KIGALI - The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Dennis Byron, Friday told the UN General Assembly that despite good progress on the completion strategy, the ICTR’s efforts are being hampered by lack of resources and the departure of some experienced staff.
He was delivering the ICTR’s 15th annual report and giving an update on the progress in reaching the targets of its completion strategy.
“In all our efforts, we are facing one main stumbling block: the staffing situation. We continue to lose many of our best and most experienced staff members, often to other institutions in the same field where they can obtain longer-term contracts,” the UN News Centre quotes Judge Byron as saying:
“I am convinced that what we have achieved so far gives you the confidence and trust to provide us with the necessary resources to complete our mandate expeditiously during this and the next biennium,” Byron said.
He revealed that 167 staff members left the ICTR between July 2009 and June 2010.
Judge Dennis Byron also reported that delivery of judgment in all cases at trial level is expected before the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, hours before he addressed the General Assembly, three rights groups – African Rights, the Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), and REDRESS, who have been working to encourage accountability for Genocide suspects globally, called on countries that continue to host known Genocide fugitives to support the work of the ICTR and to cooperate with it until all proceedings are closed and the remaining Genocide fugitives are brought to account.
They alleged that the major safe havens for alleged masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi include France, Belgium, The Netherlands, UK, Norway, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, DRC, USA and Canada.
High profile Genocide suspects in France include the widow of the former Rwandan president, Agathe Habyarimana, and the current FDLR Secretary General, Callixte Mbarushimana.
Now listed as a terrorist group, the FDLR comprises of remnants of those who masterminded the 1994 genocide and later fled to DRC.