Letter: Mass murderers must be tried

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The Independent Online
YOUR article on the presence of killers in the Rwandan refugee population ('Wolves lie down with the lambs', 24 July) raises an important issue of principle. The international community has an obligation to establish the identity of the perpetrators of mass murder, now recipients of international humanitarian aid. Thoughtful people understand the dilemma of relief workers trying to respond to the urgent physical needs of refugees. Nevertheless, it is vitally important that relief workers must not be tainted by any suspicion of complicity, including silence, over the grossest of human rights violations, mass murder.

The question of how to confront human rights violaters among refugees is not new. In many emergency refugee situations, relief workers grapple with these problems - sometimes, the presence among refugee populations of fighters making use of refugee camps as facilities from which to re- group and carry on fighting; sometimes, the continuation of discrimination against groups of refugees, while under the nominal protection of the UN. The UNHCR has taken steps to protect vulnerable groups.

The recent massacres in Rwanda, however, call for a different kind of response. Justice must be seen to be done; and the UN must take steps to arrest and try those whom there is reason to suspect of participation in the ethnically motivated mass murders in Rwanda.

Catherine Drucker

Campaigns Co-ordinator

Article 19

London N1

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