Today (6 July) the Council adopted a resolution on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) addressing a number of requests stemming from the fact that the ICTR is entering its winding down phase. By March 2012 all permanent judges will have either resigned or been redeployed to the appeals chamber in The Hague. The requests also address the key issue of retaining staff during this period while completing all cases using existing staff, including judges.
In his 5 May letter to the Council the then ICTR president, Dennis Byron (whose term ended at the end of May), requested the Council to remove the requirement of the ICTR Statute that the president be a trial judge and be resident at the seat of the Court (in Arusha, Tanzania). This would allow the president of the Tribunal to be a member of the appeals chamber in The Hague. The letter also suggested that if the Council decides that the President should continue to be a trial judge and to be based in Arusha, then the Council should allow an ad litem judge to be elected vice-president, and, if required, to become president. The letter also contained a request to allow Byron to become a part time trial judge from September, in order to allow him to take on a position in another judicial occupation.
The Council addressed two of the three requests in the resolution adopted today. The resolution made exceptions to Articles 12 and 13 of the Statute to allow for an ad litem judge to be elected president, or to be elected vice-president and assume the role of president when required to do so. The resolution also allowed for Byron to work as a part-time judge from 1 September until the completion of the case to which he is assigned stressing however that this was an exceptional authorisation which should not be considered as establishing a precedent.
The Council however chose not to address in this resolution the issue of allowing for the president of the Tribunal to be a judge for the appeals chamber in The Hague. (This means Judge Khalida Rachid Khan, who replaced Byron as president of the Tribunal on 27 May, will not be able to remain president once she is redeployed to the appeals chamber, something that is expected by the end of August).