Arusha, June 27, 2012 (FH) – The President and Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda are stepping up efforts to find host countries for acquitted persons, ICTR President Vagn Joensen told Hirondelle News Agency on Wednesday.

1 min 15Approximate reading time

“The Registrar and I have intensified our diplomatic efforts to find suitable host countries,” said Judge Joensen of Denmark. “Most lately, in my address to the UN Security Council on June 8 this year, I appealed to the Security Council to call upon all States to cooperate with and render all necessary assistance to the Tribunal in this respect. I expect the Security Council to address this issue in a resolution which is expected on June 28.”

The ICTR is due to transfer some of its activities on Monday to an International Residual Mechanism. Relocation of acquitted persons nevertheless remains a responsibility of the ICTR, as does completion of all outstanding trials and appeals.

The fate of acquitted persons is a longstanding headache for the ICTR, despite previous appeals and diplomatic efforts by Tribunal representatives. "The difficulties will be the same, namely the lack of willingness of States to accept acquitted persons on their soil, for their own reasons," ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga told Hirondelle last November.

Five persons whose acquittals have been confirmed on appeal are still trying to find a host country. They include a general, three ex-ministers and the brother-in-law of the late Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana. They all want to join members of their family living in Europe, several of whom have obtained citizenship from their host countries.

The ICTR is also faced with the problem of finding host countries for people who have served their prison sentences or benefited from early release.

Five ICTR acquitted persons did in the past finally find host countries: former mayors Ignace Bagilishema and Jean Mpambara went to France, former prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki went to Belgium, former Education Minister André Rwamakuba joined his family in Switzerland, and Father Hormisdas Nsengimana found a new home in northern Italy.