Arusha, February 19, 2002 (FH) - The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Assistant Secretary General Adama Dieng has urged the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to hand over to the Tribunal indicted genocide suspects. "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 Registrar said during a visit to the DRC.

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The Registrar visited the DRC from February 12th - 16th, as part of a drive to enhance co-operation of Central African states with the Tribunal, according to an ICTR press release. He sought the DRC's support in handing over persons suspected of crimes of genocide and other violations of international humanitarian law during the bloody 1994 events in Rwanda. Dieng met with the President of the DRC Joseph Kabila on Friday, February 15th and the Congolese leader assured him of his government's co-operation with the Tribunal. "We are very pleased with President Kabila's assurances of support and look forward to expected further developments on this matter", Dieng said. According to the ICTR some individuals suspected of involvement in the Rwanda genocide fled to the DRC. The Lusaka Peace Accords of 1999 on the conflict in DRC provided for the handing over of combatants in that conflict who had particptaed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The ICTR Registrar also visited the Republic of Congo Brazzaville where he met Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Rodolphe Adada. The ICTR believes that some important genocide suspects are also residing in Congo Brazzaville. Dieng was scheduled to conclude his visit to the Republic of Congo Brazzaville with a meeting with country's President Sassou Nguesso. SW/JA/FH (ICTR-0219e)