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contribution 41 - DIENG Adama

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Records - Historical legacy

Adama DIENG

transtlated version

Now, what happened in Rwanda in 1994 was a crime against humanity. This has been said several times, which means that the efforts made by these African countries need to be commended. I must say that Mali, one of the poorest country, has worked a lot and contributed with its own budget to improve the detention conditions of our convicts.

Having said that, I do agree with Mr. Haguma when he says that Rwanda has built a modern prison, and I know with the help of the Netherlands. And I may say it is not impossible, as Mr. Amoussouga said, it is something that falls within the exclusive remit of the President. But you know the Prosecutor made a lot of motions under 11 bis for referral, which were rejected, but we still need to commend the efforts which have been made by the Rwandan government. To the human rights activist that I am, I hail the abolition of the death penalty in Rwanda and tell you that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has contributed a lot to that outcome. And we should also remember that such decision could have not been taken that fast, because emotions were still very strong and are certainly still strong in Rwanda.

Efforts are equally underway to improve the functioning of the judicial institution in Rwanda. Not a single judicial institution in the world is perfect. And I stand to be corrected by the Judges and lawyers here. And I believe it was Judge Getti who reminded us that even in France they are thinking of borrowing some elements of common law. Like yesterday, I proposed to South Africa to borrow elements of civil law to address problems of crime and specifically the question of bail in murder cases. So I believe that perfection is not of this world. I mean, we should remind ourselves, because is not for nothing that the Judges of Arusha and The Hague have had to revise the rules often to improve on the workings of international criminal justice.

I would simply like to point out the issue of records, because I believe this point was raised by some of you. I just want to reassure you on that score. Don’t be worried we have been working on the issue for years. And in this hall here there are two persons who were part of the consultative committee on the records: Mrs Aptel and Mr Othman were part of it, under the presidency of Mr. Goldstone. Today the report of Secretary General has been tabled to the Security Council, and that is how the issue of the supervision of sentences following the closing down of Tribunal will certainly enter into the residual mechanism that will be put in place, as well as witness protection because we still have to continue protecting these witness after the close down of the Tribunal and the review of trials, because we should expect that in the future some convicts may discover that there are new facts which were not known in their trial and much can help to have their trials reviewed.

All that is part of the residual mechanism that will be put in place. And so the issue of the records, we should try to play down this issue. It has raised a lot of emotions. Well, almost 80 per cent of it is in the form of CD ROMs that have been shared out in this room. Now, if some of the records are left, they should be covered by the rule of confidentiality for as long as possible, for obvious reasons. Prosecutor Del Ponte knows it very well. There are some documents that she cannot place at the disposal of anyone.

Having said that, one thing has to be retained. When it is possible, sometime in the future, the records would have to be either in these countries of ex-Yougoslavie or in Rwanda. That is why we have considered that records of the ICTR should be in an African country, especially an African country that has a UN representation and especially in terms of costs, because we have to think about the cost of keeping those records.

A. GARAPON

Thank you. Last speaker, Mrs. Fadugba.