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Thursday, 30 April, 1998, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
UN Rwanda tribunal defends its record
girl looking at skulls
More than 800,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the 1994 genocide
The United Nations tribunal on the Rwandan genocide has defended its record against criticism from the human rights group, Amnesty International

The London-based group accused the tribunal of inefficiency, confusion and unfairness.

In a report, Amnesty says the tribunal, which has yet to pass a verdict on any defendants, works too slowly, has compromised the rights of some suspects and failed to protect witnesses.

In response, a legal adviser to the tribunal, which is based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, told the BBC that it had become fashionable to denigrate its efforts.

He said the tribunal was working under difficult conditions, with evidence not always easily available, and was at full capacity, having opened a second courtroom.

Problems 'result from location'

prisoners
Thousands of prisoners still await trial
The report says many of the problems resulted from holding the proceedings in Arusha, which it describes as having atrocious telecommunications, minimal air links and an unskilled workforce.

The tribunal was set up by the United Nations Security Council in November 1994, four months after the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 people.

The Amnesty report, called 'Trials and Tribulations', also condemns the Rwandan judicial and penal systems.

"More than 130,000 prisoners continue to languish in conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in prisons and detention centres which are filled to several times beyond their capacity," it says.

The killings continue

Meanwhile, a Rwandan news agency says six children and their mother have been hacked to death in the central Gitarama province, south-west of the capital Kigali.

Local officials blamed the attack on suspected Hutu militias. The agency said people from neighbouring areas were fleeing for fear of being attacked or harassed.

More than a hundred people have been killed in similar attacks in the last two weeks.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC News
Tribunal legal adviser Kingsley Moghalu: "This tribunal prosecutes on the basis of concrete evidence."(0'15")
BBC News
Amnesty report co-author Ahmed Motala: "The tribunal has to be effective."(0'22")
See also:

08 Apr 98 | Africa
Rwanda unveils genocide memorial
13 Apr 98 | Despatches
Ten killed in Rwandan violence
22 Apr 98 | Africa
Rwanda public executions attacked
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