Arusha, 8 April 2008 (FH)-The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Jallow, has called for preventive justice to avert tragedies such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which killed about 800,000 people in a span of just 100 days, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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"Our experience of Rwanda genocide should spur us all to a more broad based response to such actual, potential tragedies," he said at a ceremony to mark the 14th commemorative anniversary at the ICTR's headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

"Legal responses are absolutely necessary but do not adequately address all concerns. We must supplement it with preventive justice and with restorative justice," he stressed.

The Rwandan slaughter, he said, was now a well established fact of history that has been judicially proven by the tribunal's work. The UN tribunal was established in November 1994 by the UN Security Council to try key suspects of the genocide. Currently eleven trials are underway involving 27 suspects.

Since its establishment, the UN Court has convicted 31 and acquitted five suspects.

The Registrar, Mr Adama Dieng, urged all ICTR staff to pursue their relentless effort for an orderly completion of the tribunal's assignment, which comes to an end for first instance trials by end of this year and for appeals by 2010 as directed by the UN Security Council. "We owe this [orderly completion] to the Rwandan victims. We owe this to the international community," he told the attentive audience.

The UN Court's mandate does not include restitutive justice, however, he said that ICTR has been able to look after the victims" to help them better embrace the future." This includes a clinic built in Kigali to cater for health of victims of the genocide.

"In this commemoration, Rwanda rings a bell; a wake up call for all of us to stand up and fight all causes of genocide," underscored Alloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda government's special representative to the ICTR.

He added:" The commemoration is one way to sound an alarm over the devastation of humankind that may result from deliberate forgetfulness of what happened in Rwanda."

Some people are still denying the genocide, he lamented. "Others to date dare to even blame it on victims or the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) that stopped the perpetrators," he added, apparently referring to the recent indictments of 40 RPF soldiers by a Spanish Judge, Fernando Andreu, and previously nine indictments issued by a French Judge, Jean Louis Bruguiere, for their alleged roles in the 1994 genocide.

The ceremony, organized by the ICTR staff association in collaboration with the Rwandan community in Arusha, was first commemoration ceremony inside the ICTR premises. About 100 people turned up, including two judges. The ICTR has a total workforce of about 1,000 workers, one third of it located in Kigali.


© Hirondelle News Agency