The Hague, 2 November 2007 (FH) - The organization for the defence of human rights, Amnesty International, requested in an official statement communicated Friday to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) not to transfer any case to Kigali, as long as the national legal system will not have proven itself.   

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"We fully support the development of the national criminal justice system in Rwanda", writes in an official statement the official responsible for Africa for the organization, Erwin van der Broght; but as long as "all the criteria necessary for a fair and impartial trial are not in place, we exhort the ICTR and the national governments to refuse any transfer of cases to Rwanda". Conscious of the constraints imposed by the Security Council, which imposes the tribunal to finish all its cases by the end of 2010, the London based organization suggests that the ICTR "inform the Security Council that it needs more time and means to finish the cases in progress, instead of transferring cases to a system where there are risks of torture and unfair trials ".
For Amnesty, in spite of the improvements made to the Rwandan legal system during last years, "serious concerns persist concerning its capacity to inquire and prosecute fairly and impartially crimes relating to the 1994 genocide, in agreements with international standards of justice". Amnesty International notes that "the guarantees of fair trials are not applied in the gacaca courts" and that that "drains the whole legal system".
Among the guarantees, the organization stipulates that officials "on all sides" must impartially be prosecuted, that the transferred defendants will not have to be subjected to torture or cruel treatments, that the victims and witnesses will have to receive an adequate protection and, finally, that all the transferred trials will have to proceed in the presence of independent experts to which complete access to the case will be given.
In addition to the ICTR, Amnesty also addressed itself to the countries, which during the last months have been the subject, by Kigali, of transfer requests of suspects residing on their territory; including France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and Finland.

© Hirondelle News Agency