International Criminal Tribunals
Expected Council Action
The Council in mid June will receive briefings from the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR). By then, the Council should have received progress reports on the respective completion strategies of the ICTY and ICTR, due every six months. No substantive Council action is expected.
Key Recent Developments
In December 2006, the Council received a briefing from the presidents and prosecutors of both tribunals on their completion strategy reports submitted in November. ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte asked the Council for “fresh guidance” about whether the tribunal should close its doors by 2010, the date indicated in resolutions 1503 and 1534 for both tribunals to complete all work. Remaining open until former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžic and military commander Ratko Mladic, both still at large, are tried was the alternative.
Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Prosecutor of the ICTR, said that the ICTR remained committed to the deadlines set by the Council and that major cases were expected to conclude during 2007 and 2008. However, ICTR President Erik Mose noted that with 18 indictees still at large, the court would not be able to complete all trials by the end of 2008. He made special mention of the efforts to apprehend Félicien Kabuga, a businessman accused of propelling the Rwandan massacres. According to Mose, the option of transferring cases to African countries other than Rwanda does not seem viable due to capacity and resource constraints, and the risk of overloading national judicial systems.
trials for suspects still at large, principally Karadžic, Mladic and Kabuga;
the handling of extant appeals and requests for suspension of serving sentence and pardons; and
administrative issues, including maintaining archives of the tribunals’ work.
A key underlying issue is the current operating costs for the tribunals (approximately $270 million for each tribunal in 2006-2007) and the financial implications of legacy related work.
Council members seem to agree on the need to make progress on the legacy issues, but consensus on how to proceed after December 2010 is lacking. Russia considers the term set by resolutions 1503 and 1534 a fixed deadline, while European members see it as an indicative date. Developments over the year or so, particularly regarding the main fugitives, will likely shape Council members’ standpoints.
Differences over the costs of the possible modalities for the legacy issues are also likely. There may need to be discussion of the trade-off between costs and accessibility in terms of the tribunals’ archives.
The Council Working Group on Tribunals, an informal working group consisting of all Council members, is expected to explore options for the tribunals’ future in the coming months. It is likely that the tribunals themselves will provide considerable input.
The emerging reality is that the 2010 deadline is unlikely to be met by either tribunal because of the high number of appeals. The ICTY has indicated that it will probably not complete trials at first instance before late 2009. NGOs have appealed to the Council to extend the tribunals’ mandates if necessary to ensure that the remaining accused are apprehended and prosecuted.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions
|Selected Reports of the Secretary-General
|Other Relevant Documents