Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Since the ICTY’s closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals.

 Visit the Mechanism's website.

Extraordinary Plenary Session of Tuesday 23 April 2002

Press Release TRIBUNAL

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 24 April 2002

Extraordinary Plenary Session of Tuesday 23 April 2002

As scheduled, on Tuesday 23 April 2002, the Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia held an extraordinary plenary session to discuss the completion strategy for the mandate of the Tribunal, the establishment of an international bar association for defence counsel at the ICTY and the status of the Appeals Chamber reforms.


The President, Prosecutor and Registrar submitted to the Judges a report on the judicial status of the Tribunal and the prospects for referring some of the cases to the domestic courts of the States of the former Yugoslavia.

The President recalled that the report was consistent with the programme that the Prosecutor and he presented to the United Nations Security Council in November 2001. In keeping with the stated goal of focussing on those persons responsible for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, this report examines the possibility of referring, under certain conditions, some cases involving intermediary-level alleged perpetrators to the domestic courts of the States of the former Yugoslavia.

The Tribunal, of course, intends to satisfy itself beforehand that the domestic courts are operating in all fairness and with full respect for the principles of humanitarian law and the protection of human rights. Amongst the solutions the report recommends are the establishment of a chamber at the envisaged State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina with specific jurisdiction to try war crimes suspects. Additionally, the report also proposes the appointment of international judges or observes to serve at the State Court, and the possibility of providing training in international humanitarian law to the local judiciary and court personnel.

The Judges agreed to the report's main proposals, while underscoring that, in order to implement some of them, the opinion, and indeed the endorsement, of the Security Council should be sought beforehand. The report will be submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General before being distributed to the competent authorities in the States of the former Yugoslavia.

The proposals set out in the report, in addition to the introduction of the ad litem Judges, should allow the Tribunal to complete its first instance proceedings in 2008, provided that unimpeded access is granted to the Office of the Prosecutor and to defence counsel for all their ongoing investigations, that all the current and future accused are arrested without delay, and that those in the same indictments are brought in at the same time.

The Judges agreed on the principle of establishing an international bar association whose modus operandi will be determined at the July 2002 plenary. The bar association will make it possible for defence counsel to come together in an organisation that ensures respect for their independence and professional ethics.

Moreover, the Judges initiated a reform of the code of professional conduct relating, in particular, to the specific prohibition of fee-splitting between the accused and their counsel.

The President reviewed the progress of the Appeals Chamber reforms. With this in mind the Judges unanimously adopted provisions to expedite the resolution of interlocutory appeals.



International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
For more information, please contact our Media Office in The Hague
Tel.: +31-70-512-8752; 512-5343; 512-5356 - Email:
press [at] icty.org ()
Follow ICTY on Facebook,
Twitter and Youtube