Prosecutors for the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda are looking to other nations to help them try their remaining cases in time to meet the deadline of their mandate. In an interview, Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallo tells Voice of America French to Africa reporter Ferdinand Ferella that he has asked Norway to try a former Rwandan official accused of genocide in the 1994 murders of hundreds of minority Tutsi.
Mr. Jallow said, “This effort is really a shared responsibility between the Tribunal and Rwanda and other member states of the United Nations. All of them have to share the responsibility of ensuring that these cases are prosecuted, either in the ICTR or in national courts, ensuring that those who are required to be prosecuted do not go scot-free.”
Norway has agreed to try Michel Bagaragaza, who is charged with arming a militia that killed hundreds of victims. But judges at the tribunal, which is based in Arusha, Tanzania, must first approve Bagaragaza’s transfer, and prosecutors fear the charges against him may be changed so that he will be tried -- not for genocide, but as an accessory to homicide. Norway does not include the crime of genocide on its list of legal offenses.
Facing a deadline for finishing their work in just over two years, the Criminal Tribunal must decide whether it wants the Bagaragaza case and the trials of other Rwandans charged with genocide transferred to countries where the penalty may not fit the crime.