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Statement by Mr. Hans Holthuis, Registrar of the ICTY.

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


The Hague, 2 October 2001


Please find below the full text of the statement given by the Registrar of the ICTY, Mr. Hans Holthuis, to the Plenary of the Preparatory Commission of the International Criminal Court (ICC) during its Eighth Session on 1 October 2001.


Good morning Chairman, Vice Chairs, members of the Preparatory Commission, and honoured guests.

This is the second time that I have been granted the privilege to address your Commission, and I do so in a by now longstanding tradition of active support by the International Tribunal for your work. I am particularly pleased to be part of a joint effort between the ICTY and the ICTR to assist in your important work.

When I addressed you during your previous session in March of this year, I made reference to the "engine room" of the Court that was being constructed with the drafting of the Relationship Agreement with the United Nations, the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities, and the draft Financial Regulations. To those engine room discussions, you have this session added the item of the
first year’s budget, and a discussion on the basic principles for a Headquarters Agreement.

What I would like to offer you this morning, are some brief thoughts on what might be useful to consider when all the draft texts that Resolution F of the Rome Final Act sets out have been completed and are ready for consideration by the Assembly of States Parties. In other words, some thoughts which relate to the very basic question of how do you begin.

The thoughts I share with you are made by somebody from an organization faced with many of the same "how do you start?" questions when it started operations eight years ago, and by an individual who is now involved in dealing with some of the omissions which occurred when we started. These thoughts are also made with the full realization that the ICC will, in certain respects, be
different from the two ad hoc Tribunals, and that therefore not all the "do’s and don’ts" which applied to the ICTY will be fully relevant for the ICC. The Court will be an animal of its own, and, for that reason, my comments will focus on the very basic and the very practical only.

My first remark is of a very general nature, and somewhat of a repetition of something I said when I addressed you in March. It goes to the imperative need for flexibility to be an inherent cornerstone of the organization you are setting up. In engine terms: a motor which can be maintained cost effectively while awaiting to be used, when the need arises (often unexpectedly)
to carry cargo and climb uphill roads. I raise this need again because, in my view, its importance cannot be over-stressed.

In this connection, I should perhaps slightly refine the notion of "flexibility" as I used it previously with the word "scalability", to indicate that the flexibility required should enable the Court to scale its operations upwards and downwards as dictated by circumstances.

Such "scalability" has financial, administrative and procedural aspects. Over many years, the United Nations has developed means and methods for creating such a capacity for scalability, to which we at the ICTY have added some means and methods specifically geared towards the operation of a Court. Our Tribunal, for instance, makes extensive use of flexible recruitment
arrangements, amongst which the utilization of so-called General Temporary Assistance funds to recruit quickly on a short-term basis. "Scalability" should also find a way into recruitment and procurement procedures, management structures, and, on an even more tangible level, the types of assets which are purchased.

A second more general point I would like to flag concerns the types of individuals which are initially recruited, a matter which is connected with the comment I made above.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it will be to have highly competent, experienced, sufficiently senior staff in place right from the beginning. We would warn against thinking that there will not be all that much work in the beginning and that, therefore, recruitment at a lower, more junior level will suffice. The direct opposite is true. We would advise
that, after having identified the key functions that are required, both legal and administrative, recruitment at a top-level take place. In organizational terms, it will provide the Court, from day-one onwards, a capacity to establish systems, set up effective protocols, training mechanisms, etc, to deal responsibly with the surge of activities that an exercise of jurisdiction
in accordance with Article 13 of the Statute will necessitate. Those well-prepared systems, protocols, and that training will be the foundation upon which adequate preliminary fact finding and analysis, a successful investigation, and, thereafter, a prosecution, will be built. In blunt financial terms, I can assure that initial recruitment at the appropriate level of seniority is an
investment that will save money later. Managerially, it will give room for the managers of the organization to set up required management and work structures themselves, without being tied to detailed configurations which have been pre-determined.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me now get back to the question of day-one.

The statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the host State last week on the concrete steps which have been taken was most encouraging. We are familiar with the interim premises which have been offered and I can say without any hesitancy that they are of high quality, and will serve the Court well in its start-up phase. Without having seen the inside of the building, we would
say, based on our experience, that the 12,000 square metres offered would house between 400 and 450 people, if no courtroom is built into the premises. My staff tells me that creating sufficient space to build a courtroom in that building would probably go at the expense of approximately 50 workspaces. The interim premises on offer are located very close to the International Tribunal,
which will allow, where possible, an easy sharing of expertise and resources. Our Tribunal has, for instance, built up an excellent library which I will gladly place at the disposal of the officials of the ICC in the start-up period.

The logic of the ICC Statute dictates that, unlike the ICTY, it will not be possible to have the most senior administrator, the Registrar, in place when the Judges and the Prosecutor have been elected. That same Statute has also given that Registrar a different position within the organization as compared to the Registrar of the ad hoc Tribunals.

For the Presidency and the Prosecutor to be able to work, a minimum degree of infrastructure needs to be available immediately after they have been elected. Some common services should therefore be made available to both the Office of the Prosecutor and the judiciary, which will enable them to fulfill the responsibilities in accordance with, respectively Articles 42, 38 and 43 of
the Statute. Within the separate powers assigned to them, they need to be able to share building management facilities, start to recruit, pay salaries, use phones and computers, purchase goods, etc.. Those common services would have to be provided in close cooperation with the host State, who will be making certain contributions to that infrastructure as part its bid.

It would appear to me that, in the current stage of the start-up process, it would be of some value to refine in some more detail the level of understanding regarding the nuts and bolts of what will need to be part of those common services and what will not. In this connection, the ICTY stands ready to share its hard-won experience on questions such as the kind of computer systems
which might be useful to consider, the requirements which would need to be thought of for a building, the minimum security requirements necessary, the type of technical equipment which one would require for a court room, the records management tools available on today’s market, the ways of and means available to provide adequate language services for the Court’s work, etc.. Cost
effectiveness demands that the right decisions are made in the first year, and the right decisions can only be made if one is properly informed.

In addition, one might try to conceive ways of getting in place, quite soon after entry into force, an able individual who could head such a common services unit. Perhaps a limited start-up budget could be set aside at the first Assembly of States Parties on the basis of which such a head could start work. Such a person could work on the basis of the provisional application of some
administrative and financial rules previously agreed to. Subsequently, and after the election of the Judges, the Prosecutor, and the Registrar, that common services infrastructure could be used to allow that senior management team to set up the final structure within their respective fields of responsibility, using the common services as a common tool.

Mr. Chairman, honourable delegates,

As I observe the remarkable and unexpectedly speedy process which is now leading to the actual establishment of the Court, I see in the last few months a shift of emphasis from the highly legal-technical to the utmost practical.

Both the ad hoc Tribunals have some years of experience in translating statutory requirements into a practical, cost-effective, and manageable organizational structure. I have offered you some thoughts which you may wish to consider in taking these last few steps. The Tribunal has been called upon in the last week to share its experience with you in the informal meetings of
the various working groups, and I would herewith like to go on record once again that we remain at your disposal to share the practical expertise which has been built up over the years.

Thank you very much.