Trial of political leaders running aground

04 February 2007 by our correspondent in Arusha

One of the most important trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has again run into difficulty following the withdrawal of a judge for health reasons. Nine years after the arrest of the three defendants—leaders of the former presidential party (MRND) who are among the prime suspects in the 1994 genocide—the trial is unlikely to finish before 2008, the completion date set by the UN Security Council for all ICTR trials.

On March 6, 2007, the two judges still presiding over this matter after the withdrawal of the third on January 19, announced, "The remaining judges believe the trial could conclude by December 31, 2008, but that, if such is not the case, reasonable decisions will be made in the interest of justice and taking into account the rights of the accused." 

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