Arusha, 09 January, 2009 (FH) - The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has appointed 64-year-old Justice Joseph Masanche of Tanzania, ad litem (temporary) Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) effective January, this year, as part of efforts to bridge gap of seven judges who left the UN court last December.

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Justice Masanche is the second Tanzanian Judge to join the Tribunal after his college-mate Justice William Sekule, one of nine permanent Judges at the Arusha-based ICTR, trying key architects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

According to the UN estimates, the April-July slaughter claimed lives of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Justice Masanche, who worked in Tanzanian judiciary for 38 years out of which 19 of them as High Court Judge, has been immediately assigned to two cases which include a re-trial of genocide accused Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, former Commander of the Non- Commissioned Officers Military Academy (ESO) which commences on Monday and that of Lieutenant Ildenphonse Hategekimana, which is expected to start on 26 January.

Meanwhile, Genocide-accused Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi's lead counsel, William Taylor, has opposed to prosecution summoning new witnesses when the defendant's re-trial, as ordered by the UN Appeals court, opens on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

On 29 August 2008, the Appeals Chamber cancelled all the guilty verdicts which had been rendered against the former Rwandan Army Officer in the first instance trial and directed a new trial for the accused for only one count of direct and public incitement to commit genocide in 1994.

Muvunyi will be re-tried only in connection with alleged remarks which he made at a meeting at the Gikore Commerce Center, Butare, southern Rwanda, in May 1994. By ordering a new trial, mainly due to defective indictment, the Appeals Chamber has created a precedent in the Tribunal's 14-year history.

The President of ICTR, Justice Dennis Byron, recently told the UN Security Council that ten new trials are expected to start this year. Currently, nine trials for 22 accused are underway.


© Hirondelle News Agency