(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
United Kingdom becomes first state to agree to provide enhanced
assistance to witness protection efforts of International Tribunal.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has today concluded an Exchange of Letters with the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Under the provisions of the letters, the United Kingdom has agreed to accept for relocation certain witnesses who appear before the International Tribunal and may face danger because of such appearances.
The United Kingdom is the first State to enter into such an agreement with the International Tribunal. United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Minister Tony Lloyd stated that "this agreement…will enable witnesses who might otherwise have been reluctant to do so to come forward." Mr. Lloyd also urged other States to conclude similar agreements with the International Tribunal.
As the agreement concerns the safety and security of witnesses, no further details will be made available and the terms of the Exchange of Letters will not be made public.
The International Tribunal is grateful to the United Kingdom for its continuing support in this regard and for its activities in general (see Press Release 228-E -The International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia welcomes with gratitude the British Government's offer to finance the construction of an interim courtroom.). This enhanced assistance will enable the International Tribunal to continue to fulfil its statutory duty to protect victims and witnesses.
Article 22 of the Statute of the International Tribunal provides that:
The International Tribunal shall provide in its rules of procedure and evidence for the protection of victims and witnesses. Such protection measures shall include, but shall not be limited to, the conduct of in camera proceedings and the protection of the victim’s identity.
Rule 34 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence establishes a Victims and Witnesses Unit:
…under the authority of the Registrar… to recommend protective measures for victims and witnesses in accordance with Article 22 of the Statute….
The Unit is staffed by experts in the fields of law, psychology and protection issues. In addition to recommending protective measures, Unit staff provide victims and witnesses with counseling and support during their time at the seat of the International Tribunal.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
For more information, please contact our Media Office in The Hague
Tel.: +31-70-512-8752; 512-5343; 512-5356 - Email: press [at] icty.org ()
Follow ICTY on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube