Arusha, October 30th (FH) - The Trial Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda will operate under the dual-shift system once four ad litem judges (not permanent) take office in June 2003, its President Judge Navanethem Pillay has said. Addressing the United Nations fifty-seventh General Assembly Plenary on Monday, Judge Pillay (South Africa) said each Trial Chamber will conduct proceedings for about five hours a day with one session sitting from 8.

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00 a. m to 1. 00 p. m and the other sitting from 1. 30 p. m. to 6. 30 p. m. Under the present system, the three trial chambers hold morning sessions from 9. 00 a. m. to 1. 00 p. m. and afternoon sessions from 2. 30 p. m to 5. 30 p. m. The President said Trial Chamber 1of the ICTR has been conducting two trials the "Media " and "Niyitegeka" on the shift system this month. Though she welcomed the resolution to add ICTR the four judges, she appealed to the United Nations Security Council to urgently grant the tribunal five more ad litem judges for completion of its mandate on the projected date of the year 2007/8. On August this year, the Security Council adopted a resolution creating a pool of 18 ad litem judges for ICTR but authorised the use of four of them at a given time. Judge Pillay said her original proposal on the ad litem judges to the Security Council was for nine judges to take office at ago, which was granted to ICTY. The judge also gave the assembly reasons for lengthy trials at the ICTR. Observers say that trials at the tribunal have been moving at a relatively slow pace. Some of the reasons are that the accused were allegedly high-ranking persons, with their trial taking an average of 1 to 2 years and involving as many as 100 witnesses. Another factor cited by the president is the interpretation of proceedings into three languages namely, Kinyarwanda, French and English. She also mentioned in detail as a justification for the lengthy trials the delays in appearance of witnesses and in some instances non-appearances from Rwanda. In March this year, IBUKA a key association for genocide survivors, and AVEGA, an association of Rwandan genocide widows protesting the alleged harassment" of a woman who testified in Rwanda. refused to cooperate and urged their members not to co-operate with the Tribunal. As a result, many of the ongoing trials were delayed. The Prosecutor's programmeJudge Pillay said the ICTR prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte has revised her future programme and will now conduct investigations against 16 new individuals together with ten ongoing investigations instead of the original number of 136. To conclude her investigation programme, she intends to submit the resulting 26 new indictments for confirmation by the end of the year 2004. She said the prosecutor has identified 40 suspects whose prosecution she intends to defer to national jurisdictions for trial. Fifteen of these suspects are in countries that have adopted the principle of universal jurisdiction and they could stand trial in those countries. The cases of 25 other suspects who allegedly did not occupy high positions of responsibility could be transferred to the Rwandan authorities, Judge Pillay said. The President also urged the UN to consider compensation for victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Judge Pillay said compensation is essential if Rwanda is to recover from the experience of the genocide. She submitted a proposal to the UN Secretary General on November 9, 2000 that victims of genocide should be compensated. "For every hour of every day over the past seven and half years, we have lived with the voices of the survivors of genocide and so we strongly urge the United Nations to provide compensation for Rwandan victims," Judge Pillay said. As a conclusion, she said the ICTR and ICTY have contributed significantly to international criminal justice adding that the establishment of the two and the International Criminal Court ( ICC) has forever altered the world. "Together, these institutions have made it possible to contemplate a world in which political leaders can no longer act with impunity, depriving groups of their own citizens of the right to life, the right to be free from physical harm or sexual violence, political or religious persecution, said Judge Pillay. PJ/CE/FH (CL-1030e)