The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow, accompanied by the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Rwanda, Ambassador David Macrae on Tuesday 18 February and Friday 20 February 2009, inaugurated two more information centres in Nyamagabe and Muhanga Districts in the Southern Province.
The first one to be inaugurated was that of Gasabo in Gasabo District of Kigali City, that was officially opened by the Registrar of ICTR, Mr. Adama Dieng, on 14 November 2008. The two centers are among the ten Documentation Centers that the ICTR has established throughout the country.
Located at the offices of the Intermediate Courts of Instance, the facilities were set up within the framework of the cooperation between the ICTR and the Government of Rwanda. In his inaugural speech, the ICTR Prosecutor said that the launching of these two centers was a testimony of the strong cooperation between Rwanda, the European Commission and the ICTR.
‘’As we inaugurate these Centres, we have a strong hope that the knowledge base of lawyers in provincial courts will be expanded and strengthened through their easy access to and use of the tools and technologies they are provided with, and for which they have been effectively trained to ensure their efficient use”, Mr. Jallow, said at one of the launching ceremonies. He expressed ICTR’s gratitude to the European Union for its support in the establishment of the centers and the Government of Rwanda for its generous and graceful contribution in making available the facilities for the ICTR centers in all ten locations in the country.
The Prosecutor also pointed out that the centers will play a crucial role in providing continued genocide-related education which will encourage genocide prevention and promote peace and security in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region. Spe
aking on behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the Presidents of the Intermediate Courts of Nyamagabe and Muhanga pointed out that the Government of Rwanda acknowledges the maximum support the European Union and ICTR have been providing in rehabilitating and developing the Justice Sector in the Country.
'’It is not the first time the ICTR and the European Union have been at the forefront in supporting Rwanda’s judiciary. These centres are important for our judicial professionals, to maximize the resources available hence reinforcing the capacities of the justice sector in Rwanda’’, said both government officials during the ceremonies. At the same functions, the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Rwanda, Ambassador David Macrae expressed his appreciation for the work being done by the ICTR in the promotion of Justice in Rwanda.
He pointed out that the European Union has been financing ICTR activities and the Justice Sector in Rwanda as means of supporting a well functioning justice system in the country. The European Commission diplomat emphasized his organization’s commitment to help Rwanda achieve its goal of strengthening the country’s Judiciary. In his addresses, the Master of Ceremonies Mr. Roland Amoussouga, Spokesman of the ICTR and Chief of the External Relations and Strategic Planning Section said that the establishment of the provincial centres is instrumental in the dissemination of the Tribunal Information to the Rwandan Population and will also enable researchers to have easy access to Legal Documents.
The Project of Information and Documentation Centres dates back to September 2000, when the first Umusanzu mu Bwiyunge Center was inaugurated in Kigali City in an attempt to bridge the information gap. Every Centre is furnished with reserved space for the screening of documentaries, DVDs, VHS Tapes, TV shows; modern library rooms with common domains which include Human Rights Law in general, Common Law, the Great Lakes Region, Rwanda, ICTR and other countries, etc. All these facilities are also provided with computers and related equipment as well as internet connections for online research and other usages. The other centers expected to be opened soon are all located at the Intermediate Courts of Instance in seven locations; namely Nyagatare, Rusizi, Karongi, Ngoma, Musanze, Rubavu and Gicumbi.
The ceremonies were attended by the President of the High Court of the Republic in Nyanza, the Presidents of both Intermediate Courts of Instance, Prosecutors, Districts’ Mayors, Senior Districts’ Civilians and Administrative Officers and ICTR senior staff from Kigali.