Arusha, 28 February 2009 (FH)-The UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, Friday visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is trying the key suspects of the 1994 genocide.

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During his meeting with the UN Staff, he insisted the urgency of the East and Central African countries to arrest Rwanda genocide fugitives, suspected to be hiding in the region.

"I call upon all the states in the region (East and Central Africa) to increase their support in tracking down and arresting all of them [fugitives]," he stressed, apparently reacting to a speech by ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, who informed the Secretary General that intelligence reports gathered point that the remaining 13 key suspects have found safe heavens in some of the states in the region.

Mr Ban also reaffirmed that no perpetrator or potential perpetrator of human crimes would be left to escape justice or culture of impunity. "Human dignity must be protected," he added.

On the completion strategy of ICTR, the UN boss urged the judges and the staff to double their efforts to ensure that trials are completed by the end of this year, as directed by the UN Security last December, "but should take care not to compromise the rights of the accused."

Meanwhile, a former Rwandan Catholic Priest, Emmanuel Rukundo, has been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for his role in the1994 genocide and crimes against humanity.

Presiding Judge, Joseph Anoka De'silva from Sri Lanka said that the Chamber has found to committed acts of genocide, a crime of the most serious gravity which affects the very foundation of society and shocks the conscience of humanity.

"Crimes against humanity are also very serious offences because they are heinous in nature and shock the collective conscience of mankind," stated Judge De'silva.

The judge said the Catholic Priest was a well known within the community and was an influential figure in the Rwandan military and instead of using his position  to help build co-existence between communities, " Rukundo abused his moral authority."

In another development, the largest and longest Butare Trial ended this week after hearing of additional defence witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency