International Criminal Tribunals
Expected Council Action
Council members expect in June a briefing from the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, on the investigations into international crimes committed in Darfur.
The Council also expects briefings from the presidents and the prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) in the first week of June. They are expected to submit regular reports on their respective completion strategies by the end of May.
No formal Council action is expected.
The ICC initiated investigations on Darfur in June 2005. Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo indicated in December that the investigations would focus on particularly grave crimes and those most responsible for them. It remains unclear when he will seek arrest warrants and against whom. Khartoum indicated in December that it would not cooperate with the ICC. There will be interest in the prosecutor’s update on this.
Council resolutions 1503 and 1534 called on the ICTY and the ICTR to complete all investigations by the end of 2004, all first-instance activities by the end of 2008, and all work by 2010. Both tribunals have so far managed to keep to this schedule.
The ICTY has indicated that, due to the filing of new indictments and the recent detention of new perpetrators, trials at first instance will probably not be completed before late 2009. (The failure so far to apprehend the Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadžic and Ratko Mladi? suggests that even this date may be optimistic.)
Options for Future Council Action
A number of practical steps have been taken by the Council to support the timely conclusion of the tribunals’ activities. Some members have indicated that further options need to be explored, such as increasing the number of ad litem judges as well as the number of judges in the Appeals Chamber (common to both tribunals). Others have suggested options such as funding the ICTY by voluntary contributions beyond 2008. But members are aware that the critical issue for the ICTY is progress with the arrest of fugitives. Winding up the ICTY before Mladic and Karadžic are brought to trial seems clearly not to be an option. Nevertheless, relaxing pressure on the tribunal regarding its current completion strategy is not likely.