The Mechanism operates across two branches: one branch in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, and the other in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Mechanism consists of a single set of Principals: a President, a Prosecutor, and a Registrar. The Principals have responsibility over both branches of the Mechanism and oversee each of the three organs, respectively:


Article 4 of the Statute provides that the Chambers shall comprise a Trial Chamber for each branch of the Mechanism and an Appeals Chamber common to both branches of the Mechanism. A roster of 25 independent Judges, including the President, adjudicate proceedings at both branches of the Mechanism. In so far as possible, and so as to maximize efficiency, Judges work remotely and are only required to be at either branch as necessary and at the request of the President. The Judges are supported by Chambers staff at both branches.

The Office of the Prosecutor

The Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of persons covered by Article 1 of the Statute of the Mechanism.

The Registry

The Registrar heads the Registry, which provides administrative, legal, policy and diplomatic support services to all organs in both branches of the Mechanism.

Each Organ maintains a roster of qualified potential staff to enable it to recruit additional staff rapidly as may be required to perform its functions. As of October 2016, the Mechanism has Judges coming from 24 countries and staff representing 65 nationalities.

In addition, a roster of Defence Counsel is maintained to ensure that the highest standards of fair trial rights are upheld. Rule 43 of the Mechanism’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence provide that “[w]henever the interests of justice so demand, Defence Counsel shall be assigned to suspects or accused who lack the means to remunerate such Counsel”. The Registry administers the Mechanism’s legal aid system, which provides support to defence teams.

Detention and the IRMCT

The Mechanism maintains two detention facilities at its respective branches, which house detainees subject to its jurisdiction. Both are operated in line with international standards for treatment of detainees.

Read more on Detention