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With its history of genocides, armed rebellions, protracted internal conflicts, andmass population displacement, the Great Lakes region has been the most crisis prone on theAfrican continent. In Rwanda, for example, up to one million people were massacred in lessthan four months as a result of the genocide that swept through the country. The absenceof justice -- both political and socio-economic -- has been a key contributing factor tothe region's crises.

Without justice, the prospects for sustainable peace, economic development andinclusive governance are bleak. However, the Great Lakes region also possesses tremendouspromise. New leaders and vibrant civil societies are committed to the search for pragmaticand collaborative solutions to the regions ills.

Today's announcement complements the United States' ongoing effort to supportthe Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal, including $26.6 million in funding since 1994 and aprojected assessment of $15.8 million in 1998.

Today's announcements include:

Through President Clinton's $30 million Great Lakes Justice Initiative (GLJI), theUnited States will work together as a partner with both the people and the governments ofthe region to support judicial systems which are impartial, credible, effective andinclusive. This initiative will be pursued in conjunction with other U.S. efforts toaddress ongoing challenges in the region. Following a process of consultations withinterested African governments and civil society organizations, this initiative willtarget the following sectors:

1. Strengthening judicial planning bodies, such as relevant Ministries of Justice andInterior;

2. Improving the functions of court systems, prosecutors, police and prison systems;

3. Technical and financial assistance for improving administrative and managementinformation systems (personal, budgeting and procurement);

4. Workshops for high-ranking technically qualified national officials on strategicplanning on specific problem areas (e.g. creation of civilian police forces, judicialbudgets and administration, legal assistance, judicial selection and training, legal andinstitutional impediments to investment and economic development);

5. Support for police and judiciary for the development and implementation of trainingprograms, personnel and resource inventories to identify needs, and some material andfinancial assistance for the provision of basic equipment;

6. Development of improved court administration systems through pilot projects andviable plans for their system-wide replication;

7. Assistance to bar associations, universities and commercial and professionalorganizations to develop support for reform, increase communication with governmental authorities, and formulate and promote laws and practices;

8. Human rights training for military personnel in support of the prosecution of abusesperpetrated by military personnel; and

9. Demobilization of irregular elements of standing armies and their reintegration intosociety and programs to demobilize child soldiers and provide them with treatment.

The U.S. will consult countries currently slated to participate -- Democratic Republicof Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi -- to further develop and target programs that will supportthis initiative.

Rebuilding Genocide Survivors Lives: The United States will make the firstcontribution ($2 million) to the newly established Genocide Survivors Fund to helpsurvivors and communities rebuild their lives through new homes, shelters, business,churches and schools. This will supplement our ongoing programs to support Rwanda's reconstruction and reintegration of returned refugees.

Institutional Support for African NGOs: The First Lady announces in her speechtoday at the Human Rights Center at Makerere University in Kampala a $10 million, five year program to build the capacity of indigenous African institutions to undertake activities to promote conflict prevention, mitigation and response. These resources areintended to strengthen the NGO community that forms the basis of any democratic society byfunding organizations that focus on issues of reconciliation, human rights, democraticparticipation and freedom of the press.

Supporting Rehabilitation in Northern Uganda: In an effort to supportrehabilitation in Northern Uganda, the First Lady announces a $2 million program over thenext three years to provide jobs and economic opportunity to those affected by ongoingrebel activity in the North. The program will focus on rehabilitating roads, dams, schoolsand community clinics and helping the Ugandan people displaced by violence rebuild theirlives and businesses. These U.S. resources will leverage resources from other donors,including a potential $100 million investment from the World Back in the reconstruction ofNorthern Uganda.

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