The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is primed to close down during this year, 2015, after over twenty years of prosecuting persons who played leading roles in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, which claimed the lives of around one million innocent civilians.
Only one major case remains for the Tribunal to complete after which it will close permanently. In the Butare case, involving 6 accused persons among whom is Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the only woman that the ICTR has tried for genocide, the Appeals Chamber is expected to hold oral arguments in Arusha during April 2015 and the judgement is expected to be delivered not before August 2015.
In preparation for its closure, the Tribunal separated 117 staff members between October and December 2014 out of the 414 who were on board at the beginning of 2014. The number consists of 91 international and 26 local staff members. This is part of an ongoing process of implementing the ICTR Completion Strategy, in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1966 of 22 December 2010, and represents the largest number of staff who have been downsized by the Tribunal and signifies the near completion of its mandate.
It is expected that about an additional 159 international staff members will be separated during 2015. Should everything proceed according to schedule, the ICTR will shut down before the end of 2015. These dates have been given to both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
Regarding what will happen to the functions and activities that will outlive the ICTR, the UN Security Council established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (the Mechanism), in its Resolution 1966 (2010), to take over the remaining functions of the Tribunal and that of its sister Tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Mechanism has already taken over some of the ongoing functions of the ICTR, including the enforcement of sentences of those convicted and sentenced by the Tribunal, the tracking, arrest and prosecution of the three fugitives earmarked for trial at the Mechanism, and the care and protection of witnesses.