*Govt wants Rwandan to occupy position
ARUSHA - The Deputy Registrar of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Everard O’Donell, has resigned. According to the ICTR Spokesman, Roland Amoussouga, O’Donell threw in the towel on what he called, ‘purely personal grounds.’
“He has resigned for personal family reasons,” Amoussouga told reporters yesterday at the Tribunal Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
O’Donell joined ICTR as Chief of Chamber Support Section in the late 1990’s.
In 2005, he became acting Deputy Registrar to replace Lovemore Munlo, who was appointed Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
He was confirmed as the Deputy Registrar in May 2007 by the Registrar, Adama Dieng. This is not the first time a high ranking ICTR official is resigning.
Last year, a Senior Trial Attorney, Sylvana Arbia, stepped down to join the International Criminal Court at The Hague as the Registrar.
The Special Government Representative to the ICTR, Alloys Mutabingwa, told The New Times that O’Donnell’s resignation should serve as a call for the ICTR and the UN headquarters to consider appointing a Rwandan to take up the high profile position.
“Rwanda hasn’t failed in offering a helping hand. We can give in our support whenever called upon because we have so many competent people who can take up such top positions,” Mutabingwa said.
He added that by appointing a Rwandan, it would make it much easier for the smooth running of many programmes that are yet to be conducted between ICTR and Rwanda, and especially, that what ICTR does directly affects Rwanda.
The stepping down of ICTR staff leaves a big question on the court’s Completion Strategy since the UN Security Council has directed that all first instance ICTR trials must be concluded before end of this year.
Following the Security Council’s extension of the tribunal’s deadline, the Registrar last month disclosed during a staff meeting that their contracts had been extended until September, 2009.
However, despite the extension offer, senior UN staff have been leaving the Arusha-based court for greener pastures elsewhere, creating a big vacuum in a number of important positions and which may affect the completion strategy if proper and timely replacements were not availed.
The court was established by the UN Security Council in 1995 to try masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis but has since completed a handful of cases.