|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 7 June 2006
The Tribunal President, Judge Fausto Pocar, today provided the UN Security Council with an update on the implementation of its mission and completion strategy, outlining judicial progress and informing Members of innovative reforms, as well as calling on states to provide full cooperation in order for the Tribunal to meet its mandate.
In his speech President Pocar informed Members of the progress made in proceedings since he last briefed the Security Council in December 2005. Noting that the Trial Chambers had heard six trials simultaneously while managing 22 cases in the pre-trial stage, he expressed particular satisfaction that the first of three major multi-accused trials involving a total of 21 accused
persons commenced in April 2006 and that the other two cases were set to begin in July, several months earlier than initially planned. He further noted that the Appeals Chamber has disposed of 127 appeals, including 3 judgements. The President recalled that to date, 161 persons have been charged by the Tribunal and proceedings against 94 accused have concluded. In addition, the
Appeals Chamber has concluded 12 ICTR cases and proceedings involving 16 accused.
President Pocar also underlined a range of concrete measures recently implemented by the Judges in order to improve the efficiency of trials. Notable among the steps taken is the 30 May 2006 change to the Tribunal's operating practices that enables a Trial Chamber of Judges at the pre-trial stage "to invite the Prosecution to reduce the number of counts charged or to direct the
Prosecution to select the counts on which the trial should proceed". This amendment to Rule 73bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence is intended to further enhance the accused's right to a fair and expeditious trial while at the same time respecting the Prosecution's independence. The range of reforms undertaken following the February 2006 final report of the Working Group on
Speeding Up Trials that was chaired by Judge Iain Bonomy, represents a shift away from party-driven proceedings at the Tribunal to one that is managed more closely by the Judges.
With immediate regard to the former Yugoslavia, President Pocar spoke of how important it is for the international community to support the development of the capacities of the judiciaries and detention facilities there, and especially the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order for them to fairly handle war crimes cases. He urged that sufficient resources be committed to
ensure the proper functioning of all aspects of these organizations' operations.
In conformity with earlier reports, President Pocar informed the Security Council that, providing outstanding fugitives are transferred to the Tribunal very shortly and that trials run smoothly in line with recently introduced reforms, current schedules demonstrate that trials at the Tribunal should conclude in 2009. He expressed his commitment to the Tribunal completing its
historic mission in accordance with the completion strategy while fully upholding due process norms and pledged to develop additional measures to improve the efficiency of its trials and appeals, as well as intensify its efforts to support the judicial capacity of states in the former Yugoslavia as part of the Tribunal's legacy. But he stressed that meeting the completion strategy
goals is dependent upon the cooperation of states, especially those of the former Yugoslavia.
Today's speech by President Pocar is a summary of a written report on the status of the Completion Strategy submitted to the Security Council. The Tribunal's Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, also spoke and provided her own independent assessment. Today's assessment covers the period December 2005-May 2006 and is the fifth such twice-yearly report since they were first requested by
Security Council resolution 1534 of March 2004. All previous reports are available on the Tribunal's website.
The full text of the President's speech is available at http://www.un.org/icty//pressreal/2006/p1084e-annex.htm
Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal's website at www.un.org/icty