United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Dr. Agwu Ukiwe Okali (Nigeria), met today with the Head of State of Mali, H. E. Alpha Oumar Konaré in Bamako, the Malian capital. The Malian leader and the senior U.N. official discussed the work of the Tribunal and the cooperation of the Government of Mali in the International Court's efforts to bring the architects of the Rwandan genocide to justice.
President Konare promised Mr. Okali that his Government would give "full support to the ICTR at all levels". Immediately before his meeting with the Malian leader, the ICTR Registrar and the Government of Mali signed an agreement on the enforcement of the Tribunal's sentences. By this agreement, Mali has undertaken to provide prison facilities for the service of sentences of persons convicted by the Tribunal.
Mali thus becomes the first country to sign a formal agreement with the United Nations for the enforcement of the Rwanda Tribunal's sentences. "Mali has consistently cooperated with the United Nations Tribunal for Rwanda, Okali said. "The signing of this agreement is further evidence of its commitment to the international rule of law”.
On 11 June 1998, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former president of the ruling MRND party in Rwanda during the genocide and a former Minister of Justice, was arrested in Mali on the basis of a warrant issued by the ICTR charging him with genocide. One month later he was transferred to the Tribunal's detention facilities in Arusha.
The Statute of the ICTR (article 26) provides that imprisonment is to be served in Rwanda or any other country which has indicated their willingness to accept convicted persons, as designated by the Tribunal. Such imprisonment is to be in accordance with the laws of the country concerned, and is subject to the supervision of the ICTR.