On 23 November 2004, the President of the Tribunal, Judge Erik Møse, presented the ninth Annual Report of the ICTR to the United Nations Security Council. The report, which he also presented to the General Assembly last week, provides an overview of Tribunal activities from July 2003 to June 2004. The President and the Prosecutor, Mr Hassan B. Jallow, also gave their assessments of the implementation of the ICTR Completion Strategy, as required by Security Council Resolutions 1503 and 1534.
President Møse introduced the most up-dated version of the ICTR Completion Strategy, dated 19 November 2004. The ICTR is on schedule to complete all trials by 2008. Judgements have been rendered in respect of twenty-three persons. New trials involving seventeen accused started in 2003 and 2004. Currently, twenty-five persons are on trial. The Tribunal now has a total of completed and on-going cases involving forty-eight accused. It has reached its goal for adjudication of cases as promised in its last report on the Completion Strategy in April 2004. Three trials were completed in 2004. They confirm the Tribunal’s capacity to complete single-accused cases in less than a year even though the judges sitting in these cases are also conducting multi-accused trials. Three trials involving six accused commenced in August and September 2004.
The President emphasized, as he did last week before the UN General Assembly, that the ICTR can only comply with the completion deadlines established by the Council if provided with sufficient resources. Some Member States have failed to pay their contributions to the two ad hoc Tribunals. As a consequence, the recruitment of new staff to the Tribunals has been frozen. So far, this has not had a significant effect on the ICTR Completion Strategy but the situation is becoming critical. More than 80 staff members have already left the Tribunal since the freeze was imposed. Many vacant posts are directly linked to the judicial productivity of the ICTR.
Prosecutor Jallow stated that the Prosecution has closed its case in three trials and is close to do so in two other trials. He remains committed to the deadline for conclusion of investigations by the end of 2004 and the filing of any new indictments which may arise by the last quarter of 2005. The Prosecution is now preparing for trial the cases of the remaining eighteen detainees.
The Prosecutor has initiated discussions with Rwanda and other States on the prospects for transfer of cases to those States. Several indicted persons are still at large. The bulk of fugitives continue to be based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is necessary for the Security Council to exhort Member States to live up to their legal obligations to arrest indicted fugitives in their territory and transfer them to the Tribunal.
The freeze of recruitment has hit the Office of the Prosecutor hard. For instance, there are many vacancies in the Appeals Unit, in the Prosecution Section, and in the Investigation Division. The Prosecutor stated that the filling of all vacant positions is absolutely necessary. It is important to lift the recruitment freeze in order not to put the Completion Strategy at risk.