Arusha, 18 July 2007 (FH) - Several detainees have accused the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of being diverted of its mandate while abstaining from prosecuting the former rebels that are in power in Kigali.  

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These allegations are contained in a letter addressed to the Heads of state or government of the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council by 43 of the 55 persons detained in Arusha, which the Hirondelle news agency received a copy on Wednesday.

"While condemning unreservedly the large scale massacres that plunged Rwanda into mourning, they are keen on denouncing the misrepresentation of the truth on the true causes of that tragedy and the impunity granted by the ICTR to the real planners and triggers of that catastrophe who are none other than the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) leaders currently in power in Kigali".

The detainees reiterate a position expressed on several previous occasions in correspondences to other authorities which are that the attack against the plane of President Habyarimana on 6 April 1994 sparked the genocide and accuse the RPF to be the authors of that attack. The leaders of the RPF have always denied this accusation.

The detainees state that the Prosecutor received a mandate which spells out clearly that both parties in the conflict will be concerned by prosecution but that he has not assumed his obligations. According to them, the tribunal "has turned away from the mandate assigned to it by the UN Security Council".

"On the eve of closing the Tribunal, one is forced to the conclusion that, contrary to what is happening at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), only Rwandan Hutus, for the mere reason that they are defeated Hutus who occupied positions of responsibility or other more or less important social positions, have been prosecuted before this tribunal", the detainees write.

"However, numerous persons devoted to the cause of justice and fairness, have denounced the discriminatory prosecution and partiality prevailing at the ICTR to the detriment of the reconciliation of the Rwandan people", they add.

"We humbly raise our voices to alert your Excellency so that you may bring the UN Security Council to see to it that the mandate of the ICTR is scrupulously adhered to and that the Tribunal fulfils its mission of administering justice according to its Statute, of fighting against impunity and of contributing to national reconciliation", they ask the five Heads of state and government.

The Prosecutor of the ICTR declared that he is continuing the evaluation of the elements collected during his investigations into the crimes allegedly committed by the RPF and that at the proper time he will announce his conclusions.

The five countries which have a permanent seat at the UN Security Council are the United States, Russia, France, China and the United Kingdom.


© Hirondelle News Agency