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The Judges request that the International Tribunal be exempted of budgetary remains

Press Release TRIBUNAL

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

The Hague, 9 October 1995

The Judges request that the International Tribunal be exempted of budgetary remains

The Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have held their eight Plenary Session from Wednesday 4 October to 6 October 1995, at the Tribunal’s seat in The Hague.
At the end of their meeting the Judges have unanimously adopted the following resolution which was immediately sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations:

The impact of budgetary restraints imposed by the United Nations on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

"The Judges of the Tribunal have been informed of the drastic financial measures recently imposed by the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management on all United Nations organs, including the Tribunal.

The Judges are aware that the Secretary-General remains fully committed to the Tribunal, both in concept and in application. They are themselves very much aware of the perilous state of finances of the United Nations at this moment in time and have supported the Registrar of the Tribunal in her attempts to minimise expenditure wherever possible.

However, the Judges of the Tribunal feel compelled to bring to the attention of the Secretary-General certain practical aspects of the implementation of the measures demanded. The unique character of the Tribunal, a criminal judicial body with cases already pending before it, gives rises to certain effects which may not have been foreseen and thus were not intended.

Now that the Tribunal is fully operational, it would be contrary to the interests of justice to hamper its activities in the manner sought by the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management by restricting travel and recruitment. A substantial (but not excessive) amount of travel is an essential component of the Tribunal’s activities. To prohibit investigators and lawyers from travelling to the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere to conduct their investigations, interview witnesses etc., is to cut the very heart from the Tribunal . These personnel will be confined to conducting a paper-chase from afar, a course which cannot but bring discredit to the Tribunal. The flow of indictments will cease, leaving heinous crimes to go uninvestigated and unpunished.

Another crucial and unique aspect of the travel requirements of the Tribunal is reflected in the nature of the proceedings before it and the reliance on eye-witness testimony. If these witnesses cannot travel to The Hague, the entire raison d'être of the Tribunal, for which the Secretary-General has fought so determinedly, will collapse. The Secretary-General will have been advised of the initiation of the first proceeding under Rule 61, at which witnesses are to give public testimony, and which is scheduled to commence on Monday 9 October. The high degree of media interest this will undoubtedly generates makes it all the more difficult to explain that no further proceedings will be taken against other accused, be they leaders or perpetrators, due to lack of funds.

Furthermore, the Judges feel compelled to point out to the Secretary-General that simply curtailing or cutting-back on the activities of the Tribunal and awaiting an improvement in the financial fortunes of the Organisation is not an available option. All those who have already been indicted have a basic right to defend themselves and to clear their name if innocent, all the more so for accused already in custody. An accused is entitled to a fair and expeditious trial. Any undue delay in the administration of criminal justice could have most undesirable results.

Finally, the Judges note that it would be extremely difficult to justify to international public opinion (which is particularly focused on the Tribunal at this moment in time) the cessation of its activities solely for budgetary reasons, no matter how pressing.

The Judges of the Tribunal therefore request the Secretary-General to instruct the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management to exempt the Tribunal from the specific cost-cutting measures that are sought to be imposed. For its part, the Tribunal remains committed to minimising expenditure and making economies wherever possible, while, at the same time, continuing to fulfil its special mandate".


During the eight Plenary Session, the Judges have re-elected by consensus Judge Antonio Cassese (Italy) as their President. Judge Adolphus Karibi-Whyte (Nigeria) has been elected by consensus as Vice-President of the Tribunal.

Judge Antonio Cassese will preside over the Appeals Chamber, which will further consist of Judge Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, Judge Haopei Li (China), Judge Jules Deschênes (Canada) and Judge Ninian Stephen (Australia).

Judge Claude Jorda (France) has been designated by consensus Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber I, which will further consist of Judge Elizabeth Odio-Benito (Costa-Rica), and Judge Fouad Riad (Egypt).

Judge Gabrielle McDonald (United States of America) has been confirmed by consensus as Presiding-Judge of Trial Chamber II, which will further consist of Judge Lal Chand Vohrah (Malaysia) and of Judge Rustam Sidhwa (Pakistan).

This composition will remain in place until 15 September 1996.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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