President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Judge Theodor Meron, today presented the latest progress report on the work of the Mechanism to the United Nations Security Council.
President Meron underlined that over the past six months, the Mechanism has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the highest possible standards as well as to the Security Council’s vision of a small, efficient and economic institution. The President pointed out that numerous judicial orders and decisions had been issued and that substantial progress had been made on the Mechanism’s legal and regulatory framework, with a number of new policies and other regulatory instruments expected in the coming months. He added that the Mechanism continued to provide assistance to national jurisdictions and to supervise the enforcement of sentences in a number of states.
The President further informed the Council that important advances had been made at both branches regarding the preparation and transfer of records from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to the Mechanism and that a number of steps are being taken to facilitate greater access to these records.
Focusing on the work of the Arusha branch, the President noted that the past six months had been particularly busy, as the Mechanism has assumed responsibility for the remaining functions and obligations of the ICTR, including responsibility for the UN Detention Facility. Furthermore, the President indicated that progress on the construction of the Mechanism’s permanent premises in Arusha has continued to be made and expressed his gratitude to the Government of Tanzania and various offices of the UN Secretariat for their support and cooperation.
President Meron went on to draw attention to the main challenges that the Mechanism continues to face, namely the arrest of the fugitives indicted by the ICTR and the resettlement of the small number of persons acquitted by the ICTR or who have served their sentences. The President pointed out that while the Mechanism’s own fugitive-tracking activities continue, the “involvement and commitment of Member States is essential if we are to ensure that the fugitives are apprehended”. He added this was also the case for resettlement as the Mechanism is “dependent on the international community to solve the humanitarian challenge posed by this issue”.
President Meron also observed that the Mechanism had submitted a report in connection with the Security Council’s review of the Mechanism’s work in the initial period of its operations. He added that as the initial period of the Mechanism’s operations draws to its close, “the Mechanism is increasingly standing on its own, as a separate institution: an institution that learns from the lessons of its predecessors and fulfils its obligations and its mandate both economically and effectively”.
In concluding, the President stressed that in a world still ravaged by armed conflicts, violence against civilians and violations of humanitarian law, “[w]e must not underestimate the value of institutions like the Mechanism that demonstrate that respect for the rule of law must be paramount, that we cannot – and shall not – tolerate impunity for serious violations of international law, and that justice can be delivered efficiently and economically yet in accordance with the highest possible standards”
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The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1966 (2010) to complete the remaining work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia after the completion of their respective mandates. The Mechanism has two branches, one in Arusha, Tanzania, and one in The Hague, Netherlands.