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contribution 16 - NSANZUWERA François-Xavier

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Whom to prosecute? - witnesses

Fançois-Xavier NSANZUWERA

transtlated version

Françcois-Xavier Nsanzuwera from the appeals in the office of the Prosecutor. I would like to backtrack a while, based on this afternoon’s statements in respect to Prosecution policy. I believe that we need to include a stakeholder who might believe it’s not properly represented here namely the witnesses. Tomorrow we are going to discuss the legacy of the Tribunal, as well as jurisprudence, but I believe that the work of the Tribunal or the book of the Tribunal was written by an important stakeholder, namely, witnesses, witnesses who testified for the Prosecution, who testified for the Defence as well. And I take it that the witnesses, especially Rwandan witnesses, played a critical role in shaping the Prosecution’s policy, unwittingly though. And I hope that those who implemented the Prosecution’s policy today, while looking back, should remember the role of those witnesses, because when those famous investigators whom we referred to this afternoon, especially my friends from the Netherlands, when they arrived, they found witnesses of the genocide who were on the spot. Although they were not able to speak their language, the initial investigations were conducted with the help of those witnesses.

Thanks to reports from the civil society in Rwanda and from the international community, who compiled those testimonies. So witnesses to the genocide and survivors of the genocide helped in making that choice, choosing between the big fish and the small fish. Yes, there are big fish because they held high profile offices. But I believe when it comes to criminal liability, there’s no small criminal or a big criminal, because the crimes are equal, especially heinous and grave crimes like genocide. So those witnesses and survivors of the genocide played, to a certain extent, a role in choosing targets.

And my friend, Vincent, talked about the intention of targeting the broad range of the Rwandan society. I think it’s very specific. The Rwandan witnesses are fully aware of the political and social context in which the genocide took place, only that that context which you have described did turn out to be real, but it was unwitting; and therefore, the stakeholder, that is, the witness to the genocide, played a central role in the implementation of the Prosecution’s policy.


There are some persons who had sought to take the floor.
Mr. Webster, I’m going to talk to you I’ll let you have the floor.