Arusha, 17 October 2008 (FH) - The announcement made at the beginning of the week before the United Nations General Assembly that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was going from now until the end of 2009 to render more judgments than it has ever rendered has caused much confusion and comments in the corridors of the UN Tribunal.

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On Monday, in a speech made at the conclusion of the presentation of the 13th annual report of the ICTR, the president of the Tribunal, Dennis Byron, announced that during the next 14 months judgments against 38 accused persons would be rendered. He, however, recognized that 28 of them were already being drafted. Ten trials, thus, remain to be done.

"It is very unrealizable, it never goes as he sees it", explained a Canadian who has been part of several defence teams. "Maybe... if the prosecutor was better at his work", she added.

"Considering the time that we have taken, it would be astonishing, but not impossible", considers Alison Turner, a Canadian lawyer who has just been officially named to defend Leonidas Nshogoza, a Rwandan lawyer accused of having incited false testimonies.

"As they try scooter thieves, they only have to bring French judges who would have immediate appearances", ironically stated a French lawyer.

For a Tanzanian lawyer, Jwani Mwaikusa: "it is an ambitious program because the Tribunal is pushed to finish its mandate".

"Theoretically it is possible, but practically it is impossible" added Fabien Segatwa, a Burundian lawyer.

Other anonymous translators, lawyers and some ICTR employees remarked: "It is just diplomacy".

"That supposes the extension of my contract", said a court worker, illustrating the difficulties of the administration of the tribunal in mobilizing teams.


© Irondale News Agency