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Moves To Expedite Work Of War Crimes Tribunals

Security Council Moves To Expedite Work Of UN War Crimes Tribunals

New York, Dec 19 2008 5:10PM

The Security Council today called on the United Nations war crimes tribunals dealing with the 1994 Rwanda genocide and the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s to conduct their trials as quickly and efficiently as possible, and pledged to support their efforts to complete their work.

The 15-member body noted with concern “that the deadline for completion of trial activities at first instance has not been met and that the Tribunals have indicated that their work is not likely to end in 2010,” in a statement read out by Ambassador Neven Juric of Croatia, which holds the Council Presidency for the month of December.

Last week officials from both Tribunals reported to the Council on the progress made in the trials of those accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as the implementation of the Tribunals’ completion strategy.

The completion strategy of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague, requires it to finish trials of first instance by 2009.

However, its President, Patrick Robinson, told the Council that while the Tribunal was still on track to complete most of its trials during 2009, a number would continue into the first part of 2010, which would also affect the dates for appeals, a small number of which would then spill over into 2012.

Likewise, Dennis Byron of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said that instead of the decreased workload that might have been expected with the Tribunal moving towards the completion of its mandate, the court was now confronted with as many as 10 new cases.

At the same time, the Tribunal is faced with the resignation of judges and 13 fugitives remained at large, added the President of the ICTR, which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.

To assist in expediting the ICTR’s work, the Council today unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the Secretary-General to appoint up to three additional ad litem, or short-term, judges to the court, as requested by its President.

The Council took a similar decision regarding the ICTY last week.

ENDS

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