Arusha, 15 December, 2008 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), scheduled to complete its mandate end of 2009, is now confronted with ten new cases coupled with the possibility of loosing seven of its current judges.

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Addressing the United Nations Security Council in New York, last Friday, The President of the ICTR, Justice Dennis Byron from St. Kitts and Nevis revealed that the new cases included the trials of accused arrested in 2007 and 2008, a retrial of former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi ordered by the Appeals Chamber and one contempt of court case.

Monday, ten months after the initial appearance of the former Rwandan minister for Youth, Callixte Nzabonimana, arrested early this year in Kigoma, western part of Tanzania, parties to the case failed to agree on the date when the actual hearing would start. Another status conference was schedule early next year.

The others are five prosecutors' cases denied by the Chambers to be referred to national jurisdictions. They included a trial against the former Director General of Rwandan Tea Sector, Michel Bagaragaza scheduled for Norway and four others earmarked for transfer to Rwanda, the first of which being that of a businessman, Yusuf Munyakazi.

"The workload ahead of us is greater than at any other point in the Tribunal's history." Justice Byron cautioned as he was presenting a six-monthly report on the completion strategy of the ICTR.

On the other hand, judge Byron said, the men power would go down by seven judges. He explained that two permanent judges and one ad litem would have reigned by end of 2008, while at the same time four others have announced their intention to resign after the judgements in their current cases.

The President made it clear that it was utmost necessity to appoint at least four new ad litem judges to replace the seven judges who would not be available to take up the new cases insisting that only four permanent judges would be there to tackle the new cases.

Before the current situation, the Tribunal's Trial Chamber had nine permanent judges and nine others were ad litem ones.


© Hirondelle News Agency