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Canadian Courts Hear Testimonial in war crimes trials for Rwanda.

Canadian Courts Hear Testimonial in war crimes trials for Rwanda.Canadian courts have begun to hear testaments in their first trial for genocide and war crimes. The trials focus on the Rwandan genocides. The Canadian courts are calling on witnesses from five countries, as well as sending Justices to Rwanda to hear testimonials. A witness identified only as C-16 detailed accounts of rape and murder committed by Desire Munyaneza. C-16 gave testimonial describing incidents where Tutsi men were brutally bludgeoned to death after being paraded through the streets by Mr. Munyaneza. Mr. Munyaneza is the first person to face prosecution under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. He is accused of murder and rape and faces a life sentence if convicted. Canadian law does not utilize capital punishment.

The Canadian government has been an active participant in international regimes regarding crimes against humanity. Regarding its domestic system, Canadian policy holds that it "will not become a safe haven for persons who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other reprehensible acts regardless of when or where they were committed." Canada has actively supported the tribunals regarding the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Rwanda (ICTR), and Sierra Leone (SLTRC). The chief prosecutor in the ICTY was Canada's Madame Justice Louise Arbour and Phillipe Kirsch, Canada's Ambassador to Sweden, served as the chair on a committee of the Rome Conference that enacted the International Criminal Court.

Canadian Courts Hear Testimonial in war crimes trials for Rwanda.It is estimated that some 800,000 Rwandan's, or about 80% the Tutsi ethnic group, were brutally massacred during 1994. The UN peacekeeping regime, headed by the Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, was not given the mandate to intervene with the process and was left largely bound to observe the atrocities. Canada has been linked to providing refuge to Nazi war criminals in the past and its enactment of the war crimes act in 2000 is largely seen as a response to those allegations. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Mr. Munyaneza following a five year investigation after the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which became law in October 2000. Witness C-16 is the second person to testify before the case against Mr. Munyaneza and the case is seen as a key test for war crimes law in Canada.

AP has coverage here



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors