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The Prosecutor's Address to the Security Council



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

The Hague, 15 December 2006

The Tribunal's Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, addressed today the UN Security Counsel with a view to provide her regular assessment of the progress made in the completion strategy highlighting the problems and obstacles hampering it. She sought fresh and clear guidance from the Council on the fundamental issues of the completion strategy.

The Prosecutor focused her address on efforts made by her Office together with the Chambers to speed up trials while trying to maintain the highest standards of fair trial and due process. She noted the prosecution's successful initiatives: - to join cases with similar crimes resulting in three ongoing multiple-accused trials, - to submit more written evidence in the trials leading to significant savings of the court time; - to request acceptance of more facts as judicial notice avoiding the need to prove these facts again. The Prosecutor emphasised that she had acted in cooperative spirit when directed by the Judges to select counts on which to proceed and to limit time for presentation of the prosecution cases.

In terms of transfer of Rule 11 bis cases to the national jurisdictions the Prosecutor expressed her view that the Tribunal has reached the limits in this matter and, unless the Security Council modifies the seniority conditions under which an accused can be transferred to local courts, there is no legal possibility to transfer more cases. And therefore, in her view, with the present case-load it will not be possible to achieve the target date of 2008.

The Prosecutor also drew the attention of the Council to the negative reactions of the victims' groups in the region in regard to the envisaged completion of the Tribunal's work, while six accused, including Karadzic and Mladic remain at large.

Speaking about the level of co-operation of the authorities in the region the Prosecutor stated: "While the judicial authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and in Serbia have stepped up their efforts to try war crimes, the political bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia have not shown the political will necessary to arrest the remaining fugitives."

The Prosecutor suggested the following steps to be taken - first, the Security Council to consider changing the conditions under which an accused can be transferred to national courts; - second, by full and forceful support of the Security Council to encourage strengthening of the political will to arrest remaining fugitives; - and third, the Security Council to confirm in clear form that there remains the possibility for the Tribunal to complete its mandate in dignified and successful manner with remaining fugitives like Karadzic and Mladic being brought to trial in The Hague.

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

In English
In French