The clock is ticking for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Many of its senior officials have been jumping ship in the last couple of years in search of greener pastures, because the postman will soon stop calling with a fat cheque at the end of every month.
It has not always been smooth sailing for the beleaguered tribunal from the day it decided not to hold the trials where the crimes were committed – Rwanda, as it did for Sierra Leone.
Set up in 1994, it was not until 1997 that the first trials began, now 15 years down the road; it has only managed to complete 41 cases.
But not everything has been a total failure in Arusha, at least some of the masterminds of the Genocide against Tutsis have received their comeuppance, sounding the alarm that the world will not let genocidaires walk free [sic].
The language in vogue at the ICTR has now been enriched with; residual mechanisms, exit strategy, legacy and so on. These should not remain dead letters.
For the millions who were expecting to see justice from the international court, all they see is posturing on the part of the ICTR in an attempt to win brownie points and receiving a pat on the head.
But they could go a point further if at least, they had genuine feelings for victims of the Genocide, instead of throwing the spanner in the works in what could bring closure for millions.
Where do they get the moral authority to snub Rwanda’s capacity to met out fair justice to a handful of people, yet the country has successfully done away with over 1.5 million domestic cases through the Gacaca; many of them free and serving their communities? Is there any comparison with the paltry 41 cases completed by the ICTR?
What kind of legacy will they leave behind when they keep blocking attempts to leave the archives of the tribunal with Rwanda when it closes?
The majority of material was sourced from Rwanda and it would only be fair if it was made the keeper of the records, instead of globetrotting the world looking for some obscure foundation to keep the evidence of the darkest chapter in our history.
That is the only meaningful legacy. The rest – as they say – are accessories.