UN tribunal for Rwandan genocide urges continued support from Member States

UN tribunal for Rwandan genocide urges continued support from Member States

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the 1994 Rwandan genocide says it will not succeed in meeting the Security Council-imposed timetable for completing its work unless UN Member States help to arrest suspects still at large, accept the transfer of cases and provide enough funds for it to conduct the remaining trials.

In its annual report, covering July 2006 to June this year, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) says it is committed to doing all it can to meet the “completion strategy,” the Council plan under which all trials, excluding appeals, are supposed to be finished by the end of next year.

But the strategy’s success “will continue to depend on the assistance and cooperation of States.”

The Tribunal states it has intensified its prosecutorial and judicial work, with 27 cases involving 33 accused people having so far completed the trial stage, while the trials of 22 accused in nine different cases remain in progress and eight other detainees await trial. One case was transferred to the Netherlands during the year, while 30 others were handed over to prosecutors in Rwanda’s judicial system.

The annual report, released today, says the ICTR – which is based in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania – will continue to try to improve the Rwandan judicial system and strengthen its capacity so that it can handle transferred cases.

“In the process of achieving its mandate, the Tribunal also contributes to bring justice to victims of the massive crimes that were committed, and is continuously establishing a record of facts that will aid reconciliation in Rwanda,” the report notes in its conclusions.

“The Tribunal will leave a legacy of international jurisprudence that can guide future courts and deter the future commission of these grave crimes, and prevent impunity by potential perpetrators.”

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered, mostly by machete or club, across Rwanda in less than 100 days starting in early April 1994. Later that year the Security Council established the ICTR to deal with the worst cases.