President Meron Presents Second Annual Report to the United Nations General Assembly

The Hague
President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron
President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron

President Theodor Meron yesterday presented the second Annual Report of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) to the UN General Assembly. In his second address to the General Assembly on behalf of the MICT, President Meron reported on the MICT’s progress and noted that it faced two pre-eminent challenges: apprehension of individuals indicted by the ICTR but not yet arrested, and relocation of individuals who were acquitted or finished serving sentences.

President Meron reported that the MICT is making good progress at assuming relevant functions, noting that in cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) respectively, it has already completed or is in the process of completing transfer of responsibilities with regard to witness protection, archives, and other matters. In this regard, President Meron underscored his gratitude for the cooperation of the President of the ICTR, and of Prosecutors, Registrars, Judges, and staff of the ICTR and ICTY. More broadly, President Meron observed that the support of the international community, including the MICT’s host states, Tanzania and the Netherlands, was crucial to its successes.

With regard to judicial work, the President observed that the MICT is on track to deliver its first appeal judgement, as forecast, by the end of the year. He also noted that the MICT has rendered decisions and orders on a variety of other matters, and discussed the efforts of the MICT to cooperate with authorities of national jurisdictions.

With respect to challenges facing the MICT, the President called on every member state to assist the Prosecutor in tracking remaining indictees, noting it was essential to match the ICTY’s record of accounting for all indicted individuals. The President also explained that it is vital to the credibility of international institutions that acquitted and released individuals be resettled, and asked that delegations discuss this issue with their national governments.

In concluding, President Meron explained that the ICTY and MICT are organizations that might “serve as harbingers of a new era—of a new world—where respect for the rule of law is universal and the concept of impunity is relegated to history.

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.