International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Arusha)

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Aug 26th, 2005, 12:27 PM
  #1
bat
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International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Arusha)

Has anyone attended any of the trial proceedings of the U.N's tribunal being held in Arusha? If so, would you describe what they were like to observe.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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It has been so long ago that I had this experience that my information may be worthless, but, nonetheless, I will tell you about it. In the fall, 1997, I visited friends in Arusha and decided to attend a trial, if I could. I went to the tall Arusha Conference Center (or similarly named site) and went up to the courtroom where the trials were taking place. There were a few clerical-type people and minor officials hanging around who explained that the trial was in recess. It was my IMPRESSION that schedules are haphazard, that judges, witnesses, defendants, and others gather at unpredictable intervals, that there are frequent intermissions (days, weeks), and that the chances of ever attending one of these events, without getting specific details and a lot of luck, are slim. ZZ
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Aug 27th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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bat
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Zambezi, thank you very much for the response.

They seem to be more organized now than what you experienced in 1997--at least based on their website and the initial response I received from an email query.

The webiste is: www.ictr.org

They have trial schedules posted on the website through 2005. I do not know how well they adhere to these schedules but at least it indicates days trials may be in session.

I wrote to the press unit inquiring about public attendance and received a prompt response that the public is admitted (need to show ID or passport to security to gain admittance.)

I sent a follow-up inquiry re when the 2006 schedule will be posted and whether the courts have certain days of the week and hours of the day that they are in session [within the dates shown on the trial calendar]. I'll add that info when I receive it.

For Fodorites who will have extra days in Arusha, IMO this is an activity to consider. Here is what the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, has to say about this tribunal:

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda delivered the first-ever judgement on the crime of genocide by an international court. This judgement is a testament to our collective determination to confront the heinous crime of genocide in a way we never have before. I am sure that I speak for the entire international community when I express the hope that this judgement will contribute to the long-term process of national reconciliation in Rwanda. For there can be no healing without peace; there can be no peace without justice; and there can be no justice without respect for human rights and rule of law.

I do not expect that the trial proceedings will provide high drama (a la TV courtroom shows) but I do think that it is an opportunity to engage in good world citizenry--to show that this matters. And for those traveling with teenagers--a tremendous educational opportunity.
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Aug 27th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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Thanks, bat. This is something I'm interested in.

We had a (kinda) funny incident at the Namanga border--the immigration official first said "Oh, you're in our country working for George Bush, huh?"

Titter titter nervously , "Oh NO!"

"Then you must be here to work with the UN tribunal."

It is my policy to laugh nervously at everything a border official says. But actually we were curious about the trial proceedings.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 07:27 AM
  #5
bat
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Hi Leely:
Nothing like armed guards at a border crossing to bring out nervous laughter.

Re the tribunal, did you see the HBO movie "Sometimes in April"? It incorporates some aftermath re prosecutions and witnesses coming to the tribunal to testify.
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Aug 29th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #6
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Here is an update on the trial schedules.

The press office was not sure when the 2006 trial schedule will be posted. [Here is the website address for the remaining 2005 schedule. http://www.ictr.org/ENGLISH/calendar/index.htm ]

When the courts (there are multiple courts) are in session, they operate "from Monday to Friday, between 8:30 am - 12:30 pm and from 3:00 pm - 5.30 pm. On Fridays however there is no afternoon session."
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Aug 29th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Thanks again, bat. I imagine the trial proceedings would be interesting/difficult.

I haven't seen "Sometimes in April," and I do get HBO. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Is your itinerary posted somewhere on this board? When are you leaving?
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Aug 29th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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bat
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Hi Leely:
It is posted somewhere but not sure where any more. [I think that it wound up in someone else's thread rather than one that I started.] We arrive at JRO the night of Feb. 1.

After a couple of days in Arusha we are taking a northern circuit trip with the migration in mind: Crater, Olduvai, central Serenera (taking the balloon ride) and finishing with Nomad camps. Then our friend returns home while I and my partner go to Zanzibar for a few days before flying out of Dar.

How are your plans coming? Did you wind up checking with ATR? That is who we went with--they were willing (and able) to check availability with me as we constructed the itinerary. I got a late start for a February trip so that was important to me.
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Aug 29th, 2005, 03:26 PM
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Sounds like a great itinerary, especially the Nomad camps. And you'll be back way before we leave, so if you do make it to the UN tribunal you can let us know how it was.

I'm waiting to see if I get a better response from my 1st operator before I contact anyone else, so I'm holding off on ATR. I'm actually not at all picky but I always find plenty to worry about.
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Aug 29th, 2005, 04:10 PM
  #10
bat
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Leely:
I'll definitely post about the UN tribunal. I am concerned though that it will not work out because although we have 2 days there we only have one morning as a possibility (the 2 days are a Fri and a Sat so we could only catch the Friday am session--and that is if it is in session.)

What it might conflict with is the school visit. I am assuming that Friday will be our only chance for that also. Although it did occur to me that early Feb could still be summer and no school in session. I am working on figuring that out now.

On the one hand I do not want to map out every single second of our time, on the other hand I do not want to get there and be unable to do something that is important to me because I did not plan well. Besides--and this is really the most important thing isn't it--it is a way to continue to fixate/obsess about the trip after we have made the booking. Something for you to look forward to!

BTW, I am pretty sure we will do the Arusha canoeing so we will be able to give a report on that also.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 03:08 PM
  #11
bat
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V-Town
For the tribunal info, here is the email address I used and received a response from:
[email protected]

Here is what I received about attending:

"Most trials taking place here are open to the public. All one needs to do
is come with an ID or passport at the security desk to process one's entry.
The languages used are English and French.
Thanks,
Danford Mpumilwa"

If you are taking a class, they might make special arrangements for you. I have a vague recollection of something on the website about groups--but I could be wrong.

I think that it is a great idea.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 03:18 PM
  #12
bat
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oops--of course you are not taking an entire class to Tanzania!
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