Arusha, 15 October, 2008 (FH)-The UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is expected to deliver 38 judgements in the next 14 months before it winds up its work, according to the Court's President, Justice Dennis Byron.

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The UN Court was created by the UN Security Council to try key suspects of the 1994 genocide, which claimed approximately 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Presenting its 13th annual report to the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday, the ICTR President said that the Tribunal has set itself a very high standard of performance and the workload for which it was planning was far higher that any other period in its 14-year-history.

He admitted that many of these judgements would be delivered after trials that have taken several years to be completed. "But the upcoming challenge for the Judges and the support staff is that the multi-track system devised to expedite the process requires that trial and judgement writing in every Trial Chamber will overlap during the coming period," he stressed.

Since July 2007 to date, the four trial courts have issued more than 400 interlocutory and pre-trial decisions, added the ICTR President, saying that it rendered judgments and sentences involving four accused. Decisions were delivered in five applications for referral of cases to national jurisdictions. Two were successfully referred, while in three others, the referral was denied.

The evidence phase of trials involving seven accused has been completed. Currently, there are 13 accused awaiting judgements. He said Trials involving 15 accused are in progress.

"In addition as a result of the recent Appeals Chamber's decision upholding the denial to transfer case of Yusuf Munyakazi (businessman) to Rwanda, this case along with the cases Gaspard Kanyarukiga [businessman], Ildenphonse Hategekimana [former Commander of Ngoma Camp, and Jean Baptiste Gatete [ex-Mayor] may now have to be added to the Tribunal's workload making the total for adjudication, 38 cases."

Justice Byron also requested UN member states to take more active steps in apprehending the remaining 13 fugitives "because the value of our achievements will be diminished unless all these arrests are secured," he said, also underlining the inevitable need for additional time to complete the proceedings and supplementary budget.

Justice Byron said: "A rapid adoption of a supplementary budget will provide the required predictability for out staff members and allow the Tribunal to move effectively and expeditiously towards a successful implementation of its completion strategy,'' cautioning that without this budgetary approval, comprehensive and efficient planning would be impossible.

However, he noted that since its inception, the Tribunal has played a central and stablising role in making lasting contributions to the establishment of international justice, peace and reconciliation that currently prevail in Rwanda and Great Lakes region.

The General Assembly was also addressed by the ICTR Prosecutor, Justice Hassan Jallow.


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