Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 17 April 2001
RESULTS OF EXTRAORDINARY PLENARY
HELD ON 12 APRIL, 2001
For the first time following the changes to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence adopted in December 2000 (Rule 33), the Registrar of the Tribunal, Mr. Hans Holthuis, officially reported to the Plenary on his activities. His report focussed on his trip to Belgrade, relations with the Host country, selection and arrival of the new Deputy Registrar, and the organisation of his office
since taking up his duties in January of this year.
The Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. Graham Blewitt, was invited to appear before the Judges. He provided the Plenary with an update on the Prosecutor’s investigation strategy.
The Judges reviewed proposals for rule changes put forward by the Rules Committee and adopted the following modifications:
- Changes to rules arising from Statute modifications included in Security Council resolution 1329 (2000) focussing mainly on the difference in terms of functions and duties between the permanent and ad litem Judges;
- Changes to rules to streamline and enhance the pre-trial procedures, including the possibility for Senior Legal Officers to assist pre-trial Judges in the conduct of pre-trial preparations.
The Judges reviewed proposals for rule changes put forward by the President on behalf of the Working Group created following the joint ICTY/ICTR Judges seminar in Ascot, United Kingdom, held between 29 September and 1 October 2000, and adopted the following modifications:
- Changes to enhance and improve the contents of prosecution and defence pre-trial briefs to allow Judges to assess the relevance of proposed witnesses as well as their number;
- Changes to rules to allow Judges, after having heard the prosecution and the defence, to set the number of witnesses to be called and determine the time available to the parties for presenting evidence;
- Changes to rules to allow Judges to impose sanctions on the parties when they fail to respect their commitments by refusing to hear witnesses whose names do not appear on the list of witnesses agreed upon;
- Changes to rules to allow Judges to prevent the trial from being interrupted by untimely interlocutory appeals. Motions involving evidence rendered during the course of trial will be without interlocutory appeal. It will be possible, however, to assign such decisions as grounds of appeal from the final judgement.
All changes to rules adopted during this extraordinary Plenary will be made public in due course. Changes will enter into force seven days following their publication.
In the words of President Claude Jorda: "Modifications to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence adopted during this extraordinary Plenary are aimed at allowing Judges to exercise better control over trials, thus reducing their length without infringing on the fundamental rights of the accused".
Finally, the Judges discussed and reviewed various trial management issues in relation to the arrival of the ad litem Judges and the conduct of five simultaneous trials starting in September of this year.