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Rwanda genocide tribunal to miss 2008 trials completion deadline: spokesman

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] has officially indicated that it will be unable to complete its work before the expiration of its December 2008 mandate. ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga made the announcement at a press conference Saturday during the second day of the Commonwealth summit in Uganda, saying that there would be "at least one case" left unfinished at the scheduled closure of the tribunal. The formal completion strategy for the UN-backed Rwanda genocide court, as outlined in UN Resolutions 1503 and 1534 [PDF texts], calls for the closure of all investigations by 2004, trials by 2008 and appeals by 2010. Rather than extending its timeframe, Amoussouga and other ICTR officials have insisted that the Tribunal will adhere to its original mandate and transfer backlogged cases to Rwandan national jurisdiction.

As of June 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor for the ICTR intended to refer 15 cases from the Tribunal to Rwandan jurisdiction, including three detainees and 12 fugitives. That month, Prosecutor Hassan Jallow [ICTR profile] requested the first transfer [press release] of an ICTR case – that of Fulgence Kayishema – to Rwandan national jurisdiction. That transfer request, which is still pending decision, is opposed by Amnesty International [JURIST report], which petitioned the ICTR [press release] earlier this month to prevent it from extraditing suspects to Rwanda due to fairness and victim and witness protection concerns. Reuters has more.

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