Arusha, 10 July, 2009 (FH)-The UN Security Council has extended the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by another one year, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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A decision of Resolution 1878(2009) issued on Tuesday also stated that all judges (permanent and ad litem) will have their contracts extended to December, 2010.

The extension follows concern raised by the ICTR President, Justice Dennis Byron, before the UN Security Council in December, last year that not all trials would be completed by the deadline of December, 2009.

Addressing  the Security Council over his six-monthly report, Justice Byron stated categorically that at least one joint trial of three former ruling MRND party leaders was sure to spill over to 2010 and that at least eleven cases, involving 24 accused persons, were underway.

This is the second extension granted to the ICTR following that of December, 2008.

The UN Court was established in November, 1994 to try key suspects of the Rwanda genocide. However, the Court only started its work two years later.

Since its establishment, ICTR has convicted 39 individuals and acquitted six.

In another development, a former military trainee at the Rwandan Senior Military Training College (ESO) told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday that a platoon consisting of 50 troops was daily deplored at the Ngoma Military Camp in Butare prefecture, South Rwanda, a day after the death of the former Rwandan President, Juvenal Habyarima on April 6, 1994.

The witness, code-named CBB to protect his identity, said ESO soldiers were ordered to defend the Camp against possible invasion by the then Rwandese Patriotic Front Rebels (RPF), now in power in Kigali, as the soldiers hosted in it were casualties of the war.

The witness was testifying in defence of the former Commandant of Ngoma Military Camp, Lt. Idelphonse Hategekimana who is facing charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes at the UN Tribunal,

The prosecutor alleges that soldiers of Ngoma Camp devoted themselves to exterminate all Tutsis in Butare in 1994, instead of defending the innocent civilians.Lt. Hategekimana who denied all the charges against him started his defence case on May 4, 2009. So far ten witnesses have testified in the trial

Meanwhile, ICTR will deliver judgement on 14 July of genocide-accused former Army Officer Tharcisse Renzaho. The accused has pleaded not guilty to 1994 genocide and crimes against humanity. This will be the third judgement for this year.


© Hirondelle News Agency