Staff members of the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) have concluded the 3rd annual Joint Branch meeting held in Arusha on 26 and 27 November 2015.  At the opening of the meeting, Justice Hassan B. Jallow, Prosecutor of the Mechanism, underscored the importance of the annual Joint Branch meetings to the successful execution of the mandate of the Mechanism OTP. Re-iterating the one-office policy, the Prosecutor emphasized the objectives of the annual Joint Branch meetings in achieving effective communication, information sharing, and the harmonization of operational instruments of the OTP as one organ with two branches in The Hague and Arusha.

The Officers-in-Charge of The Hague and Arusha branches of the Mechanism OTP, Mr Mathias Marcussen and Mr Richard Karegyesa, respectively, provided an overview of the activities of their respective branches over the past year. This covered topics on both core and ad hoc functions such as assistance to national jurisdictions, mutual legal assistance, litigation, appeals, tracking activities, monitoring of cases transferred to national jurisdictions, recruitment, and management. The participants discussed various aspects of OTP work with a view to finding sustainable solutions where there are challenges, and assessing impact where there are successes. The 3rd annual Joint Branch meeting concluded with action points that will be implemented by the Mechanism OTP.

Staff members of the Mechanism OTP from The Hague branch and the Arusha branch also participated in a joint OTP retreat with staff members from the ICTR-OTP held in Arusha on 28 and 29 November 2015. The aim of the joint OTP retreat was to provide a forum for dealing with outstanding issues on the transition of functions from the ICTR-OTP to the Mechanism OTP in view of the imminent closure of the ICTR at the end of this year. The retreat also provided the Mechanism OTP with an opportunity to review its work since the establishment of the first branch on 1 July 2012, and to consider its strategic goals in view of the anticipated review of its activities by the United Nations Security Council due in 2016.