Kampala, 07 October, 2009 (FH) - The dormant East African Court of Justice (EACJ) should be mandated to take cases of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and try key suspects of the 1994 genocide, ICTR's prosecutor Justice Hassan Jallow suggested on Tuesday in Kampala (Uganda).

1 min 23Approximate reading time

In a paper presented by a senior Trial Attorney, Paul  Ngarua, on behalf of the ICTR Prosecutor, the latter laid out the possibility for the EAC to step forward and take the mantle as part of the ICTR's completion strategy. The paper was titled:'' The role of international judicial systems in conflict management-the case of ICTR".

‘'I believe that with good planning and the goodwill of the member states, the East African Community can mandate the EACJ to take on cases that the ICTR may not be in position to complete,'' Justice Jallow sent as a signal to the East Africain Community's Peace and Security Conference.

The EAC is made up of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

He suggested that the EACJ, which is currently not entitled to try such cases, should amend its mandate in the Treaty.

‘'The EACJ needs your initiative to empower it to handle the cases, structures and archives of the ICTR after the Tribunal closes. This can be achieved by amending the Treaty of the EACJ and expand the jurisdiction of the EACJ to include prosecution for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,'' the paper stressed  before about 300 delegates, including senior judicial officials, NGOs, religious leaders, security and peace institutions, among others.

The message also underscored the need for African countries to absorb the lessons of the Rwandan genocide in order to avert a repetition of the event which, 15 years ago, which claimed the lives of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus according to UN estimates.

With regards to the UN Detention Facility (UNDF) located in Arusha (Tanzania), Justice Jallow asked the five-nation bloc to raise to the challenge of administrating the facility.

‘'The challenge before you today is whether you will be able to find the EAC a worthy institution to administer the UNDF after the ICTR closes,'' the prosecutor spelled out in his paper.