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Interview Date:
October 22, 2008
Arusha, Tanzania
Robert Utter
Donald J Horowitz
Max Andrews
6:13 - 17:35


Robert Utter: What did you see as the mission or role of the ICTR in general?
Well, this is of course an international criminal court and as such it main task is to sho that international justice works. We have a special responsibility to prove that, becaus some time has elapsed since Nuremberg and Tokyo. These are new institutions, the ICT and ICTY, and it was not obvious that these institutions would become a success.
I think they have succeeded fairly well and the main task therefore would be to show tha these two institutions and the Arusha tribunal is fulfilling its task as an independent impartial court which delivers justice within the requirement of fair trial guarantee established by international law. That is, I think, is the main task.
But you can also broaden the perspective of course and see this more generally a important human rights work. It supplements the state responsibility for human right violations with individual responsibility, maybe the criminal responsibility when the stat cannot or will not act against mass violations.
And in addition, clearly, the fact that we have control over about 65 indictees brought her to Arusha, one prime minister and 14 ministers, show that we have been able to addres the question of whether these persons were guilty or innocent for what happened in 1994 With other words, we have the main portion of the leadership in 1994 here in Arusha.
I think that’s a main achievement and it is important that the task to decide on their guil and innocent is done in an – performed in an impeccable way.
RU: What do you feel has been your major contribution to the process here?
I think we are all here to contribute. I think it’s a great privilege to be part of this process It’s a once of a li‐, once in a lifetime experience. I’m lucky to be at the age I am now whe these two tribunals are existing, and my tribunal in particular. I’ve done as best as I can, lik most of us, in order to make a contribution and I think in all modesty that I’ve done so bot as a judge and as an administrator being President and Vice President.
RU: I had the privilege of reading some writings you did on work here with the tribunal There was a chapter in one of your writings on Lesson Learned, Lessons Learned. Wha were those lessons for the camera and I’d appreciate your comments on it?
Well, there are many lessons learned and, and, and it’s almost an endless list you coul begin with. But just to focus, first of all we have learned that there was a need to amen the statutes in various ways in order to make the tribunal more efficient because of th complexity of the cases. They are so demanding that there was a need for more than th six judges originally envisaged.
As you know, we have later increased them to nine and then afterwards to 18 trial judge through the ad litem judges who have performed an excellent, have performed excellen work together with the permanent judges. In practice there is no difference between th contributions of the two groups.
Another statutory amendment of course relates to the need for a separate Prosecutor fo the ICTR. That was an important reform. Now I understand very well the need in th beginning of the existence of the tribunal to opt for the solution where the Prosecutor wa common to both tribunals. It was important to ensure the same prosecutorial policy fo these two tribunals that were new . . .
RU: And you refer there to the Yugoslav tribunal and the Rwandan tribunal? I’m sorry t interrupt . . .
Yes, yes, yes. So it followed from the statute that the ICTY and the ICTR had the sam Prosecutor. In the beginning, Richard Goldstone that you know, followed by others late on. But, but we found out in 1999 approximately or a bit later – 2003, 2003 – that it woul be better if the ICTR got its own Prosecutor.
By then, case law, a prosecutorial policy had to some extent been established and the wor load for the Prosecutor of one tribunal is tremendous . . .
RU: Yes.
. . . let aside two. So even if the previous Prosecutors – Goldstone, Arbour, del Ponte – di their very best and traveled between the two tribunals, The Hague and Arusha, as best a they could, it goes without saying that it would increase the focus and I think also th efficiency, the daily focus and efficiency, within the prosecution if you have your ow prosecutor.  
So that’s also an important lesson learned and I’m very happy with the way the presen system has worked since 2003 with our own Prosecutor. So these were the two mai lessons learned at the statutory level I think – increasing the number of judges and splittin the Prosecutor.  
And of course we still have the same appeals chamber so the end result is still guaranteed.  There will still be the same case law coming from the two tribunal. There is no risk o divergent legal opinions.
Apart from that, there has been a huge learning experience in terms of amending our rule of procedure and evidence, and there I could mention very many examples.
RU: Please do. This is for history so (____) them if you can.
Alright, alright. Well, first of all i‐, in the beginning, the tribunal had to decide all motions i writing. It was only ’99 that we changed the rule so as to allowed for – I have to take tha again. In the beginning, all motions had to be decided orally. They had to be pleaded. And i was only ’99 that we realized that of course that was a very unpractical way of doing it.
It should have been in writing, so it was only in ’99 that that change was made to allow fo written pleadings. And that increased the efficiency enormously. You can imagine what a unpractical situation for lawyers coming from West Africa, New York or London to plead small little motion in Arusha. Of course it wasn’t practical. So that’s one.
Also the possibility that only one judge can decide on a motion, not the most importan ones in practice, of course, but when they are routine methods, very important. The ma‐ the issue of increasing the efficiency of the trial chambers in everyday work, very man amendments have been made in the rules of procedure and evidence there as well.
One of them for instance allowing judges, in case they are ill for a few days or indisposed to be away and the case carries on with two judges. Of course we still will have it all in th transcripts and we also have it on our video and the judge will immediately see wha happened when he comes back or she comes back.
But the fact that the case doesn’t stop is something which was also new. And again tha was a learning lesson and that has increased our efficiency.
RU: What year did that change take place?
In ’99.
RU: Nine‐, ’99.
RU: Please continue. These are very helpful.
Or let me be certain about the date. The written procedure was in ’99. The single judge wa in ’99. Maybe the issue of allowing the five days lapse of absence was a little bit later. don’t have that on the top of my head now but it was pretty early. Very many changes i the rules of procedure but that becomes a bit formal and maybe a bit boring.
Could I say – I think it’s a learning process also in the courtroom to see how internationa proceedings should be conducted, which is not necessarily exactly the same way as you d it in the national proceedings because of the different languages involved, the differen culture involved, the different legal systems involved, this of course being a mixed system.
And I have found it particularly fascinating to try to work out how you can most fairly an efficiency ensure that the persons in the courtroom feel that this is an efficient and fair court of law in spite of their different backgrounds and perception of justice. Of course w all as lawyers have more or less the same ideas, but when it comes to everyday life, ther may be changes. That’s something I found fascinating.