TITLE=RWANDA GENOCIDE (L-ONLY)
INTRO: Rwanda is suspending cooperation with the U-N
war crimes court that is trying suspects in connection
with Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Rwanda's action follows
the court's decision last week to free a suspect
because of problems with trial procedures. Jennifer
Wiens has more from V-O-A-s East Africa bureau.
TEXT: The Rwandan government calls the decision by
the U-N Tribunal to drop genocide charges against
former Rwandan official Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza a
dangerous precedent. The government says it will no
longer cooperate or give assistance to the Tribunal.
Rwanda's General Prosecutor, Gerald Gahima, says the
suspension will remain in place until the dispute over
Mr. Barayagwiza's release is resolved.
/// ACT GAHIMA ///
We shall suspend all cooperation with the
Tribunal, with all the organs of the Tribunal
for the time being, pending finding an
acceptable solution to the current crisis.
/// END ACT ///
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the U-
N court which is trying suspects from the 1994
genocide, released Mr. Barayagwiza last Wednesday.
The appeals chamber of the Tribunal decided his case
took too long to come to trial, thereby violating his
rights as an accused.
Mr. Barayagwiza was arrested in Cameroon in March
1996, but was not brought before the Tribunal, based
in Arusha, Tanzania, until November 1997. Mr.
Barayagwiza based an appeal for release on the delay,
and also complained that he was not informed of the
charges against him until months after his arrest.
/// OPT /// The court granted the appeal and also
said he could not be indicted again by the Tribunal,
but should be sent back to Cameroon. Mr. Barayagwiza
is asking not to be returned to Cameroon, although the
authorities there have indicated they will not re-
arrest Mr. Barayagwiza or extradite him to Rwanda.
/// END OPT ///
Mr. Barayagwiza was a top government official at the
time of the massacres, when extremists from the ruling
ethnic Hutu killed more than one-half-million of the
minority ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu in a three-
month long bloodbath.
/// OPT /// Mr. Barayagwiza faced seven charges,
ranging from crimes against humanity to inciting
others to genocide. Mr. Barayagwiza helped set up the
notorious Radio Milles Collines, a private radio
station whose broadcasts encouraged Hutu militias to
kill Tutsi civilians. /// END OPT ///
Mr. Barayagwiza's prominent role in the genocide makes
his release especially troubling for Rwanda's current
leaders. Rwanda has complained about the U-N
Tribunal, saying it is moving too slowly and does not
give out death penalties. The Tribunal has returned
five judgements in five years of operation.
Meanwhile, Rwandan courts are also prosecuting
genocide suspects, having tried more than 15-hundred
of the 130-thousand people in custody. Rwanda has
executed 22 people found guilty of genocide.
Rwanda's General Prosecutor, Gerald Gahima, says
Rwanda appreciates the Tribunal's work, but is afraid
Mr. Barayagwiza's release could encourage other
suspects to make appeals.
/// ACT GAHIMA ///
We appreciate the work that they have been
doing, but we disapprove very strongly of this
very precedent. I think it has the potential to
undo all the good work they have been doing.
/// END ACT ///
The Tribunal's ability to conduct trials could be
seriously affected by Rwanda's suspension of
cooperation because many witnesses and suspects are in
Rwanda. Under international law and U-N resolutions,
Rwanda could be forced to continue at least some
cooperation with the tribunal or face sanctions.
08-Nov-1999 08:21 AM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1321 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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