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Kigali, 26 May 2007 (FH) – Mrs. Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, went to Rwanda for a 2 days visit last Thursday and Friday in order to evaluate the situation of Human Rights in the country, we learned from a communiqué of the Rwandan Minister of Justice Friday.
Louise Arbour was received by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Tharcisse Karugarama, who informed her about the state of justice in general and of Human Rights in particular, specifies the communiqué.
“After the genocide of 1994, Rwanda has launched several reforms concerning Human Rights and Justice, as the reform of justice, the creation of a Constitution and a new criminal code based on the respect of the personal rights. A campaign for the abolition of the capital punishment has been conducted throughout the country and soon a law will be passed”, reads the communiqué, quoting the Minister.
According to the same source, Mr. Karugarama confided to Mrs. Arbour that in addition to the different national commissions for the defence of Human Rights, Rwanda concentrates itself on the prevention and the fight against sexual violence.
Mrs. Louise Arbour congratulated on the improvement of justice and said that the efforts will limit the inadequacies in the “current reports” concerning the matter of Human Rights, the source underlined.
According to the National Office of the Gacaca courts, Mrs. Arbour also visited this institution. According to a communiqué, Mrs. Domitille Mukantaganzwa, in charge with the institution, recalled that even if the official deadline of the Gacaca was the 31/12/2007, the trials behind schedule would still take place before these courts, since the goal would be Justice, not a race against time. The officer regrets that the lack of “truth” in the trials not only slowed down the process but also created a serious handicap of reconciliation between brothers and neighbours, victims and perpetrators of the genocide.
Congratulating the Gacaca courts as a “pure Rwandan solution” to the problems of the genocide, Mrs. Arbour promised to contact proprietors to solve the problem of the storage of images and files, according to the communiqué.
Officially, no meeting with the Head of State, Paul Kagame, had been announced, whereas some unofficial sources in Kigali and the communiqué of the UNHCR announcing this visit had announced it. Mrs. Arbour has met the Head of State already several times during her office as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda between October 1996 and September 1999.
This visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded a trip in the region of the Great Lakes, during which she also went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to Burundi.
© Hirondelle News Agency