Completion Strategy Report: President Meron’s Address before the Security Council
ICTY President Judge Theodor Meron
Judge Theodor Meron today addressed the UN Security Council in his dual capacity as President of both the ICTY and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. President Meron reported on the Tribunal’s progress in relation to its completion strategy and gave details on the ongoing work of the Mechanism and preparations for the launch of its Hague branch on 1 July 2013.
President Meron stressed that “all efforts are being made on the part of the Tribunal to complete its pending judicial work as quickly as possible while fully respecting the fundamental rights of its accused and appellants to due process in accordance with international standards.”
President Meron highlighted the Tribunal’s achievements since his written report to the Security Council in November 2012, pointing out that trial and appeal proceedings had been completed in a total of seven cases.
With regards to the remaining ongoing trial proceedings, President Meron assured the Security Council that the cases of Goran Hadžić and Ratko Mladić remained on schedule and were expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and mid-2016 respectively, as previously forecast. Noting revisions to the estimated completion dates for the trials of Vojislav Šešelj and Radovan Karadžić, President Meron explained that trial judgements in these cases were now expected in October 2013 and July 2015 respectively.
Turning to ongoing appeals proceedings, President Meron informed the Security Council that the Šainović et al. case was expected to be completed by December 2013, as previously projected, whilst it was now anticipated that the cases of Vlastimir Đorđević and Popović et al. would be completed in December 2013 and October 2014 respectively.
In providing details on forecast judgement delivery dates in each of the Tribunal’s cases, President Meron underscored that “the Tribunal has made tremendous progress”. While acknowledging that “there have been some delays in certain proceedings” President Meron assured the Security Council that “a number of different measures have been adopted to minimize delays.” He reminded the Council that “many of the factors leading to these delays are not uncommon to judicial and criminal proceedings the world over,” and added that the impact of unexpected developments is magnified by the “unique situation and mandate of the Tribunal.”
Turning to the work of the Mechanism, President Meron informed the Security Council that all arrangements were in place to ensure “a seamless transfer of functions from the ICTY to the Hague branch of the Mechanism.” President Meron provided the Council with an overview of the Mechanism’s administrative and judicial work, noting that any appeals from ICTY trial judgements in the cases of Šešelj, Karadžić, Hadžić and Mladić were expected to be dealt with by the Mechanism.
Acknowledging the ICTY’s recent 20th anniversary, President Meron concluded his address by thanking the Security Council for “recognizing (…) the Tribunal’s contributions over the past twenty years” and “for recognizing that the Mechanism plays an essential role in ensuring that the impending closure of the ICTY and ICTR will not leave the door open to impunity.”