Concerned to dispel the apprehensions of prosecution and defence witnesses who contribute to the discovery of the truth before the Tribunal in Arusha, the Registry sections involved make constant and sustained efforts to maintain a suitably calm environment and to ensure that witnesses are shielded from any further trauma.
In that light, and because of public allegations made by certain Rwandan authorities and non-governmental organizations as to the mistreatment of certain prosecution witnesses from Rwanda, the Registrar of the Tribunal, on 4 March 2002, proposed to the Government of Rwanda to establish a commission to investigate those allegations.
On 16 April 2002, the Registrar of the Tribunal wrote to the Minister of Justice and Institutional Relations to advise him of the withdrawal of the proposal because of an inability to agree on certain fundamental points, beyond compromise, regarding the proposed commission's terms of reference. The reformulation by the Minister of Justice of the initial terms of reference proposed by the Registrar would have entailed the expansion of the scope of the commission's mandate and investigations to include matters concerning the management of staff of Rwandan origin, and the arrangements made for the care and protection of prosecution and defence witnesses.
The Registrar will nevertheless spare no effort to shed light on the allegations of mistreatment of witnesses from Rwanda. If necessary, the Registrar will take such appropriate measures as lie within his powers, in compliance with the applicable rules, and that are consistent with the excellent spirit of cooperation that the Tribunal has always enjoyed on the part of Member States, including Rwanda.
The Registrar wishes to reassure the Rwandan authorities and witnesses, in particular those from Rwanda, that the Tribunal is committed to making certain that, as always, witnesses called to testify in Arusha for either the prosecution or the defence will not suffer any mistreatment, and that their welfare and security will continue to be ensured in the interest of the proper administration of justice.