The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) held a workshop in Kigali on 10-11 November with Rwandan justice officials where they discussed the ICTR completion strategy and the transfer of cases to Rwanda.
The workshop participants discussed how to develop a process for transferring ICTR cases and convicts to Rwanda as an integral part of the Tribunal’s completion strategy. They also reviewed strategies for soliciting funds from the international community for capacity building in the Rwandan justice sector.
During the opening ceremony, Madame Eda MUKABAGWIZA, the Minister of Justice, said the presence of the ICTR senior officials at the workshop indicates that the ICTR belongs to the Rwandan people and that the completion strategy calls for a corresponding strategy in Rwanda. She added that it was very important for both the ICTR and the Government of Rwanda to commit their institutions to a smooth, effective and successful transition.
Representing the ICTR Registrar, Mr. Everard O’Donnell, OIC, Deputy Registrar, thanked the Rwandan government for its efforts in organizing such an important workshop to address key issues concerning the completion strategy and transfer of cases to Rwanda. He said that the Tribunal was prepared to ensure that international standards are applied in bringing to trial those responsible for the 1994 genocide.
He pointed out that the ICTR has made progress in bringing to justice those most responsible for the genocide. The Tribunal has so far arrested 72 people. It has completed the trials of 26 and another 18 are awaiting trial.
Speaking on behalf of the Prosecutor, the Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. Bongani Majola emphasized that despite the planned closing of the ICTR in 2010, of it is important that nobody be allowed to escape justice. Efforts to transfer some of the cases to the Rwandan jurisdiction will go a long way towards ensuring that all those suspected bearing the highest responsibility in the 1994 genocide are brought to justice. He added that is it important therefore that the international community lend support to the Rwandan government to ensure that those who planned the genocide will receive a fair trial in Rwanda and that victims see justice being done.
The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with ICTR. The funding for the workshop was provided jointly by the European Commission under its Rule of Law Project and the Finnish Government through the ICTR Outreach Programme.