Washington, D.C., May 31, 2006 - Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, told reporters at a press conference at the Voice of America
(VOA) today that he believes the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is "actually not even properly handling the issues for which it was created."
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"It was created to try cases of genocide," said President Kagame, "and you can imagine for the time it has been there it has spent maybe 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and it has tried under 40 cases." Kagame concluded, "I have a problem with that." The President also told reporters that his government has raised concerns with the ICTR that some of the people employed by the criminal tribunal to investigate genocide are people who should not be employed by the ICTR because they "have charges to answer about that (genocide) themselves."
Questioned about reports the Rwanda government is engaged in a campaign to discredit the depiction of Paul Rusesabagina as a hero in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" because he may seek public office in Rwanda, President Kagame responded, "I don't mind if he seeks ...the highest office in Rwanda - I don't give a damn about it because there is a process that takes people there. If he wants to come and contest this seat, he is most welcome to do that." But the President contended that claiming Rusesabagina is a hero who saved hundreds of lives "is false - someone is trying to rewrite the history of Rwanda and we cannot accept it."
The VOA Newsmaker Press Conference with President Kagame was broadcast via satellite to VOA TV audiences in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Excerpts will also be aired by other VOA language services, including French and English to Africa and the VOA Central Africa Service breakfast show in both the Kirundi and Kinyarwanda languages broadcast at 5:30 AM local time in Rwanda. Programming, including today's Newsmaker, can also be found on the VOA website at: www.VOANews.com/tvtoafrica.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.
For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.