Security Council amends judicial eligibility rules for UN tribunal for Rwandan genocide

Security Council amends statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

6 July 2011 – The Security Council today amended the statute of the United Nations tribunal for the 1994 Rwandan genocide to make non-permanent judges eligible to both vote for the presidency of the court and to become president themselves.

In a unanimous resolution on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Council also decided that a non-permanent or ad litem judge elected as President of the tribunal “may exercise the same powers as a permanent judge.”

The resolution, however, added that the amendment will not alter the status of an ad litem judge who is elected president or give rise to any additional allowances or benefits other than those which already exist. There will also be no changes of the current terms and conditions of service as an ad litem judge.

An ad litem judge elected as vice president of the tribunal may act as president when required to do so by under the tribunal’s statute or rules of procedure and evidence, which will not alter his or her status or give rise to any additional allowances or benefits other than those which already exist, according to the resolution.

The Council also decided that, “in light of the exceptional circumstances,” Judge Dennis Byron may work part-time and engage in another judicial occupation from 1 September 2011 until the completion of the case to which he is assigned. It took note of the intention of the tribunal to complete the case by December this year, and stressed that the exceptional authorization shall not be considered as establishing a precedent.

“The President of the International Tribunal shall have the responsibility to ensure that this arrangement is compatible with the independence and impartiality of the judge, does not give rise to conflicts of interest and does not delay the delivery of the judgment,” said the resolution.

The Council said it made the changes taking note of the fact that upon the completion of the cases to which they are assigned, four permanent judges will be redeployed from the trial chambers to the appeals chamber and two permanent judges will leave the tribunal.

It also considered concerns expressed by the tribunal’s President and Prosecutor about staffing, reaffirming that staff retention is essential for the timely completion of the tribunal’s work.

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