Arusha, 15 January, 2009 (FH) - A total number of 339 posts which were slated for abolition by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) between January and July this year have now been shelved  following the recent decision by the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of the Tribunal for the first instance  trials to end of 2009.

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Addressing the general staff meeting Wednesday, the Registrar of the Tribunal, Adama Dieng said "the 339 posts will have to be administratively changed to GTA (General Temporary Assignments) as of 1 January, 2009 and stretch up to September this year."

According to the Senegalese Registrar, staff members on posts earmarked to be abolished in December 2008 and June 2009, whose functions are required, will also be extended to September 30, this year.

The announcement came at a time when several ICTR employees were in the dilemma of losing their jobs whereas several others had already left the institution to join other international organizations including the East African Community and the African Court in Arusha.

In his speech Dieng made it crystal clear that "we cannot at this stage justify why we will extend contracts of everybody beyond 2009."

 He cautioned that the issue must be approached with great care as the Tribunal had already indicated that the first instance trials would be finalised by end of September this year.

He said the  ICTR case was different from that of the sister ad hoc tribunal, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) whose first instance cases will go on up to the end of 2010.

Dieng also said that the UN Secretary General was asked to "present a report within 90 days on the administrative and budgetary aspects of the options for possible locations for the Tribunals' archives and seat of the residual mechanism..."

Speaking at the same occasion, ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, urged staff members to step up their efforts so as to ensure smooth exit strategy.

On his side the President of the Tribunal, Justice Dennis Byron reiterated that the year 2009 would be a very challenging year and probably the most difficulty in  the  entire 14-year history of the UN Court, trying key suspects of the 1994 genocide.

"The load of up to ten new cases starting trial together with the on going trial work and judgments drafting in major cases will require the utmost dedication and commitments from all of us," he emphasized.         


© Irondale News Agency