The United Nations Security Council yesterday unanimously extended the mandate of all eleven permanent judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda until 31 December 2008. This will facilitate the implementation of the ICTR Completion Strategy.
The resolution was in response to a letter of 21 March 2006 from the ICTR President, Judge Erik Møse, to the President of the Security Council, requesting the extension of the terms of office of all currently serving ICTR permanent judges.
Under Article 12 bis (3) of the ICTR Statute, the four-year term of the permanent judges had been due to expire on 25 May 2007. Elections were likely to have taken place at the end of 2006 or in early 2007. Given the closeness of this date to the end of 2008, which according to Security Council Resolution 1503 (2003) is the deadline for the completion of trials, extension of the judges’ terms of office was requested in order to ensure the continuity, stability and certainty necessary for the efficient and effective planning of trials. In the present situation, an extension of the mandates for nineteen months is clearly preferable to elections for another four years.
Given the current provisions of the Statute, the approval of the Security Council and the General Assembly was necessary in order to extend the judges’ terms of office. On 3 May 2006, the Secretary-General requested that the General Assembly and Security Council grant their approval.
The eleven judges whose mandate has been extended are Dennis C. M. Byron (St. Kitts and Nevis); Asoka J. N. de Silva (Sri Lanka); Sergei Alekseevich Egorov (Russian Federation); Mehmet Gühney (Turkey); Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan); Erik Møse (Norway); Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar); Jai Ram Reddy (Fiji); William Hussein Sekule (United Republic of Tanzania); Andrésia Vaz (Senegal); and Inés Monica Weinberg de Roca (Argentina).
The Trial Chambers have completed cases involving 28 accused, whereas trials of 27 persons are in progress. Fourteen detainees are awaiting the commencement of their trials.