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ICTR Registrar Seeks Support of African Community

"In light of the vital importance of the ICTR's mission… I appeal in the strongest terms to Africa to be more mindful of the existence and work of the Tribunal. Paragraph 6 of the Kigali Declaration, which has been given to you, is dedicated to the support of the ICTR, among other things… I have no doubt that you will adopt this paragraph," Mr. Adama Dieng, the Registrar of the ICTR, said when addressing delegates at the second Ministerial Conference on Human and People's Rights in Africa on Thursday, 8 May 2003. The conference took place in Kigali from 6 to 8 May 2003, under the auspices of the Commission of the African Union.

In his address, the Registrar recognised the efforts of the Rwandan Government which, despite the difficulties it faces, devotes at least 5% of its national budget each year to support genocide victims. Mr. Dieng urged the international community to establish a special fund for victims of the genocide. He also appealed for psychological and financial assistance to these victims who, sadly, are not accommodated by the ad hoc international legal system which delivers retributive justice.

Responding to the Registrar's appeal, the Ministerial Conference reiterated in Paragraph 6 of the Kigali Declaration of 8 May 2003 the rejection of impunity in reaffirming a commitment to pursue those responsible for the genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. On a different note, the conference appealed to all members of the African community to cooperate fully with the ICTR, and to give it political and financial support, in particular in the areas of arrest of suspects/accused, protection of witnesses/victims, enforcement of sentences, and compensation for victims and civil litigants.

During his stay, the Registrar also met with several Rwandan officials, notably Mr. Siméon Rwagasore, President of the Supreme Court, and Mr. Gérald Gahima, Prosecutor General of the Supreme Court. They discussed questions relevant to legal cooperation and assistance between the ICTR and the Rwandan Government.

Mr. Dieng received His Excellency, Mr. Mostafa Elrmali, Egyptian Ambassador to Rwanda, Mr. Gihad Madi, Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister for Human Rights, Mr. Sanaa Khalil, President of the Court of Appeal, and His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Hagag, former Under-Secretary General of the OAU and current Secretary-General of the Africa Society. The Registrar took the opportunity to seek the assistance of the international community, in particular that of the Egyptian Government, in garnering the political and financial support needed to fulfil the Tribunal's mandate.

The Registrar also met with ICTR staff in Kigali to again discuss the impact of the implementation of the completion strategy for the two United Nations ad hoc Tribunals: the ICTR and the ICTY. The strategy, which envisages the conclusion of the ICTR's activities by 2008, will at first affect certain categories of staff.

Mr. Dieng assured the staff that, "the people affected by these measures will, wherever possible, be redeployed in other sections of the Tribunal, taking into account their competences."

Mr. Dieng, Mr. Sidiki Kaba, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Human Rights (IFHR), Professor Shaddrack Gutto, from Wits University, Johannesburg (South Africa) and the Tribunal's staff then watched the new film directed and produced by the ICTR, "Justice Today, Peace Tomorrow". The film, the first of its kind, is about operational challenges that the ICTR has been faced with since its creation by Resolution 955 of the United Nations Security Council, challenges which have now been dealt with successfully.

Earlier, Professor Gutto and Mr. Kaba praised the commitment and self-sacrifice of the Tribunal's staff.

For information only - Not an official document

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