A December 18 UN Security Council resolution has extended the term of office of permanent judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) who sit in the Appeals Chamber to enable them conclude cases they are handling and those that may be brought before then soon.
Turkish national Mehmet Giiney and Tanzanian William H. Sekule have had their terms extended until the end of July next year.
Four other permanent judges—Mandiaye Niang from Senegal, Khalida Rachid Khan from Pakistan, Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov of Russia will stay in office up to December 31, 2015 or beyond to finalise assignments.
The ICTR resolution was unanimously adopted Thursday morning. Normally, a draft resolution can only be actualised and implemented when it is formally adopted in the Security Council chamber. It needs nine votes in favor, without veto from the five permanent members.
Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, told the new times that the resolution is more technical than substantive as it relates to extension of ICTR judges’ mandates.
“The resolution urged the mechanism that will replace the ICTR to continue monitoring cases of Laurent Bucyibaruta, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Jean Uwinkindi and Bernard Munyagishari that were referred to national jurisdictions,” Nduhungirehe said.
“This was requested by Rwanda, as investigations referred to France (Bucyabaruta and Munyashyaka) in 2007 are progressing very slowly”.
Judge Vagn Joensen from Denmark whose term ends this month also gets an extension to December 31, 2015 to carry on the functions required of him as trial judge and president of the tribunal, the same as Hassan Bubacar Jallow , Prosecutor of the ICTR.
Earlier, another UN resolution 1966 (2010) had requested the tribunal to complete its trial and appeals proceedings by December 31, this year and established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, “the Mechanism,” a residual institution set to continue the work of ICTR.
The new resolution urges full cooperation from states, especially those where Genocide fugitives are suspected to be at large, to secure arrest and handover of all fugitives indicted by the tribunal as soon as possible.
As the tribunal winds down, nine high profile fugitives, on whose heads the American government staked a $5 million bounty, remain at large.
They are Felicien Kabuga, Augustin Bizimana, Protais Mpiranya, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwabo, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati and another only known as Ryandikayo.
If apprehended, three will be tried by the Mechanism.