Mechanism holds diplomatic briefing in The Hague

The Hague
From left to right: Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, President Theodor Meron and Registrar Olufemi Elias hold briefing for the diplomatic corps
From left to right: Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, President Theodor Meron and Registrar Olufemi Elias hold briefing for the diplomatic corps

The Principals of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism or MICT) today held a briefing for the diplomatic corps accredited to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

During the briefing, which was attended by over 100 ambassadors and diplomats, President Theodor Meron, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz and Registrar Olufemi Elias provided an overview of the Mechanism’s activities, including the efforts undertaken to conduct in an efficient and expeditious fashion the judicial workload originating from cases of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Principals of the Mechanism also thanked States’ representatives for the support given to the Mechanism since its inception and identified several areas where further support is needed in order for the Mechanism to effectively fulfil its mandate.

As part of his remarks, President Meron highlighted some of the Mechanism’s innovative features, including the arrangements in place at the Mechanism to maximize judicial efficiency. In this regard, President Meron stated that by “expressly calling upon [the Mechanism] to be small, temporary and efficient, the Security Council enabled us to build an institution that follows a different model - one that allows us to seek greater efficiencies, costs reductions and economies”. President Meron also underscored the importance of assisting national judiciaries in the fight against impunity and noted that approximately 45 per cent of the decisions and orders issued by the Mechanism in the last year related to requests for assistance from national authorities and other motions seeking access to confidential evidence or information.

Prosecutor Brammertz discussed the key activities of his Office, including expeditiously litigating one trial and two appeals in The Hague, reforming and strengthening efforts to locate and arrest the remaining eight ICTR fugitives, and assisting national jurisdictions prosecuting international crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Registrar Elias outlined his Office’s priorities in the coming months, including ensuring the Mechanism’s trial readiness, the consolidation of its administrative structure, and the advancement of the preservation and access to the archives of the ICTR, the ICTY and the Mechanism. Registrar Elias also referred to the issue of the persons released or acquitted by the ICTR who are still in the care of the Mechanism, noting that “[w]hilst the government of Tanzania has been extremely generous and has allowed these individuals to remain on its territory as a temporary measure and pending their final relocation, it is clear that the matter constitutes a significant humanitarian challenge and it requires a comprehensive resolution” and appealing to Member States in the region and elsewhere to assist the Mechanism in this endeavour.