Judge Navanethem Pillay, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today expressed her regret that the Rwandan Minister of Justice, Mr. Jean de Dieu Mucyo and the Prosecutor General, Mr. Gerald Gahima, had cancelled their official visit to the Tribunal which was scheduled to begin today.
“On 22 October last I wrote to the Minister inviting him, Mr Gahima and the President of the Rwandan Supreme Court Judge Simeon Rwagasore to visit the Tribunal in order to observe, first hand, the trials in progress. Such a visit would also 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.
Rwanda, like all UN Member States, must recognize the independence of the Tribunal. Nonetheless, it is the country with which we are the most closely concerned and it is therefore unfortunate that since the establishment of the Tribunal, no member of the Rwandan Government has made an official visit to the institution. A delegation of Judges of the Tribunal visited Rwanda in June 2001 and the dialogue we had on that occasion greatly helped us to understand the concerns of the Government and people of Rwanda.
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, in particular with regard to the transfer of witnesses from Rwanda to give evidence in the trials. I wrote to the United Nations Security Council on 26 July and 8 August (Security Council Documents S/2002/847 and S/2002/923) on that matter requesting it to use such measures as it deemed appropriate to ensure that the Tribunal could meet its mandate.
The Tribunal, as a subsidiary organ of the Security Council, relies upon the support of the United Nations and of all of its Member States, including Rwanda, in order to complete its mandate. The Prosecutor and the Registrar join me in hoping that the Rwandan authorities will reconsider their position enabling such a visit to Arusha to be arranged in the New Year.”