Arusha, 12 June 2007 (FH) - The work of the international Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will be finished when justice is returned to the victims of the massive crimes and when the facts are established in order to help with the reconciliation in Rwanda, affirmed Monday Judge Dennys Byron, the new President of the ICTR.

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"Our work will not be completed until we meet the challenge given to us to establish the guilt or innocence of the accused, bring justice to the victims of the massive crimes that were committed and establish a record of facts that can aid reconciliation in Rwanda"; stated Judge Byron, elected last May, in his first statement to the personnel of the Tribunal.

This statement occurs one week before the presentation at the General Assembly of the United Nations of the assessment of the ICTR and its action plan until the announced term of its mandate. According to the Security Council of the United Nations, supervising body of the ICTR, the first instance trials at the ICTR must be finished by 31 December 2008.

Contrary to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) which has already announced that this timetable could not be respected, the ICTR has always ensured that this time frame would be respected by transferring certain defendants towards national jurisdictions, including Rwanda.

The ICTR, which will have cost a billion US dollar by the end of 2007, has until now tried 33 people, 26 are in proceedings and 8 await their trials to begin.

This statement occurs as the Prosecutor of the ICTR has stated his intention to announce, at this period of the year, his decision or not to take action on the investigations into the war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, in power in Kigali). The ICTR has until now only tried close relations of the former Rwandan regime.

© Hirondelle News Agency