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President McDonald asks the Security Council to establish an additional Trial Chamber

Press Release PRESIDENT

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

The Hague, 16 February 1998
President McDonald asks the Security Council to establish an additional Trial Chamber
“The recent surrender of two accused confirms the ICTY’s need for additional support”


The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald , addressed the Security Council on Thursday 12 February: she requested its Members to provide the Tribunal with sufficient resources to establish an additional Trial Chamber.

Upon her return from UN Headquarters, President McDonald learned with satisfaction of the voluntary surrender of two accused from Republika Srpska. This fact confirms the ICTY’s need for additional judicial support.


Additional judicial resources are absolutely needed in order:

- to ensure the expeditious trials the accused are entitled to: the Tribunal is currently using a single courtroom. Two additional courtrooms are presently under construction, and will enable the Tribunal to reduce the length of the pre-trial detention of the accused. The only way that these courtrooms can be fully utilised is to have more than two Trials Chambers.

- to enable the ICTY to conduct an increased number of trials: 12 cases are currently under the Judges’ consideration concerning 22 accused; but should all the remaining 52 public indictees who are not in custody be arrested, at least 21 trials will have to be conducted. The addition of one Trial Chamber would allow trials to be conducted simultaneously, thus avoiding overlapping trial settings. For example, one Judge is currently assigned to 6 different cases, creating serious scheduling problems.


President McDonald explained to the Security Council’s Members that four additional permanent Judges are required: three to form a third Trial Chamber, and a fourth Judge to be assigned as needed for either the Appeals Chamber or a Trial Chamber, should a Judge be incapacitated, disqualified or assigned to another Chamber.

Pointing out that the fulfillment of the mission entrusted to the ICTY was of the utmost urgency, President McDonald emphasized that the failure by the Tribunal to carry it out in a timely manner would undermine the standards of due process and the goal of bringing peace through justice.

An inadequately staffed judiciary would endanger the institution and its mission but also could compromise the dream of a permanent court by projecting the model of an impotent and inefficient ad hoc Tribunal.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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