ICTY President Carmel Agius yesterday presented the Tribunal’s twenty-fourth and final Annual Report to the Seventy-Second session of the United Nations General Assembly, chaired by the President of the General Assembly, Mr Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia). In his last address to the General Assembly as President of the ICTY, President Agius confirmed that the Tribunal will complete its mandate and formally close on 31 December 2017.
On behalf of the Tribunal and its three Principals, President Agius thanked all Member States of the United Nations (UN) for their enduring support and assistance over the more than 24 years of the Tribunal’s existence, and congratulated them on their vision in creating the ICTY in 1993. He stated: I am proud to represent an institution that has played an active role in furthering the principles and purposes of the [UN] Charter, and once again reaffirm our commitment to those ideals and to continuing the fight against impunity for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Until the very moment that the Tribunal closes its doors, we will continue to reinforce our message to the international community that perpetrators of such crimes must be brought to justice.
The President reminded the General Assembly of the Tribunal’s trailblazing achievements as the first international criminal tribunal since the post-WWII Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, noting its development not only of important jurisprudence, but also tools, procedures and programmes to address specialised areas of international criminal law and practice. In addition, President Agius recalled the Tribunal’s contributions to the region of the former Yugoslavia, particularly in relation to the development of special war crimes courts, and emphasised the need for continued assistance to institutions and actors on the ground.
Speaking about the remaining judicial work, President Agius said that, due to the Tribunal’s “resolute determination”, the final trial judgement in the Mladić case and the final appeal judgement in the Prlić et al. case will be delivered on 22 and 29 November 2017, respectively. In this regard, the President praised the hard work and dedication of all ICTY Judges, Principals, and staff, attributing the progress made since the last annual report to their perseverance, exceptional efforts, and excellent work. President Agius also updated the General Assembly on the Tribunal’s efforts to ensure an efficient liquidation and closure, which will serve as an example for other downsizing institutions.
Finally, President Agius referred to the ICTY Legacy Dialogues series of legacy and closing events, designed to ensure the Tribunal’s lasting impact beyond its closure. He noted that this series will culminate in a commemoration in New York on 4 December 2017, followed by a Symposium and formal Closing Ceremony in The Hague on 18 and 21 December 2017, respectively.
President Agius concluded his address by wishing the Member States of the UN “success, courage, and determination” as they carry forward “the ideals and dedication to justice for which the ICTY has stood, and which the ICTY has shown can be achieved.”