Cablegate: Ictr Prepares for Closure, Significant Work Remains


DE RUEHDR #0643/01 2731457
R 301457Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Officials of the International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda (ICTR) briefed Dar es Salaam-based diplomats September 25
on the status of the tribunal's work. ICTR officials expected to
meet the planned 2010 deadline for closure of the tribunal, despite
some case delays. However, plans for a residual mechanism to handle
cases after 2010 remained unclear; ICTR officials stated that any
transfers to national jurisdiction would be contingent on Rwanda
establishing video conferencing and witness protection programs.
ICTR asked for support as it seeks the return of fugitives from DRC,
Zimbabwe, and Kenya. ICTR's president will travel to UNGA in
mid-October to discuss these and other issues. He noted the U.S. is
USD 29.8 million in arrears. END SUMMARY

2. (U) On September 25, PolOff joined members of the "Friends of
ICTR" group, including Ambassadors to Tanzania from Germany, the
United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, and Canada and Political Officers
from France, Germany and the Netherlands at ICTR Headquarters in
Arusha for a meeting with Dennis Byron, President of the ICTR;
Hassan B. Jallow, Chief Prosecutor; and Bongani Majola, Registrar.

Progress towards and Obstacles to 2010 Closure
--------------------------------------------- -
3. (U) Byron detailed the court's current workload: seven ongoing
trials and an additional six cases, involving 16 accused, for which
ICTR staff are preparing judgments. Byron expected four judgments
to be handed down before the end of the year, including a decision
in the Tharcisse Muvunyi retrial. In addition, two new cases are
scheduled to start in October and November. While the evidence phase
for several cases is likely to continue into 2010 due to procedural
delays, Byron expects all remaining judgments to be rendered before
the end of 2010. Byron explained that some cases had experienced
delays due to problems locating witnesses, ailing defendants, and
staffing constraints. In an effort to accelerate the process, ICTR
is working to compress the timeline of cases while maintaining
strict adherence to fair trial standards.

4. (U) With ICTR's closure in the offing, Byron highlighted the
problem of staff retention and the impact it is having on ICTR's
operations. He offered the example of one prosecutor who recently
departed to work for the Canadian government; he requested the High
Commissioner's assistance in having her seconded back to ICTR.
Byron said they are working to find a means of offering contractual
security to employees to encourage them to complete their work with
ICTR. However, the tribunal needs sufficient financial resources to
maintain its staff and work towards wrapping up the proceedings.

5. (SBU) Byron fielded several questions regarding the post-2010
plans for new and existing cases, appeals, and the creation of the
ICTR archives. Byron said the UN Security Council had not made any
decisions regarding the residual mechanism for ICTR or the location
of the ICTR archives. However, he noted his preference for separate
mechanisms to handle residual cases from ICTR and the International
Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia, with the ICTR mechanism
and archive retained in Arusha.

6. (SBU) Prosecutor Jallow said he believes nine of the twelve
remaining fugitives can be referred to national jurisdiction.
Jallow said, however, that although transfer may be legally possible
for nine of the fugitives, Rwanda must address two outstanding
logistical barriers before ICTR will initiate transfers. Rwanda's
courts do not have the technological capabilities to support video
conferencing, although Rwanda enacted legislation to enable witness
testimony by video link. In addition, Rwanda does not have an
established witness protection program. Jallow said the government
of Rwanda needed both technical and financial assistance to set up a
witness protection program. Registrar Majola commented that Rwandan
officials had not been fully cooperative with ICTR in resolving
these two issues.

Problems with State Cooperation
7. (SBU) Of the remaining 12 fugitives, Byron said the majority are
in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, there is one in Kenya
and another in Zimbabwe. He lamented the lack of cooperation from
these states on bringing these individuals to justice, though he
said the recent cooperation from the DRC on the transfer of Gregoire
Ndahimana set a good precedent for future collaboration.

8. (SBU) The British High Commissioner noted the month long delay
between Ndahimana's capture and his transfer to the ICTR. Jallow
explained that authorities in the DRC transferred Ndahimana to
Kinshasa instead of Goma as originally planned, asserting the need
to interview him for national security reasons. Once Ndahimana was

in Kinshasa, the GDRC would not give ICTR a date for his transfer.
(Note: During the discussion of the handover, the Prosecutor noted
that GDRC officials asked that Laurent Nkunda be transferred to
Kinshasa. No further details of this exchange were provided.) Byron
claimed to have precipitated the transfer by writing to President
Kabila of Byron's plan to raise the issue during the UNGA, which
Kabila was scheduled to attend.

9. (SBU) Byron further expressed concern about the lack of support
from Kenya and Zimbabwe in securing the return of Felicien Kabuga
and Protais Mpiranya. He said Kenya had stopped responding to
ICTR's requests for the return of Kabuga. Although the GOZ had
established a team to find Mpiranya, it had been disbanded. ICTR is
trying to reestablish a dialogue with Zimbabwe. Byron said he would
engage the President or Prime Minister of Zimbabwe directly if he
continued not to get cooperation, although he doubted the Prime
Minister has the capacity to assist. The Registrar said he would
like western governments to "shame" Kenya and Zimbabwe into handing
over these suspects.

On the ICTR President's Agenda for UNGA
10. (U) Byron will travel to New York to present the ICTR's budget
in mid-October. Although he declined to give the budget estimate,
Byron indicated the budget would be slightly lower than last year.
However, Byron expressed concern that ICTR was having difficulty
getting on the UNGA agenda and requested assistance from the
Friends. On the budget, the Registrar thanked the Friends for their
past financial support, but indicated that the U.S. had an unpaid
balance of USD 29.8 million and the Belgians an outstanding balance
of USD 1.7 million.

11. (U) In New York, ICTR officials will also seek funding for
several proposals. In 2000, ICTR began the Medical Support Project
for Witnesses living with HIV and AIDS, which offers counseling,
care, and treatment to HIV-positive witnesses. Because the funding
for this initiative will be depleted in December, ICTR is requesting
USD 200,000 for 2010 and USD 200,000 for 2011 to continue the
project. In addition, ICTR would like to conduct an appellate
advocacy training to build its staff's capacity to handle appeals.
This program would cost USD 180,000.

12. (U) The final item on Byron's agenda for UNGA is the disparity
in benefits offered to the ICTR judges. Byron noted with some
concern that the nine judges originally hired to hear cases and
those hired subsequently to assist with cases are not offered the
same compensation. Given the duration of their service and the
significance of their role, he believes the additional nine judges
should be eligible for pensions.

ICTR Detention Facility
13. (U) Following the meeting at ICTR, the Friends of ICTR group
toured the tribunal's detention facility, which currently holds 38
individuals who are either serving their sentences, awaiting trial,
or appealing their sentences. (Note: twenty-four individuals
convicted by the ICTR are serving out their sentences in Mali (15)
and Benin (9). Saidou Guindo, Commanding Officer of the detention
facility, said that prisoners had been very concerned about the
prospect of being transferred to Rwanda to finish their sentences.
However, once the decision was made to send inmates to Mali and
Benin, the atmosphere in the facility immediately improved.)

14. (U) Conditions in the prison are good. Prisoner are housed in
individual cells with opportunities to meet with lawyers, exercise,
communicate with family, practice their religion, watch television,
study English, and use a computer. Prisoners awaiting trial and
those already sentenced are kept in separate cell blocks. Prisoners
who are serving as witnesses in other trials are in private cell


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