Arusha, December 4, 2009 (FH) - The president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Dennis Byron, said on Thursday before the UN Security Council that he expected "judgment delivery in trials against 21 accused in 2010".

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Justice Byron was in New York with Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow to present his six-monthly progress report to the United Nations.

After giving an update on the work  accomplished in the past six months, Judge Byron highlighted that more was to come: "We have another busy year ahead in which we need to provide increased output with declining resources".

He requested more cooperation from the member states to capture the accused still on the run. "I am sure you agree with me that eleven fugitives remaining at large today, more than fifteen years after the genocide, are eleven too many. The list includes three top suspects, Félicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana. The time for their arrest is long overdue. They have benefited from impunity for far too long", said Judge Byron.

The ICTR's President specifically mentioned Kenya: "It is in the interest of the entire international community that the remaining fugitives be arrested and tried fairly. I call strongly upon all member states, and in particular those where there is significant evidence that fugitives hide in their territory, such as Kenya, to fully cooperate with the Tribunal".

Judge Byron also asked for  more cooperation by member states in the relocation of acquitted persons, now living in "ICTR's safe houses" in Arusha.

"It is of fundamental importance and in the interests of fair justice that member states are ready and prepared to accept the relocation of acquitted persons to their territory", Judge Byron insisted.

There are four acquitted persons waiting for a host country : former Minister of Transportation Andre Ntagerura, general Gratien Kabiligi, the brother-in-law of late president Juvenal Habyarimana, Protais Zigiranyirazo, and Father Hormisdas Nsengimana.

Ntagerura was acquitted at first instance in February 2004, then on appeal in February 2006. General Kabiligi was acquitted in December 2008 and the Prosecutor did not appeal. After being sentenced to life in jail by the lower court, Zigiranyirazo was acquitted on appeal on November 16. The following day, it was Father Nsengimana's turn to be cleared of all charges.

The four other persons acquitted by the ICTR have found host countries in France, Belgium and Switzerland.



© Hirondelle News Agency