Creation of a “Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity” Section at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance
[Another government coming on board with war crimes tribunals. Tony]
January 7, 2010
Joint article by Bernard Kouchner and Michèle Alliot-Marie, Ministre d’Etat, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice and Freedoms, published in the “Le Monde” Newspaper
The twentieth century abandoned millions of women, men and children to “unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity” (preamble of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court): genocides, organized massacres, gang rapes and forced population transfers in conflicts which, still today, are steeping the world in blood.
What greater scandal is there than the impunity of criminals against humanity? What greater affront to the victims and, beyond that, the whole of mankind? History alone must not be the judge of those responsible for the genocides and crimes against humanity. The victims of human barbarity have the right to see their executioners and torturers tried and sentenced. Societies scarred by crimes which outrage consciences have the right to be offered a possibility of reconciliation. Mankind has the right to defend itself against consignment to oblivion.
Birthplace of human rights, France will never be a sanctuary for the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity. The creation of a genocide and crimes against humanity section in the Paris tribunal de grande instance (TGI) reaffirms France’s will to fight resolutely against their impunity.
Today, the judicial treatment of genocide and crimes against humanity encounters a number of specific difficulties. The offences in question take place beyond our borders. The lack of coordination of the data, evidence and witness statements complicates the task of investigators and judges. The technical nature of the matters involved necessitates special high-level skills. The complexity of the litigation inevitably slows down the proceedings. The increase in the number of unresolved cases, particularly those of more than 15 Rwandans awaiting trial, is spurring us to act fast.
The creation of the genocide and crimes against humanity section continues the policy of referring all offences falling within a specific category to a single court, which has already proved its value in the fight against terrorism and organized crime and public health sphere, with cases from outside Paris being handled by the Paris TGI  investigating judges. It will make it possible to bring together in a single specialized section all the litigation services concerned with genocide and crimes against humanity.
It will encourage the pooling of skills, bringing together specialist judges as well as the translators, interpreters, experts and researchers essential for handling cases which are as sensitive as they are complex. Its action will complement that of The Hague International Criminal Court. The aim is not to set up a universal jurisdiction, but to win support for the principles of international law within the national courts, with due regard for the 1998 Rome Treaty.
The creation of the genocide and crimes against humanity section is included in the bill on the specialization of the courts and litigation services, which will be discussed in Parliament in the first half of 2010.
People suspected of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity must be tried. They will be. France resolutely supports the fight against impunity. Only the exercise of justice will allow everyone to turn the page by at last bringing out the truth. True to her principles, proud of her justice delivered in the name of the French people, France will prove herself equal to her history, her values and her ideal.
 lower civil court, roughly equivalent to an English county court
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