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Sri Lankan judge appointed to United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda

Sri Lankan judge appointed to United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda

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J. Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka has become a permanent judge of the United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda, replacing his compatriot, Judge Asoka Gunawardena, who resigned in June.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Judge de Silva to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) last week after an exchange of letters with the Security Council and the General Assembly. The new judge's term expires in 2007.

The 58-year judge has served on Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court since August 2001. Before that he was a judge on the Court of Appeal for six years, eventually rising to become that chamber’s President. Judge de Silva also has extensive experience as a government lawyer and prosecutor.

The ICTR was set up by the UN to try people responsible for genocide and other serious humanitarian crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994. Estimates vary but at least 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus, are thought to have been murdered during a nationwide orgy of killing.