18.01.08 - ICTR/TANZANIA - TANZANIA MINISTER ASSURES OF SMOOTH EXIT OF ICTR

Arusha, 18January 2008 (FH) - Tanzania will form a joint task force to oversee smooth exit of the International Criminal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has been given a deadline of December 2008 to complete all pending cases by the United Nations Security Council and 2010 for appeals.
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The Tanzania's Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Dr Mary Nagu, Friday visited the tribunal's headquarters in Arusha and met with top authorities, reports Hirondelle News Agency.

The task force will be made of relevant Tanzanian ministries, include officials from the UN Court.

"The smooth ending is very vital," she assured the ICTR Registrar, Mr Adama Dieng, adding that Tanzania also wished to use the accumulated expertise and technology to improve its own judiciary work.

"The Information and Communication Technology applied in dispensing justice at ICTR is of a very high International standards and must help to expedite local cases.I am impressed with the video conferencing facility which can minimize traveling and unnecessary costs and speed up cases," she said.

She also suggested that with the high level expertise and facility available, Arusha should be consider as the focal point of trying African perpetrators of war crimes and human rights.

"We must think of justice centre which can fully utilize the facilities set up once the tribunal leaves Arusha," she told Mr Dieng.

The Minister stated that ICTR has contributed significantly towards peace and reconciliation in Rwanda in the post genocide period and has sent a message that culture of impunity would not be tolerated in Africa or any perpetrator of such violation would not escape justice.

According to the United Nations estimates, about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the April-July 1994 bloodbath.

The Registrar assured full co-operation in Tanzania's endeavours, saying that Arusha has the potential, expertise and equipment to continue dispensing international justice provided that the government was ready to take the leading role.

The Registrar thanked Tanzanians for the hospitality rendered to ICTR since its inception in November 1994.

In her meeting with the ICTR Prosecutor, Justice Hassan Jallow, the minister hinted that Tanzania may consider taking uncompleted cases, provided that there was facilitation and capacity building.

"We need financial and capacity backing to be able to handle uncompleted tasks," she said, however, adding that a much firmer decision could only be taken after consulting judiciary experts as Tanzania has also a acklog of pending cases in local courts.

Currently no country has come forth to be ready to take, if there will be any, uncompleted cases, except for Rwanda. However, Kigali is strongly resisted by the accused persons and human rights groups on allegations of the country's poor record of human rights.

The Spokesman of the Tribunal, Mr Roland Amoussouga, told the minister that ICTR has one of the unique high tech technology which should be utilized to modernize judicial systems.

"Our desire is to see transformation and development of justice," he technology and expertise at the ICTR.

The UN court has so far rendered 35 judgements, including five acquittals, and 28 detainees are on trial. Six accused persons are awaiting for their trials to begin.

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© Agence Hirondelle