Ki-moon’s backing of ICTR cases for Rwanda well-founded
The United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has lauded President Paul Kagame for his leadership efforts to transform the socio-economic lives of Rwandans during the post-Genocide period. Part of this transformation has been in the judicial field, where reforms have been made to fit both national and international standards.
The judiciary has seen many changes, some of which are to do with provision of training to judicial officials, overhauling some laws like the abolition of the death penalty, and improving and building new detention facilities.
To this end, the UN chief says he sees no problem with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda transferring its unfinished cases to Rwanda, since its mandate is expiring this year.
Indeed, Rwanda has the capability to try these cases now, and has been demonstrating her ability for some time. Contrasted with the ICTR’s disappointing performance of only 35 tried Genocide cases in a period of over 12 years, the government of Rwanda has put in place mechanisms to have a modest figure of cases handled successfully despite its financial and other challenges.
The process of arresting and trying Genocide suspects is not just a justice-craving thing for Rwandans, as has been repeatedly pointed out in various fora. It is also a process of reconciliation, of forgiving and uniting. It is a process that wants to unravel all the dirt that took place in 1994, and subsequently put it behind. But only after going through the crucible.
So, the trial of Genocidaires is more than a trial to Rwandans on their road to understanding one another, and for putting up strong enough barriers to withstand any other gusts of genocide ideology. That is why it is important to all Rwandans that the pending cases be brought here so that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done – which can hardly be said for the Arusha-based UN court.
More, the fears that are being mooted by suspects that they will not get a fair trial here are untenable. The leadership of Rwanda is more committed to a fair justice system than anyone. Everything that Rwanda is doing is geared towards forging unity, not creating enmity. Who does not appreciate the magnanimity of Gacaca courts in this judicial dispensation?