Trial Chambers

The Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija - Case No. IT-95-17/1-T

"Decision on Post-Trial Application by Anto Furundzija to the Bureau of the Tribunal for the Disqualification of Presiding Judge Mumba, Motion to Vacate Conviction and Sentence, and Motion for a New Trial"

11 March 1999
President Kirk McDonald, Judges Jorda (Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber I), Rodrigues, Hunt and Bennouna

Bureau Decision pursuant to Rule 15 stating (1) that a motion for disqualification of a Judge of a Trial Chamber must be submitted before the Trial Chamber has rendered its judgement, (2) that the issue is relevant to the fairness of the trial, and (3) that the Bureau has no competence in this issue.


On 10 December 1998, Trial Chamber II (Judges Mumba (Presiding), Cassese and May) found Anto Furundzija guilty of two counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (Article 3 of the Statute). For co-perpetration of torture the Trial Chamber imposed 10 years’ imprisonment; for aiding and abetting in the commission of outrages upon personal dignity (including rape) it imposed 8 years’ imprisonment concurrently.1

Mr. Furundzija appealed the Judgement. After doing so, on 3 February 1999, pursuant to inter alia  Article 13(1) of the Statute and Sub-rules 15(A), 15(B) and 15(F) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Furundzija’s Defence Counsel submitted an Application  requesting the disqualification of Judge Mumba. Because the Judge had previously been a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the appellant asserted that she had a personal interest in the case and a number of associations concerning it which may have affected her impartiality. In addition to the Application for the disqualification of Judge Mumba, the Defence also submitted two Motions requesting that the conviction and sentence be vacated and that a new trial be held.

The Decision

The Bureau, reconstituted pursuant to Sub-rule 23(D), found that it had no competence in the matter and therefore dismissed the Application and the Motions without ruling on their merits. Insofar as Sub-rule 15(B) is relevant to the disqualification of a Trial Chamber Judge, the Bureau found that an application for disqualification must be made during the trial up to the time the judgement is rendered. The Bureau did, however, consider that the issue of whether Judge Mumba should have disqualified herself for the trial of Anto Furundzija "would be relevant to the fairness of that trial".

1. See  Bulletin Judicial Supplement No. 1: "Judgement", 10 December 1998.