Rwanda tribunal set to probe racism charges

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) plans to conduct a scientific probe on charges of racism, discrimination and intolerance raised against the Arusha, Tanzania-based court by its former workers.
In the next two weeks ICTR administrators expect to distribute questionnaires to the UN court workers that would be filled anonymously in a search aimed to promote tolerance in the workplace, tribunal spokesman Kingsley Moghalu said Friday.
After the probe, Moghalu said a series of meetings for all ICTR workers would be convened to discuss the results.
"This is a deliberate exercise designed by the management to promote tolerance among workers," he said.
Claims of racism, discrimination and intolerance at the tribunal came to surface in May when UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte of Switzerland refused to renew the contracts of seven prosecutors - six Africans and an Indian.
The seven wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan seeking his intervention.
They argued that non-renewal of their contracts was based on discriminatory and racist tendencies.
However, Del Ponte denied the charges, saying the contracts of the seven prosecutors were terminated on reasons of incompetence.
Moghalu said measures on the findings of the probe would be taken in the spirit and context of the efforts of the UN to eliminate racism and related evils as discussed at the just-ended Durban Conference on Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
ICTR was set up in 1995 to prosecute perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which an estimated one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered following the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana in a plane crash on 6 April 1994.

14 september 2001 16:02:00

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