UN Security Council lengthens tribunals for war crimes


The Security Council extended the mandates of the United Nations tribunals set up to deal with the worst atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.

Both the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) were given until the end of 2012 to conclude all appeals procedures and trial judges are to finish their work by 30 June 2010.

The ICTY in The Hague has indicted 163 people, two of whom remain at large, one remains at the pre-trial stage, 24 are presently on trial in nine cases, and 13 have appeals pending.

Eleven accused by the ICTR are still at large out of the 81 people indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda, where an estimated 800 000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed by Hutu militants, mainly by machete, during a period of less than 100 days.

The ICTR, based in Arusha, Tanzania, holds two recently arrested indictees who are awaiting trial, and has 26 prosecutions in progress with 49 cases completed including nine that are pending appeal and eight acquittals.

Five trials are expected to be completed during 2010, three during 2011, and the remaining case that of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžic should be completed in late 2012, the President of the ICTY Judge Patrick Robinson told reporters earlier this month.