Arusha, 29 October 2008 (FH)- About 40 chief justices and senior judiciary members from about ten Commonwealth countries Wednesday visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to get first hand information on the operations of the UN Court and how they can draw lessons and apply the Tribunal's jurisprudence to their respective domestic justice system.

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Commonwealth members are former British colonies.

The UN Court, created by the Security Council, is trying key suspects of the 1994 genocide, which claimed about 800,000 lives of mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The top level judiciary officials are in Arusha for a four-day biennial meeting of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI), whose governing committee's president is Sir Dennis Byron from Saint Kitts and Nevis, who also is current President of the ICTR.

"This is an opportunity to present to the participants a good understanding of the ICTR jurisprudence and to enable them to draw lessons from that jurisprudence and see how they can apply to their respective domestic areas of work," Roland Amoussouga, Spokesman of ICTR, told Hirondelle Agency.

The judges attended court proceedings of "Military II" trial whose accused are four top former Rwandan army officers tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The members of the judiciary are drawn from Australia, Canada, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uganda and Zambia.

The CJEI was founded as an independent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in 1998 and is located in Halifax, Canada.

The Institute has been established to provide support and linkage among existing Commonwealth judicial education bodies; encourage the sharing of information and resources; encourage the establishment of new national and regional judicial education in the Commonwealth; develop programmes and teaching tools for the use of all; and to deliver judicial education programmes.


© Hirondelle News Agency