Witness Support and Protection at ICTR
The Witness and Victims Support Section was established in 1996 pursuant to the Tribunal’s Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence, under the authority of the Registrar. Its mission is to ensure the timely availability of witnesses by providing impartial support and protection services to all witnesses and victims called to testify. The Section consists of two Units: one for Prosecution witnesses and one for Defence witnesses. The following services are being provided:
I. Provide impartial support and protection services to all witnesses and victims who are called to testify before the Tribunal:
II. Assistance to witnesses and victims:
III. Protection of witnesses:
IV. Medical care in Support of Witnesses and Victims
The Support Programme for Witnesses and Potential Witnesses includes psychological counseling and access to medical care for witnesses appearing before the Tribunal who are also victims of sexual assault. A trained psychologist, a gynecologist and nurse-psychologist were recruited for
The Witnesses and Victims Support Section is responsible for protecting the privacy and ensuring the security and safety of all witnesses called by both the Defence and the Prosecution. The Section also is responsible for the movement of the witnesses from the place of residence to the headquarters of the Tribunal in Arusha where they are called to testify. It provides the witnesses with all required assistance to enable them to travel safely and to testify in a secure and conducive environment.
In the course of the judicial proceedings, a Judge or a Chamber can grant special measures before, during and after the trial to protect witnesses of either the Prosecution or the Defence. For this purpose, witnesses must establish before the Judges that they and/or their families are at risk because of their testimony. Special measures ordered by a Chamber usually involve the concealment of the name and identity of the witness from the public and the media.
In spite of the security situation in the countries of residence of some of the witnesses and the complexity of making travel arrangements in the Great Lakes Region, the Witnesses and Victims Support section has been able to facilitate the travel of around 250 witnesses (Prosecution and Defence) to Arusha from more than 15 African, European and American countries.
The Section in turn ensures that these measures are implemented. A post-trial witness programme has already assured the relocation of more than 20 witnesses thought to be particularly at risk. Some of them have been relocated in countries outside Rwanda while others have been relocated within Rwanda.
The Section also has been able to organize, accommodate, provide multifaceted support and the physical and international protection of witnesses. The intervention of the Section in the host countries of witnesses has made it possible to resolve legal and practical immigration problems with the governments concerned.
The Section also has discharged the difficult task of maintaining the anonymity of witnesses and following up on them after their testimony. This has encouraged other witnesses to agree to travel to Arusha and more willingly participate in the search for justice at the ICTR.
Chambers | Office of the Prosecution | The Registry | Witnesses & Victims Support Section |
Defence Counsel & Detention Management Section | Court Management Section | Procurement Section