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Arusha, March 23, 2007 (FH) – The semi-traditional gacaca tribunals finished their trials in the Burera district (Northern province), the Rwandan pro-government daily, the New Times, reported Friday. This is the first district in the country, which has 30, to finish its semi-traditional judgments. They were launched in 2005 and concern more than 800,000 people suspected of having participated in the 1994 genocide. The New Times did not give new figures on the number of trials in this district which is one of the districts that had the fewest victims in 1994. It cites the mayor of the district, Aime Bosenibamwe, according to whom all that needs to be done is the organization of an official ceremony to mark the closing of the work of the tribunals in his administrative district. The end of the gacaca trials will permit the population and its officials to now address other problems, above all the fight against poverty and the erosion of precipitous mountains in the region, according to the mayor cited by the daily. Inspired by ancient village assembly during which “sages” seated on lawns (gacaca, in the Rwandan language), regulated disputes between members of the community, these semi-popular trials were conducted by non-professional judges, designated from within the community and chosen on the basis of their integrity.In addition, these judges, of which there are around 200,000 throughout the country, are unpaid. They can pronounce a maximum of 30 years in prison. According to figures by the National Service of Gacaca Jurisdictions (SNJG), 816,564 people suspected of participation in the genocide should appear before these tribunals. This figure does not include the “planners” and rapists, who are tried before conventional judicial means. Also according to the SNJG, more than 50,000 people have been tried at present. The Rwandan government hopes to finish all trials before gacaca courts by the end of the year. ER/PB/KD © Hirondelle News Agency