On 19 October 1999, H.E. Mr. Jacques Bihozagara, Ambassador of Rwanda to the European Union, Benelux and The Vatican, Mr. Gerald Gahima, Chief Prosecutor of Rwanda and Colonel Andrew Rwigamba, Military Prosecutor met Ms Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It was the first time that an official delegation from Rwanda had visited the Tribunal Prosecutor’s office in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The Prosecutor welcomed the delegation and expressed her appreciation for the excellent cooperation between ICTR and Rwandan. She said that she will travel to Rwanda next month to meet the Rwandan authorities and visit her office in Kigali. She will also meet with the Judges and the Registrar at the Headquarters of the Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. Ms Del Ponte also mentioned that ICTR is her top priority and that she intends to appear before the Tribunal in a few trials.
The delegation assured the Prosecutor of the full cooperation of Rwanda with the Office of the Prosecutor.
The delegation also met Ms Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, President of the ICTR Appeals Chamber and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). They discussed the relationship between ICTR and Rwanda. President McDonald recalled her visit to Rwanda in 1997 where she met with various officials of the Government of Rwanda. She said that although she is leaving the tribunals (Judge McDonald has resigned, effective 17 November 1999), her personal commitment to achieving justice in Rwanda will remain.
This visit follows that of Mr. Martin Ngoga, Special Representative of the Government of Rwanda to the ICTR in Arusha (see Press Release no. 226) and is further demonstration of Rwanda’s support for the Tribunal and its work.