The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron, presided today over the official swearing-in of those Judges of the ICTY who have been elected Judges of the International Residual Mechanism. Following the swearing in of the President, Judges Carmel Agius, Jean-Claude Antonetti, Christoph Flügge, Burton Hall, Liu Daqun, Bakone Justice Moloto, Prisca Matimba Nyambe, Alphons Orie, and Patrick Robinson were each sworn in by Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism, Mr. John Hocking.
During his remarks, President Meron observed that the Judges were making history; “never before has there been an institution like the new International Residual Mechanism. Never before has the United Nations—or, indeed, any other body—attempted such a bold experiment” as the one on which they were to embark. The President observed that the establishment of the International Residual Mechanism ensures that the closure of the ICTY and ICTR does not leave the door open to impunity, and he underscored that its establishment was of vital importance to the continued protection of the rights of victims, witness and persons tried by the two Tribunals.
The President further remarked that while certain aspects of the International Residual Mechanism would be new to the Judges and the parties who appear before them, “any novelty we may encounter in this respect is more than balanced by the institution’s normative continuity, which we will find in the Statute and, hopefully, the future Rules of the International Residual Mechanism which hew closely to those of the ICTY and ICTR. Such normative continuity is not simply a matter of convenience or efficiency. It is, quite simply, in service to the principles of due process and fundamental fairness—principles that have been at the core of the judicial work of the ICTY and ICTR for nearly two decades, and will be central to the judicial work of the International Residual Mechanism for years to come.”
The President invited the Judges of the International Residual Mechanism to remember, as they were sworn in, that “the success of this ground-breaking institution rests with us, our fellow Judges, the Registrar (Mr. John Hocking), the Prosecutor (Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow), and a core group of staff. To succeed in our work, we shall also depend upon the support of the United Nations Secretariat, Security Council, and General Assembly.” He added that “each of us, in our own way and in accordance with our respective roles, is responsible for facilitating the smooth transfer of the functions and obligations of two unique and complex international criminal tribunals—the ICTY and ICTR—to a single, streamlined institution.” He further underscored that “each of us is responsible for ensuring not only that the International Residual Mechanism continues the ‘material, territorial, temporal and personal jurisdiction’ of the ICTY and ICTR, as required under Article 1 of the Statute of the International Residual Mechanism—but also that the International Residual Mechanism continues and upholds the very best traditions of international criminal justice.