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contribution 5 - GUICHAOUA, André

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Distinguished colleagues and friends, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the organising committee, I would like to say a few words which are more of a practical nature, which is important, especially as we move toward this afternoon’s discussions.

Allow me, first of all, to thank all those who made it here for having responded to our invitation and for having been involved in the organisation, and especially I hope that we shall meet the expectations and the trust you have placed on us.

That said, two years ago, the idea of this conference was mooted and discussed, and the rationale is simple: We are all attached to this institution. And although it is pretty early to make an appraisal, we thought that we were in a better position to start off this work. I’m a little at a loss. I’m going to use an English ‑‑ as a matter of fact, the English wording is more opportune, auspicious, that is, "stakeholders". We were unable to come up with an equivalent in French. And I think this word is very symbolical, and all those who are here as stakeholders all have a stake. They all have a stake. They are all stakeholders in respect of the functioning and existence of the Tribunal. And I would like to state that be it persons handling translation, be it the managers, be it the investigators, Defence teams, the Judges, the witnesses, the journalists who provide the coverage and all those who, from outside the Tribunal, played a part in supporting the Tribunal by way of funding ‑‑ I’m just ‑‑ for instance, my neighbour said there was a genocide in Rwanda, and without René Degni, we wouldn’t have been here today. So all these persons I have mentioned are all stakeholders. And I believe that this word should be kept on top of our minds in the course of our discussions and that we are going to give it concrete body in our words.
And let me also state that this forum is time bound. You have people who were there in 1995 at the very beginning. The Deputy Prosecutor is not here. He is taken by other duties. And you have other officials. And I think the memory of this Tribunal has to come to the fore. And this Tribunal is already 15 years old and has a legacy, and those who have been there from the very beginning, that is, 15 years ago need to air out and actually take stock of what it has become 15 years down the lane.

Another practical point which I would like to make, and as you are aware, in judicial organs, the line of authority or the hierarchy is very strong. And like the Prosecutor, these are persons who wield a lot of power, and it is undoubtable, and in the invitations some persons were not given as high a profile, especially those who are always working behind the scenes and who do not tend to voice their opinions. And I believe that these persons should be able to state that they too played a critical role in the work of the Tribunal, like the management, like the translators. You also have the ladies who are typing away in front of us, that is, the court reporters. We thought that each participant will have an opportunity to voice their opinion, and I believe this afternoon this is going to happen irrespective of the capacities of all and sundry.

Now, coming to the purpose, the expectations of the meeting, there is no specific strategy. The only rationale is that we have to make an appraisal ourselves. We have to look at what has been done, because everybody who is here is invested to make such an appraisal. And, secondly, it might be relevant to do so before others try to make such an appraisal. There’s nothing wrong with them doing it before us, but it is important that this be placed on the record.

And I’m trying to respond to the issues in bulk.

There are questions as to why Geneva. We could have held this in Addis Ababa, in Arusha, in Kigali. We had many proposals. But the reason is simple. We discussed the issue at length. It is because the Arusha Tribunal is not an African Tribunal. Hence, the title "Model or Counter‑Model". This is a United Nations Tribunal, and what has been done in Arusha seeks to reconcile international justice, as well as a set of values. And Geneva happens to be a highly symbolic city in the world and which is auspicious for such work, especially in regard to a tribunal which was relatively isolated. And whether you want it or not, that is the fact.

Who are the guests? We are not going to play hide‑and‑seek. There are many absentees. There are many members of the Tribunal who expressed their disappointment at their non‑invitation. There are academics who made huge efforts but who were unable to make it here finally. The reason is simple, it was not possible to exceed about 50 persons ‑‑ and that will be discussed this afternoon round this table ‑‑ for the simple reason that when we took the decision not to hinge the colloquium on academic discourse, we agreed that we would not be in a position to exceed 50 attendees so as to ensure spontaneous discussions. And that was the prime criterion. There were other criteria, definitely. To avoid, you know, any suspicion whatsoever, it was not the Tribunal that chose the delegates, neither was it the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which contributed significantly. But I should say the host universities did that work. And I think that was a symbol of trust on the part of the sponsors, namely, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Also I must state that we had to make some choices. Some were arbitrary, I must admit, because you can’t explain, but at the end of the day we had to make a choice. And also we had to go against our own will. And the criterion was very simple. All those who are invited had to have been directly involved in the work of the Tribunal. And also we needed a cross‑section of, you know, the segments. So we had seven or eight persons per subgroup. And we quickly hit the ceiling for some entities. For instance, the Office of the Prosecutor, as you would see, the seven or eight target was quickly met, and so I believe the selection made was the appropriate selection.

The other criterion that was used was invitations in a personal capacity. You know, those persons were invited here on a personal capacity and not on the basis of their official stature or capacity so they would be free in expressing their views.

That said, on the contrary, we did not invite representatives of associations of any nature like NGOs or associations of victims or associations of lawyers. Persons who have been invited and who come from any of the above‑mentioned categories were invited on a personal capacity.

And, lastly, let me state that all those who were involved in this Tribunal were invited. Nobody was left out. No link was left out. We could never have taken the risk to set aside anybody who was significantly involved and contributed to their functioning of the Tribunal. There was a single criterion that was put to the fore, and we take responsibility. And I’m sorry we said it from the very beginning. There are no invitees ‑‑ no person was invited who had previously denied the genocide. And that was the sole criterion. And I know that this targeted some people, although they were involved in the work of the Tribunal. But we took the responsibility in our capacities as academics and organisers.

On the last point, I think I’ve not touched on, among the absentees there is Alison Des Forges, our friend. I would simply like to state that Alison always took her responsibility. She always said the truth. She always voiced her thought. What she thought was the truth, especially in virtually all cases. But what I remember most about her is that she never feared to say the truth as it stood. And I believe that for all of us that is an example and a driving force for the forthcoming discussions.

There were also numerous questions, namely: What are the expectations in terms of statements or declarations or achievements? As I said, we’re not going to unravel secrets. We are not going to flout the rules of the game. We are not going to cause antagonism between the Judges and the Prosecutors or the other parties in the court. There is no issue about harassment or trying to force people to unduly disclose matters of confidentiality. Nobody should be bound to violate the rules of confidentiality, and nobody should feel bound to answer a question which they feel they shouldn’t disclose. And I think that this should be done respectfully. And I’m referring to the Judges, I’m referring to the Prosecutor. We are not bound to name names. People might use the proper wording to express their thought, but I believe from the very beginning this must be stated.

That said, what is of import to us is that we should be able to discuss matters which we had discussed previously or not in respect of the functioning of the Tribunal, because we have not been able to discuss these matters due to pressure because we are not in the same buildings simply because the circumstances did not so warrant.

And I do believe that many among you have a lot of things to say, to tell each other, which goes beyond taboos and secrets and which are things that have impacted significantly on the work of the Tribunal and may have highlighted the weaknesses of the Tribunal.

That said, very concretely, in respect of, what would I say, the functioning. As you notice, this room has a certain configuration. It might be arbitrary, but it is also intentional. So we tried to come up with a setting that will ease the work of the chairperson, as well as the work of the stenographers.

So the Judges, as in the courts, will be facing us. The Office of the Prosecutor will be there on my right. The Registry, so to speak, will be to my left. Then on the far right and far left on each side you will have the witnesses, journalists, who have been involved, and the Defence.

So that needs some explanation too. We have always said that we were going to include a number of academics involved in Rwanda or in justice, experts who have been strongly involved in the process. But the criterion we have used is that they will observe and join or discussions, but they would not actually intervene in the discussions. So they have a slot maybe towards the end of the day or maybe towards the end of discussions to intervene.

Then there are a number of persons who represent the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs who have worked a lot in the process. There are some of them who are hiding within the group of journalists, but I’m sure they will have their rightful place because all these people have worked really hard and are certainly among the group of persons who have given us indispensable assistance.
Now, for practical details, I wanted to add, since we were talking about the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, a question has been put to us recurrently: Who is sponsoring? Who is funding you? The answer is simple. From the outside, when the project came up, the answer was provided. That is, when the project was presented to our colleagues, the department of development and cooperation in Berne, in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, it’s able. For the symposium we have to be free, free in the sense that funding has been taken care of. And let us be clear that funding has been provided by the federal ministry of foreign affairs. But I don’t want to insist on that. What is even more important to me is that never has the federal department or any other person giving us orders, directives, instructions to impose whatever on the organisation of the process. That is something exceptional. I don’t have any other examples, but it is very, very rare that a structure should receive sponsoring or funding and then trust the organisers with such huge amounts of money. I just wanted to say that. It is an exceptional experience. I’ve never met that kind of cooperation.

The only directive that was given to us was: "Succeed in your venture. You have taken up the challenge. Succeed in your venture and we will support you." So that is all what has prevailed from the beginning to the end.

So, honestly, on behalf of the university institutions and all those who are present here today, and in regard to the confederation and the federal department, I believe a lot has been invested in this. There’s been a lot of follow‑up and services, which is really quite exceptional, and I hope we should rise to the expectation, to the trust invested in us.

Now, I will come to practical issues at this time. As from this afternoon, we will have our discussions in what form? Well, you’ve received a small note on this. There will be two major elements that will count. The first is that everybody should be able to express their opinions. And when I say everybody, one does not need to be a legal expert or to have some specific item or point. You know one does not need to have some terrible qualifications to be able to intervene, but each person, in keeping with their role that they have played, they should be able to witness or to testify to their contribution. And if you like, we will devote almost all the sessions to factual and direct elements. Each time we start a session we should be able to afford people the opportunity to give their personal experiences.

Then we’ll devote some time to analysis, general analysis, and the chairpersons of the sessions will state that quite clearly.

There is a third slot that may be devoted to the legal dimension to afford the legalists for the opportunity to have their say and to use the dictionaries of their own.

So these are the three dimensions which will be based on a number of themes. As you’ve seen, there is the Prosecution, the trial, sentencing. And there will be sub‑teams. For a simple reason. We cannot talk about everything. We do not want to run the risk of bringing together incoherent ideas and other stuff.

Now, on the basis of the papers you presented, to be very concrete this afternoon, one of the items that came up in many of the notes that you sent: What is a big fish? So we need to make the distinction between a small fish and a big fish, that kind of thing. So, in all likelihood, subject to confirmation by the chairman, we could start on a specific example of that nature. Prosecution policy, how is it built? And I believe that as concerns the chairman, he had the privilege in 1995, 1996 to follow a discussion of that nature. In the first year of the tenure of Prosecutor Goldstone he had a hard time defining a big fish, and he had to wait for the big fish to come out of the river.

So, in a nutshell, that is how our work is organised, but the chairpersons will play a crucial role in following up on this.

There was one other practical matter. There are other practical issues, like I said. I believe he’s coming. He will be here in a moment. We thought that it would be preferable that the Prosecutors, Madam Del Ponte and Mr. Jallow, should bring together their presentations in a session maybe on Saturday. That is not to say stop you from taking the floor, but the idea is to give you time to express yourselves fully. And maybe Saturday morning you will be given that period. And it is going to be flexible.

Now a smaller detail. You must have noticed that the registry has granted you the services of court reporters or stenographers. It is important. We need a record. And on that aspect, maybe I should say something. It has been announced that we are meeting in a "private" conference. So, from today to the last day there is nothing public, maybe just the press conference that will be given on Saturday. So, in quotes, we are in closed session.

Nonetheless, the transcripts are important. First, because we need a record of what we must have discussed, and, in concrete terms, we discuss the idea of placing part of it online, preferably on the website of the ICTR. But participants need to have the possibility of reading what appears on the transcript. I think that is a rule that was discussed at length. But I think it is normal to have what we have discussed during the conference at the end of the conference, so the text will be perused and prepared in a final form and forwarded to the various participants and those who may want to have it. So I think that shall be the rule.

Now what will be placed on the site is what would have been agreed upon by everybody. So if there is no disagreement on that score, we did it for several reasons. It is normal to have a record of what we discussed and that each person, in quotes, should be respectful of the content of the transcripts before they are made public.

At the end of each session, transcripts will be printed out and circulated. A copy will be given to the chairperson of each session, because they are the ones who assess the work of the session. Then there will be persons to correct, to edit the transcripts.

Now, for the others, you have to wait until the end, maybe a week after, to have the corrected version of the transcripts.

Further, the sessions are filmed, covered by video coverage. So we are used to that in Arusha. I don’t think it will impinge on our freedoms.

I will stop there. And I would like to thank you once more. I hope that the explanations were clear enough. And above all, please, I am inviting you to take the floor under the responsibility of the presiding chairpersons, and they will come up. The chairpersons will start assuming their duty this afternoon. I will simply give you their names. This afternoon, Jean‑Pierre Getti will start with the session on the Prosecution. That is his field, so to speak, his initial profession. He is a magistrate. He will introduce himself this afternoon. No point doing it now.

Then there will be Jean‑Marc Sorel, who is a lecturer at the University of Paris 1. He is interested in international criminal tribunals, and he is in charge of monitoring the various tribunals, I believe so. So he is in charge of a broader experience but which involves our area.

Antoine Garapon is a magistrate, academic and director of the institute of higher studies and legal studies in Paris. And then he’s the director of that department, ADH. And we all know him. And he’s involved in the UN human rights process.

Vincent Chetail, who is in charge of research at ADH, he’s a researcher, too, and he will chair the last session on Saturday.

So I believe I’ve done the overview.


Thank you all. I would like to thank especially the two speakers, Judge Byron and the other speaker. I would like to thank you all. We will start the session at this stage. I note again, I wish you a very successful colloquium.