Arusha, 21 April 2008 (FH) - An expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Andre Guichaoua, has criticised the Prosecutor's transfer motions of some of the 1994 genocide suspects to Kigali for trials, saying that fairness, respect for civil and political rights and sound management practice cannot be decreed and cannot be negotiated.

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In his comments published in the French press, the French sociologist and a specialist in Rwanda stated categorically his reservations over the transfer requests of defendants filed in several chambers. The first of these proceedings, the one on the transfer of Yusuf Munyakazi, a former Rwandan businessman, will begin Thursday at the Arusha-based UN Court.

"By calling for the transfer of the tribunal archives and the transfer s of accused who have not yet been tried or arrested (...) the present Rwandan authorities intend to usurp the work and the legitimacy of the ICTR notwithstanding the fact that these same authorities were originally envisaged as targets of inquiry in a comprehensive prosecution identification strategy", states Guichaoua, pointing to the absence of any prosecution against the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), currently the party in power, over the alleged atrocities committed during the 1994 genocide.

"To what point will the ICTR accept to submit to obligation of political realism that the present Rwandan regime imposes to all international actors as the price to be paid for their vacillation before the massacres and the 1994 genocide?", he continues.

Such an attitude would be equivalent, according to him, "to the very same mistakes as before when similar good grades were granted to former regimes".

"Confidence in the Rwandan judiciary can only be built over the long term through trial and experience. It has, firstly, to be recognized and shared by the Rwandan people and international public opinion. This is obviously far from being the case today", he concluded.


© Hirondelle News Agency