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contribution 03 - GUICHAOUA, André

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Investigation - Production of evidence


transtlated version

Very well. I would like to give a specific example which falls in line with what Damien Vandermeersch has just addressed, like in the context of the first trial in Brussels and which I concluded, that is, concluded the case of financial evidence, because it was possible to demonstrate that the funding of militia was done under the basis of direct disbursement from corporate entities which had been syphoned so as to clearly fund the chief of staff of the militia on an individual basis. And this was the case in Butare where I sourced a number of documents, and especially because the minister at the time had every morning contributed to the investigations such that we found direct evidence in the banks.

Accordingly, every morning he would call the various banks, BCR, bank of Kigali and so forth. And when we went there, we would request information about the account of X or a cheque drawn by X, and that enabled us to come up with a case file which was to say the least extraordinary with quite stunning amounts. And that happened in May 2001.

I had proposed to the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, that the model be extended to others and that we should take advantage because, whether we want it or not, concrete evidence is different from testimony. And we proceeded in the same manner and made a discovery. And this was done on a daily basis, that there was impunity in the area of financial swindling because all bank transfers were done on personal accounts. I am not going to name name, but among the main officials of the MRND and the leaders of the militia, one could find stunning bank movements, including international funding which was swindled from certain accounts. And I would table that material to the Deputy Prosecutor.

And some of the information was even on an informal basis. And I don’t quite remember, but I believe it was in May 2002 that I we decided to draft a formal letter to the bank management requesting them to forward to us first all the documents I had accessed informally to ensure that those would be certified and also to give us direct access to the accounts of specific individuals.

And regarding bank directors, since most of the bank managers were Belgians, they met. And in the evening, the answer was "no". So we discussed the matter. There were quite some heating debates among the Rwandan officials, including the minister of justice who wanted to go a step further. And ultimately an answer was given to the extent that they would by no means allow us to go any further. Various reasons had been advanced.

I had sent a long letter to the Prosecutor at the time stating that the investigations were compromising national reconciliation as the banks were not cooperative or the banks did not need to have been involved. And we had all kinds of reasons which were superficial but really political, and which to my mind, to call a spade a spade, those accounts were moved to different lines. So we had sent out official letters to the minister at the time and the investigation stopped.

Personally, I believed that was quite an issue because that was a singular opportunity. Let me say other financial investigations had been conducted, whole containers had been kept at the court in Kigali, but those were unnecessary because you will do public accounting to find machetes and including such information in an indictment is not compelling. So that is why we had no interest in, you know, arresting whosoever because the case was not compelling. But in this case we had specific material, we had information, we had documents, we had bank documents. A lot of this happened in all impunity. People were virtually sharing money from one account to the other. And to me it seems like international manner which played a significant role in barring us from having access to that information.

And there was a World Bank project that was used to distribute large amounts of money, and that much I had to say.


Thank you. That is an issue which was somewhat overlooked yesterday but which is significant.

Is anybody else willing to say something about this point?