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Tribunal to target 'big fish'

The Registrar of the ICTR Mr. Agwu Ukiwe Okali on 2 July 1997 informed visiting journalists from Germany, Japan and Italy that the Tribunal was taking several steps to improve its effectiveness and efficiency, including targeting the so called 'big fish ' who were involved in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Answering questions from the journalists Mr. Okali said much as the suspects were scattered all over the world, the Tribunal had some ideas as to where some of them were and had her ways of tracking them. He said the Tribunal was currently getting good cooperation from UN Headquarters and from member states.

"There had been some problems with the former Zaire where several potential witnesses and suspects were located possibly as a result of the civil strife and the uncertain control by the former Government of its territory, but the present government has a strong interest in assisting us", Mr .Okali said.

The Registrar further informed the journalists that the Tribunal's relationship with the Rwanda Government had significantly improved and that he had recently returned from Rwanda where he held very successful talks with top government officials.

He said the Rwanda government had been anxious to see a speedy take off of the Tribunal, and when problems arose, it naturally was the most concerned.

The Registrar said much as the Tribunal' s pace was dictated by , among other aspects, the need to guarantee the rights of the accused. The availability of a 2nd courtroom later this year would speed up cases.

Other moves being taken to improve the Tribunal's efficiency, he said, include the re-organization of the Kigali Office to enable it operate largely independently without over-dependence on the Arusha head office, as well as improving the Tribunal's communication system.

Mr .Okali said the Tribunal had so far done a commendable job in spite of its much-publicized problems, for within two years of her establishment, the first having been spent on setting it up, there were already three cases on trial "and if all goes well we will have two more before the end of the year."

Currently, there are 13 suspects who have been arrested out of 21 who have been indicted, and 12 are already in custody at the Tribunal's Detention Facility in Arusha.

For information only - Not an official document

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