Genocide court blasted

Arthur Asiimwe

KIGALI - Rwanda's UN-backed genocide court winds up its work this year but many survivors say it has failed to prosecute enough of those responsible for the slaughter.

The Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) began work in 1997, targeting the key suspects in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, which claimed 800000 lives.

Over the last decade, the tribunal has completed fewer than four cases a year on average, prompting anger from survivors who say too few suspected ringleaders have been dealt with.

Prosecutors will never get through the ongoing cases of 27 suspects, they say. Six suspects are still to face trial.

The ICTR is expected to finish first instance trials by December and appeal trials will end by 2010.

Another 16 fugitives, including Felicien Kabuga - believed to have been a key financier of genocide - remain on the run.

Kigali does not want the tribunal's mandate extended, preferring all pending files to be handed to its jurisdiction.

It plans to push for a UN Security Council resolution this year that would compel member states to arrest and send genocide suspects to Rwanda.

Rwanda is preparing its own list of about 300 fugitives it says are still at large.

But rights groups have criticised moves to transfer cases to Rwanda, questioning the independence of its courts.

Some rights groups have also criticised the ICTR for failing to prosecute members of President Paul Kagame's government who were accused of war crimes. - Reuters