The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Navanethem Pillay (South Africa), presented the Fifth Annual Report of the Tribunal’s activities to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Monday 20 November. In her address Judge Pillay summarised the Tribunal’s achievements since her previous appearance before the Assembly, one year ago.
Referring to the General Assembly’s Millenium Statement in which it resolved “to strengthen the rule of law in international as in national affairs” she said that as a result of the work of the two international tribunals “the concept of individual criminal responsibility at the international level is finally gaining world endorsement and international criminal justice has now become a reality”. She added that “the jurisprudence of the ad hoc Tribunals provides precedent and impetus for the International Criminal Court and for the judicial Tribunals being established by the UN for Sierra Leone and Cambodia”.
In the past year the performance of the ICTR had improved, its work had accelerated and output had multiplied she said. Three judgements had been delivered by the Trial Chambers and one further trial had been completed and was under deliberation. Three new trials, involving seven accused, had been started and, during the period under review 223 decisions on pre-trial motions had been given. The Appeals Chamber had significantly reduced its list of pending appeals, deciding 24 out of 34 interlocutory appeals and confirming the Trial Chamber decisions in the Serushago and Kambanda cases. Appeals on the merits in three further cases had been heard and were under deliberation.
In 2001 the three ongoing trials will continue and during the first months of the year a number of new trials involving up to 19 accused were scheduled to commence. This would involve all three Trial Chambers sitting simultaneously, often twin tracking with two trials per Chamber. This intense activity would require the allocation of sufficient resources, in particular for translation and the preparation of judgements.
The President thanked the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and the General Assembly for their assistance and support. She will meet the Security Council on 21 November.
The full text of the President’s statement and the Fifth Annual Report are available on our Website,www.ictr.org