Arusha, 11 June 2007 (FH) - Italian Silvana Arbia was appointed chief of prosecutions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to replace the American Stephen Rapp who was promoted at the end of last year to Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

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This nomination was announced by the Chief Prosecutor, the Gambian Hassan Bubacar Jallow, at a personnel meeting at the ICTR on Monday.

Mrs. Arbia, 54, after having been lawyer she has been a magistrate in her country since 1979. She initially was a prosecutor and judge in Venice then in Rome and Milan. There, she presided the first penal chamber of the Court of Appeal and in particular treated cases of organized crimes (Maffia) and sexual aggressions.

Before joining the ICTR in October 1999, she had been for several months a judge at the Supreme Court and the Court of Cassation of Italy.

Mrs. Arbia leads the team in charge of the oldest trial at the ICTR, in which the former Minister of the family and female promotion Pauline Nyiramasuhuko is being tried with five other accused. This trial has lasted for six years.

Based in Arusha, in the north of Tanzania, the ICTR to date has sentenced 28 and acquitted 5 accused. Eleven trials are currently in progress concerning 27 accused. Eight people are still awaiting the start of their proceedings before the end of the first instance trials set for 31 December 2008. 18 other accused are still at large.

© Hirondelle News Agency