HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 c37W
Mr. Love

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement about the re-establishment of functioning legal institutions in(a) Rwanda and (b) Burundi. [78089]

Clare Short

The re-establishment of effective legal institutions and the rule of law are crucial for successful reconciliation and future development in both countries. Rwanda has made significant progress in reestablishing a functioning legal system and rehabilitating the judiciary since the 1994 genocide. The development of a new Constitution will further clarify roles and enable greater effectiveness of the justice system.

The justice system is overstretched by the need to administer justice to people affected by the genocide. The Government are implementing the community-based justice system of Gacaca, which will relieve pressure on existing overburdened legal structures. The introduction of traditional Gacaca trials for genocide related crimes has an important role to play as a key part of the reconciliation process within Rwandan communities. This mechanism is complementary to national trials for more serious genocide related offences and those at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

DFID's programme in Rwanda is committed to the strengthening of governance systems and the elimination of poverty, including support to the Gacaca process.

In Burundi, DFID, with the rest of the international community, is actively supporting the process of implementation of the Arusha Accord for Peace and Reconciliation, which was signed on 28 August 2000. The Arusha Accord includes a Protocol dedicated to democracy and good governance. As well as setting out transitional constitutional and parliamentary arrangements, the Protocol sets out a number of measures aimed at reinforcing the independence of the judiciary and the effectiveness of the justice system. The success of the transition will largely depend on a ceasefire.

DFID has recently established an office in Burundi, and, in partnership with Government, civil society and the international community, is committed to an increasing effort to bring peace and help restart efforts to develop Burundi's full potential.

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