In today's statement to the UN Security Council on the presentation of the Tribunal's seventh completion strategy report, President Fausto Pocar highlighted further increases in the efficiency of the Chambers. He also expressed his satisfaction over the apprehension by Bosnian authorities of the fugitive Zdravko Tolimir, a top aide to Ratko Mladić, the Bosnian Serb commander
during the Bosnian conflict and Vlastimir Ðorðević, a senior Serbian police officer indicted for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Kosovo Albanians in 1999.
President Pocar noted that the Tribunal's three Trial Chambers had continued to work at full capacity, and that a seventh trial started at the beginning of January 2007, the first time in the body's history that seven cases are heard simultaneously. He indicated that during the reporting period, eight cases were tried, including three new trials and three multiple accused
cases involving a total of 19 accused. Trial Judges also heard one contempt case, and three referral cases were heard in accordance with Rule 11bis of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE). Furthermore, Trial Judges managed 12 cases in the pre-trial stage, leading to the issuance of 146 written decisions and 12 oral decisions.
The President stressed that the achievements in increased efficiency were largely due to the Tribunal's implementation of a number of amendments to the RPE, and that all of these amendments presented in the last reports to the Council, had clearly fulfilled their intended purpose. Thus, during the reporting period, Rule 73bis, which was introduced in May 2006, had been used
in five cases to request or order the Prosecution to reduce its Indictment. Similarly, Rule 92ter adopted in September 2006, which authorizes a Trial Chamber under certain conditions to consider written statements and transcripts of witnesses in lieu of oral testimony, had allowed for substantial savings of court time in two multi-accused cases.
President Pocar also reported that the Appeals Chamber had made even greater strides in terms of productivity, issuing a record number of seven judgements in the past six months, rendering 114 written decisions, including 12 interlocutory appeals; one referral decision; 79 pre-appeal decisions; one contempt decision; three decisions on review or reconsideration; and 18 other
decisions since his last report. President Pocar stated that such output had been made possible by Rules amendments proposed by the Working Group on Speeding up Appeals, which have, inter alia, resulted in the shortening of time limits for the filing of appeals; in avoiding repetitious filings; in expediting the disposal of appeals by expanding the use of written as opposed to
oral submissions; and in the expanded role of the pre-appeal Judge. President Pocar flagged his belief that, as Trial Chambers completed their last trials, they would be available to work on appeals and ensure an orderly completion of the workload of the Appeals Chamber.
The President acknowledged the commitment of the Tribunal's Judges, including ad litem judges, to the expeditious handling of legal proceedings all the while mindful of their duty to ensure the fairness of proceedings and full respect for the rights of the accused. He also made special mention of the dedication of the Tribunal's professional and qualified staff and urged the
Council and Member States not to underestimate the importance of retaining its talented Judges and staff.
With regard to the Tribunal's partnership with the former Yugoslavia, the President updated the Council on the progress in the referral of cases involving intermediate and lower ranking accused to national courts, as well as on the monitoring of domestic trials. While noting the impact of the referral mechanism on the overal workload of the Tribunal, the President expressed
his concern over the case of Radovan Stanković, who escaped from a Bosnian prison in May 2007 after having been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment by the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and over the delays suffered in the trial of two accused referred from the Tribunal to Croatia in September 2005. The President also reiterated the importance of maintaining and
reinforcing current international commitments to support capacity-building for judicial institutions in the region of the former Yugoslavia.
In conclusion, the President reaffirmed the Tribunal's commitment to doing everything within its power to implement the Completion Strategy, to continue to seek new efficiency measures and to work tirelessly to complete the Tribunal's caseload in full compliance with due process standards. He urged Member States to maintain their strong support to the Tribunal until the end
of its mandate and further called upon States to do all in their power to ensure the immediate arrest of the four remaining fugitives, particularly Radovan Karad¾ić and Ratko Mladić.
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The full text of the President's speech can be found on the Tribunal's website at: