Arusha, December 16, 2010 (FH) - The United Nations Security Council has responded positively to the concern by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of understaffing and reiterated the importance of the Tribunal being adequately staffed to complete its work expeditiously.

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"The Security Council calls upon the Secretariat and other relevant United Nations bodies to continue to work with the Registrar (...) in order to find practical solutions to address this issue as the Tribunal approaches the completion of its work ," a resolution adopted Tuesday says.

At the same time the Security Council called upon the International Tribunal to review its efforts to focus on its core functions.

It decided, therefore, notwithstanding the expiry of their term of office on December 31, 2010 to authorize Sri Lankan Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva and Jordanian Judge Taghrid Hikmet to complete the Military II trial involving four former Rwandan military officers which they began before the expiry of their term of office.

The Security Council also took note of the intention of the Tribunal to complete the case in March 2011. The defendants in the case include army Chief of staff general Augustin Bizimungu and his counterpart of the gendarmerie, Augustin Ndindiliyimana.

It also decided that in order for the Tribunal to complete existing trials or conduct additional trials, the total number of ad litem Judges serving at ICTR may from time to time temporarily exceed the minimum of 9 to a maximum of 12 at any one time.

Presenting six month report on completion strategy before the Security Council on December 6, 2010, the Tribunal's President, Dennis Byron, called for immediate address staff retention. He said, "in 2010, Tribunal lost almost 100 staff members. For the Chambers alone, the number is 19, representing a high percentage of our staffing level."


© Hirondelle News Agency