From 5 to 8 November 2014, the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Mr. Serpa Soares, visited Arusha, Tanzania, to participate in a series of events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The week started with the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors, convened by the Prosecutor of the ICTR and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow. The Legal Counsel addressed the meeting during the closing session sharing a panel with Ms. Brenda Hollis, Prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Ambassador Stephen Rapp, United States Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues.
Ms. Brenda Hollis, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Mr. Hassan Jallow and Ambassador Stephen Rapp
On 7 November 2014, the Legal Counsel delivered the closing address for the International Symposium on the Legacy of the ICTR, which was convened by the President of the ICTR, Judge Vagn Joensen. In his address, Mr. Serpa Soares recalled the challenges of the establishment of the ICTR and its key achievements. He elaborated on the impact of the work of the ICTR for the future of international criminal justice and emphasized the legacy that the Tribunal will leave behind. Mr. Serpa Soares shared with the audience some very personal impressions of his visit to Kigali, Rwanda, in the framework of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in April this year. On behalf of the Secretary-General and on his own behalf the Legal Counsel congratulated all who contributed to the ICTR's work to fight impunity and to bring about an age of accountability, in particular the judges, the prosecutors, the defence lawyers and their respective staff.
Mr. Serpa Soares closes the Legacy Symposium alongside of ICTR/MICT Prosecutor, Mr. Jallow
Throughout the Prosecutors' Colloquium and the Legacy Symposium a great number of speakers acknowledged and commended the crucial role that the Office of Legal Affairs played in conceiving and establishing the ICTR. In many ways the ICTR and other UN-established or UN-assisted international criminal tribunals are and will always be a lasting legacy of the Office of Legal Affairs. Immediately after the closing of the Legacy Symposium, the Legal Counsel joined the ICTR, ICTY and MICT principals for a press conference.
President Meron, President Joensen, the Legal Counsel, Prosecutor Jallow and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, at the closing press conference.
At the main event, the "Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the ICTR", which was held on 8 November 2014 in the presence of the Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Billal, and the High Commissioner of Rwanda in Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Eugene S. Kayihura, the Legal Counsel represented and delivered a message on behalf of the Secretary-General.
Mr. Serpa Soares delivers a message on behalf of the Secretary-General
In the margins of the weeklong commemoration, Mr. Serpa Soares held informal meetings with a great number of participants, including in particular all principals of the ICTR, the ICTY and the MICT, the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania, Ambassador Irene Kayanju, and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Benouda.
The United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Jallow
The United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, with ICTY President Theodor Meron and ICTR President Vagn Joensen