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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Rwanda rounds on genocide tribunal
Skulls of massacred Rwandans
Up to a million people died in the genocide

The Rwandan authorities have launched a stinging attack on the workings of the international criminal tribunal in Arusha.


The international community does not actually care about justice for Rwanda

Gerard Gahima, Rwandan prosecutor
A senior Rwandan judicial official said his country had come to the conclusion that the Arusha tribunal was so badly managed that the international community had given up on finding justice for the victims of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Earlier in the week, the chief prosecutor of the tribunal, Carla del Ponte, told the UN Security Council that Rwanda had withdrawn its cooperation from tribunal authorities and was preventing it from carrying out its mandate.

Relations between Rwanda and the court in Arusha appear to have reached a new low.

'Mismanagement'

In a stinging attack on the tribunal, the Rwandan general prosecutor, Gerard Gahima - speaking at the UN in New York - accused it of taking too long to prosecute those guilty of the genocide.

He also said the Arusha tribunal was mismanaged, and had failed to protect witnesses who had been called to testify against genocide suspects.

Mr Gahima said his government and the Rwandan people had been left with one conclusion.

Tribunal prosecutor Carla del Ponte
The tribunal prosecutor has upset Rwandans

" We've come to a point where we feel that the international community does not actually care about justice for Rwanda and we can go on and give many, many other examples of the neglect, the indifference of the tribunal," he said.

"And one comes to a point where you wonder if it's even necessary at all if that's the attitude that people have."

The Rwandans are unhappy about comments Carla del Ponte made earlier this week to the UN Security Council.

'Lack of cooperation'

Ms del Ponte told Council members that the Rwandan authorities were refusing to cooperate with the tribunal over the release of witnesses.

She also said that powerful elements within Rwanda had blocked attempts by the tribunal to investigate human rights abuses carried out by the Rwandan Patriotic Army in 1994.

Rwanda orphan
Thousands of children were orphaned in the genocide

At the time the army - or Rwandan Patriotic Front, as it was then known - was a mainly Tutsi force that fought against members of the former Hutu-led government which engineered the genocide.

The Rwandans have always opposed any outside investigation into their armed forces.

Mr Gahima said the Rwandan Patriotic Army was the saviour of Rwanda as a nation, and any attempt to indict military officials would take away the one thing that was holding the country together.


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29 Jun 02 | Africa
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