Arusha, 9 April 2008 (FH) - The Swiss ministry of foreign affairs has cautioned Carla Del Ponte, former prosecutor of the UN international tribunals for ICTR and ICTY, who is now an Ambassador in Argentina, of her obligations as a Swiss diplomat after the publication of her book on her experiences as a prosecutor.

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According to the Swiss newspaper La Liberté, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) prohibited Mrs Del Ponte to present her book, which appeared on 3 April in Milan ,published by Feltrinelli.

The book titled "The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals" blames, among other issues, the United States for their resistance to allow the prosecution of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), which is in power in Rwanda.

"There are statements in the book which cannot be made as a representative of the Swiss government", stated Jean-Philippe Jeannerat, spokesperson of the FDFA.

"We knew that to open an investigation into the RPF will irritated Kigali, because President Paul Kagame and other Tutsi leaders based a great part of their claim to legitimacy on the victory of the RPF against the genocidaires in 1994," writes Carla del Ponte in her latest book. "They presented their conquest of the country as a just fight, to put an end to genocide", she adds.

"We knew that the government was against us", she recalls as the ICTR Prosecutor. In spite of that as of 2000, the prosecution opened a "secret" investigation.

"Rwandan authorities already controlled each stage of our investigations", she writes. "We knew that the intelligence service of Rwanda had received monitoring equipment from the United States which was used for phone calls, faxes and the internet. We suspected that the authorities had also infiltrated our computer network and placed agents among the Rwandan interpreters and other members of the team in Kigali.

Walpen [Laurent Walpen, former chief of investigations for the prosecution] also knew that the United States, for obvious reasons, did not want that the investigators to be equipped with the latest encryption Swiss telephones. In other words, the Rwandans knew, in real time, what the investigators of the tribunal were doing.

"In Kigali, 9 December 2000 I personally informed President Kagame that the office of the prosecutor had opened a case against him for allegations concerning the Rwandan Patriotic Front, for war crimes committed as Hutus committed the genocide. The meeting took place in his modest office of the presidential complex (...) the investigators say that evidence was collected on 13 episodes during which in 1994 members of the RPF would have massacred civilians as troops advanced through Rwanda. Kagame neither approved nor denied that these incidents had taken place", Del Ponte discloses in the book.

She also mentions the case of Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, released by the ICTR then re-indicted after protests in Kigali, The book was published in Italian language and an English version is scheduled for next January.


© Hirondelle News Agency