Lisa P. Nathan: Thank you so much for your time, very appreciative . . .
LPN: . . . and I would like to begin by having you say your name, your country of origin, your home country and your title here at the ICTR.
Okay, my name is Alfred Kwende. I come from Cameroon, embedded in the heart of central Africa (_), of central Africa, and I am called Commander of Investigations, but at present I’m actually deputizing and acting as Chief of Investigations because the post was scrapped off as a result of the completion strategy. But I fulfill and have full responsibility and prerogatives of the Chief of Investigations.
LPN: Could you tell me your timeline here with the ICTR? What year you began, the different jobs you have held during your time here and how long you’ve had them?
I’ve been here since the 25th of October, 1998 and I was recruited as Commander of Investigations. At the time I came in, there were three commanders provided and I was Chief of Investigations, so the four of us made up the main core management staff of the Investigations Division. The – under each of the commanders were a number of teams, three at least.
Eventually later on there was the inclusion of a fourth commander who didn’t exercise for too long and for the specialized activities of, of tracking. But in reality, the Commander position is almost that of a Deputy Chief of Investigations, because the workload was heavy and there was a specificity of the nature of activities were new to the United Nations, that structure was put in place. Yeah.
LPN: And you held that position and you became deputized when? For the two . . .
Well I acted in that position from 1998 to end of two, of 2005. It may be put in perspective that with the completion strategy of a tribunal, they had to start downsizing and trying to streamline. The post of a Chief of Investigations was either scrapped off – I wouldn’t know how or what to say or scrapped (___), or taken off the list in order to respond to the reduced structure of investigations at the end of 2005.
So from 6th January, 2006, I have been acting as Chief of Investigations and this was by decision of the Prosecutor and I received a letter to that effect and the content actually said, “You (___) have the full authority and prerogatives of a Chief of Investigations.” So it was only for convenience that the post was taken off but the activities and the duties, the responsibilities remain the same.
LPN: Your shoulders are heavy.
Well l wouldn’t say, but I try as much as possible to earn them.
LPN: Can you take me back a little bit further? Do you remember where you were in the spring of 1994?
Oh, spring of 1994, I was back in my home, in Cameroon and I was an Inspector General of Police, law enforcement. And little did I know that I would get involved in the activities here but I did follow from a distance. It was shocking, it was horrifying but it didn’t strike me as an activity in which I would get involved at some stage.
LPN: How did you first hear about the ICTR?
Well, I know shortly after that recruitments were being done and the post of Commander was open on that advert which I saw in Cameroon. I postulated and sent in my credentials and was later interviewed and retained for the job.