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UN tribunal responds to Rwanda's allegations of inefficiency, corruption

UN tribunal responds to Rwanda's allegations of inefficiency, corruption

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has written a letter to the President of the Security Council responding to allegations by Kigali of inefficiency and corruption.

In an annex to the letter, which was released today, ICTR President Judge Navanethem Pillay notes the problems the court has had in obtaining witnesses from Rwanda for trials in Arusha, Tanzania, and says that the lack of cooperation has severely disrupted trial proceedings, setting them back by several months.

Judge Pillay also defends the Tribunal's treatment of witnesses, who come under the care of a witness support unit, and notes that over 80 per cent of the witnesses testify anonymously and are given appropriate security protection before, during and after they take the stand.

Meanwhile, the President notes efforts by the Tribunal to reform its management over the years and to pick up the pace of trials, a process which is expected to improve after the Council’s approval earlier this month of the creation of a pool of 18 additional ad litem, or short-term, judges.

"The International Tribunal believes that it has become…important for the Security Council to underscore the independence and impartiality of the Tribunal and the obligation of all States, including Rwanda, to cooperate with [it]," the letter says.