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Rwandan ministers cancel visit to UN tribunal

Rwandan ministers cancel visit to UN tribunal

Continuing a trend of eroding relations between the Rwandan Government and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a senior delegation from Kigali has cancelled a planned visit to the Arusha-based court.

The Rwandan Minister of Justice, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, and the Prosecutor General Gerald Gahmia, had been slated to arrive today for talks with Tribunal officials.

ICTR President Judge Navanethem Pillay expressed regret over the cancellation, saying it was "unfortunate that since the establishment of the Tribunal, no member of the Rwandan Government has made an official visit to the institution."

"This year our relations with Rwanda have sadly deteriorated to the point where two Trial Chambers were obliged to remind the Government of its legal obligation of cooperation with the Tribunal," Judge Pillay said.

The visit had been designed to allow the Rwandan officials to observe trials in progress, and to "give the delegation the possibility to be briefed in detail on the organization and functioning of the Tribunal as well as providing the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual concern," she noted.

Judge Pillay voiced hope that the Rwandan authorities "will reconsider their position enabling such a visit to Arusha to be arranged in the New Year."