Arusha, 25 September 2009 (FH) - The United Kingdom and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have signed an agreement concerning the confidentiality and privacy of information exchange between them, in Arusha on Friday.

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This agreement is first of its kind between the two parties, Roland Amoussouga, Spokesman of ICTR told Hirondelle Agency.

He hinted that this agreement may lead to similar arrangements with other countries.

The agreement, which is confidential, was signed between the UK High Commissioner to Tanzania, Diane Corner, and the ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow.

A source at the ICTR tipped Hirondelle that UK may request from the Tribunal any information concerning Rwandans who are seeking political asylum or are subjects of legal proceedings in their host countries.

The British authorities announced, during a visit to London by Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, in July, that they were going to amend their laws in order to make it possible for their courts to try persons accused of genocide currently living in Great Britain.

Currently, suspects of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity cannot be tried in the United Kingdom committed before 2001. With the proposed amendments, the suspects could soon be tried in the UK for crimes committed after 1991.

British judiciary agreed in April with four Rwandans who were opposed to their extradition to their country, where they are accused of having taken part in the 1994 genocide.

Some Western countries have refused to extradite to Rwanda persons accused of genocide, basing themselves primarily on decisions from the ICTR chambers. The judges' doubt that persons accused of genocide can call witnesses freely or without any intimidation in Rwanda.

However, Rwanda argues that its legal system was best suited to try the alleged authors of the genocide committed against mainly ethnic Tutsis in 1994. In the event of failure to transfer the suspects Kigali has requested these countries try these suspects.


© Hirondelle News Agency