IDLO welcomed the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, and the former President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Erik Møse, to its training program in Kigali for an interactive exchange with 45 Rwandan judges on the particularities of adjudicating complex international criminal law trials.
The visit took place in September 2019 as part of IDLO’s program to strengthen the capacity of the Rwandan judiciary in international criminal law.
Judge Eboe-Osuji, who was previously a Lead Prosecution Trial Counsel and Head of Chambers at the ICTR, compared the fundamentals of effectively managing trial proceedings with the abilities of a competent driver.
“You as the judge are the driver, everyone else in the courtroom is a passenger,” he said. “Always maintain firm control of the proceedings and steer with a sense of purpose toward your desired destination. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Look into the distance to anticipate and avoid obstacles. Never allow your car to drive itself; even in the age of technology, self-driving cars can end up in disaster.”
Judge Møse shared experiences from his time at the ICTR and best practices stemming from his involvement in 21 proceedings. He gave practical advice for the timely adjudication of cases and preparation of judgments within the strict timeframe stipulated under Rwandan law.
More than 25 years after Rwanda’s genocide, many suspects remain at large and exiled in different countries around the world. As a result of the progress made in implementing reforms and modernizing the Rwandan justice sector, the ICTR and national jurisdictions now transfer cases to be tried in Rwanda’s domestic courts.
“The practice and precedents of international tribunals are highly relevant to the conduct of transfer cases in Rwanda, so exchanges with judges who have adjudicated similar cases before international courts are of great practical value,” explained IDLO Lead Consultant Yasmine Chubin.
“The participants took full advantage of the opportunity to ask Judge Møse and President Eboe-Osuji questions on their experiences effectively managing complex international criminal trials,” added IDLO Senior Consultant Kate Gibson.