President Theodor Meron today presented the third Annual Report of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) to the UN General Assembly, highlighting the Mechanism’s achievements of the past year as well as its on-going challenges.
President Meron observed that “the Mechanism stands at the forefront of international justice, demonstrating day in and day out that it is possible—with appropriate organization, infrastructure, and leadership—to build on the lessons of the first modern international courts and operate efficiently and cost-effectively”. As an example, he noted that in December last year, the Mechanism’s first appeal judgement, in the case of Augustin Ngirabatware v. The Prosecutor, was delivered without delays, despite the complex nature of the case. President Meron expressed his confidence that by relying on innovative resource-management techniques, the Mechanism will be able to replicate this success in future trials and appeals.
The President then turned to the transfer of functions from the ICTR and the ICTY, noting that the progress thus far had been seamless and on-schedule. In that respect, President Meron stated that by the end of this year the Mechanism would assume full responsibility for the ICTR’s continuing functions, whereas for the ICTY, the process will be completed with that Tribunal’s expected closure in 2017. In light of the impending closure of the ICTR, President Meron took the opportunity to salute Judge Vagn Joensen, the President of the ICTR, and all past and present ICTR principals, Judges, staff members, and other stakeholders, adding that “[i]t is an honour to continue their work through the Mechanism”.
With regard to challenges facing the Mechanism, the President reported on the ongoing construction of the new Mechanism premises in Arusha. The President also called upon all Member States to assist the Mechanism’s Prosecutor in tracking the last remaining fugitives indicted by the ICTR, stressing the importance of having all individuals accounted for. In addition, the President noted that the resettlement of acquitted and released individuals who are unable to return to their own countries remains a crucial challenge for international justice, and he urged all representatives to liaise with the Mechanism on potential relocation opportunities.
In concluding, President Meron reiterated his gratitude for the support of the international community, including the Mechanism’s host states, Tanzania and the Netherlands, adding: “As we attempt to fulfil our mandate in the best way possible, the support of the United Nations and its members forms the essential foundation to all our efforts”.