President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Judge Theodor Meron, today updated the United Nations Security Council on the work of the Mechanism as it moves forward in its second year of existence.
The President described how, following the opening of the Mechanism’s Hague branch on 1 July 2013, the institution is now fully formed, operating on two continents and inheriting work from two related but distinct tribunals: the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The President continued: “There are many challenges that come in the early years of any new institution, and that makes the work both exciting and rewarding. The Mechanism is fortunate that in its formative stages it can learn from and build upon the best practices of our predecessors, as well as draw upon the talents and expertise of colleagues at the ICTY and the ICTR. Our progress thus far is the result of a truly collaborative undertaking.”
Turning to the judicial aspects of the Mechanism’s mandate, the President told the Council that the one appeal from judgement filed thus far, in the Ngirabatware case, is forecast to be completed by the end of 2014. In the meantime, the President said, the judges of the Mechanism continue to address a variety of other judicial matters, ranging from requests for variation of protective measures to motions concerning contempt allegations.
In addition, the President expressed his “profound hope” that the remaining three fugitives indicted by the ICTR who are expected to be tried by the Mechanism will be arrested or will surrender soon, and he called upon the Members of the Council and the Member States of the United Nations to do all in their power to make this hope a reality.
President Meron informed the Council that the Mechanism was also making good progress in its other areas of responsibility, including: ensuring the monitoring of cases referred to national jurisdictions; providing protective services to witnesses and victims; enforcing sentences of those convicted by either the ICTY or the ICTR; responding to requests for assistance from national jurisdictions; and managing the archives of both the ICTY and the ICTR.
The President underscored that the Council had called, in Resolution 1966, for the Mechanism, along with the ICTY and the ICTR, to cooperate with Rwanda and the States of the former Yugoslavia and other interested parties to facilitate the establishment of information and documentation centres by providing access to copies of public records of the archives of the tribunals and the Mechanism.
“For the Mechanism’s part,” the President said, “I can assure you that we are taking seriously our responsibilities in this regard. In the months and years to come we will continue to take steps to ensure that such access is widely available, whether online or otherwise, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from any and all interested parties.”
The President concluded by saying: “As the Mechanism carries the legacy of the ICTY and the ICTR forward, I know that it will serve as a worthy successor to these two institutions, and will continue to symbolize the international community’s determination—and this Council’s determination—to bringing an end to impunity.”