Following on from his meeting with the Secretary-General last week, President Agius today gave his inaugural address to the Security Council. President Agius expressed the deep honour he felt having been entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the Tribunal’s closure, and pledged his commitment to the Security Council that the Tribunal will complete its mandate by the end of 2017.
President Agius was pleased to report that the Tribunal has continued to make progress towards this goal. He noted that judgements in the Stanišić & Simatović and Butare appeal cases will be delivered in December 2015, after which four trials and two appeals will remain pending before the Tribunal. President Agius further reported that the ongoing Mladić trial, as well as the Stanišić & Župljanin and Prlić et al. appeals, remain on target, while the Karadžić and Šešelj trials are expected to be concluded before the end of March 2016. In addition, President Agius informed the Security Council that the Hadžić trial has been stayed for a period of three months due to the health condition of the accused. An appeal against the decision to stay the proceedings is currently pending before the Appeals Chamber.
President Agius acknowledged that the Tribunal faces serious challenges, including staff attrition and staff morale, and stressed that such issues must be managed if the Tribunal is to meet its ultimate goal of closure in 2017. He assured the Security Council that all possible measures are being implemented to address the causes of potential delays, and paid tribute to the ongoing efforts of Judges and staff in completing judicial work as rapidly as possible.
In conclusion, President Agius reminded the Security Council that the obstacles faced by the Tribunal should not overshadow its enormous achievements in the fight against impunity and in setting global standards for international criminal law. He reiterated that, with the continued support and encouragement of the Member States of the United Nations, the Tribunal stands committed to fulfil its mandate and to ensure its efficient and orderly closure by the end of 2017.