Arusha, 11 December 2007 (FH) - The president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Dennis Byron called for, Monday before the General Assembly of the United Nations, "special arrangements" to conclude the trials which will not be finished by the end of the ICTR mandate on 31 December 2008.

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Created by the United Nations in 1994, the ICTR must, according to a Security Council resolution dated August 2003, complete its first instance trials on 31 December 2008. The ICTR, which is headquartered in Arusha, northern Tanzania, has already tried 35 persons, about thirty are still awaiting their judgments. It will have cost, at the end of this year, a billion American dollars.

Speaking on an assessment of the activities, Judge Byron in particular called for these "special arrangements" in the "Karemera" trial, which he presides, where three former Rwandan political officials have been on trial since September 2005. Another defendant, Augustin Ngirabatware, recently arrested in Germany, is also concerned with these probable delays; and any defendant at large which will not be arrested by the end of 2008.

The last two first instance trials should start in 2008, he explained. For the appeal trials, two are still pending but it is foreseeable that the appeal chamber, whose deadline was scheduled for 2010, needs to be reinforced, he explained.

Judge Byron also supported the request presented by his colleague of the tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to revalorize the wages of the judges as was done to the judges of the International Court of Justice. After having asked that the judges temporarily named be made permanent, he also underlined the difficulty in maintaining at the ICTR a qualified personnel as the end of the activities comes near.

The president also affirmed to have tried a "first such case in the history of both international tribunals" a defendant on false testimony. This witness, a Rwandan whose anonymity was preserved, was sentenced at the beginning of December to 9 months in prison.

© Hirondelle News Agency