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Canadian General Put On Leave

November 3, 1998

TORONTO (AP) _ The Canadian general who led a United Nations mission in Rwanda and witnessed the horrors of the 1994 genocide there has been put on indefinite mental health leave.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who has acknowledged experiencing nightmares and post-traumatic stress, was ordered to take a 30-day medical leave in late September.

On Monday, military authorities said Dallaire’s leave had been extended indefinitely.

``It’s a medical question between him and his doctor,″ said Lt. Yves Vanier, a military spokesman. ``His return to work is based on the progress of his recovery.″

Dallaire had been serving as an associate defense minister in charge of military personnel. In the months before taking leave, he had championed the cause of soldiers suffering psychological effects from service abroad.

He had urged commanders and soldiers to take post-traumatic stress syndrome seriously and treat its victims with the same care as the casualties of battlefield wounds.

Dallaire was commander of an ill-fated U.N. contingent posted in Rwanda at the beginning of the genocide there. In testimony this year before the International Criminal Tribunal, Dallaire said the world community should have done more to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus by Hutu extremists.

The Belgian Senate accused Dallaire of negligence in the death of 10 Belgian soldiers under his command who were massacred after he assigned them to guard the Rwandan prime minister.

Canada’s Defense Department stood by Dallaire, discounting the Belgian allegations.

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