Arusha, 22 May 2007 (FH) - Erik Mose will leave the presidency of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on May 29 after two successive two-year mandates.
The Norwegian Judge will be replaced by Dennys Byron of Saint Kitts and Nevis elected by his peers on Monday. Erik Mose leaves behind the sense of a hard-working judge, determined in the long term to carry out an end of mandate strategy which does not achieve, necessarily, the unanimity within the personnel.
The Tribunal must complete its first instance trials in 2008, a promise he made on several occasions at the UN Security Council. A sentence that was a dominant recurring theme of his mandate; which he endeavored to show was not simply rhetoric.
Already on 13 June 2003, barely two weeks after his election, Judge Mose set the tone by inviting all the parties to always keep in mind "the reason for which we are in Arusha". "Our principal task, rendering justice, means to guarantee equitable trials without undue delays", he hammered.
In terms of diplomacy, Mose invited them to overcome the idleness which he described carefully as "daily platitude". "I am trying not to get angry. Anger is not productive. But the lack of punctuality irritates me ", he would later confide to the Hirondelle agency. And he preached by example, creating a new rhythm with the advance of the trials.
Taking the bull by the horns, he began the direction of questioning in the “Military I” trial, whose stagnation was obvious. The opening was offered to him by the resignation, for "personal reasons", of the President of the Chamber, Judge George Lloyd Williams of Saint-Kitts. The end of his mandate coincides with the final arguments in this important trial.
The results were more immediate on the level of the different trials whose key phrase became the acceleration of the procedures. The former Minister of Finance Emmanuel Ndindabahizi and the ex-mayor Sylvestre Gacumbitsi were judged in less than four months, leading observers to speak, already at the start of his mandate, of the "Mose Revolution". Since then, ten other individual trials have been completed.
The Chambers have utilized the increase in the ad litem judges (nonpermanent), passed from four to nine which can sit during the same period; as well as recently adopted strategies, which include an increased control of the procedures. The translation of kinyarwanda to English and French, furthermore, became simultaneous whereas it had been until then "consecutive", this step eliminated large wastes of time.
On the organizational level, a coordinating committee charged with the facilitation of the preparation for new trials was created; while the high ranking members of the Tribunal (President, Registrar, and Prosecutor) installed a permanent framework of dialogue.
Of the 33 people judged since the beginning, twelve will have heard their judgments with Eric Mose as President. Twenty five are in the course of the judgment phase and eleven trials are ongoing. On the eve of the end of his mandate, the ICTR still has nine people held to be judged, as well as eighteen fugitives of justice. The cases which will not have been treated at the ICTR will be submitted to national jurisdictions, including Rwanda.
Mose leaves the Presidency as foreign countries balk to receive cases; and even acquitted persons. Three of them are “bored” in Arusha, a long time after their release.
Mose will not have, also, succeeded in solving the difficult problem of the compensation issue for victims and wrongfully accused persons.
Under his Presidency, the Tribunal did not clarify its position with respect to the indictment of crimes believed to have been committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) in 1994; which, as a lawyer regretfully expressed recently, is likely to be classified under the heading "of the losses and profits of history".
© Hirondelle News Agency