01.07.07 - ICTR/JUDGES - COMPLETION STRATEGY OF THE ICTR CONFRONTED WITH CHALLENGES

  Arusha, 01July 2007 (FH) - The new president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Dennis Byron, recognized Thursday in a press conference that the "completion strategy" of this court, which must finish its trials by next year, is confronted with challenges.   
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Originating from the federation of Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis, Judge Byron has been at the head of the ICTR for one month.
 
In his first meeting with the press, the new president mentioned three great challenges: the question of the 18 accused still at large, the trial of the three leaders of the former Rwandan ruling party which is dragging and the risk of having qualified personnel depart from the ICTR.
 
Judge Byron pointed out that the first challenge is out of the control of the Tribunal, which counts only on the co-operation of countries. Among the still sought indictees, figures the alleged financier of the genocide, the businessman Félicien Kabuga, who continues to circulate freely in Kenya, according to the office of the prosecutor.
 
The president of the ICTR then recognized that the presentation of evidence could not be finished by the end of 2008 in the trial of the three former leaders of the Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND), a trial with a complex history.
 
The Security Council of the United Nations has asked the ICTR to finish all trials by next year and all proceedings before the appeals chamber by 2010.
 
ICTR authorities committed themselves to respecting these deadlines.
 
Since the beginning of the trials in 1997, this tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania, has pronounced 28 convictions and 5 acquittals.
 
Two cases implicating a total of 5 accused are under deliberation while 10  involving 23 accused are in progress.
 
ER/MM/AT 
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