The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)is an international court established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in order to judge those people responsible for the Rwandan genocide and other serious violations of the international law performed in the territory of Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between 1 January and 31 December 1994….Quote from good old Wikipedia 🙂
So today we decided that we’d head for the courtreoom after school and witness the tribunal for our own eyes. We were told by loads of people that its well worth going to and is very interesting to see how a murder trial is carried out.
So we went along to the evening session which lasted 3 hours. The defendant was Hormisdas Nsengimana, a catholic priest who was formerly Rector of Christ-Roi College in Nyanza, which is located outside Kigali(capital of Rwanda). Nsengimana is charged with genocide, murder and extermination as crimes against humanity.
Nsengimana is alleged to have been among the organisers of the killing of Tutsis in Nyanza, Butare in 1994. He is accused of playing a leading role in a group of killers called Les Dragons (The Dragons) or Escadrons de la Mort (Death Squad). He is also alleged to have been instrumental in the killing of 3 Tutsi priests from his college.
Indeed the events in the 3 hour period were interesting. The prosecutor was going over some testimony that witness’s gave over the past few weeks that seemed to be rock solid against the priest. The defence team then took the stand and basically tried to find “technical” faults with the prosecution witness’s testimony…saying that such and such a testimony did’nt meet the specific requirements that was needed in such a court. Basically, from what we gathered was that the priest was beyond guilty and had’nt a hope…only a “technical get out clause” if his defence lawyers could find him one.
The priest sat there behind his defence with a smug smirk on his face…I wish I could have’nt taken a photo but we were unable to bring anything photo or electronic equipment into the court for obvious reasons.
There was no jury, only a presiding judge and other other judges…I don’t know the jargon for all the different positions.
What I would like to know is this; do the defence team actually believe that their client is innocent in all this?? I know the whole “innocent until proven guilty” scenario comes into play, but the evidence against the priest from what we heard and were informed both before and after the session, that its only a matter of legal formality until he’s convicted. So far over 80 criminals from the genocide have been found guilty by the court with a few getting away as a result of evidence been tampered with by the defence!!
Anyways, enough about that!
Other news of interest: Went a got head shaved again yesterday. The barber shop is like a butcher shop gone bad with the only devices there to cut hair been an electric razor. It figures as much since everyone has the same skint head look…including me :)!
I’m sure anyone out here could be a barber…all thats required is shaving heads! Nothing else…just shaving heads! He proceeds to shave mine with what I thought was a machette. This fellow was about 25 years old and could speak fluent swahili,english,italian,french and arabic!! But yet he could’nt take it easy on my sunburnt head with the razor. After the operation was finished he then starts shaving my face with the same razor…and before I know it I’ve only my two eyebrow’s left….not a thing else. I thought at once stage that he was going to try and pluck some nose hair.
Just before he finishes, he dabs some talc powder around my burning neck and face before splashing BOILING water all over my head,face and butchered neck. I had to restrain myself from hopping up and giving him the peoples elbow from the top rope!
But it was an experience and one that I’ll find hard to want to partake in again without a dose of ponston at the ready 🙂
We have to go up to the immergraton office either tomorrow or Monday to find out about our Visa problem. The hostel we are staying at arranged out visa’s for us before we left Ireland, but the date of issue was Oct 28th – Jan 28th! Which meant that when we arrived in Tanzania we had only one week left on our visa which was meant to be a 3 month visa. The owner of the hostel made a mistake an got the office to issue our visa’s back in Oct…instead of leaving it until Jan! So we then had to go and get another visa sorted(we did’nt have to pay the hostel for the first one obviously)….$100 each plus $20 compulsory bride! So we get our new visa’s a few days later but find that instead of the dates been jan 30th – April 30th, its stamped Jan 30th – March 30th! Another problem and mistake, since we don’t leave until middle April!
What this means is that we will be unable to get a “third” visa permit unless we leave and re-enter the country. This is a trick that we found out has happened quiet alot in these parts of the world where corruption is rampant!
When we went back to complain to the office we were gently informed that the matter can be “resolved” easily….this was said by a brute of a lady sitting behind her desk in her office, while discretely making the money sign with her index and thump fingers!! The “corruption free zone” sign on the wall above her head was another thing that I would have loved to have taken a photo of!
$200 a piece and we could have a new visa sorted for us she informed us. With that we both walked out of the office with steam coming from our red ears.
What a joke of a system they’ve got going down here. Needless to say we have no intentions of paying the bribe. We will just have to re-enter the country.
Anways, we’ll try our arm again either tomorrow or monday and I’ll see what the story is then.
I’m off for some corn on the cob, cooked over a bbq by local women, and about 5 bottles of sprite.