July 09, 2007
Chicago, July 5, 2007
124 Avenue Baron Albert d'Huart
1950 Kraainem, Belgique
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General, ROOM 3800
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NW 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
On June 29, 2007, Le Monde newspaper reported that current ICTR chief prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has declared that criminal accusations against the RPF as detailed in a formal complaint I filed with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) last November "amount to hearsay and are of no value in our work". If true, this statement is very bad news and certainly very deeply troubling for me personally, and for millions of Rwandans who have been brutally widowed, orphaned or simply exterminated by the RPF as a rebel group and as a government. That is why I would like to submit to your wise appreciation the following elements of deep concern to me:
- Unless we have been royally fooled, millions of Rwandans and myself have been led to believe that the role of the chief prosecutor at the ICTR – or the role of any prosecutor at any court for that matter – is to interpret the existing law and prosecute crime to the fullest extent of that law, in order to redress any wrong and provide comfort to the victims that justice has been done. In that respect, Mr. Hassan Jallow's "hearsay" statement is highly irresponsible and heartless, and achieves only one thing: it spits in the face of victims and makes a mockery of them. I know without a doubt that members of my immediate family were killed by the RPF, and Mr. Jallow has the insensitivity to conclude that I am basing my accusations on rumors! This is an outrage and an insult to me and to my departed beloved ones, and it is very hurtful. I am fully aware that we, Rwandans, were not consulted for the appointment of Mr. Jallow as ICTR chief prosecutor, and we certainly won't be for his removal, but we can offer our candid assessment of his performance: he is a marginal prosecutor who lacks any empathy with the victims, and that's a major failing for a law professional.
- In his statement, Mr. Jallow also is reported as having said that the ICTR is "conducting investigations into crimes allegedly committed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army in 1994, and in due time a decision will be made in light of findings from these investigations." Mr. Secretary-General, the ICTR was established on November 8, 1994 through UN Resolution 955. That's 13 years ago. Is the ICTR truly investigating RPA crimes, or is it lying to the world? How do we believe and trust that the ICTR can do in one remaining year and a half (until its mandate expires on December 31, 2008) what it has failed to do in 13 years? This is the same ICTR that has shown zero interest in talking and listening to the many witnesses I referred to in my formal complaint filed last November. These witnesses can even provide the names of the RPA suspects, as we have withheld their full identities merely because we did not want to interfere with the Tribunal's investigative work. This is the same ICTR that so far has chosen to overlook the mountains of available evidence (Abdul Ruzibiza, Marcel and Gloria Gérin with their overwhelming testimony about the butchery of innocent civilians in Eastern Rwanda in 1994 by hordes of the RPA, and many others) incriminating the leaders of the RPF now in power in Rwanda. Mr. Bubacar Jallow was appointed ICTR prosecutor in September 2003, and waited 3 years and 2 months until November 2006 (right after the filing of my complaint) for his 3-member investigations team to resume their work. Not only has this 3-member team been reduced to 2 people, with the third officer assigned to the Rafik Hariri investigation, their work has been halted again. When you know that to date not a single RPA suspected criminal has been apprehended by the ICTR for no lack of evidence, would it be a harsh pronouncement to say that prosecutor Hassan Jallow and his entire ICTR team are incompetent for their assigned jobs?
- When Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow declares that the ICTR is "conducting investigations into crimes allegedly committed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army in 1994, and in due time a decision will be made in light of findings from these investigations", he is essentially admitting that members of the RPF and RPA in power in Rwanda are suspected criminals. So when he proposes to transfer loads of pending ICTR cases to Kigali, he is in fact allowing suspected criminals to sit in judgment of other suspected criminals. This is a terrible error of judgment and an unmistakable display of incompetence by this prosecutor. Mr. Jallow will not be able to deliver the kind of justice that will bring genuine reconciliation to Rwanda.
- The mission of the ICTR statute as adopted by UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/955 (1994) of November 8, 1994 is very clear: "the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda, between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1994. It may also deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations of international law committed in the territory of neighboring States during the same period". Also very clear are the findings of the Experts Commission Report set up by the UN Secretary General: "Individuals from both sides of the armed conflict perpetrated serious breaches of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity" (The United Nations and Rwanda, 1993-1996, p.64). It does not take rocket science to see that the time occurrence of the airplane terrorist attack that killed Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi on April 6, 1994 is crystal-clearly included in the ICTR mandate time frame. Are Rwandans ever going to know officially who killed their president and triggered the genocide?
Mr. Secretary-General, on June 20, 2007, I sent you a letter explaining why a majority of Rwandans and myself strongly feel that the ICTR's mandate should be extended beyond its December 31, 2008 deadline. I sincerely hope that you will take to heart the concerns expressed not only in that letter, but also in this one. I insistently make this urgent appeal to you, to all members of the UN Security Council, and to all peace-loving people and institutions of the world, to clean up the mess at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, and deliver justice to Rwandans. Peace and reconciliation, not only in Rwanda but also in the entire Great Lakes region of Africa, highly depend on it.
UN Security Council Members (all)
His Excellency John Kufuor, African Union President
Her Excellency Angela Merkel, European Union President
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium
Mr. Dennys Byron, President of the ICTR
Mr. Hassan Jallow, General Prosecutor of the ICTR
Mr. Adama Dieng, ICTR Registrar
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
His Excellency Nelson Mandela
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Madam Speaker of US Congress
Human Rights Watch