Arusha, April 7, 2004 (FH) – On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that cost the lives of an estimated one million people, the majority of genocide suspects held by the International Criminal Tribunal fro Rwanda (ICTR), made a negative assessment of the jurisdiction. In a letter sent to the UN headquarters in New York of which Hirondelle News Agency has a copy, the detainees denounce and accuse the ICTR of “supporting impunity” and “obstruction of justice”.

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They point out that “ten years after the triggering of the unspeakable cataclysm that took the lives of thousands of Rwandans… the best way to honour their memory is to bring into the open the truth of this drama by judging fairly and in complete independence all responsible for the cataclysm”. They underscored the necessity for the UN to investigate on the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana on the night of April 6, 1994 which triggered the genocide. The detainees demand that the preliminary findings in the investigations of French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, which were leaked last month by the French daily Le Monde, should be a basis for finding out those responsible for the tragedy. The French investigator, who was not mandated by the United Nations, pointed a finger at Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as being the chief architect of the attack on Habyarimana. Kagame has categorically denied the Frenchman's allegations. “Today the world believes that the perpetrators of that ignoble attack is the one most responsible for the chaos that followed”, say the detainees. They condemn the attitude of UN officials and judges at the ICTR whom they accuse of “conducting political trials where victor's justice reigns over the principles of justice and fairness”. They also denounce the” strategy of basing accusation on erroneous notions”, where the prosecutor “makes arrests without a warrant or a confirmed indictment”. The UN detention facilities built by the ICTR in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, today hold 54 prisoners. 12 of them have either been sentenced by the trial chamber and are awaiting a decision from the appeals chamber, or have had their sentences confirmed and are waiting to be transferred to prisons where they will serve their sentences. GA/CE/KN/FH (DE''0407e)