"I was struck by the determination of the Judges and the dedication of the ICTR staff."
This is what His Excellency Ambassador Razali Ismail, President of the United Nations General Assembly, had to say at the end of his visit to the ICTR. President Razali Ismail is a native of Malaysia. He was elected President of the General Assembly in September 1996 during the 51st session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During a tour of the Great Lakes region, where he visited refugee camps in northern Kenya and the UNEP office in Nairobi, President Razali Ismail insisted on stopping in Arusha, seat of the ICTR, in order to see firsthand the activities of the Tribunal. "It is here in Africa that the work of the Tribunal must be carried out, not in Europe or in the United States. People who work elsewhere should come to see what is being done here." The United Nations can at times be removed from reality and his visit to the ICTR, as well as the work being carried out in Arusha, are all part of an attempt to bring the United Nations back to reality, he said in substance.
"The results of the ICTR will reverberate well beyond the continent and will be felt even in Asia. The United Nations does not operate smoothly only in Geneva or New York. I pay tribute to the efforts being made here in Arusha., despite the obstacles. The whole world is waiting it see what will happen in Arusha. The international community strongly supports the work of the ICTR and feels very involved in it. At no time should the Tribunal feel isolated, " he added.
In the morning, President Razali Ismail had the opportunity to attend the court session in Trial Chamber 1, before meeting in private with the Registrar of the Tribunal. He then visited the ICTR premises and met with the Judges present in Arusha. .
A luncheon was held in his honour, with the President of the Tribunal, the Judges, the Registrar, a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor and the senior officials of the Tribunal in attendance. In his welcoming speech, President Kama, underscored the support lent to the ICTR by the international community. "Mr. President, we are very touched by your visit, and the interest you have shown in the ICTR," he stated.
Before leaving Arusha in the evening, President Razali Ismail concluded by saying, "I will do everything in my power to report back to the General Assembly and the Secretary General on the working conditions of the ICTR. An international tribunal in Arusha is just as important as a tribunal in the Hague. There should not be any discrimination.”
Newsflash: the initial appearances of Théoneste Bagosora Ferdinand Nahimana, André Ntagerura and Anatole Nsengiyumva will be held on the 19th and 20th of February 1997 at the ICTR.