Arusha, 24 December 2008 (FH) - Alison Des Forges, an expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the coordinator for Africa for the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), is prohibited from entering Rwanda, her organization just confirmed in an official statement.

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According to this text forwarded to the office of the Agence France Presse in Nairobi, it is the first time that Rwanda excludes a member of HRW since 1991, since the organization has been paying attention to human rights in that country.

Alison Des Forges had notably coordinated the collective work of HRW on the genocide entitled "Leave None to Tell the Story". She testified for the prosecution in the majority of the trials at the ICTR.

Already in September she had been denied entry in the country as she arrived by the road from Bujumbura, the capital of neighbouring Burundi. On 2 December, arriving by plane from Brussels at the invitation of the British embassy, she was prohibited from disembarking from the plane, which set out again with a delay.

No explanation was provided to HRW on the reasons for this measure. The organization, which maintains a permanent mission in Rwanda, published last June a very critical report on justice in this country. Previously, she had been clearly opposed to the ICTR project to transfer defendants to Rwanda. More recently, HRW has in an official statement requested from the United Nations that the crimes committed by the RPF in 1994 during the war be presented before the ICTR.

Before Alison Des Forges, other researchers, historians or sociologists, like Filip Reyntjens, Claudine Vidal and André Guichaoua, saw themselves refused entry into Rwanda after the publication of critical works on the regime in place in Kigali.


© Hirondelle News Agency