Mechanism President Gatti Santana concludes mission to Strasbourg

Mechanism President Gatti Santana concludes mission to Strasbourg

The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), Judge Graciela Gatti Santana, concluded today a two-day mission to Strasbourg. During her mission, she met with high-level officials of the Council of Europe, including the President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Judge Síofra O’Leary, the Registrar of the ECHR, Dr. Marialena Tsirli, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ms. Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Dunja Mijatović, and the Head of Division at the Secretariat of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Mr. Hugh Chetwynd.

During these meetings, President Gatti Santana had the opportunity to brief her interlocutors on the current focus of the Mechanism following the completion of core crimes cases, and the complex challenges the Mechanism shares with the Council of Europe in relation to strengthening the rule of law, promoting transitional justice, fighting hate speech, and securing State cooperation in a range of matters such as the enforcement of sentences and the arrests of persons accused in contempt cases. She also emphasised the importance of developing strong counter-narratives to combat the rise of genocide denial and revisionism during this phase of the Mechanism’s lifespan, and explained the Mechanism’s efforts to reach out to youth in the affected areas through teaching and learning opportunities.

The President further pointed to the fact that the Mechanism, being the international criminal tribunal with the highest number of convicted persons under its supervision, faces a shortage of States willing to accept convicted persons primarily due to limitations imposed by the legislation of many States on their enforcement capability beyond a certain number of years, which is in line with ECHR jurisprudence. She also expressed her gratitude for the support of the Council of Europe’s CPT to the Mechanism through inspections of prisons in certain enforcement States, and stressed the importance of collaborating closely.

Finally, President Gatti Santana and the Council of Europe officials exchanged views and best practices on securing State cooperation in the context of judicial activities, ensuring that international standards are upheld in the context of the execution of sentences, including in view of the specific needs of older prisoners, guaranteeing judicial independence and impartiality, managing large judicial records, and preserving the legacy as a way to bolster reconciliation prospects for future generations.