, the commission feels that the communication between the government and the parliament with regard to the Rwanda dossier was far from ideal. It is true that the parliament, at least during the peacekeeping mission, showed--with only a few exceptions--very little interest in the Rwandan question. But the government provided the parliament with insufficient information. Both before and after the events of 7 April, the government was not sufficiently willing to furnish this information and the former and current ministers of foreign affairs and national defence gave parliament an incomplete, and therefore incorrect, description of the Belgian government's knowledge during the period in question, from November 1993 to April 1994.


In conclusion to its work, the commission has reached the following recommendations:

The reception and accompaniment of the victims’ families

As the Belgian Army was regularly engaged in peacekeeping operations abroad, it must pay particular attention to the reception and accompaniment of victims’ families.

  1. In those instances where there are victims as a result of said operations, the members of their families are always entitled to know what actually happened. As a result, the procedure for informing families must be changed. Families must be notified of the death of their loved ones before this information is disseminated to the press. In addition, this must be done in a dignified and humane manner. The Belgian army must allow the family of the deceased person to see the deceased if the family so wishes, and must prepare the family sufficiently to face this ordeal.
  2. Family members are also fully entitled to pay their respects to their deceased as they see fit. On these occasions, family wishes must take precedence over protocol rules.
  3. Families must receive social, medical and psychological assistance from people who are specially trained to manage difficult situations of this type. Families must receive clear documents.

Belgium’s decision to participate in UN peacekeeping operations

  1. The decision to take part in a UN peacekeeping operations must be the result of an in-depth analysis that takes account of the humanitarian, political and military aspects of the operation. This analysis must constitute the basis of the decision making process. In all instances where the government decides to participate in a mission, it must ensure that a series of conditions is met, such that the security of troops is maximised and the mission’s chances of success are optimised.
  2. If a decision is taken to participate in a UN operation, there cannot be confusion for the participating countries or the country concerned by the operation between the UN mission and the past and present links that exist between the countries in question. This is why it would be desirable for Belgium to cease furnishing contingents to UN operations carried out in former Belgian colonies. However, if necessary, this should not prevent Belgium, acting on its own initiative, to carry out evacuation missions in these countries.
  3. The commission feels that it is not desirable for Belgium to be involved in technical/ military co-operation at the same time as a UN peacekeeping operation. To do so would create ambiguous or even conflicting situations, which is not favourable to good co-operation in the field. The CTM should be suspended completely, it necessary, for the duration of the operation.
  4. The commission feels that the government must define a series of principles and criteria for Belgium’s participation in future UN peacekeeping operations, and must apply and assess these principles and criteria. In order to define these principles and criteria, it should base its work on the proposals that have been formulated in previous assessment reports.
  5. It is necessary to verify if staff, equipment and armament resources, as well as the necessary financial resources, are sufficient. The resources available from the operation’s outset must maximise staff protection and safety.
  6. It is necessary to provide a sufficient number of men (who need not necessarily all be Belgian, although they would have to be operational and credible partners), sufficient armament to enable the Belgian contingent to deal with any scenarios ( including "worst-case"). In its proposal, the general staff must always ensure that the Belgian detachment can create its own mobile reserve.
  7. In this connection, it would be desirable to be sure of the reliability and operational capacity of any partners in the peacekeeping mission. Close attention must be paid to ensuring that the other foreign contingents with which we are co-operating are sufficiently credible and have the necessary logistical support. Although an agreement on principal may be served in advance, under no circumstances can Belgium continue to send blue berets on a mission before knowing the complete composition of the UN force and before the country is sure that there is an official commitment concerning the contribution of all participating countries. This means that Belgium must, at all costs, avoid a situation whereby an additional contingent must be sent in order to be credible, while Belgian troops are in the field and the incomplete or unbalanced composition of the UN force means that they face superfluous risks.
  8. With regard to the number and nature of the missions, the general staff must always, when the mixed international intervention force has a QRF mission, do its utmost to assign this mission to a Belgian detachment. It may only derogate from this principal if a highly credible partner provides said QRF.
  9. The mandate assigned in the context of a peacekeeping operation is defined by the United Nations Security Council. The countries that provide troops for this type of operation must be involved in defining the mandate. In addition, the mandate must be designed such that missions may be modified in the event that one of the parties concerned fails to comply therewith.
  10. From a Belgian political perspective this means that, in the event that a decision is taken to participate in a peacekeeping operation, account must be taken of both the current situation and the possibility of a worst-case scenario. From a military perspective, this means taking account, with regard to the choice of armament and in the framework of the preparation of the troops, of the possibility of a deterioration of the situation, even if nothing suggests this at during preparations.
  11. Rules of engagement must be simple, clear and explicit. In addition, the peacekeeping force commander--and, if necessary, the Belgian contingent commander--must translate them into military directives that can be understood by troops. The rules of engagement must be sufficiently flexible in order to be adapted to a deterioration of the situation.

Technical preparation and the participation of a Belgium detachment in a UN mission

  1. Our troops must receive training that is adapted to their mission in the context of peacekeeping operations. Each detachment must receive specific training, which must last as long as necessary, based on the mission that they will carry out abroad. This training must include a complete briefing on the mission and a detailed and practical description of the rules of engagement, behaviour to be adopted in the field and the current situation in the country to which it will be sent.
  2. The commission proposes, as is the case in Scandinavian countries, that Belgium provide officers and possibly troops belonging to the armed forces and/or the future peacekeeping mission with special training that would enable them to play their new role as peacekeepers and peace-enforcers. The training could be provided in a larger context, such as that of WEU, NATO or the UN.
    This preparation cannot be given in lieu of normal military training. It cannot compromise, from either a material or psychological point of view, the possibility of engaging troops in armed conflict. "Policing missions" cannot supplant the operational and military nature.
  3. It is necessary to clearly explain the mandate and rules of engagement to the staff and to the men, including the contingent’s lowest ranking staff. Information provided "in streams", as was the case with UNAMIR, is insufficient.
  4. Sufficient time must be given to preparing military leaders before they leave on a United Nations peacekeeping mission. Military leaders who are in direct contact with the United Nations administration must receive detailed briefings (lessons) to enable them to become familiar with the United Nations’ budgetary, financial, administrative and logistical procedures.
  5. Before a Belgian detachment leaves on a United Nations service mission, the troops lodging must have been resolved such that the mission’s security and operational needs cannot be compromised. This housing must be inspected on site by Belgian military staff.
  6. When a Belgian detachment carries out a mission abroad, the troops must have all the modern operating resources that they used during their training. Senior military officials cannot cite budgetary reasons as a reason for engaging our troops with outdated equipment.
  7. Transmission and communications equipment must be adapted to the needs of the mission to be carried out. Our troops, including military staff at the lowest levels, abroad must have modern combat radios and sufficient mobile communications resources.
  8. Units that participate in UN operations must, at a minimum, have access to their normal complete armament. The quality of their armament must be at least equal to that of the belligerents (potential). The UN may set the usage arrangements for certain armament systems, but the Belgian units reserve the right to send to the mission site all weapons systems that they deem necessary or useful to their safety in difficult situations. In the case of legitimate defence,the units in question must have the express right to defend themselves with all available weapons.
  9. When the commander of a Belgian detachment abroad sends a request to the Evere operation centre to obtain munitions or equipment, this request must be examined as quickly as possible and, if appropriate, executed by the requested deadline.
  10. The commission feels that it is important for the peacekeeping mission’s mandate to devote special attention to media campaigns aimed at denigration, and more specifically, calls for destabilisation and violence.
  11. One of the detachment’s first tasks once in the field is to create a militarily applicable evacuation plan and a worst-case scenario. This plan and scenario must be communicated as quickly as possible to everyone, including the lowest ranks, and it is necessary to organise an exercise as quickly as possible in the event that this plan must be implemented or in the event that this scenario reflects the actual situation.
  12. In crisis situations, the military commanders of peacekeeping missions in the field must be able to interpret the mandate or the ROE'S, if the latter are not sufficiently clear, in order to enable the troops to react to the situation.
  13. Advisors on armed conflict law must receive a high level of training. Their ability to communicate with staff and to provide staff with technical explanations must be assessed. These persons must be highly qualified and satisfy very strict criteria.

The collection and analysis of information

  1. The UN must create its own information service, both in New York and in the field. This service would be devoted to early warning, based on available information, of possible sources of conflict. This will require the creation of a network of experts to collect information. Another possibility would be to co-operate with existing international regional security organisations (OAU, OSCE, etc.).
  2. The Belgian contingent must always have a solid information network of its own, composed of sufficiently trained information officers who, if possible, speak the language of the country. If this is not possible, trustworthy interpreters must be available at all times.
  3. For the purpose of information analysis, the SGR must have sufficient analysts to assess the content of each piece of information. In addition, information must systematically be sent to units in the field.


  1. The UN must have in the field an information unit in charge of explaining the peacekeeping mission to the local population and maintaining contacts with local and international media.

The functioning of the operations centre

  1. It is necessary to create a command centre at the level of the various forces. This centre must be responsible, vis-à-vis the head of general staff, for all activities relating to the preparation, execution, monitoring and following up of operations.
  2. The operations centre must have the most competent and most experienced staff, as well as the most modern telecommunications and computing equipment.
  3. The staff of the various forces and commanding officers of the designated units must be directly involved in the co-ordination and management of operations.
  4. The various levels’ competence and responsibilities must be specifically designated. In addition, the distribution of competence and responsibilities between the national authority and the UN command must be carefully distributed.

The functioning of the information and security service (SGR)

  1. The military information service (SGR) must be reformed, in particular to take account of the new law on information and security services. This service must above all become an effective and coherent instrument to support those responsible for operations--both at the level of the general staff and those in charge in the field. Analytical abilities must be considerably improved and used to provide those in charge with political options. Attention must be paid to the diversity of information sources and to the contradictory nature of analyses. In addition, it is important to organise and ongoing exchange of information between SGR and commanders in charge in the field. The SGR must be computerised and must function rapidly, precisely and flexibly.
  2. The SGR must be able to reinforce the units deployed in the field in the area of information; primarily by providing teams of specialised staff or by technical means.
  3. It is necessary to provide specific training to information officers, who may spend part of their career as specialists in this area at branch 2.

Co-ordination between the department of national defence and the army’s general staff

  1. It is necessary to optimise the transmission of information between staff and national defence advisors. Briefings by the general staff to the Evere operations centre must be sent on a daily basis to the minister. If necessary, the minister must monitor the information he receives on this matter.
  2. In deciding whether or not to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission, as well as how to prepare for and execute such an operation, the government should have a written opinion from the head of general staff.

Co-ordination between the foreign affairs and national defence departments

  1. The commission feels that the co-ordination between the ministers of foreign affairs and national defence cannot be limited to questions of minor importance and occasional contacts. This co-ordination must be organised in a structured manner and at the highest political level.
  2. The commission suggests that a representative of the foreign affairs department attend the daily meetings of the operations centre, particularly the SGR briefing, whenever Belgium participates in a military operation abroad.
  3. The Belgian government must have access to an analytical and co-ordinating instrument to prepare its policy via the collection, analysis and transposition of recommendations of information from the various sources of information available (foreign affairs, SGR, state security and others). Concretely, with regard to Africa, there is an urgent need to pay greater attention to reinforcing the "Africa" unit of the department of foreign affairs, and to making available more resources to improve its effectiveness.

The selection of officers to be sent on United Nations operations

  1. The staff officers that the Belgian army delegates to the UN’s general operations must be selected based on their professional competence for the function required, and must be able to work as part of an international team. Priority must be given to choosing officers who speak the language of the working environment.
  2. If the force commander is an officer of the Belgian army, he must be able to make recommendations concerning the designation of Belgian officers from his staff.
  3. Any function exercised in a UN headquarters must offer at least the same possibilities for promotion as a traditional career in the Armed Forces.

The assessment of operations by the military authorities

  1. It is necessary to provide an in-depth and detailed debriefing after each military operation abroad. In order to lay the groundwork for subsequent missions, it will be necessary to translate this debriefing’s observations into operating guidelines and to transmit them to all military bodies involved, as well as the government.

The international community and the United Nations

  1. With regard to the United Nations, the commission limited itself to examining the aspects of this organisation’s functioning that are linked to the missions of peacekeeping of the type carried out in Rwanda.
    It refers to the "Overall report on the lessons learned from United Nations mission for assistance in Rwanda", published by the humans peacekeeping operations department in December 1996, as well as to the study of the "Joint evaluation of emergency assistance to Rwanda" (published in March 1996).
    In addition, the commission calls on the Senate’s commission on foreign affairs to examine, as soon as possible, the question of the necessary reforms that should be made to United Nations structures and operations and to its Security Council with regard to crisis situations and peacekeeping operations.
  2. Pending suggestions for reforms by the commissioner of foreign affairs, the commission believes that, whatever the circumstances, the Security Council must be required to immediately examine the reports from the humans human-rights commission. These reports must be taken into consideration and special reporters on human-rights must be heard as part of the process to take a decision relating to the sending of a peacekeeping mission.
  3. It is advisable that each of the countries that, in one way or another, was involved in the events in Rwanda, as well as the United Nations, carry out an in-depth analysis and assessment of what happened. The Belgian Senate therefore calls on the parliaments of the various countries to examine this problem.
  4. After each mission, the UN must immediately set up an assessment unit composed of representatives of the participating countries. This unit’s report will be sent to the various governments, who can send it their parliament for assessment. At the request of parliament, the UN's reporter may be heard on the subject.

International inquiry on the assassination of the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in April 1994

  1. The United Nations must take the initiative to carry out an international inquiry on the assassination of the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in April 1994.

Modification of Belgian domestic law

  1. The commission believes that it is necessary to include in domestic criminal law provisions that punish crimes against humanity, in particular the crime of genocide.

The parliament’s information

  1. When our country participates in a mission abroad, a working group of the Senate’s foreign affairs commission will closely monitor its development and will inform parliament thereof.
  2. The commission calls on the government to report to the Senate once a year during the next five years on the progress made in the execution of these recommendations.

(1) The text of this memorandum appears in annex

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