Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 19:19 UK

UN's Rwanda court gets more time

Proceedings at the court, file image
The court has so far handed down 38 judgements in 15 years

A UN court set up to try those accused of war crimes and genocide in Rwanda has been given more time to complete its work.

The Security Council gave the Tanzania-based court until the end of 2010 to finish the trials of suspects.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was initially due to complete the trials by the end of 2008.

But judges successfully lobbied for a year-long extension last year, and again this year.

After the trials finish the court is likely to need a further two years to deal with administration and appeals.

'All possible measures'

Roland Amoussouga, spokesman for the court, said the year's extension would make a "great difference", saying it would allow the court to complete the trials.

He dismissed suggestions that some of the cases could be transferred to courts in Rwanda.

"There is no consideration of Rwanda being a place where these cases can be sent to," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"We are talking about cases that are ongoing before the judges. You must wait until those cases come to full closure," he said.

The Security Council resolution stated that the decision to extend the court's term was taken "in light of the progress of the International Tribunal in the implementation of the Completion Strategy".

In its 15-year lifespan, the court has given 38 judgements, of which six of were acquittals.

Several suspects are still at large and 11 cases are currently being heard.

The UN urged the court to "take all possible measures to complete its work".

During a 100-day period in 1994 some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

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