Hirondelle News Agency

2 minApproximate reading time

The Hirondelle News Agency in Arusha, Tanzania reports on international justice, with a special focus on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Agency currently has more than 1,700 subscribers including international and local media organizations, news agencies, universities, NGOs and individuals. The French and English versions of the website both received an average of around 11,000 visits per month in  2011. Many of Hirondelle News Agency's reports on the ICTR are picked up by local media, especially in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Hirondelle News Agency is the only media outlet reporting regularly in four languages (English, French, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili) on the ICTR and other judicial proceedings related to the Rwandan genocide. Coverage of the ICC is provided in English and French. Hirondelle News Agency's independent reporting over the years has helped to inform the populations of the African Great Lakes region about the work of the ICTR and international justice, thus contributing to the fight against impunity and promoting debate about how to deal with the past.

Here's what ICTR judge and former president Dennis Byron says about the Hirondelle News Agency: “If the Agency was to close down (…) the large number of people and institutions following the work of the ICTR would be deprived from factual, independent, reliable and consistent flow of information. Such information is essential not only to victims but also to judicial institutions pioneering the new code of dispensing justice, and the legacy of international jurisprudence that can guide future courts and deter future commission of these grave crimes.”

Hirondelle News Agency has produced more than 17,000 dispatches, constituting an important record of the ICTR's work and now of the ICC too.

In July 2010, the UN Security Council extended the activities of the ICTR to December 31, 2012. Hirondelle News Agency will continue covering the Tribunal until its work is ended. The ICC is now handling cases related to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Uganda and Ivory Coast. The number of trials is expected to increase in 2012. As the ICC's work expands, the Agency also plans to develop its reporting capacity in The Hague and to boost its correspondent network.

Hirondelle News Agency reporting on the ICC focuses particularly on those countries where Fondation Hirondelle has leading radio stations with nationwide coverage: the Democratic Republic of Congo (Radio Okapi), the Central African Republic (Radio Ndeke Luka) and South Sudan (Radio Miraya). By creating synergies with these radio stations, Hirondelle News Agency has access to a broadcasting network that can reach some 30 million people every day.

As well as a small team of 4 permanent staff in Arusha, the Agency works with a network of correspondents in Kigali, Nairobi, Paris, Brussels and at the ICC in The Hague. It also receives support from international staff based in Switzerland and the US.

The annual budget for 2012 is about 350,000 Swiss francs. The project is supported by the governments of Belgium and Switzerland.

The Agency has been covering the Arusha-based ICTR since 1997 and the ICC since late 2010. Latest news, background and archives can all be found on the Hirondelle News Agency website (www.hirondellenews.com). Subscribers can receive latest news direct by E-mail, free of charge.