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President Robinson’s Address Before UN Security Council

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

The Hague, 12 December 2008

President Robinson’s Address Before UN Security Council

In today’s statement to the UN Security Council on the presentation of the Tribunal’s tenth Completion Strategy Report, the newly elected President, Judge Patrick Robinson, outlined the steps that have been taken towards the completion of the Tribunal’s mandate and stressed the continued importance of the international community’s support for the efforts of the Tribunal and its staff in the final stages of the Tribunal’s work.

In his address, President Robinson emphasized the extensive achievements of the ICTY to date. Current figures show that out of the 161 accused indicted by the Tribunal, proceedings have fully concluded against 116, with only five cases awaiting trial. The President indicated that these results had been achieved thanks to the Tribunal’s record efficiency and productivity, noting that its three courtrooms currently host seven simultaneous trials, with an eighth trial starting in mid-December. The President underscored that the accomplishments and constant improvements in the expeditious conduct of proceedings must be attributed to the extraordinary efforts of the Tribunal’s staff and judges, and he commended their unfailing commitment to meeting Completion Strategy objectives.

President Robinson further confirmed that the Tribunal is on track to complete the majority of its trials during 2009, although some trials will continue into 2010. As regards appeals, the President reported that while it is possible that most appeals will be completed in 2011, it is likely that a number of appeals will continue into 2012. In order to keep this schedule, President Robinson stressed the need for the Tribunal to retain its key staff and judges and urged the international community to support a proactive retention policy so as to guarantee the timely completion of the Tribunal’s mandate.

Addressing State cooperation with the Tribunal, President Robinson expressed concern about the impact that the late arrest of fugitives is having on the completion strategy. He explained that the late arrests have further complicated the Tribunal’s work by preventing cases that should have been joined from being tried together, thereby causing substantial delays. The President added that even where cases can be joined, the late arrest of one of the accused necessarily affects the scheduling of the case with which it can be joined. President Robinson thus urged the international community to focus its efforts on securing the immediate arrest of the remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, so that the work of the Tribunal can continue apace. The President indicated that their swift arrest would also have important and positive implications for the residual mechanism, which would then not need to retain capacity to try high-level accused.

President Robinson also focused his presentation on the importance of strengthening partnerships with domestic judiciaries. He reported that the Tribunal is involved in a variety of capacity-building efforts in the former Yugoslavia and that the 13 cases that were referred to domestic court pursuant to Rule 11bis have been closely monitored by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. President Robinson highlighted specifically the Lukić and Lukić case, the referral of which was not allowed by the Appeals Chamber, as a perfect example of the fact that the Tribunal is highly regarded for the quality and effectiveness of its proceedings and its full respect for fair trial standards.

President Robinson further reported that in its efforts to secure its legacy, the Tribunal has also been actively engaged in a number of collaborative projects. One of these projects is a manual of the Tribunal’s best practices, which will be published and disseminated shortly with the assistance of the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.  The Tribunal is also currently involved in a project undertaken in cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to assess its outreach and training programs in the former Yugoslavia and identify its best practices in this area.

President Robinson finally turned to the increasingly urgent issue of devising an appropriate residual mechanism following the completion of the cases on the Tribunal’s docket. He reported that discussions were moving forward before the Security Council Working Group on Ad Hoc International Tribunals and that the site visit organized for members of the Working Group last October provided a unique opportunity to the Tribunal to convey the complexity of the Tribunal’s proceedings and operations.

President Robinson concluded by highlighting the exceptional accomplishments of the Tribunal and its role in the development of international criminal law and the enforcement of international humanitarian law. The President also reflected on the humbling nature of the Tribunal’s task, given its magnitude and complexity, and asked the Security Council to ensure that the Tribunal is properly resourced in the final stages of its work so that it can retain its experienced judges and staff in order to fully realize its mandate.

The full text of the President's speech can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:

    In English

    In French

The full report of the Completion Strategy Assessment can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:
    In English

    In French

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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