ICTR, Rwanda not ‘impressed’ by ICTR
The Rwandan Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama has expressed dissatisfaction with the process of justice and the manner in which genocide criminal cases have been handled by the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).
The minister made the remarks while addressing a press conference this February 20th, 2013 in Kigali. The joint press briefing was also attended by the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)- Christopher Bongani Majola.
Karugarama’s remarks come a few days after the ICTR- which is on the verge of becoming a residual tribunal, took a decision to release two genocide suspects- Prosper Mugiraneza and Justin Mugenzi. The decision resulted into rebukes from both the judiciary in Rwanda and the associations of genocide survivors in Rwanda.
The minister said that “Rwanda will continue opposing such decisions despite the fact that the country has to live with the unjust manner in which international justice organs (such as ICTR) hand issues of justice. This is not fair to the people of Rwanda and we are not afraid of saying that such decisions undermine us”.
Earlier on, the relationship between the tribunal and Rwanda was seemingly going smoothly, especially that many genocide cases at the ICTR have been transferred to Rwanda for trial. This was also followed by an agreement to have all the ICTR archives be transferred to Rwanda, once the Arusha-Tanzania based UN court turns into a residual tribunal this year.
In the meantime, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga has previously expressed concern over the delays in trying cases of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta which were referred to Paris under the tribunal’s completion strategy in 2007, but the ICTR Registrar says that delays have been caused by structural issues in the French courts of Justice.
“We have sent delegations to France to express our concerns that the investigations are moving slowly and that they are not reaching the trial stage. But we were made to understand that in their (French) system, the investigation part and the collection of evidence takes much longer than the trial,” Majola said in response.
In the meantime, Rwanda’s relationship with the ICTR has become doubtful, especially for Rwanda’s Prosecutor General questioning why the ICTR imposed monitors for the one suspect transferred to Rwanda last year and not for France.
Of which the ICTR says that the rules under which cases could be referred to national jurisdictions were different; they did not provide for imposition of monitors.