Friends Remember Greg Lombardi
<< Back From Gregory Townsend From Ali Cole
Dear Christy,

I find it hard to find the words to express my sadness for your loss of Greg.

I send my most sincere condolences to you, Cole, and your families.

Greg's many friends in Arusha are shocked, heartbroken, grief-stricken, and so sorry for this sudden loss of a good friend and cherished colleague.

I met Greg when he first came to ICTR as a legal researcher, more than three years ago. We struck up a friendship quickly. Both of us were from Southern California, both of us with the same name, and both of us being born in 1966. Greg was an awesome and stand-up guy. Professor Michael Scharf also had described Greg to me as his protege.

I vividly remember one occasion Greg and I had, first working together. Greg, being always intellectually curious, was keen to go with me to the safe house to meet a Rwandan survivor witness. Greg wanted to hear from someone first-hand what had happened in Rwanda in 1994. When Greg learned that this witness had her child present with her in Arusha, he quickly doubled-back to his office to pick up a toy he had there. Greg, rightly so, was a proud father, and I seemed to think that his first stint in Arusha then must have been a big sacrifice to be away from his young son and family. Greg instinctively knew how to relate well to people, witnesses, survivors, parents, and especially children. The toy was an ice-breaker with the witness and child, who instantly took a shine to Greg, as did all of us here in Arusha.

For the adults, Greg did not have toys: he had a bottle of fine single-malt scotch in his office at the AICC. He was known to share a wee dram on occasions. Those were good moments, where he generously shared his usual good will and great sense of humor. It's hard to think of a conversation with Greg that did not include him making someone laugh.

As one testament to Greg's many abilities, he got a regular post with the ICTR. It was the very post that I had resigned in 2003 in which Greg started as a regular staff in December 2003 in the Office of the Prosecutor. Our common bond continued. I went to Kosovo for 18 months, kept in touch with Greg; got his jokes by email. Another good thing that Greg knew about the Internet was that he was able to take the money of inferior poker players from around the world on-line.

When I came back to Arusha last year, Greg opened his house to me. I thank you for that. The attached photo is from an October 2004 celebration during one of my return visits to Arusha. Looking at this photo makes me recall some of the good times we shared. In Arusha, sharing good times with Greg helped me cope with the gravity of the nature of our work at the ICTR. [In the photo appear, from left to right: Nik Ehlers (Austria); myself; Manuel Bouwknecht (Holland); Ignacio "Nacho" Tredici (Argentina), and; Greg]

Greg, because of his deep, personal convictions about justice and the law, cared about the Rwandan genocide. I think that's why Greg came to Arusha in the first place, why he came back, why he stayed here, why he dedicated himself to seeing justice done, and why he truly poured his life into his job.

Greg did live his life fully, and those that shared a small part of it with him here in Arusha, are grateful. I thank you for supporting his heartfelt wish to come here, which allowed me the honor of knowing Greg.

Again, my sincere condolences, and please call on me if I can help in any way.

Cheers, Gregory

Trial Attorney, Office of the Prosecutor
U.N. Int'l Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda