A prominent researcher at the National University of Rwanda, Professor Anastase Shyaka, has called upon the United Nations to consider Rwanda as the only option when time comes for awarding rights to host archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
And the time for taking the decision is fast approaching because 2008 when ICTR mandate expires, and the year 2010 when it closes shop completely is not far away.
The academician’s argument is that the UN cannot afford to make a second ICTR-related mistake, the first having been its location.
It has been raised strongly by a number of stakeholders in various forums in the past that Rwanda, in the first place, ought to have been the automatic venue for the international Genocide court.
The researcher brings out clearly the issue of loss of sovereignty over own history in the event that the archives ended up in another country.
He also points out that accessibility would be compromised if the archives were to be taken to any of the developed nations.
Even Rwandans themselves would not be spared the limited accessibility since he thinks they would not be specially treated.
Imagine a Rwandan national being denied a visa by the Spanish or French embassies to go to either Barcelona or Marseille, in case one of these two cities was to be named as home to the archives by the UN.
ICTR was conceived and established purely for Rwanda as a result of a genocide that took place here. The international community’s resources behind the Arusha-based tribunal not withstanding, suffice to say that the matter is exclusively about the Rwandan people, their past, present and future.
It is in Rwanda that the memorial sites and Genocide museums are naturally located. Logically Rwanda should be the home of the testimonies, the research findings, the reference documents for academic and other purposes.
Rwandans are the number one victims of the sad Genocide history. They are at the same time at the fore front of fighting the serious campaign to revise the historical facts with the aim of distorting them. Their cause deserves to be aided with a lasting facility and symbol – the ICTR archives.