The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in joint collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, on 25 May 2012, commissioned the German funded Video-Tele – Conference (VTC) facilities in Rwanda. The launching ceremony was held at the Main Court Room of the Rwanda Supreme Court in Kigali.
Speaking during the occasion, the ICTR Registrar, Mr Adama Dieng, said that the launch of the facility was one more step in Rwanda’s efforts to embrace modern tools in the delivery of efficient justice. He pointed out that there were several good reasons associated with the video link facility that will make it easier in giving testimonies as this development does not require the physical presence of a witness in court.
“This facility will enable a sitting chamber to hear evidence in real-time from witnesses located inside and outside of Rwanda who, may be unable to travel to Kigali to bear witnesses before Rwandan Courts” stressed the Registrar.
The ICTR Registrar added that this project was undertaken to assist Rwanda to meet some international standards, in order to qualify for the transfer of cases from ICTR and that the facility ,if used efficiently, would provide extended efficiency to the Rwanda domestic judicial system . Finally, he thanked the German Government who funded the project.
Speaking during the occasion Prof. Samuel Rugege, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Rwanda commended the new development saying it was timely as some of the cases involving persons prosecuted for the 1994 crimes of genocide had been transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR, with more to come. It was in this context that the facility will significantly contribute to the efficient and effective delivery of justice, he added.
‘’ We are passing through a transformative phase and while we are faced with challenges of great magnitude such as resource constraints, these are certainly not insurmountable. To this end, I would like to thank the partners who are working with us, but urge all of us to intensify our efforts for a better justice sector”, Prof. Rugege stated.
He further expressed his profound appreciation to the government and people the Federal Republic of Germany for funding the project and to the ICTR for having accepted to implement this Project. The video-conference system installed in Kigali is the first of its kind in the region.
In his remarks, the Charge d’affaires of the Embassy of Germany, H. E. Mr. Wolfgang Wiesner, said that the video facility will be very helpful in strengthening the Justice Sector in Rwanda. The German Government representative also underscored his country’s support to Rwandan Government and its people in promoting unity and reconciliation.
He added that his Government through the ICTR had funded other important projects including ‘The Youth Sensitization Project in the Great Lakes Region and will continue to be an active partner in the support towards the capacity building of the Rwandan Judiciary.
The occasion was also attended by the Chief Justice of Kenya, Justice Willy Mutunga, the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, Mr Martin Ngoga, the President of High Court of Rwanda, Mr. Johnstone Busingye, senior officials from the Rwandan Judiciary and ICTR among others, Mr. Roland Amoussouga, the ICTR Spokesperson and Chief of the External Relations and Strategic Planning Section.