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contribution 16 - AMOUSSOUGA Roland

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Witnesses protection vs Public debate


transtlated version

Thank you very much. I just wanted to add that the issue of witness protection is quite new with respect to the context of the ICTR. And to this day, the context is still a challenge to the proper functioning of the activities of the ICTR. That is why I would like to point out here that not only was the issue not properly mastered at the time the ICTR started operating, because states had to be educated on the concept, but also the concept was weakened by the paucity of resources.

Witness protection does not just happen. It comes with a cost. Unfortunately, the resources placed at the disposal of the ICTR does not enable it to cover, so to speak, all the aspects required by proper witness protection.

A while ago Mr. Kwende mentioned taking care of witnesses at the investigation stage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to Defence witnesses. As you may know, the statute is silent on that score. So when we develop that concept, we have to look for solutions. And thanks to the clear sightedness of the leaders at the time and Mr. Adama Dieng, we were able to provide some partial solutions to the real problems faced by the Defence. And I am pleased to say today that thanks to the efforts of the registry, Defence witnesses are reassured. Because it was a predicament for everybody.

The Defence counsels added a while ago that for some witnesses, when they went home, they went to prison. It’s not only in Rwanda. And if I remember correctly, there are cases of some witnesses who, upon their return from Arusha, were imprisoned elsewhere.

That is why witness protection will remain a fundamental challenge to international criminal justice unless we broaden the debate and find novel solutions to a predicament that is raised by this problem of witness protection during judicial proceedings and after ICTR closure. Thank you.


Thank you. Mr. Webster, and maybe Mrs. Fall afterwards.