Four new judges named to join UN war crimes tribunal for Rwanda

9 September 2004

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed four temporary judges to the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the 1994 Rwandan genocide to help the court deal efficiently with its workload, including two new trials scheduled to start this month.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) issued a statement today announcing the appointment of Judges Taghreed Hikmat of Jordan, Sweden's Karin Hökborg, Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso and the Republic of Korea's Seon Ki Park. The four will start work at the Tribunal's headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania within the next week.

The ICTR has the power to appoint up to nine temporary judges to help it meet its timetable to finish all trials at the first instance by 2008 and all of its work by 2010. With these new appointments, the court has filled that quota.

Judge Hikmat, who has served on Jordan's High Criminal Court since last year, became the first female judge in her country in 1996. Judge Hökborg has been Vice President of Chamber in Sweden's Court of Appeal since 1997 and has also worked in her country's ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.

Judge Kam is Burkina Faso's National Coordinator of the Democracy, Rule of Law and Good Governance Support and has previously been President of two regional courts and a public prosecutor. Judge Park opened his own law firm in Seoul and has previously held senior legal position in his country's Army and in the Ministry of National Defence.

The UN set up the ICTR to prosecute those responsible for the genocide that led to the deaths of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus across Rwanda in a three-month period starting in April 1994.

As of 30 August, the Tribunal said it has 20 suspects on trial and another 22 detainees awaiting trial. On 20 September, it will begin trying the cases of Father Athanase Seromba, a Catholic priest at the parish of Nyange, and of Augustin Ndindiliyimana, a former Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie nationale, and others charged along with him.


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