The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Navanethem Pillay (South Africa) presented the Sixth Annual Report of the Tribunal’s activities to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Monday 26 November 2001. In her address Judge Pillay summarised the Tribunal’s major achievements in the past year and future projections for its work.
The President reported that judicial, administrative and prosecutorial steps undertaken have produced a significant increase in the number of trials in progress. She said that seven trials involving seventeen accused persons are presently under way. Judge Pillay explained that all three Trial Chambers were presently engaged in simultaneous trials on a twin or multi track system.
Judge Pillay said that Trial Chamber I delivered the Tribunal’s first judgement of acquittal in the case of Ignace Bagilishema. The judgement has been appealed by the Prosecutor. The Appeals Chamber, she added, had delivered decisions in appeals involving five appellants during the year.
On difficulties obstructing expeditious trials, the President pointed out that proceedings at international level were far more complicated than those at the national level. “Trials of the accused who are alleged to have been architects of killings are far more complicated because command responsibility has to be established.”
Other factors, she said, included the large number of witnesses that are normally called to testify, witnesses and Counsel not being within geographical proximity of the ICTR, and the logistics involved in bringing them to Arusha. The interpretation of testimony from Kinyarwanda to French and English, and the voluminous documents to be disclosed to the parties and their translation are also salient factors.
Judge Pillay added that presently there are twenty-six detainees awaiting trial, twenty-two indicted suspects still at large, and the Prosecutor anticipates indicting up to 136 new accused by the year 2005. That was why, she said, she had submitted a proposal to the Security Council for the creation of a pool of ad litem judges, as had been done for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
She thanked the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, Member States and the General Assembly for their assistance and support. She will meet the Security Council on 27 November 2001. Following that meeting Judge Pillay and the ICTR Registrar Mr. Adama Dieng, the President and Registrar of the ICTY, Judge Claude Jorda and Mr. Hans Holthuis and the Prosecutor common to both Tribunals, Ms. Carla Del Ponte, are expected to hold talks with the Secretary-General.