The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today inaugurated its fourth courtroom which will increase its judicial output, a very important element in the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy. The Royal Kingdom of Norway and the United Kingdom contributed US$300,000 and US$120,000, respectively to cover construction and operating costs of the courtroom until the end of 2008.
The Ambassador of Norway, H.E. Jorunn Maehlum, and the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, H.E. Dr. Andrew Pocock cut the ceremonial ribbon to inaugurate the courtroom in the presence of the President of the ICTR, Judge Erik Møse, the Judges of the Tribunal, and the Prosecutor, Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow. The ceremony was also attended by diplomats from Dar es Salaam, representatives of the Tanzanian authorities and Tribunal staff.
President Møse commended the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom for their generosity which he said demonstrates their commitment to the idea of international criminal justice. He said that the fourth courtroom will facilitate the steady progress of the five ongoing multi-accused trials apart from strengthening the Tribunal’s flexibility when the Appeals Chamber sits in Arusha and in case of unforeseen developments. “The Fourth Courtroom is now a very important element in our Completion Strategy,” said the President. He paid tribute to all those involved in the construction project which was completed in record time, only four weeks. It started on 29 January 2005.
The Norwegian Ambassador, H. E. Ms. Maehlum, said that the new courtroom, together with other reforms which have been successfully implemented at the ICTR over the last few years, should make it possible for the Tribunal to finish its task within the timeframe set by the UN Security Council. She called upon other member states to demonstrate their fullest cooperation with the Tribunal.
The British High Commissioner, H. E. Dr. Pocock, said his country’s contribution was evidence of its commitment to the ICTR, to its mandate, its completion strategy, and to justice for Rwanda. He also commended the Tribunal for its work which he added was contributing to the development of international law.
Two hours after the inauguration ceremony, proceedings involving Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, the former Commander of the Rwandan military school, Ecole des Sous-officiers (ESO), took place in the new courtroom.