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Statement by President Theodor Meron in Honour of Judge Patrick Robinson

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

The Hague, 17 November 2011

Statement by President Theodor Meron in Honour of Judge Patrick Robinson


Judge Patrick Robinson Judge Theodor Meron

I am very grateful for the opportunity to honour and thank Judge Patrick Robinson for his distinguished service as President of our Tribunal.

Over the last three years, Judge Robinson has been a remarkable leader, ably guiding our institution with dedication and purpose.

As a judge on the Appeals Chamber of both the Tribunal and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he has presided over countless appeals, including the recent Appeal Judgement in the Haradinaj case. In this role, he has been a paradigm of commitment to due process and fairness, and he has remained extremely sensitive to the rights of defendants and appellants. His open mind and even-tempered approach have been a tremendous asset to the Bench.

Judge Robinson has also been a fierce advocate on behalf of the Tribunal, its responsibilities, and its legacy. He has been a staunch and systematic defender of judges and judicial independence, and he has confronted criticisms levelled against the Tribunal for the pace of its work courageously. He has also drawn the attention of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and others to the challenges facing the Tribunal with respect to the loss of key staff, repeatedly proposing concrete, practical solutions. And he has fought tirelessly for staff rights with regard to eligibility for longer contracts, and on the matter of retention bonuses. He has, in short, been a force to be reckoned with in terms of defending the Tribunal and ensuring that it has the people and resources necessary to fulfil its mandate as a court of law.

In addition, Judge Robinson has demonstrated a passionate commitment to ensuring that the Tribunal has a lasting and valuable impact in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and beyond. He was instrumental in helping to launch and ensuring the success of the Joint War Crimes Project, a collaborative endeavour undertaken by the Tribunal, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and OSCE field operations in the region, with the generous support of the European Union. The Joint War Crimes Project has the important aim of building the capacity of national jurisdictions in the former Yugoslavia by facilitating the transfer of the Tribunal’s unique institutional knowledge and specialised skills and ensuring that these jurisdictions have access to the Tribunal’s relevant materials in a useable form.

He has also raised the Tribunal’s profile by hosting two very successful conferences, the first—in February of last year—on the regional legacy of the Tribunal, and the second—which has just concluded—on the Tribunal’s global impact. And he has worked to provide tangible support to victims in the former Yugoslavia, seeking to put those victims on par with victims in cases before the International Criminal Court by calling for the establishment of a trust fund to facilitate community-based assistance. Thanks to his leadership and advocacy on this issue, the International Organisation for Migration has now secured funding to carry out a comprehensive assessment study aimed at providing guidance to the Tribunal on appropriate and feasible victim assistance measures and possible means of financing.

Through all of his efforts on behalf of the Tribunal, Judge Robinson has shown us, time and time again, not only his abiding concern for the rights and well being of others, but also what a deeply humane person he is.

We have been very fortunate to have had Judge Robinson as our Tribunal’s President for the past three years, and I am very glad that he will continue to be our valued colleague and dear friend.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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