The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) yesterday welcomed over 700 members of the public to its premises as part of The Hague International Open Day, organised by the City of The Hague.
The President of the Mechanism, Judge Carmel Agius, opened the event, providing an overview of the Mechanism’s mandate, core functions and current judicial activities as the successor body to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In his remarks, President Agius noted that this was his first International Open Day as Mechanism President and told visitors that: “All of us here at the Mechanism take immense pride in the work we do, as well as the accomplishments of the Mechanism and the Tribunals that came before it, and we are heartened by the interest you are showing in our activities. We look forward to sharing some of our historic past and notable present with you today.”
Registrar Olufemi Elias gave a presentation on the diverse functions of the Registry of the Mechanism including, among others, supporting and protecting some 7,000 witnesses who have testified before the ICTY, ICTR or Mechanism, translating thousands of documents, managing the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague, and providing assistance to national judiciaries prosecuting war crimes cases in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere.
Judge Burton Hall held a highlight session on his work at the Mechanism, providing an insight into the experiences of an international judge. Visitors were also able to learn more about the activities of the Mechanism from representatives of the Office of the President, Office of the Prosecutor, Chambers, Witness Support and Protection Unit and Mechanism Archives and Record Section.
Throughout the day, visitors had an opportunity to participate in guided visits to the courtroom, attend screenings of in-house documentaries and videos on the work of the ICTY, the ICTR and the Mechanism, and view various exhibitions highlighting the legacies of the ICTY and the ICTR.
The Hague International Open Day is an annual event providing the general public with an opportunity to learn more about the functions and broader aims of various international organisations based in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice.