“ICTR convictions will remind people that their future is not safe if human rights are not respected,” declared the President of the Republic of Finland, H.E. Ms. Tarja Halonen, when she visited the seat of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), in Arusha, Tanzania yesterday. President Halonen is the first sitting Head of State to visit the ICTR.
President Halonen, accompanied by the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Honorourable Mr. Jakaya M. Kikwete, and the Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania, The Honourable Mr. Jorma Paukku, visited the ICTR in order to observe and be updated on its progress.
President Halonen, Minister Kikwete and Ambassador Paukku were received by the acting President of the ICTR, Judge Erik Møse, the Prosecutor, Mme. Carla Del Ponte, and the Registrar, Mr. Adama Dieng. President Halonen assured them, “The ICTR is a pioneering institution and you should know that you are well-supported and we will provide every assistance.”
President Halonen, elected in February 2000, is Finland’s first female head of state. Trained as a lawyer, she served as both Minister of Justice and of Foreign Affairs prior to becoming President.