Suzanne Chenault
Legal Officer and Juris-Linguist
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About this Video

Country of Origin:
United States
Interview Date:
November 4, 2008
Arusha, Tanzania
Lisa P. Nathan
Donald J Horowitz
Max Andrews
30:56 - 35:19


Lisa P. Nathan: Because of your awareness of the issues around rape and proving rape is genocide and the, the cultural barriers, the legal challenges there, what would you like to see in the future for future tribunals – whether they be ad hoc or like the ICC a standing tribunal – to handle this issue of rape which is not going away as we know of the events in the Congo now and other places in the world?
Well, given the acknowledgment that rape has been used as a tool of, of genocide, is perpetrated against women because they belong to a particular tribe or a particular religion and also just as, just a, a, a general means that is used or a fruit of the, of the, of the perpetration of the, of, of, of coming in and, and decimating a community.
What we, what we, given that acknowledgment, what we, I think, need, is to understand the vulnerability of the survivors and what that would mean I believe if you’re going to prosecute this crime in the hopes then that you’re going to deter is continued commission of the crime, you’re going to need much greater sensitivity and that would mean that the investigators not be these hulking policemen who don’t speak either English or French, as even a second language.
Because if you’re going to get a testimony, you need to talk to the victim and usually you need to, to, to have somebody who can speak in the language of the victim. What we had initially as I understand, we had people who were brought in as investigators and very often they weren’t hired necessarily by the UN.
They might have been a gift from one of the nations that wanted to help and so there was no way of, of monitoring, if you will, or giving a program to or giving information to those who went out and investigated.
And I’m not saying a great deal of harm was done but I would say a great deal of evidence that could have been preserved was not because of the way the investigations were conducted. You need to, the – so great deal of sensitivity to, of the investigators, language skills of the investigators.
Under-, when I say awareness and sensitivity it wouldn’t be only of what it is to be raped or of the problems that potentially the victim would, would encounter in having the community at large know, but also knowledge, greater, greater knowledge of the, of the dimensions, the anthropological dimensions of, of this community.
And I think that we’ve gone in almost like bears in a china closet without understanding Rwanda extremely well and that would be very, very important particularly in regard to rape but also in regard to other, other ways of, of, of approaching those who have survived and those people who witness the, the events.
LPN:Thank you.