Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Since the ICTY’s closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals.

 Visit the Mechanism's website.

Statement by President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald on the Departure of Justice Louise Arbour.

Press Release ·Communiqué de presse

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

The Hague, 11 June 1999

JL/ P.I.S/409-E


Prosecutor Arbour will leave a very different Tribunal from the one she joined three years ago. The number of indictees in custody has more than tripled, as has our capacity to try them. Against great odds the Tribunal and the principles on which it is founded are beginning to prevail, ensuring that impunity will no longer be the norm. This is due in no small part to the
Prosecutor’s determined pursuit of indicted persons and those who would offer them shelter. She has discharged her mandate bringing the full force of her considerable legal skills to bear on the unique challenges faced by the Tribunal.

Those challenges are a consequence of the unprecedented nature of the Tribunal, the lack of enforcement mechanisms, resource constraints and the pursuit of legal imperatives in a difficult political climate. It is a tribute to Justice Arbour’s tenacity that she has faced up to and overcome a great many of these obstacles. I wish her well as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada,
where I am confident that she will serve with distinction.

There are some who may be tempted to take comfort from the Prosecutor’s early departure. However, the Tribunal’s mandate has not changed. Nor has its determination to achieve the objectives for which it was established. Thus, I again call upon all those indictees who remain at liberty to surrender to answer the charges against them. I would also remind States of their obligation
under international law to execute arrest warrants against those persons indicted by the Tribunal. The only way to secure peace in the former Yugoslavia remains through the pursuit of justice.