The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr. Agwu Ukiwe Okali, met today with Rwandan Vice-President and Minister of Defence, Major-General Paul Kagame in Kigali. “We are partners in this situation", said Major-General Kagame during the meeting. He expressed his pleasure at Mr. Okali's visit and reiterated his strong support and that of his government for the Rwanda tribunal. The Rwandan leader noted that the Tribunal had made significant progress in its work under difficult circumstances, and offered any further assistance the Tribunal might require of the Rwandan government.
Mr. Okali briefed Vice President Kagame on the progress of the Rwanda Tribunal, including the imminence of the Tribunal's first judgement, expected in August 1998 in the case of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the Bourgmestre of Taba Commune in Gitarama Prefecture. Mr. Okali also informed Major-General Kagame that the Tribunal also expects to deliver its sentence on: Mr. Jean Kambanda, former Prime-Minister of Rwanda, at the end of August 1998. Mr. Kambanda had pleaded guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity before the Tribunal on 1 May 1998.
Mr. Okali's meeting with Vice-President Kagame is an important indication of the greatly improved relations between the ICTR based in Arusha, Tanzania, and the government of Rwanda.
The senior UN Tribunal official has been on a one week working visit to Rwanda since Monday 20 July 1998. In the course of his visit Mr. Okali has met with senior officials of the Rwandan government, the media, and representatives of civil society including victims of the 1994 genocide.