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contribution 18 - FALL Dior

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Witnesses protection vs Public debate


transtlated version

Thank you. My name is Dior Fall.

I wanted to say something about witness protection. And when I heard my friend Michel, AndrÈ, the journalist, say that it was too confidential, that one could not just know what was happening, but I think it’s a matter of principle. It is really very important to know whether the witness is entitled to protection or not. There are witnesses who come and say, "I don’t want any protection. I want to testify in full view." That doesn’t bother us.

But others, depending on the problems they may face and the risks that they incur. I mean, he mentioned that some went home and got imprisoned, and this is across the board, Prosecution or Defence witnesses. Witness protection is a right which in my opinion should not be infringed for any reason.

Some have gone to prison and some have lost their lives upon their return to Rwanda. So if the witness considers that he needs protection, he is entitled to it. It is not simply to please a journalist so they can publish what is happening with regard to the proceedings. We cannot violate those rights which I consider fundamental rights of the witness. And I believe that at the ICTR it is a very important aspect, that even the Defence has considered that we have made progress.

So the idea is, we should not endanger the lives of the witness for any reason. We should seek to reinforce it. And not only leave it at the level of the appearance of witnesses at trial, which would mean that they are used and dumped, but even beyond their day in court. They should still be protected because they face real risks.

So, honestly, I think it is time to tell ourselves that we should see whether this right should be dropped, first of all, a number of considerations which are not even legal.


Thank you, Madam Fall. Sorry for mispronouncing your name.

This is all very interesting, I mean, the divide between providing information and protection.

Now, I will ask all of you to be very brief. But we are now entitled to a coffee break. So we will just take a few speakers.

Mr. Lurquin and a few other persons.