Arusha, 08 January, 2009 (FH) - The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has appointed 64-year-old 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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Joseph 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.

Judge 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.

"I was pleasantly surprised and excited. It is a pleasure to come and work here [Arusha]," Joseph Masanche told Hirondelle News Agency, when asked how he received the news of his appointment.

According to him, the assignments would be very challenging compared to what he used to do previously because of the nature of the cases, time allocated, large number witnesses earmarked in trials and the state of art court rooms.

Joseph Masanche was originally in the reserve list of 18 judges appointed by the UN in 2003 alongside judges Lee Muthoga of Kenya and Ugandan Solomy Balungi Bossa, who both were in the first list of nine ad litem judges assigned to the Tribunal.

A graduate of the former East African University in 1970, Masanche joined Tanzanian judiciary in the same year as a Magistrate and served in various capacities until June 27, 1989 when he was appointed High Court Judge of Tanzania.

Among 19 years of active judiciary service, eleven of them he served as Judge-in-Charge of Tanzania High Courts in Mwanza, Tabora and Dodoma. He retired in March, 2008. In October, last year, he joined Tanzania's Tumaini University as a Lecturer in civil procedures and law of evidence until his UN appointment.

He is married with five children and three grand children.

The ICTR was established in November 1994, but it only started its first trial three years later. The Tribunal has so far rendered 43 individual judgements of which six have been acquitted.


© Hirondelle News Agency