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RWANDA: US to fund expansion of ICTR

NAIROBI, 9 August (IRIN) - The US government is to fund "a significant
expansion" of the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), US
Ambassador-At-Large for War-Crimes Pierre-Richard Prosper announced on
Speaking to journalists in the Washington, he said the US was prepared
to agree to a complement of a pool of 18 new judges for the court, which
would effectively triple the roster of nine judges who currently made up
the tribunal.

Although over 40 indictees had been captured and handed over to the
court, Prosper said "the tribunal court calendar is now backlogged with
a significant number of cases. It has come to our attention and the
attention of the UN Security Council... [that] additional judges should
be assigned to the [ICTR] process."
Declining to specify how much the US would spend, he added that "we
intend to use our presence in the Security Council to see if we an
advance this issue - to add resources to the tribunal for Rwanda so that
it can move at a more expeditious pace."

The ICTR, established to try the chief instigators of the 1994 genocide
in Rwanda, has come under heavy criticism for being too slow, despite
its large budget. Since 1996, when the court was established, it has
handed down only nine judgements - eight convictions and one acquittal.
Its budget in 2001 was almost US $94 million, of which the US - the
largest single donor to the tribunal - donated US $20.2 million. In late
February this year, the US government called on the ICTR to finish its
work by 2007-2008.

On 1 August an advocacy body, the International Crisis Group, issued a
report on the tribunal stating there was "no chance" that the court
would complete its mission before 2008, at its current rate of work.
This, it said, was because of the tribunal's "overly ambitious"
prosecution schedule and "the lack of effective efforts" to expedite
processes and hearings.

U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)