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Rwanda UN war crimes tribunal projects speedier conclusion of its work


By reducing the number of suspects targeted for investigation and ending all enquiries over the next couple of years, as well as adding a pool of temporary judges, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) would be able to wrap up its work no later than 2008, according to the President of the court.In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan released today at UN Headquarters, Judge Navanethem Pillay notes revisions to the court’s work based on consultations with chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. The Secretary-General forwarded the letter to the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly.According to Judge Pillay, the Prosecutor has submitted a proposal to shift trials to national jurisdictions, thereby relieving the Tribunal’s caseload, and has reduced to 111 from 136 the number of suspects and accused who are under investigation. Ms. Del Ponte has also indicated that her office would undertake no new investigations after 2003 and would terminate all probes by the next year.As a result, Judge Pillay estimates that the revisions by the Prosecutor can assist the Tribunal in completing its mandate around 2007 or 2008.Meanwhile in Arusha, two genocide suspects have been transferred to the Tribunal’s detention centre. Aloys Simba, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces, was arrested on 27 November 2001 in Senegal and is charged with four counts of genocide or, in the alternative, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity for murder and extermination in Gikongoro and Butare prefectures.Paul Bisengimana, former Bourgmestre of Gikoro, Kigali-Rural, was detained on 4 December 2001 in Mali. He is charged with 12 counts of genocide and is alleged to have planned and participated in killings, rape and torture of Tutsis and other moderate Hutus in Bicumbi and Gikoro communes.

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