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Arusha, May 16 2007 (FH) - Rwanda prepares to accept defendants that the International Criminal Tribunal will not have time to judge before its completion or the cases that will not be completed, reported on his website the Rwandan pro-governmental newspaper The New Times.

"We are ready, but we will need to make some changes enabling us to have a team of prosecutors, each with a designated duty in a single case,” " explained to the daily newspaper the spokesperson of the Rwandan office of the prosecutor, Jean Bosco Mutangana.

According to him, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will finance the training of the prosecutors in international justice. Currently only twelve prosecutors possesses the required qualifications in the whole of Rwanda. They can litigate before the four chambers of the High court of the Republic (Rwamagana, in the east, Musanze in north, Nyanza in the south and Rusizi in the west) as well as in Kigali and at the Supreme Court.

Concerning the 29 files of suspects referred in the past by the ICTR, Mutangana states that they regard one of the four Rwandans currently being held in the United Kingdom. The four men are Vincent Bajinya (alias Brown), a doctor, the former mayors Charles Munyaneza (Kinyamakara, southern Rwanda), Célestin Ugirashebuja (Kigoma, central Rwanda) and Emmanuel Nteziryayo (Mudasomwa, southern Rwanda).

To accommodate the defendants of the ICTR, the government initiated the construction of a transit center in order to detain them during their trials. A parcel of land has been retained in Butamwa, in the suburbs of Kigali, explained to The New Times the Minister for Interior Safety Mr. Mussa Fazil Harerimana.

Another prison has already been prepared with the financial assistance of the Netherlands in Mpanga, in the south of the country. Intended to accommodate 7 000 prisoners, who are there already, installations to be compatible with United Nations standards have also been anticipated. The ICTR has until now judged 33 people, an approximate number are also undergoing or awaiting trial.

The transfer of persons found guilty by the ICTR is one of the issues that must be settled before the completion of the Tribunal, forecasted for December 31 2008. At the request of the United Nations Security Council, which created the Tribunal in November 1994 little after the genocide, all of the first instance trials will have to be completed by this date; the pending cases, as well as the prisoners awaiting judgment, should then be transferred towards other jurisdictions.

Rwanda asked to accommodate persons that have been sentenced and defendants that have not yet been judged or that their cases are pending. The referral of accused will have to, however, be authorized by a Chamber of the ICTR; which will, also, have to ensure the fairness of the judgment.

© Hirondelle News Agency