Archives for UN Genocide tribunal to remain in Arusha
LEGACY:Officials say Rwanda should host ‘own’ history
The United Nations Security Council voted to retain the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania.
The development was announced, yesterday, by the spokesman of the ICTR, Roland Amoussouga, during a news briefing in Kigali.
“The UN Security Council resolved that the archives of the court will be handled by the residual mechanism. However, Rwandans should know that all unsealed information will still remain accessible on the website of ICTR,” said Amoussouga.
On December 22, 2010, the Security Council voted to establish the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Resolution 1966 establishes separate Mechanisms for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and ICTR to be located in the Hague and Arusha, respectively.
According to Amoussouga, the Mechanism for the ICTR will continue the “jurisdiction, rights and obligations, and essential functions” of the ICTR beginning July 1, 2012.
“Rwandans should take full advantage of Umusanzu mu Bwiyunge (contribution to reconciliation), the Information and Documentation Centre of the ICTR, which has a lot of important information,” he said.
Based in Kigali, the centre holds public information on ICTR activities and documentation. According to the spokesman, nine other centres will soon be set up in various parts of the country.
Although the ICTR repository is not coming to Rwanda, Kigali had prepared the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) to host of the archives.
Speaking to The New Times, Rwandan judicial officials were not happy with the UNSC decision but remained optimistic that the final destination of the repository will be in the country since it’s about the ‘history of Rwanda’.
“Under the Residual Mechanism, it is not the final decision… it is unreasonable to retain the archives in the Arusha during the residual mechanism work, but when the ICTR closes completely, then the archives should be brought to the original home, Rwanda,” said the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama.
“The archives are about the history of Rwanda and should be based here where the crimes were committed,” he added.
Part of the information in the archives may be referred to or used by the Rwandan prosecution to prosecute some Genocide suspects still at large and not wanted by the ICTR.
Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, equally expressed interest in the archives being brought to Rwanda.
“The best decision would have been to bring them here where they make more meaning than anywhere else. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. It is good they have not been handed over to other countries that were competing with us for them,” said Ngonga.
“The current arrangement will form a basis for us to continue making our case. “These archives mostly originated here and they form an essential part of our history. Any other usefulness elsewhere is secondary”.
Part of what is contained in the archives are testimonies of Genocide survivors, and according to Dr Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of IBUKA, the umbrella association of Genocide survivors, Rwanda should focus on setting up a state-of-the art facility to host the archives.
“It’s a property of Rwanda and will have to come here whatsoever... it may take long but it’s our property and should be given to us.
The biggest question is, are we well prepared to host the archives? What we need to do is to start talks on how we can set up a secure place that meets international standards and we start negotiating on hosting the archives, that way, we will be ahead of everybody,” Dusingizemungu added.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw