Arusha, 16 October 2008 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will host a two-day forum between Offices of the Prosecutors of the United Nations ad hoc criminal tribunals and national prosecuting authorities between November 26 and 28 in Arusha, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The Forum will share ideas and experiences between the international system and national authorities with the view to fighting the culture of impunity and human rights violations. The gathering comes at an ideal time when two UN adhoc tribunals-- for Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia-- are approaching their exit strategies.

Both the Rwandan and the former Yugoslavian tribunals' have revitalized the international criminal jurisprudence that had not developed since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials.

According to information posted on the ICTR website, the Forum is expected to be an important stepping stone in building an international legal regime for mutual legal assistance and co-operation among those fighting impunity.

The Forum will be attended by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), International Criminal Court (ICC), Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodian (ECCC) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

National prosecuting authorities invited include Rwanda (which was victim of 1994 genocide), the United States, Belgium, Canada, Kenya, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Swaziland, Benin and Japan.

Others are: Mali, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Congo-Brazzaville, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Nigeria, Zambia, Lesotho, Senegal, Central African Republic, Ghana, Cameroon and Australia.

In addition, representative from the East African Court of Justice, African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, African Commission on Human rights, International Police (Interpol), Eurojust, US, UK and Canadian respective war crimes offices, have been invited.

The Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to participate include the US-based Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and International Centre for Transitional Justice and International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, among others.

At the end of the closed-door session, the participants are expected to propose mechanism in fighting jointly the culture of impunity and suggest items for consideration at the annual Prosecutors' Colloquium.

The Funding for the meeting has been provided by the John D & Catherine T McArthur Foundation.


© Hirondelle News Agency