(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The second Annual Report of the International Tribunal states that it "will not flinch from its task"
The Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have held their Seventh Plenary Session between Monday 12 June and Friday 16 June at the Tribunal's seat in The Hague. Judge Sidhwa, from Pakistan, who is recovering from surgery, was unable to participate in the meeting.
The main purpose of the Session was to discuss the second Annual Report of the International Tribunal and the Judges adopted a draft version.
Covering the period 1 August 1994-31 July 1995, this draft Report will be appropriately updated and subsequently submitted to the Security Council and the General Assembly prior to being made public, this autumn.
The second Annual Report assesses the progress made by the organization which has, "at long last, moved on to a second, operational, stage of its work." The first stage, between November 1993 and July 1994, was devoted to the setting up of the necessary procedures and structures for the holding of trials. Since then, "the judicial activity has begun in earnest": investigations have been carried out by the Office of the Prosecutor since the summer of 1994, three indictments have been issued in November 1994 and in February 1995, and the first defendant has been brought to The Hague in late April 1995.
However, numerous hurdles of a financial, practical and logistical nature were encountered, which "were overcome by dint of untiring resolve (...) by the Judges and all those working for the Tribunal." So that the Tribunal has "come several steps closer to fulfilling its destiny as an instrument of international criminal justice."
The Judges state that, in spite of the remaining difficulties, the Tribunal "will not flinch from its task (...) in the name of the international community and on behalf of the victims."
The Judges met with the Prosecutor, Justice Goldstone. Together with the Prosecutor, they reviewed their programme of judicial work for the coming months, in the light of the Declaration of February 1995 in which the Judges and the Prosecutor stated they shared the common concern that "a programme of indictments should effectively meet the expectations of the Security Council and of the world community at large."
The Judges have agreed upon a first rotation between the Trial Chambers and the Appeals Chamber, as provided for in Rule 27 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
As of 2 October 1995 and until 15 September 1996, the composition of the Chambers is as follows:
- Trial Chamber I : Judge Abi-Saab, Judge Jorda and Judge Odio-Benito
- Trial Chamber II : Judge McDonald, Judge Sidhwa and Judge Vohrah
- Appeals Chamber: Judge Cassese, Judge Deschênes, Judge Karibi-Whyte, Judge Li and Judge Stephen.
Both Trial Chambers will have to elect their presiding Judge.
According to Article 14 of the Statute of the International Tribunal, the President of the Tribunal is ex officio president of the Appeals Chamber.
The Judges discussed, and adopted, some technical amendments affecting five rules (Rules 15 E, 62 (iii), 69, 75 A and 124) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Tribunal. An updated text of the Rules will be available soon.
In addition, the Judges have also discussed, and adopted, two important Guidelines.
One relates to the practice of amicus curiae and clarifies the conditions upon which both solicited and unsolicited amici curiae will make submissions, limited to questions of law.
The other one relates to the practical aspects of audio-visual coverage of the proceedings and establishes a balance between the necessity for the Tribunal to conduct fair proceedings under public scrutiny, the legal constraints imposed, for example, by the right of the witnesses and victims to be protected, as well as the objections which may be raised by the parties.
Lastly, the Judges have decided to hold their Eighth Plenary Session between 2 October and 6 October 1995, at The Hague. In the meantime, the Judges remain available to continue with the indictments required by the Prosecutor, and with proceedings.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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