Nine judges are set to finish the work of the United Nations tribunal dealing with the worst war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as they were sworn-in yesterday.
UN International Residual Mechanism of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up in 2010 which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
The sworn-in judges include Judge Florence Arrey, Solomy B. Bossa, Vagn Prusse Joensen, Gberdao G. Kam, Joseph C. Masanche, Lee Muthoga, Seon K. Park, Mparany M. R. Rajohnson, and William H. Sekule.
The ICTR was set up by the Security Council in the wake of the genocide, in which it is estimated that more 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed, mainly by machete, during a period of about 100 days starting on 6th of April 1994.
Reports say the Council set up the International Residual Mechanism in December 2010 and mandated it to take over and finish the remaining tasks of the ICTR when it is closed after its mandate expires.
The ICTR branch is set to function on 1 July this year and is set to conclude its work by the end of 2014.
The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Judge Theodor Meron said the establishment of the Mechanism is of vital importance to the continued protection of the rights of victims, witnesses and persons tried by the ICTR.
Mr. Meron stresses that the establishment of the Mechanism ensures that the closure of the ICTR and ICTY does not leave the door open to impunity for those whose trials or appeals have not been completed.
On February this year, the ICTR elected Judge Vagn Joensen from Denmark as the the next President and Judge Florence Rita Arrey from Cameroon was chosen as Vice-President.
Judge Joensen replaced Judge Khalida Rachid Khan from Pakistan, and Judge Arrey succeeds Judge Joensen. The newly elected officials have assume their duties on 2 March and 14 February, respectively.
Before joining the Tribunal, Judge Joensen was Judge at the Danish High Court, Eastern Division, in Copenhagen since 1994. He served as an international judge for the UNMIK in Kosovo from 2001 to 2002. Judge Joensen has been the chairperson of the tribunal’s rules committee since its inception in 2007.
Based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, the ICTR was set up after the Rwandan genocide.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide claimed 800,000 lives. Mostly those belonging to the Tutsi tribe were slaughtered but machetes also slashed many moderate Hutus who called for peaceful coexistence. The official history claims that the genocide, like tsunamis or tornadoes, could have neither be predicted nor prevented.