, ARUSHA, June 13 – A UN-backed special court trying key suspects in Rwanda’s genocide wants a year-long extension to finish work, since it cannot meet the deadline of December, its top judge said Friday.
Set up by the United Nations in November 1994, the tribunal is tasked with prosecuting the prime suspects in the genocide that claimed 800,000 lives in Rwanda earlier that year, but its judge president, Dennis Byron, has asked for more time.
A UN Security Council decision on the request is expected "soon, probably next week," Byron said Friday, in a speech he gave staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
"We expect the appeals to continue until mid-2013," he told the staff at the court in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. "The Security Council is aware that our work will continue beyond 2010."
Byron presented his biannual report to the Security Council on June 4, when he said that some of the trials would not be finished by the year’s end.
Fifteen years after the genocide, the court is still after 13 people who are indicted fugitives on the run.
They include Felicien Kabuga, a wealthy Rwandan businessman accused of funding the genocide. He is suspected to be in Kenya where he is believed to own several properties.
The UN estimates that Hutu extremists killed some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, during the 100-day genocide.