Prosecutor Serge Brammertz of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals today addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The Prosecutor updated the UNSC on the anticipated schedule for the completion of judicial proceedings in The Hague. With the delivery of the appeal judgment in Šešelj, there are now only three cases remaining. The Karadžić appeal is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, while the Stanišić and Simatović trial and Mladić appeal are expected to be completed by the end of 2020. That would then only leave appeal proceedings, if any, in Stanišić and Simatović.
Turning to the search for the remaining eight fugitives indicted by the ICTR, the Prosecutor updated the UNSC on the efforts by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to locate and arrest these fugitives. He said, “While the challenges in tracking fugitives are too significant to guarantee a positive outcome, my Office can commit that we will spare no effort. The victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda deserve nothing less.”
Prosecutor Brammertz then briefed the UNSC about the search for missing persons in the former Yugoslavia. He noted that many stakeholders have taken the initiative to raise this issue with the OTP and seek its assistance. He emphasized, “Efforts are urgently needed to strengthen the search for missing persons. 10,000 families – from all sides – still do not know the fate of their loved ones.”
The Prosecutor informed the UNSC that the International Committee of the Red Cross is launching a five-year strategy to support the search for missing persons, and that the OTP is also committed to providing all possible assistance. However, he said, “governments have made many commitments to support this work that remain only on paper,” and “political will is also needed to create the conditions for witnesses to come forward with information.” Prosecutor Brammertz concluded, “The search for missing persons is a humanitarian imperative. It is time for political authorities to be accountable for their commitments, and to show the courage to put aside all other considerations.”