The U.N. court investigating the 1994 genocide in Rwanda said Monday that it has taken four investigators off its payroll because they are suspected of war crimes.
The disclosure was a fresh blow to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, already under fire for being behind schedule and bogged down in bureaucratic infighting.
The court is based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha and is hearing cases stemming from the 1994 slaughter of more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus by Hutu troops and militias.
The tribunal issued a statement saying it would not renew employment contracts for the four investigators because three of them are named on a Rwandan government list of genocide suspects and the fourth is under investigation for possible involvement in atrocities.
The investigators were part of defense teams paid by the U.N. court to represent indigent suspects.
"The court wants to provide high-quality legal representation for all the defendants," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.
"A lot of the people who were senior in the Rwandan justice system either fled, were killed or, in some cases, participated in genocide. There were a large number of people involved," Haq said. "The problem is finding out who the guilty are, and that process is still going on."