Wednesday, April 05, 2006

IBIHWIHWISWA: La justice tanzanienne prendra-t-elle le relais du TPI pour le Rwanda?

Tanzania: Rwanda Objects to Tribunal's Transfer of Cases

The East African (Nairobi)
April 4, 2006
Posted to the web April 4, 2006

Faustine Rwambali


Rwanda has raised concern over plans by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to transfer some genocide criminal cases from its jurisdiction to Tanzania's government without consultation.

The Rwandan Special Representative to the ICTR, Alloys Mutabingwa, told The EastAfrican that he learnt through the media last week that the ICTR had approached Tanzania's Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Dr Mary Nagu, over the matter.

He said that although the ICTR is mandated to consider possible middle and lower ranking genocide suspects to be transferred to other national jurisdictions, including Rwanda, the current plans were being made without proper diplomatic consultations.

He cited the ICTR decision to transfer one of the highest-ranking criminal suspects, Michael Bagaragaza, to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) last year as going beyond its responsibilities.

With regard to Tanzania, Mr Mutabingwa said ICTR's decision to approach Tanzania was not illegal but that to make it clear and effective, "Rwanda would like to take up the cases."

Said he: "Rwanda is where the crimes were committed, it becomes easier for Rwandans to follow the proceedings, it would give Rwanda judicial independence and already Rwanda has developed capacity to face the challenge, but if such cases will be taken elsewhere it would impact negatively on the current initiative." Already, Rwanda has set up a Special Task Force for the purpose.

Last week, Dr Nagu said that the ICTR had asked Tanzania to complete the prosecution of genocide suspects after its mandate expires in 2008.

Dr Nagu's remarks came after a meeting with the tribunal's top officials - President Judge Erik Mose (Norway), Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia) and the Registrar, Adama Dieng (Senegal). The three also met President Jakaya Kikwete in Arusha.

Neither Dr Nagu nor the Attorney General, Johnson Mwanyika, were available for comment. Dr. Nagu was in Dodoma attending a parliamentary session, while Mr Mwanyika was in Zanzibar on official duties.

The UN Security Council had directed the tribunal to complete trials in the coming two years and appeal cases by 2010. ICTR has so far completed cases involving 26 accused persons, while cases involving 27 others were going on and 15 persons are awaiting trial.
On Mr Bagaragaza's trans-fer, Rwanda said it "was a serious miscarriage of justice, because as a high ranking suspect under the UN Security Council Resolution 1503, his case was supposed to be handled in Rwanda or Arusha."

However, the then ICTR spokesperson, Mr Roland Amoussouga, told The EastAfrican the decision was according to the law. "The ICTR prosecutor requested the tribunal to grant the transfer, which was a condition for Mr Bagaragaza's voluntary surrender and the order permits the accused to remain in detention at ICTY for six months, renewable for a further six-month period.

He said the ICTR prosecutor requested detention of the accused in the Hague rather than at the UN detention facility in Arusha because of "concerns for Bagaragaza's security in light of his voluntary surrender to the tribunal.



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