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29 October 2013

Enhancing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations focus of INTERPOL training

ARUSHA, Tanzania – Developing knowledge and expertise in investigating and prosecuting genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity was the focus of an INTERPOL training course in Tanzania.

The 3rd International Training Course on Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, organized by INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit, brought together 24 law enforcement and justice officials from 15 countries and two international organizations to share best practices for successfully investigating these heinous crimes.

During the five-day (30 September – 4 October) course, participants gained theoretical and practical knowledge in operational and legal issues related to the investigation of complex cases involving violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Topics covered during the training session included international criminal law, investigation strategies, witness management, forensic evidence related to mass atrocities, and gender-based issues in the context of such crimes.

With input from experts from INTERPOL, national authorities, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Court and academia, the course also prepared the participants for collaboration with other national law enforcement authorities, international justice institutions and other organizations dealing with the investigation of serious international crimes.

Hassan B. Jallow, Prosecutor of the ICTR and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), acknowledged ‘the important role INTERPOL has played in supporting the work of the Tribunal during its 20 year history’, particularly with respect to the tracking and apprehension of suspects wanted for the Rwandan genocide through INTERPOL’s Red Notice system, the exchange of information and the facilitation of dialogue with national authorities.

Registrar of the ICTR, Bongani Majola stressed the importance of the training course at a time when the need for a coordinated effort to fight the perpetrators of these crimes at the regional and national levels is no longer in question.

Stefano Carvelli, Head of INTERPOL’s FIS unit, said the training session was ‘an important measure, because investigating genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is a specialist area which clearly requires dedicated training’.

INTERPOL has been supporting member countries and International Criminal Tribunals in this area since 1994, primarily through issuing wanted persons Red Notices and providing investigative assistance.

In 2004, INTERPOL created the Rwandan Genocide Fugitives Project with the Rwandan National Prosecution Service and the ICTR to target the outstanding fugitives wanted by these two bodies. Since then, more than 30 fugitives who were the subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices have been arrested.

In the framework of its Project Basic (Broadening Analysis on Serious International Crimes), which targets fugitives wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, INTERPOL cooperates with national authorities and international institutions to locate, arrest, and develop information concerning individuals suspected of these crimes. Project Basic also aims to develop strategic partnerships and specialist networks in this area.