Arusha, December 1, 2000 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has welcomed Thursday’s decision by the UN Security Council to boost its Appeals Chamber, the independent news agency Hirondelle reports. “ Of course it is good news for the ICTR, ” Tribunal spokesman Kingsley Moghalu told Hirondelle on Friday, “ because it will strengthen the capacity of the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber to deal with an increasingly heavy caseload.

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”Moghalu said that while rule changes and court decisions should reduce the levels of “ frivolous ” appeals, the number of substantive ones was likely to increase as the ICTR moved to speed up trials. “ I think we can expect that a lot of judgements may be appealed, which will increase the Chamber'sworkload, ” Moghalu said. “ That's why this decision is very important. ”On Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to grant two additional judges to the ICTR. The Tribunal President will then select two ICTR judges to sit on the Appeals Chamber, boosting the number of appeals judges from five to seven. The Appeals Chamber, based in The Hague, Netherlands, serves both the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Up to now, however, it has been composed entirely of ICTY judges. “ Having judges from the ICTR included in the Appeals Chamber is a positive development, ” ICTR spokesman Moghalu told Hirondelle. “ I think it will be useful in terms of substance to have input from judges who are on the ground at the Tribunal. The Security Council also approved a new pool of 27 judges to serve the ICTY on an “ ad litem ” basis, meaning they will be appointed to specific trials as and when needed. “ In unanimously adopting a resolution amending the Statutes of the two Tribunals, the Council responded to requests by their respective Presidents for additional judges in order to expeditiously process the heavy workloads facing the courts, ” says a UN press release. UN members states will be asked to nominate candidates to fill the new judges’ positions. The judges will then be elected by the General Assembly, from a list submitted by the Security Council. An experts’ report on the functioning of the two international tribunals had pointed to the caseload of the Appeals Chamber as one of the factors hampering the smooth and expeditious running of the judicial process. It recommended that appeals judges should be separate from the trial judges,but also proposed boosting the number of appeals judges as a second option. The ICTR has now passed sentences on eight people, three of whom pleaded guilty, meaning that a full trial was not necessary. There are more than 40 people awaiting trial, many of whom were arrested several years ago. In a recent speech at the UN, ICTR President Navanethem Pillay of South Africa said that all three trial chambers were expected to be functioning next year. Three new trials have started since September and more have been announced for 2001. JC/FH (JU%1201e)