Arusha, 17 January 2008 (FH) - The General Assembly of the United Nations has allocated a budget of 267, 356, 200 million dollars (approximately 145 billion Rwandan francs) to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for the 2008/2009 period.

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This budget constitutes 6,4% of the total budget of the United Nations for the two years to come and represents only for 2008, approximately 12% of the Rwandan national budget (607,5 billion RWF).

The document which is availed in the organisation's website, stipulates that the manpower of the court will be maintained for 2008, but that in 2009, 339 positions (approximately 30%) will be phased out.

Basing itself on reports presented by the tribunal, the committee estimates that the first instance trials "should be completed by the latest, at the end of 2008 or in mid-2009".

The Security Council, in a resolution adopted in 2003, has scheduled for 2008 the end of the first instance trials and 2010 for the appeal cases.

In order to speed up trials and minimise resources, the Prosecutor Hassan
Jallow has changed tactics by eliminating unnecessary counts of the accused persons and simplified the indictments.

The Prosecutor hopes to be able to decide in the near future on the cases dealing with the allegations against the members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

If these decisions result in indictments, there will be other cases to try in Arusha and requirement of additional resources.

The prosecutor also plans to draw up three new indictments "for falsification of evidence and contempt of the tribunal pursuant to the decision rendered in 2005 by the appeals chamber in the case of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Rwanda Minister for Culture and Education who has sentenced to imprisonment for remainder of his life.

The trials should take place in 2008.

The prosecutor also notes that among the fugitives, six alleged key master minds of the 1994 genocide should be tried in Arusha. These are: Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Augustin Ngirabatware (arrested 5 months ago in Germany NDLR), Idelphonse Nizeyimana, and Callixte Nzabonimana.

However, he adds that "if these fugitives are still not apprehended by the end of 2008, the Office of the Prosecutor will ask for the transfer of cases to national courts".

The biennial budget plans for trimming of the prosecution investigation team from 12 to 5 people over the two years, however banking on the number of arrests.

Concerning the follow-up of the recommendations made by the Audit committee, at the end of December 2005, the tribunal notes that the financial status of the defendants made no progress over and member states have not offered required assistance.

The tribunal again has called upon the voluntary contributions of the states.
For 2006/2007, more than 11 million dollars had been collected by the tribunal. Belgium and the Netherlands headed the list of donors.

Invariably, during the debates at the Security Council, states - led by Russia, which has a veto power at the United Nations --are opposed to any extension of the mandate of the two tribunals (ICTR and ICTY)..

If necessary, that beyond the expiry, the tribunals rely on voluntary contributions.

The administrative and budgetary committee of the organization quantified at 1.1 billion dollars the cost of the ICTR since its creation in November 1994.

© Hirondelle News Agency