The unique character of an international criminal judicial institution puts the Registry at the centre of a complex set of responsibilities surrounding the administration of the ICTR. It makes it the most diverse organ of the Tribunal in terms of functions. It is the administrative arm of the ICTR, also providing legal and judicial support for the work of the two other Tribunal organs -Chambers and Prosecution- as well as for Defence teams.
At the peak of its activities, the Judicial and Legal Services Division consisted of three teams, each assigned to a Trial Chamber and responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the judicial proceedings inside and outside the courtrooms. Registry staff ensured the liaison between the Chamber and the parties –Prosecution and Defence- and other registry support sections at all stages of trials. They also assisted witnesses in court. The Registry managed and maintained records of court proceedings, filings and exhibits. Teams of interpreters allowed for all trial participants to understand the proceedings in either English, French, or Kinyarwanda, and transcribers were recording the entirety of the proceedings.
Victims and witnesses support
A dedicated section within the Registry was responsible for providing support for witnesses appearing before the court, such as expert psychological support, as well as for taking measures to ensure their protection, as required. Protective measures could include non-disclosure of the identity of the witnesses, closed court sessions, and other appropriate measures to facilitate the testimony of vulnerable victims and witnesses, such as the use of one-way close circuit television during testimony. In exceptional cases, extrajudicial protective measures were deployed, such as the temporary or permanent relocation of witnesses. In order to ensure the continuity of these crucial functions, the responsibility to support witnesses was transferred to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals on 1 July 2012.
Defence and Detention matters
One important responsibility of the ICTR Registry has been to ensure all accused were duly represented by defence counsel, in order to create the conditions for fair trials. A dedicated team, the Defence Counsel & Detention Management Section was liaising with all defence counsel and was also responsible for matters related to the detention of accused individuals during their trials, until their release –if acquitted- or their transfer to the State where they would enforce their sentence. Since 1 July 2012, the Mechanism took over responsibility for the supervision of all sentences pronounced by the ICTR.
The Registry is further tasked with diplomatic functions. It is the organ responsible for communication between the Tribunal and the international community, incorporating issues such as cooperation of member states, enforcement of sentences and the relationship with the authorities of Tanzania, the host country of the Tribunal.
Through its Division of Administrative Support Services, the Registry acts as the administrative organ of a UN body. This responsibility spans a wide range of services, including but not limited to public information, security, travel, human resources, finance services, logistics, archives management and facilitating visits.
The Registry is headed by a Registrar, appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, after consultation with the ICTR President for a four-year term. The current Registrar is Mr. Bongani Majola (South Africa), whose term of office commenced on 1 January 2013. The previous ICTR Registrars were Mr. Adama Dieng (2001-2012) from Senegal, Mr. Agwu Okali (1997-2001) from Nigeria, and Mr. Andronico Adede (1995-1997) from Kenya.