Published: March 9th 2008February 28th 2008
The UN Building in Arusha
Security was tight and cameras were banned.
This morning we visited the United Nation Headquarters in Arusha. This was set up to put on trial all those who allegedly participating in genocide that took place in neighbouring Rwanda in 1994.
An estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in the 1994 killings by Hutu extremists. The problem started when the president’s plane was shot down and the existing Hutu government blamed the Tutsis. The three months of slaughter ended after Tutsi exiles invaded and took over the government.
There are 3 different buildings that make up the complex and it is heavily guarded. No cameras were allowed inside. We were taken on a short tour and watched a short video about the massacre. We then spoke to one of the officials, Alexandro, an Italian who has been there for years.
There are still trials taking place even though it all happened 14 years ago. We got to watch one in process. Although we couldn’t see the witness and defendant, as they were hidden behind a curtain, we could watch the prosecutor, judge and all the other officials at work. At one stage we had to leave the public gallery for a short
was a very interesting and passionate guy.
time as the prosecutor wanted to ask the witness a question that would have identified him. The judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers are from all over the world and we had to listen to the proceedings through headphones and a translator.
From the little we saw they were trying to establish exactly where a particular massacre took place and to have the witness identify the defendant, which he did so.
It was all very interesting and educational and tragic when you think about what happened.
We then had a wander around town to pick up some badly needed building supplies as well as personal supplies and were inevitably harassed by the souvenir sellers ever step of the way. Some of us chose to walk back to the school from town, it was a hot and dusty walk.
When we arrived back at school we were able to see Mt Meru for the first time. The clouds that surrounded the summit had finally lifted to reveal a very impressive mountain which overlooks all of Arusha.
The rest of the day was spent working on the furniture, painting and working in the library.
There are more photos below