Arusha, July 7, 2011 (FH) - The United Nations Security Council has responded positively to the request by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to amend the Tribunal's statute, allowing a non-permanent judge to vote for and be elected as president of the court.

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"Acting on the request of the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Security Council decides that notwithstanding the relevant articles of the Court's Statute, ad litem judges may be eligible to stand for, and vote in, elections for its presidency," an UN resolution passed on Wednesday states.

Presenting a six-month report on completion strategy before the Security Council on June 6, 2011, President of ICTR Judge Khalida Rachid Khan had noted that "under the present rules, once all the permanent judges had left, critical positions of the President and Vice-President could not be filled."

Judge Khan said, therefore, that she had made a request to remove the requirement that the president be a trial judge resident in Arusha, the seat of the Tribunal and "make provision for an ad litem judge to be elected Vice-President, to act as President in the absence of that post."

The Security Council further decided that a non-permanent or ad litem judge elected as President of the Tribunal "may exercise the same powers as a permanent judge without altering his or her status, or affecting his or her terms and conditions of service."

According to the resolution, the Council has decided that non-permanent judge elected Vice-President may act as President when required to do so under the Statute or by Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

The Council's decision took note of the fact that upon completion of the cases to which they are currently assigned, four permanent judges will be redeployed from the trial chambers to the appeals chamber and two permanent judges will leave the Tribunal.

ICTR is required to close its first instance trials by the end of 2011.


© Hirondelle News Agency