Arusha, July 6, 2001 (FH) - Judgements at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will motivate the people of Rwanda to seek reconciliation, former Deputy Prosecutor Bernard Muna of Cameroon said on Thursday. "I know that judgments made will help to curb feelings in Rwanda," Muna told a farewell function for him, organized by the Cameroonian community at the ICTR.

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But he also said that the people of Rwanda must sit together to work towards reconciliation, as the efforts to reach justice should start with within. Muna was the head of the ICTR's Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in the Rwandan capital Kigali for four years. Muna told the gathering, which included Tribunal judges, that the ICTR was doing a wonderful job and making people worldwide say that atrocities and abuse of human rights should not be allowed to continue. "The price we will pay if we allow conflict to dominate will be too high in terms of human life," he said. "We have to keep working and make it a success so that the weak can know that one day justice will prevail all over Africa and all over the world. ""For the first time," Muna continued, "we are all saying collectively that if you do this to a human being, we will do this to you. It is having an effect, it is not just noise. I will be steadfast in supporting the ICTR, I will be your ambassador wherever I go," he told the gathering. Muna said that it was not fair for critics to compare the output of the ICTR with that of other international courts (notably the UN's other ad hoc tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia) without also comparing the working conditions and environments of the personnel. "The pioneer's job is never easy," said Muna. "You never reach perfection but that is the beauty, you keep trying. "ICTR Registrar Adama Dieng of Senegal said that Muna had left his post with no regret, no despair. Dieng said he had known Muna for more than 25 years as a man who sought justice, particularly social justice for the masses in the rural areas. "I can tell you he will always continue to bring his services to this Tribunal," Dieng said. ICTR President Navanethem Pillay of South Africa said Muna had promised to continue supporting the work of the ICTR. "If it had not been for Muna we wouldn't have made progress on the cases we did. He made history on these," she said. Chief of Prosecutions Ken Fleming of Australia, representing the Office of the Prosecutor, described Muna as a magnanimous man with a huge charisma and deep compassion for the African continent. Muna left the ICTR last May after serving the Tribunal for four years. He resigned by mutual agreement with ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte of Switzerland, who has been trying to improve recruitment and efficiency in her office. Former Registrar Okali and Muna have been blamed for retaining a number of staff who were not performing. Muna has not yet been replaced. SW/JC/PHD/FH (ICTR0706E)