The Registrar of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Assistant Secretary-General Adama Dieng visited the Democratic Republic of Congo from 12-16 February 2002 as part of a drive to enhance the cooperation of States in the Central African region with the International Tribunal. During his visit, the Registrar sought the cooperation of the Government of that country in handing over to the Tribunal persons indicted or suspected of crimes of genocide and other violations of international humanitarian law in Rwanda in 1994.
Mr. Dieng was received in audience by the President of the DRC, H.E. Mr. Joseph Kabila on Friday 15 February 2002 in the capital Kinshasa. The Congolese leader expressed his support for the work of the ICTR and assured the Registrar of the cooperation of his Government with the Tribunal. Mr. Dieng said he communicated to President Kabila the need to arrest and hand over to the Tribunal suspects believed to be living in the DRC. “The Democratic Republic of Congo is a key State in the Central African region for the ultimate success of the ICTR in discharging its mandate”, the senior United Nations official said. “We are very pleased with President Kabila’s assurances of support and look forward to expected further developments on this matter”.
Several high-ranking individuals suspected of involvement in the Rwanda genocide fled to the DRC in the aftermath of the genocide, a factor that has contributed to the conflict in that country in recent years. The Lusaka Peace Accords of 1999 on the conflict in the DRC provided for the handing over to the ICTR of combatants in that conflict who participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Mr. Dieng is currently visiting the neighbouring Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), also to seek that country’s cooperation with the ICTR in handing over suspects wanted by the Tribunal. Like the DRC, the Tribunal believes that some important suspects of the genocide are residing in the Republic of Congo. The ICTR Registrar arrived in the Congolese capital of Brazzaville on 16 February and met this morning with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. Rodolphe Adada. The Registrar is scheduled to conclude his visit with an audience with the President of the Republic of Congo, H.E. Mr. Sassou Nguesso.
Video Link Used in Witness Testimony
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, for the first time today, used video conferencing facilities to hear testimony of a protected witness called by the Prosecutor. The video link facility enabled the witness, named “X”, to testify directly from the premises of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, The Netherlands, in the “Media Case” involving Hassan Ngeze, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza.
The case is before Trial Chamber I, composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay, presiding, Erik Møse and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana.
The video link has been made possible using satellite facilities provided for by United Nations Headquarters in New York .
In the meantime plans are underway to install a Digital Broadcast Quality Conference Platform in Arusha which would enable teleconferencing and direct broadcast of court proceedings from the Tribunal to recipients in Kigali, Rwanda, The Hague and New York.
The Platform is expected to be in place before the end of this year. The system will also give a boost to the Tribunal’s outreach programme in Rwanda by making it possible to relay important trials directly to the Rwandan people through their local Television and Radio Station.