The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron, presided here today over the official swearing-in of those Judges of the ICTR who have been elected Judges of the International Residual Mechanism. Judges Florence Arrey, Solomy B. Bossa, Vagn Prüsse Joensen, Gberdao G. Kam, Joseph C. Masanche, Lee Muthoga, Seon K. Park, Mparany M. R. Rajohnson, and William H. Sekule were each sworn in by Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism, Mr. John Hocking.
During his remarks, President Meron underscored what a pleasure it was to be conducting the ceremony in Arusha, where the first branch of the International Residual Mechanism will open in less than two months. He also observed that “never before has there been an institution like the new International Residual Mechanism”.
The President stated that the establishment of the International Residual Mechanism is of vital importance to the continued protection of the rights of victims, witnesses and persons tried by the ICTR and its sister tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In addition, he emphasized that the establishment of the International Residual Mechanism ensures that the closure of the ICTR and ICTY does not leave the door open to impunity for those whose trials or appeals have not been completed.
The President further remarked that while certain aspects of the International Residual Mechanism would be new to the Judges and the parties that appear before them, “any novelty we may encounter in this respect is more than balanced by the institution’s normative continuity, which we will find in the Statute and, hopefully, the future Rules of the International Residual Mechanism which hew closely to those of the ICTY and ICTR. Such normative continuity is not simply a matter of convenience or efficiency. It is, quite simply, in service to the principles of due process and fundamental fairness—principles that have been at the core of the judicial work of the ICTY and ICTR for nearly two decades, and will be central to the judicial work of the International Residual Mechanism for years to come.”
President Meron invited the Judges of the International Residual Mechanism assembled in Arusha to remember, as they were sworn in, that “the success of this ground-breaking institution rests with us, our fellow Judges, the Registrar (Mr. John Hocking), the Prosecutor (Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow), and a core group of staff. To succeed in our work, we shall also depend upon the support of the United Nations Secretariat—especially the Office of Legal Counsel—Security Council, and General Assembly.” The President also emphasized the vital role of Mr. Adama Dieng, Registrar of the ICTR, in ensuring a smooth transition to the International Residual Mechanism. As the President explained, “each of us is responsible for ensuring not only that the International Residual Mechanism continues the ‘material, territorial, temporal and personal jurisdiction’ of the ICTY and ICTR, as required under Article 1 of the Statute of the International Residual Mechanism—but also that the International Residual Mechanism continues and upholds the very best traditions of international criminal justice.”