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contribution 32 - STEWART James

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Historical legacy


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Mr. Chair, I don’t want us to close this discussion without highlighting the importance of reviews, and it is mentioned in the programme. I would simply like to highlight this point of reviews. I started working in the cases before moving on to the Appeals Chamber, and I realised that there were different types of appeals, interlocutory appeals and post judgement appeals. And interlocutory appeals are very important. And the most important to me was the decision taken by the Appeals Chamber in respect of judicial notice of the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994 in Rwanda, because that ruling, which was not warmly welcome in the detention facility, to my understanding, but that aside, that ruling had to ease the task of the Tribunal because it enabled the Judges and the parties to actually focus on core issues, namely, the guilt or innocence of defendants.

Furthermore, such a ruling would be of import beyond the doors of the Tribunal. For instance, in Canada, a trial has just been concluded. In the Butare trial I am not very sure whether the Trial Chamber relied on that decision, that case law from Canada, but I believe that if the Tribunal for Rwanda had to make an adjudication on that point, other countries and other legal entities would rely on that material so as to avoid lengthy trials and to focus on what is important. In respect of post judgement appeals, we have relied on such to develop international law.

But I must state that sometimes we encountered problems cropping up from the trials, for instance, defective indictments which caught up with us during the appeals in quite a disturbing manner. And my learned colleagues, Duval and other counsels, are fully cognizant of this fact because we have discussed this issue at length.

And I wanted to highlight this point because what would also be important would be the case law settled by the Appeals Chamber, and that would be all the more important, because it goes beyond the ICTR as there is a circulation of judgements where Judges rely on jurisprudence. And I believe that judgements delivered in various countries actually set milestones. And so judgements delivered in Arusha may be used as much as those delivered elsewhere. Thank you, Chair.