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contribution 11 - ARBIA Silvana

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Politics & Justice

Silvana ARBIA

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Thank you very much. Very briefly, I would like to say a few words on two or three issues. The issue of politics and justice, to me, it is beyond me. I have never had to address this topic which is akin to philosophy, another subject, which I do not know. But somebody mentioned the developments which are noted between the first ICTR judgment and a more recent judgment, and that is an increasing manifestation of the truth.

Of course, to conduct investigations or to deliver judgments on all events, including the deeds of the various parties in conflict, and it contributes to extending the setting so that we can understand what happened in Rwanda in 1994. It helps all parties for the future.

And I say that this example to actually reveal the truth is positive and must not be restrictive. And politics should not stall the re enactment of the truth. And I’m speaking on the basis of my personal experience. The victim, the survivor, even before claiming compensation, wishes to have a proper account of the event. And that is the job of the Judge.

When the ICTR was established, it was a political decision, but when it comes to functioning, I can barely see any action that will curtail or impede the independence of the Prosecutor or the Judge.

The ICC could also be an example for the intertwining between politics and justice as politics interferes in the work of the court. And although the Statute was designed under a less political prism, specifically in the ICTY and ICTR, it is clear that the mechanisms can be driven by political decisions.

You also have the Security Council mechanism, of course. But when the Prosecutor has to determine the cases that have to be investigated or tried, if there is any political meddling, then the Court’s work is impeded and the impartiality is eroded.

Also states can play with the courts, but it would be unacceptable that these mechanisms were used for political goals. Otherwise, when those courts make a decision, it needs to be executed. For instance, when a warrant of arrest is issued, it is based on the decision of three judges at the ICC. In this case politics should not play a role, even a noble one like the presumption of a massacre following this decision.

Therefore we need to preserve the integrity of the judicial system.


Thank you. I believe we all agree on the need to preserve the independence of the courts, although I do not believe that the judicial independence is questioned today but it is in my opinion the general context.

I will now give the floor perhaps to address an issue that was raised a while ago, namely, national reconciliation. I’ll give the floor to Françoise Ngendahayo.