President Theodor Meron today presented to the Security Council the second progress report on the work of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism or MICT) since the launch of the Mechanism’s Arusha branch on 1 July 2012. The President provided an update on the ongoing work of the Mechanism and preparations for the launch of the Hague branch on 1 July 2013.
President Meron advised the Security Council that “all arrangements are in place to ensure a seamless transfer of functions from the ICTY to the Hague branch of the Mechanism,” adding that the Mechanism would “continue to operate as smoothly as it has done since the opening of the Arusha branch last July.”
Turning to the Mechanism’s judicial work, President Meron informed the Security Council that since he last reported in December 2012, the Mechanism had received an appeal from the ICTR trial judgement in the Augustin Ngirabatware case and that appeals from ICTY trial judgements were expected in the future, including any appeals in the cases of Vojislav Šešelj, Radovan Karadžić, Goran Hadžić, and Ratko Mladić.
Noting the Mechanism’s responsibility for monitoring cases referred by the ICTR to national courts in Rwanda and France, President Meron thanked local authorities for their cooperation in facilitating this aspect of the Mechanism’s work. The President also expressed his gratitude to Rwandan authorities for the warm welcome he received during his first official visit to Kigali in December 2012. In light of the imminent opening of MICT’s Hague branch, President Meron said: “(…) I look forward to building on existing relations with States in the former Yugoslavia to develop similarly productive and cooperative partnerships with States there.”
With regard to the issue of the enforcement of sentences, the President took the opportunity of addressing the Security Council to express his concern regarding the situation in Mali, where 17 persons convicted by the ICTR are serving their sentences. President Meron also informed the Council that the Mechanism is looking to increase its capacity to enforce sentences in Africa and called for support from Member States in this regard.
Drawing the Security Council’s attention to the pressing issue of the remaining fugitives, President Meron reminded the Council that the Mechanism is responsible for the trial of three individuals indicted by the ICTR and called on Member States to take steps to ensure that all fugitives are arrested and brought to trial: “(…) [A]s we have learned from experience at the ICTY (…) Member States play an invaluable role in ensuring that fugitives are apprehended.” Recalling that the ICTY has been able to account for all 161 individuals whom it indicted, the President added that “[i]t is vital for the ICTR’s legacy, and indeed for the cause of international justice which we all hold so dear, that we ensure a similar result in relation to those indicted by the ICTR.”
In concluding, the President thanked the Security Council “for recognizing that the Mechanism plays an essential role in ensuring that the impending closure of the ICTY and ICTR will not leave the door open to impunity.”
Established by the Security Council of the United Nations, the Mechanism is mandated to carry out a number of essential functions of the ICTY and the ICTR. The President will submit reports every six months to the Security Council on the progress of the work of the Mechanism.