You are here


Cooperation and assistance of states key to success of ICTR

The Tribunal is pleased to provide the following overview of the status of cooperation and assistance received by the ICTR from states. As may be recalled, Security Council resolution 955 of 8 November 1994, which established the Tribunal, is binding on all U.N. Member States. The Statute of the ICTR (Article 28) requires Member States to cooperate with the Tribunal's investigations and prosecutions of accused persons by complying with the Tribunal's orders or requests to identify, arrest, detain and surrender them to the Tribunal. "I am very pleased to note that many U.N. member countries have demonstrated respect for international law by complying with this requirement", Judge Laity Kama, President of the ICTR, said.

Indeed, the cooperation of various countries has been a key reason for the progressive success of the ICTR. From assisting in arresting accused persons to providing prison facilities for the incarceration of persons convicted by the Tribunal, from facilitating the transfer of witnesses from their territories to the voluntary donation of financial and other material assistance, several member states of the international community have helped make international justice for the Rwandan genocide a reality. "We couldn't have come this far without the goodwill and support of many countries", Dr. Agwu Ukiwe Okali, the Registrar of the Tribunal said. "International justice, by definition, represents the collective will of mankind to ensure that there is a price to pay for heinous crimes such as those committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia".

Pre-Trial Cooperation and Judicial Assistance

Cooperation of states with the ICTR in this regard has progressively improved since the Tribunal began its work three years ago. Some states, e.g. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States have adopted domestic laws to facilitate their cooperation with the ICTR. Others have assisted the Tribunal through executive action.

Of the 35 accused persons detained in the United Nations Detention Facilities in Arusha as at today, six persons were arrested in and transferred from Cameroon, three from Zambia (which was the first country to surrender accused persons to the Tribunal), 12 from Kenya, two from Belgium, one from Switzerland, two from Côte d'Ivoire, two from Togo, two from Benin, and one each from Burkina Faso, Mali, Namibia and South Africa.

A number of African countries have given the ICTR a high degree of assistance that has been critical to the Tribunal's success. One such country is Kenya, where seven accused persons including ex-Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda were arrested in July 1997 and transferred to the Tribunal. Several other high-ranking accused have been arrested and transferred since then. Another country deserving special mention is Cameroon, where the surrender of several alleged architects of the genocide was made possible by presidential decree.


Witnesses are a key element of the judicial process at the ICTR. Facilitating their travel to testify in cases before the Tribunal and implementing protective measures for them where necessary is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the Tribunal's trial-related operations. It has turned out, however, to be one of the Tribunal's success stories - all the more notable given the total absence of a witness protection culture in the region before the creation of the ICTR. These witnesses have been brought by the Tribunal from Rwanda and several African and European countries. Many of them had no valid legal status or documents in their countries of residence. How to bring them to Arusha to give testimony at trials and return them to their "host" countries was a monumental challenge, both legal and practical.

Several countries, including Belgium, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazaville), France, The Netherlands, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia have assisted the ICTR by making it possible to overcome this obstacle through the development of special travel documents in cooperation with the Tribunal. In this context, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also rendered significant assistance to the ICTR. Rwanda, Mali, Senegal and Zambia have assisted the Tribunal by implementing protective measures for witnesses in their territories. The United States and the United Kingdom have provided witness-support consultants to the ICTR. As at today, a total of 20 witnesses have been relocated inside Rwanda in the post-trial phase, while four witnesses and their families have been relocated outside Rwanda. In the overall context of witness support, the excellent cooperation of the Governments of the ICTR Host Countries Tanzania and Rwanda deserve special mention.

Enforcement of Sentences

On 12 February 1999, the Registrar of the Tribunal and the Government of Mali signed an agreement on the enforcement of the Tribunal's sentences. This makes Mali the first country to provide prison facilities for the enforcement of the Rwanda Tribunal's sentences. Belgium, Denmark, Norway and some other African countries have also indicated their willingness to incarcerate persons convicted by the Tribunal, under certain conditions. Negotiations are continuing between the Tribunal and some countries on this matter.

Material Assistance

The UN General Assembly, by its resolution 49/251 of 20 July 1995 invited Member States and other interested parties to make voluntary contributions to the Tribunal both in cash and the form of services and supplies acceptable to the Secretary-General. At the end of 1998, cash contributions to the Voluntary Trust Fund to support the activities of the ICTR amounted to $7,571,998.00. The following countries have contributed in varying amounts to the Fund: Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Holy See, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon and Netherlands. Other donors are New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., and the U.S.A. The seven countries that have donated the highest amounts to the Trust Fund are Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, and Spain. A U.S. media organization, Internews, also contributed to the Trust Fund in 1998, while the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) made an in-kind contribution of funding Rwandan journalists covering the judicial proceedings at the Tribunal.

These funds are used to supplement the regular budgetary funds of the Tribunal for activities in strategic areas such as witness support, investigations, and the transfer of detainees from the custody of various countries to the United Nations Detention Facilities in Arusha. Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the U.K. also donated gratis personnel to the Tribunal. (These personnel have, however, been phased out following a decision of the General Assembly to discontinue the use of such personnel in the United Nations). Discussions are going on with several donors regarding further contributions which are expected to materialise in 1999.

For information only - Not an official document

UN-ICTR External Relations and Communication Outreach Unit | Tel.: +1 212 963 2850