|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 15 December 2006
Appearing before the UN Security Council today to provide an update on the implementation of the Tribunal's mandate and the Completion Strategy since his last briefing in June 2006, President Fausto Pocar stated that despite being a period of extreme difficulties requiring rapid response and adjustment to change, the last six months have been one of the most, if not the most,
productive periods in the Tribunal's history.
In his speech, President Pocar noted that as a result of significant reorganisation of the Trial Chambers and efficient pre-trial management, the Tribunal commenced its remaining two multi-accused trials six months ahead of schedule. The President expressed particular satisfaction that the Trial Chambers were able to try, at one point during the reporting period, a record number of
25 accused in six trials simultaneously. He also informed the Council that because of the flexibility and dedication of the Judges of the Tribunal, as well as the cooperation of the parties and the Registry, an unprecedented seventh trial would commence in early January 2007. He further remarked that the Appeals Chamber has brought 8 proceedings involving 11 accused to a close in the
calendar year, making it the most productive in the history of the Appeals Chamber. Citing the ever diminishing caseload as evidence of the commendable efforts taken by the Tribunal, the President recalled that of the 161 persons charged by the Tribunal, cases against 100 accused have been closed and the majority of the remaining cases are currently being tried or are on appeal. The
President stressed that for the Tribunal, efficient completion of trials and appeals was not only a matter of Completion Strategy dates but of respect for fundamental human rights norms and due process.
President Pocar also took the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the resolution of the situation with respect to the accused Vojislav Šešelj, who had refused to take food and medicine for a number of weeks while in the custody of the Tribunal's Detention Unit. The President said that on 8 December 2006, following decisions issued by the Registry and the Appeals Chamber
which addressed some of his demands, Mr. Šešelj ended his refusal. Following his recovery in a Dutch hospital, where he had been interned upon order of the President, he was returned to the Detention Unit. The President emphasized that throughout this period, he closely monitored the situation, and the Tribunal kept the international community fully informed. At all times, the
Tribunal had all procedural guarantees at its disposal for appropriately handling the situation, and they functioned well.
Elaborating on the progressive measures taken by the Tribunal towards the implementation of the Completion Strategy, President Pocar highlighted the proactive role taken by Pre-Trial Judges in the preparation of cases for trial as well as the adoption of two new provisions, Rule 92ter and 92quater of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. He further reported that the Prosecution is
responding positively to directions from the Trial Chambers to reduce the scope of its indictments pursuant to an amendment to Rule 73bis earlier this year. In addition, the Trial Chambers are working with all parties to focus the proceedings, including by imposing strict time limits on the presentation of cases as well as restricting the amount of evidence that may be adduced. The
President praised the invaluable contributions of ad litem Judges and dedicated staff members towards realizing Completion Strategy objectives, and stressed the importance of retaining highly qualified staff up to the very closing of the work of the Tribunal.
With respect to the Tribunal's partnership with the former Yugoslavia, the President summarized its continued work in referring cases involving intermediate and lower ranking accused to national courts as well as monitoring of domestic trials to ensure they meet the requirements of the highest standards of due process. Upon highlighting the capacity building and rule of law
initiatives undertaken by the Tribunal in the region, President Pocar urged the Security Council, and the international community as a whole, to protect the Tribunal's achievements thus far for reasons of ensuring stability and reconciliation.
Finally, the President confirmed that trials would be completed no later than 2009 and that all appeals were expected to be disposed of within the two years of the end of trials. He highlighted a number of key factors that would influence that timeframe, most notably the success of the multi-accused trials, and the critical issue of the six outstanding fugitives, in particular
Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karad¾ić. As in previous reports, the President expressed grave concern that for a decade, the Tribunal has called for their arrest without result.
President Pocar closed by affirming the commitment of the Tribunal to meeting the Completion Strategy objectives while upholding the highest standards of due process, and called upon Member States of the Council to maintain full support for the Tribunal in the final years of the mandate. "Together, we must see the historic work of the Tribunal through for the cause of international
justice, the continued fight against impunity, and the promotion of international peace and security."
President Pocar's address today is an overview of a written report submitted bi-annually to the Security Council on the status of the Completion Strategy. Today's assessment covers the period June-November 2006 and is the sixth report submitted in accordance with Security Council resolution 1534 of March 2004. The President's previous reports to the Security Council are available
on the Tribunal's website.
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The full text of the President's speech can be found on the Tribunal's website at:
In English http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2006/p1136e-annex.htm
In French http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2006/p1136f-annex.htm