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President Robinson’s Address Before the United Nations General Assembly

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

The Hague, 08 October 2010


President Robinson’s Address Before the United Nations General Assembly

ICTY President, Patrick Robinson

President Patrick Robinson today presented the Tribunal’s seventeenth annual report to the UN General Assembly. In his address, the President highlighted the progress made and the challenges faced by the Tribunal in the implementation of its Completion Strategy. The President reiterated his call to the Member States to assist the Tribunal in bringing its work to a close in an expeditious and fair manner.

The President first spoke of the Tribunal’s achievement this past year in conducting proceedings in ten trials concurrently by having Judges and staff simultaneously work on more than one case. According to the latest estimates, all trials should conclude in 2012, with the exception of the Radovan Karadžić trial, which should be completed towards the end of 2013.

The President indicated that all appeals are still scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. He however warned that unavoidable delays in the Karadžić case mean that this date will have to be re-assessed at an appropriate time.

The President assured the Member States that the Tribunal continues to take all measures possible to expedite its trials, whilst fully respecting due process. He however reminded the Assembly that the trial schedule is a forecast only and that unforeseen factors not immediately within the Tribunal’s control can have an adverse impact on the schedule.

“… [T]he Tribunal is not an administrative body. It is a court of law, and as such it will always be prone to a certain degree of unforeseeability, which is a natural element in most kinds of judicial work, and particularly in trials as complicated as those at the Tribunal,” said the President.

Among the unforeseen factors, the President gave the example of the recently discovered military notebooks of Ratko Mladić, which are relevant to at least six of the Tribunal’s cases. The President also listed witness intimidation, failure of witnesses to appear, illness of accused, the complexities associated with cases of self-represented accused, and staff attrition as factors affecting the schedule.

The President spoke of his concern of the pressure being put on Judges to expedite the work of the Tribunal: “Judges are entitled to and indeed must work in an environment free from all external pressures, so that their judicial independence is not compromised or appear to be compromised.” He also noted the efforts of the Judges to adopt measures to reduce delays as much as possible.

Turning to a major cause of delay to the schedule, the President again brought to the attention of the General Assembly the alarming situation of experienced staff leaving the Tribunal for more secure employment elsewhere. “… I have consistently warned the Security Council and this Assembly that the work of the Tribunal will be protracted if we are unable to retain staff and are forced to constantly recruit and train new staff,” said the President.

The President noted that to date very little has been achieved to address the problem of staff attrition and asked that action be taken. He called upon the international community to devise incentives encouraging staff to remain with the Tribunal until they are no longer necessary.

President Robinson again raised the issue of the establishment of a trust fund for victims from the former Yugoslavia. The President said that “… justice must not only be retributive: it must also be restorative if peace is to be lasting.”

In closing, President Robinson asked the Member States to reflect upon the Tribunal’s remarkable achievements: “The Tribunal represents the aspirations of the international community to ensure that justice prevails over impunity, and this is something in which we all have a stake.”

The President once more assured Member States of the Tribunal’s commitment to the Completion Strategy and its efforts to expedite its proceedings while still fully respecting the rights of the accused to due process. He concluded his speech by reiterating his call for assistance in the Tribunal’s commitment to bring its work to a close expeditiously and fairly.


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

In English

In French

All statements and speeches of the ICTY’s Principals can be found at:

The annual report can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:

In English
In French

All annual reports can be found at:


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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