UN tribunal for Rwandan genocide holds discussions on possible referral of trials

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The Prosecutor of the United Nations tribunal set up after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been holding talks with his counterpart inside the African Great Lakes nation on possibly referring tribunal cases to the small Great Lakes country for trial.

Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), today wrapped up two days of consultations with Martin Ngoga, Rwandan Prosecutor-General, in Arusha, Tanzania, where the tribunal is based.

The discussions during the meeting - which was also attended by Aloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda's representative to the tribunal - focused on the strategy for referring ICTR cases to Rwanda.

"The parties welcomed the recognition by the ICTR that the Rwandan courts are independent and impartial," according to a press release issued by the tribunal today. "They however took note that for various other reasons, the ICTR has declined for the time being to refer cases to Rwanda."

The two prosecutors also discussed ways in which obstacles to the referral of cases could be overcome, with Mr. Ngoga emphasizing the commitment of Rwanda to take the necessary remedial measures.

An estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were murdered - often by machete or club - during a period of about 100 days starting in early April 1994.