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contribution 07 - AMOUSSOUGA Roland

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Accused realeased - Guilty plea - Kambanda

Roland AMOUSSOUGA

transtlated version

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to revisit a few points. First on what Mr. Muna said.

If my memory is actually serving me right, I wonder when he says that the Prosecutor, in his pleading, in his closing arguments reported asked for life imprisonment. If I remember correctly, I believe that the Prosecutor asked for a prison term of 25 years and the Defence had asked for two years. I remember the Chamber’s position clearly, especially the position of President Laity Kama who did not follow the direction chartered by the Prosecutor. The Chamber probably wanted to send out a powerful message in the sense that Kambanda was a prime minister and once his guilty plea had been taken and given the aggravating circumstances, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

I believe the lesson to learn from this case is, first, that the judges, anxious to preserve their independence, did not want to get entangled in negotiations with the Office of the Prosecutor and the accused person. I wonder whether a mechanism could not be found from the very outset to better raise the awareness of the judges to that fact.

I believe that Kambanda was a textbook case. And as we said yesterday, we have move forward the process. That was the first time that that kind of circumstance came up. And since Mr. Kama was not a common law judge, he was a strict adherent to the civil law regime. And I saw how he controlled his hearings in the Akayesu case when he dealt with the Prosecutor who is now ambassador of the United States. Mr. Kama was very mindful of the independence of Judges. And the judgement in the Kambanda case was a perfect illustration of that independence. Unfortunately, it had serious ramifications.

Now, on the situation of acquitted persons, I believe the Defence Counsels here have done a good job of pointing out that issue. But what needs to be said here is simply that the States have a role to play here. The registry, as they said, has done everything, everything that was humanly possible to create conditions of hospitality and to negotiate. Nothing was provided in that respect in the texts, that is true, but we have done our best to bring the problem to the attention of the United Nations and members of the United Nations, and nothing has been done. So that is a challenge we are facing.

But beyond that, there is also the challenge of persons who are released after serving their term. This is a matter that is dear to our hearts because this situation casts a lengthy shadow on the work of the Tribunal. Because once this these gentlemen are set free, what is their status in the country in which they are freed? Because we understand that they don’t want at all to return to Rwanda for reasons that may appear obvious. The tragedy here is the lack of awareness within the international community of the need to look after acquitted persons and persons who have served their terms. Of course, there should be a mechanism to manage all these cases. Thank you.

A. GARAPON

Thank you you are right to point out there maybe a cultural gap in the guilty plea. There is some resistance from civil law judges to factor in plea agreements, plea bargains and that kind of things which they may not want to accept. Cécile Aptel?