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contribution 03 - MUNA Bernard Acho

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Guilty plea - Kambanda

Bernard MUNA

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I wish to agree about Kambanda. Because myself and Mr. Othman worked very hard. We interviewed Kambanda many times. We did, in fact, hold out the fact that if he pleaded guilty, that would take it into consideration. We were very disappointed when our prosecutor arrived on the sentence. "Now, this is the first sentence. We have to ask for life." We tried as much as possible, myself and Othman to persuade that if we can get more people to plead guilty it would serve as an example. This is the whole point. Unfortunately we had to tow the line of our boss. I think that the position adopted later on by the Tribunal is better after us.

Secondly, we were also disappointed because the Judges could have played their role. In other words, even if the Prosecution asked for life, the Judges could have played their role by saying that, "No, this guy has pleaded guilty, and we think that he should have some benefits because of the statutes." That is the second point we have to make.

The third point about the guilty plea of Kambanda is that, although we made arrangements for his family, in the final analysis, he didn’t benefit in any way whatsoever by speaking the truth and pleading guilty. In fact, this blocked other people from pleading guilty.

The third thing about pleading guilty is that the sentence which he had was the maximum sentence. How could you compare somebody who has pleaded guilty and has the maximum sentence with other people who later on have gone through the whole trial and do not have that maximum sentence? These are the things that we regretted. In the Tribunal, we are happy that things progressed later on and that Kambanda might influence and others have benefited from it.

The other thing that I would like to mention under here is the question of detention. We had a lot of problems at that time because Kambanda was removed from the normal cell and he was detained in another town because of the danger at that time. I think Amnesty International and other caring organisations almost crucified us for the fact that we had hijacked Kambanda and hid him somewhere. But I think that a guilty plea plea does play a part in the reconciliation.

I am only disappointed to say that we have not talked about reconciliation. How much has the Tribunal achieved on the way of reconciliation? Has this Tribunal achieved the aims which were stated in the statute of setting up to have reconciliation? Can we really say that the Tribunal has any reconciliation? I think this is something we can go into.

Some people who were talking about the Gacaca. My own experience and my own position is that, maybe the Gacaca has played more in the reconciliation as the head of the village meetings and town meetings and talking to the people than the Tribunal has done, even though the Tribunal has done a lot to re establish the history of the genocide, research the players and done a lot in investigation. So I think maybe along the lines we should really ask the question: What has the Gacaca really done, and is it effective in the field of reconciliation? Thank you.


Thank you very much. I believe we will tackle that issue towards the end, the issue of reconciliation and see how far the Tribunal was caught up in some conflicting issues to highlight the gravity of the crime of genocide. And to establish collaboration and then to meet our justice.

Vincent Lurquin has the floor.