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Major-General Henry Anyidoho (Retired)

Major-General Henry Anyidoho (Retired) served as the deputy force commander and chief of staff for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). He has also served in international peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Liberia, Cambodia, and Darfur. At the conference, he and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire shed light on the experience before and during the Rwandan genocide from the viewpoint of the peacekeepers. Here he reflects on the lessons he learned from his time with UNAMIR.


Well, thank you for asking me to talk to you. As a former deputy force commander and chief of staff for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, some very important lessons I pick out from that mission are, one, in selecting the heads of mission, particular attention must be paid to the background of the individual. As someone who is prepared to stay the course of the mission even if the situation becomes perilous, the same thing applies to the military commanders. The military is trained and they are given a task, they should fulfill their mandate and if the situation degenerates, there will be no alternative but to stay the course. The alternative is not to pack your bag and baggage and get away.

This is one thing I think the UN must find a way of making very clear to contributing countries, so the interference of command in the process of executing a mission’s mandate will be eliminated. But in the past, force commander gives instructions, and the contingent commander from country A also receive instructions from his own country, and this kind of diluted command instructions in the military when you really need people to work, it doesn't really work.

Otherwise I think peacekeeping has become the battle field of today because of the conflicts all over the world. We haven’t fought in conventional warfare for a long time, but conflicts have engulfed the whole world. And therefore it’s the people who are being trained in the art of military warfare that will be called upon to go into emergency situations and the world should be better prepared. Thank you very much.