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Thursday, 9 December, 1999, 11:15 GMT
Prosecutor to pursue genocide suspect
Carla del Ponte Carla del Ponte said Rwanda could try Barayagwiza


The chief prosecutor for the UN Rwandan genocide tribunal, Carla del Ponte, has pledged to re-arrest a key suspect if he is released.

Ms del Ponte said that if the appeal court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda upholds its decision to free Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza another country should try him.

She said a trial could take place in Rwanda, which broke off relations with the tribunal after the appeals court decsion in November to release Mr Barayagwiza's on procedural grounds.

Arrest warrant

Mr Barayagwiza, a high-ranking official in the defunct government that orchestrated the genocide, is regarded in Rwanda as one of the chief architects of the 1994 genocide.

Refugee camps Home to many Rwandan refugees in 1994
The appeals court ruling also prompted Rwanda to refuse Ms del Ponte a visa, but this decision was reversed when the prosecutor blocked the suspect's release and called for a review of his case.

Rwanda has issued a new international arrest warrant for the man who they say helped coordinate a hate radio campaign that incited Hutus to kill up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The maximum sentence available to the UN court is life imprisonment, while Rwanda can and has executed those convicted of genocide.

Cooperation suspended

Ms del Ponte described Rwanda's suspension of cooperation with the tribunal as "worrying".

"Investigations on the ground are becoming very difficult because we need the collaboration of prefects, burgomasters (mayors) and even local procurators," she explained.

Ms del Ponte, who has not met any Rwandan officials since arriving in the country on Saturday, reiterated that she understood "the reaction of the Rwandan authorities."

She said she had been able to meet tribunal staff in Kigali and members of the public and pledged to return to Rwanda in early 2000 and stay for six months.

Rwanda has criticised the slow pace of the tribunal, which has so far made just six convictions.

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See also:
06 Nov 99 |  Africa
Rwandan fury as genocide suspect freed
21 Jun 99 |  Africa
Rwanda arrests 'hate radio' journalist
18 Mar 99 |  Africa
Eyewitness: Rwanda's survivors
31 Mar 99 |  Africa
Rwanda slaughter 'could have been prevented'
20 Jul 99 |  Africa
Rwandans 'plan to sell genocide relics'
18 Mar 99 |  Africa
Rwanda tribunal frees suspect

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