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contribution 14 - Biju-Duval Jean-Marie

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ICTR assessment - RPF prosecution

René DEGNI-SÉGUI

transtlated version

Thank you, Professor. Before I get into the heart of the matter, I would like to join those who have come before me to say thank you to all the organizers and especially to Professor Guichaoua, who invited me here.

Mr. Chairman, dear colleagues, I believe that I’m here in two capacities, a professor and the former special rapporteur. I’m sure the other, this one as professor, has been taken away, so I will speak as the former rapporteur.

Well, so much has been said that I just don’t want to revisit it, but as the former rapporteur, allow me to take us back a bit to say that when one considers the track record of the Tribunal, I would start by saying that it has not been easy. It was not easy at all to get to the point where it could be stated that there was genocide. There was a lot of pressure to the extent that the rapporteur was pushed not to say that genocide had occurred. Mr. Adama Dieng is there. He can testify. Thank God it got into the report.

In the first report I stated that political arrangements should be avoided and some kind of little side reconciliation should be avoided and that there should be a court, maybe an extension of the Yugoslavia Tribunal or some other tribunal.

It was agreed that this Tribunal, the ICTR, be set up. It was set up, it has operated, and I realize that it has worked with the means available to it. Because initially there were obstacles to the functioning of the Tribunal, but it has overcome them.

And I believe that this symposium gives us the extent of the achievement that it has made. The genocide was delved into from a legal standpoint. It was done solemnly, as we said yesterday. Then there were convictions. And it was insisted enough on that, so I shouldn’t dwell on this. The road covered has been significant. I think we should be able to see this. We should realize that a lot of ground has been covered, and we should express optimism on what has been done so far.

Those who committed genocide have been prosecuted and convicted, including a former prime minister, as it was said. All of that is important, but there is a small but. There is this issue of justice that operates on a double standard. It’s like a bone that sticks in one’s neck. My friend, Mr. Schabas, tried to establish a comparison with Nuremberg, but are the contexts the same? Are the circumstances the same? Is there not some specificity in respect of reconciliation, in respect of the prevailing situation in Africa to say enough? I think we should reflect on this.

We insisted yesterday on Nuremberg and the victor’s justice. We should avoid that. Admittedly, as the lady minister said, it is not up to the Tribunal to go and establish reconciliation in the country. But the Court has to create an enabling environment for reconciliation.

That is all I had to say, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

Vincent CHETAIL

Thank you. I will have to establish a rule in the sense that I have allowed everybody who asked for the floor to speak, but now I just can’t do so, and there is the issue of time.
Now, for those who wanted to speak, they may be given the floor, but we have to stop at some point. So I would crave your indulgence to be brief.
Now the floor is open to Mr. Biju Duval.