30 August 2006

General Assembly Endorses Team Extension for Judge on Rwanda Tribunal

NEW YORK, 29 August (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly endorsed this afternoon the extension of Solomy Balungi Bossa's term of office as an ad litem judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to enable her to continue trying a case before her.  The extension took effect from 28 August 2006.

That action followed a request by the President of the Tribunal, transmitted in letters from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council (document A/60/989-S/2006/688), in which he recalled that Judge Bossa had been appointed on 28 August 2003 for a term of three years.  However, the Butare trial was expected to continue beyond 24 June 2007, when the judge's term was scheduled to end, according to the Tribunal President.

The Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation this morning by unanimously adopting resolution 1705 (2006).  (See Press Release SC/8819 .)

Rwanda's representative, noting that the Assembly's decision would facilitate the Tribunal's Completion Strategy, stressed that the planners of the 1994 genocide must not escape justice, even after the completion of the Tribunal's work in 2008.  The process must not be seen as a means for the international community to shirk its responsibility to bring suspected perpetrators of genocide before the Tribunal or the Rwandan courts.  Notorious butchers like Félicien Kabuga and Augustine Ngirabatware must not be allowed to continue eluding justice.

The Government of Rwanda was working with the Tribunal's Prosecutor to resolve outstanding questions in order to facilitate the transfer of certain cases to its own national jurisdiction, he said.  In that regard, the Rwandan Penal Code was being amended, notably with respect to the death penalty.  As for the transfer of convicts, those found guilty by the Tribunal should be imprisoned in Rwanda, where their crimes had been committed.

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