Arusha, October 30th, 2002 (FH) - The president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Navanethem Pillay, has invited senior Rwandan officials to the court in Tanzania to discuss strained relations between the two, Hirondelle has learnt. "Relations between the ICTR and Rwanda will be part of the agenda for the visit", ICTR chief of press and public affairs, Tom Kennedy said.

1 min 33Approximate reading time

Relations between Rwanda and the ICTR are at an all time low with Rwanda accusing the ICTR of incompetence and the former accusing Rwanda of refusing to co-operate in war crimes investigations on its army. The ICTR has filed a complaint of non co-operation before the Security Council to which Rwanda has responded. Yet, no resolution is known to have been taken by the Security Council on the complaints. The Rwandan officials invited are; Minister of justice and institutional relations, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, Prosecutor general, Gerard Gahima and President of the Supreme Court, Simeon Rwagasore. The three have been invited to the tribunal for "the first week of November", according to a source in the ICTR that preferred anonymity. Kennedy couldn't confirm whether the Rwandan officials had responded to the invitation. None of the Rwandan officials could be reached for comment. According to the invitation, the Rwandan officials would meet the ICTR president, registrar, Adama Dieng and Prosecutor Carla del Ponte. Two major Rwandan genocide survivor's organisations, IBUKA and AVEGA suspended co-operation with the ICTR early this year and advised their members not to testify at the ICTR. Many trials at the ICTR were consequently suspended several times for lack of witnesses. The organisations were protesting, among others allegations, that genocide suspects were employed by the tribunal and that witnesses were mistreated by tribunal officials. A joint commission between Rwanda and the ICTR to study the matter was disbanded after the two failed to agree on its mandate. In the middle of this year, Rwanda announced that it was not going to co-operate with the ICTR prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) members during the war that put the present government in power. Rwanda says it has carried out its own investigations and trials. Later on, Rwandan immigration officials imposed new travel requirements for witnesses leaving Rwanda to testify at the ICTR in Tanzania. The ICTR said the new requirements, which Rwanda insisted were "regular requirements for all Rwandans" leaving the country, were an impediment to witness travel and security. GG/FH(RW-1030e)