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contribution 19 - Roux François

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Civil law vs Common law - The plane - RPF prosecution

François ROUX

transtlated version

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was going to talk, actually, about civil law to tie in with what the previous speaker had said, but I don’t think that civil law can be responsible for the failure of the special investigations. That is something new, Mr. Webster.

Now, two points. First, I would like to thank Carla Del Ponte for her clear language. Well, I believe, I’m sorry to say this, but it is a change from the kind of rhetoric that we’ve been hearing since the early afternoon. Thanks to Del Ponte, it is clear that if the investigations were not concluded, it has to be blamed on political reasons. Let’s state the problems clearly and address them. But, Mr. Webster, I’m sorry, let us be humble, because our fate, for those of us who work in international criminal tribunals and justice, that is our fate. We always face political problems.

In Cambodia, the present prime minister says he praying for the failure of international criminal justice. So you realise that we are facing political problems. So how can you add that we have done an excellent job. No. We have done what we could. But at the end of the day, the only thing we have to demonstrate is a great deal of humility because it is obvious that all of us collectively have failed to prosecute both sides. So we cannot claim that the Arusha Tribunal could have really contributed to reconciliation. And, unfortunately, since both sides could not be prosecuted equally, we have failed ^ theories of course. So my only answer is humility. Could we do otherwise? I don’t know.

When we have the Office of the Prosecutor in Rwanda itself, it is obvious that the Tribunal somehow is taken hostage by the situation. Let’s look squarely at the situation, at the problem. There is no public here. Let’s be sincere with one another. And when we are done working for the Tribunal, we cannot claim that we’ve done an excellent job. We have tried to do our level best with the resources that we had, each of us in our own sphere. But it is a pity for justice and reconciliation.

On the issue of the aircraft, we are not going to get entangled in a legal discussion at this time. There are some persons who think that it falls within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. Others who feel that it is not the case. If we look at Article 4 of the Statute of the Tribunal, paragraph D, it states that the Tribunal has jurisdiction over acts of terrorism, so you will agree that one can legitimately agree that the act on the aircraft was a terrorist act. But I will not go any further. That too was not done. So let us be humble.

I will conclude on the issue of civil law. I will not address it on the way you brought it up, but as Mr. Muna expressed it. Actually, I believe that some aspects of civil law, some improved aspects of civil law could be interesting. And they mention what is happening presently in the Cambodian tribunal. We are now completely in the ream of civil law, so we co examining magistrates, and the first case came to trial after one and a half years of investigation. So you will admit that it is rather a fast for 2,300 crimes. So it is something that needs to be further explored in international criminal justice. It is not a perfect system. And I don’t believe that common law ^pure can be the solution in international criminal justice.

So, once again, I would like to insist that maybe common law works well in national courts, but the evidence system that requires the production of thousands of documents, that may be possible when the English speak to English or Americans speak to Americans, but it is disastrous in an international context with many languages like in Cambodia or in Arusha. It is disastrous.

So, incontestably, indisputably there are improvements to be made. For a long time we tried to draw from each system the best from each system. I think we should proceed in that direction. Civil law has a lot to teach us in terms of trial in abstentia. The issue of victims and now several parties are raising another issue that we never thought about. We need to acknowledge that it is not simple. Clearly it is progress that we are making when we are done addressing the legacy of the Tribunal and we agree that we did not do enough for the victims, then we will be making progress. Let us stop there. Let us be humble.


First, for purposes of information, we have a civil law system in France that we ourselves are challenging.
Now, I would like to give the floor to Mr. Cruvellier, if you don’t mind.