Arusha, 20 September 2008 - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) estimates that the timeline to finish all its first instance trials by 31 December 2008 will be respected except for only one trial which should be finished in March 2009, it was learned Thursday from an official source.

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This assurance was given last week by the president of the tribunal to a corps of Western diplomats that came from Dar es Salaam to see the application of the ICTR completion strategy, affirmed the spokesperson of the tribunal, Roland Amoussouga, during a press conference.

This delegation of nine Western diplomats (Norway, Belgium, France, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada) represented the group known as "the friends of the ICTR" which supports the tribunal in its contact with countries and the application of the directives from the General Assembly of the United Nations. Since its creation in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council, the ICTR has tried 33 people and will have cost, by the end of 2007, a billion American dollars.

Twenty-nine people are currently on trial before first instance chambers of the ICTR.

According to this declaration, only the trial of the former leaders of the former Rwandan single party, which has known particular vicissitudes, will not be finished within 15 month. The other trials, and in particular those which have only one defendant, will be finished by the end of 2008.

Six ICTR accused are still awaiting in the United Nations prison in Arusha to be tried; but in accordance with the directives imposing an interruption of activities, they should be transferred to national courts. These transfers have to be authorized by the chambers of the ICTR, which are designated for this purpose.

© Hirondelle News Agency