December 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 November 2007
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
SECURITY COUNCIL AND WIDER UN STRUCTURE

International Criminal Tribunals

Expected Council Action
The Council will receive briefings from the presidents and prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) on the semi-annual progress reports on the respective completion strategies for each Tribunal.

The Council is expected to have a robust discussion on the reports given the approaching deadline and the sensitivity of the issues. The legacy (or residual) issues arising when the Tribunals close may also emerge.

No formal action is required. However, a presidential statement urging the international community to intensify cooperation with the Tribunals in the coming year is possible.

Key Recent Developments
The Council agreed to the Secretary-General’s choice of Serge Brammertz to replace Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor of the ICTY on 28 November.

The annual reports of theICTY and ICTR were released in August and presented to the General Assembly on 15 October by ICTY President Fausto Pocar and ICTR President Dennis Byron. Both presidents expressed frustration that a number of indictees were still at large, and both highlighted the problem of retaining staff.

The Tribunals’ registrars have set up an advisory committee on the archives of the UN Tribunals for the ICTY and ICTR, which began a study on 9 October, under the chairmanship of former ICTY and ICTR Prosecutor Richard Goldstone, on options for future accessibility and locations for the archives. The first interim report is due in the first quarter of 2008.

A joint paper produced by ICTY and ICTR on the residual functions of the Tribunals was submitted to the Council Working Group on Ad Hoc Tribunals at the end of September. The Working Group met on 28 November to discuss the paper.

In a briefing on legacy issues to the Council’s legal experts on 30 October, Pocar said the Tribunals would still be needed after 2010, but “radically downsized”.

Several significant arrests were made this year. Zdravko Tolimir was arrested in a joint operation by the Bosnia-Serbian police at the end of May and Vlastimir Djordjevic was captured by the Serbian police in Montenegro in mid-June. On 17 September, Augustin Ngirabatware, the former Rwandan Minister of Planning (accused of making an agreement to commit genocide) was arrested in Germany.

Options
One option would be a presidential statement highlighting the urgency of cooperation from the international community in apprehending the remaining fugitives.

If the Council feels that stronger measures are needed, a resolution is a possibility.

Other options include:

  • indicating, perhaps in a press statement, a timeline for decisions on the residual functions of the Tribunals;
  • strengthening the Working Group on Ad Hoc Tribunals by selecting a permanent chairman who would carry the work through to completion; and
  • requesting more regular reports in 2008 to closely monitor progress on the completion strategies.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is when to take formal decisions relating to the Tribunals and what to do if important indictees are not apprehended by the end of 2008. A related issue is how to apply pressure on countries to intensify cooperation with the Tribunals. Serbia has been more cooperative recently. But Radovan Karadžic and Ratko Mladic remain at large.

Other issues include whether the Tribunals physically can complete all trials by 2008 and therefore whether to increase the capacity of the two Tribunals. The related problem of retaining staff as the Tribunals wind down is also attracting increasing attention.

Another related issue is whether resolution 1503 of 2003 (which called on the ICTY and ICTR to “take all possible measures to complete investigations by the end of 2004, to complete all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008, and to complete all work in 2010”) should be interpreted as binding on the Tribunals to complete their work by the deadline and what action if any is formally requested if there is a need to extend the operations.

The issue of the so-called “legacy” includes how to handle future trials of fugitives still at large, review of judgments, supervision of prison sentences, early release and pardon, contempt proceedings, witness protection, prevention of double jeopardy in national courts, archives and human resources issues.

Of practical concern is a potential budgetary gap by 2009. The General Assembly’s Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions is currently considering the biennium 2008-2009 budget, but as yet, the Council has not taken decisions on legacy issues.

There is also the issue of transferring cases to national courts. The ICTR said in 2006 that it intends to transfer 44 cases, but it has already come up against problems, ranging from concerns about fair trials in Rwanda to the lack of jurisdiction to try fugitives for genocide in various countries.

A potential issue is the protection of witnesses in the case of Ramush Haradinaj, former prime minister of Kosovo. Since his trial began in March, two witnesses have failed to turn up in court and there have been complaints of witness intimidation.

An internal issue is the lack of a lead country on this issue. Moreover, the Working Group chairmanship rotates monthly and operates very informally.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Members know that difficult decisions need to be made, but they have not as yet needed to focus on the hard issues.

Most are open to a flexible deadline. Russia has in the past made it clear that it sees 2010 as a real deadline. However, with a number of key fugitives still at large, there is a growing expectation of some flexibility. But in recent months issues relating to the former Yugoslavia have been very sensitive in the Council, and this, plus developments in Kosovo, could colour the issue and diminish prospects for any substantive discussion in December.

Most members are open to discussing various types of residual mechanisms but as substantive discussions have not taken place, clear positions have yet to emerge. There could be some new dynamics with the change in Council members in January with Croatia for example likely to take a keen interest in legacy issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1786 (28 November 2007) appointed Brammertz as the ICTY prosecutor.
  • S/RES/1775 (14 September 2007) extended Carla Del Ponte as prosecutor of the ICTY till 31 December 2007.
  • S/RES/1774 (14 September 2007) reappointed Hassan Jallow as Prosecutor of the ICTR.
  • S/RES/1534 (26 March 2004) called on the ICTY and ICTR to review their respective caseloads and requested both tribunals to provide the Council with a progress assessment of their completion strategies every six months.
  • S/RES/1503/(28 August 2003) called on the ICTY and ICTR to complete all trial activities in the first instance by the end of 2008 and to complete all work in 2010.
  • S/RES/955 (8 November 1994) established the ICTR and contained its statute in the annex.
  • S/RES/827 (25 May 1993) established the ICTY and approved the statute as proposed by the Secretary-General in his report S/25704.

Selected Reports of the Secretary-General

  • S/25704 (3 May 1993) contained the statute of the ICTY, as requested by resolution 808 of 22 February 1993.

Selected Letters

  • S/2007/678 (12 November 2007) was the letter from the Secretary-General to the president of the Council requesting that Serge Brammertz be appointed prosecutor of the ICTY.
  • S/2007/323 (23 May 2007) was the letter from the ICTR president to the Council president on the implementation of the completion strategy.
  • S/2007/283 (15 May 2007) was the letter from the ICTY president to the Council president containing the latest progress report on the implementation of the completion strategy.
  • S/2006/951 (30 November 2006) was the letter from the ICTR president to the Council president containing the progress report on the implementation of the completion strategy at the end of 2006.
  • S/2006/898 (15 November 2006) was the letter from the ICTY president to the Council president containing the progress report on the implementation of the completion strategy at the end of 2006.
  • S/2006/358 (29 May 2006) was the letter from the ICTR president to the Council president containing a revised version and assessment of the ICTR completion strategy.
  • S/2006/353 (29 May 2006) was the letter from the ICTY president to the Council president containing the assessment of and report on the ICTY completion strategy.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2002/21 (23 July 2002) endorsed the ICTY’s completion strategy.

Other Relevant Documents

  • S/PV.5697 (18 June 2007) was the last Security Council briefing by the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR.
  • A/62/284-S/2007/502(21 August 2007) was the 2007 annual report of the ICTR.
  • A/62/172-S/2007/469(1 August 2007) was the 2007 annual report of the ICTY.
  • S/2006/666 (21 August 2006) was the 2006 annual report of the ICTY.
  • S/2006/658(16 August 2006) was the 2006 annual report of the ICTR.
  • S/PV.5594 (15 December 2006) was the Council briefing by the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR.
  • A/60/436(17 October 2005) was the report of the Secretary-General on staff retention and legacy issues.

Other Relevant Facts

ICTY

  • Four accused at large, including former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžic and his military commander Ratko Mladic
  • Nine accused at the pre-trial stage, 14 referred to a national jurisdiction, 29 on trial, 22 at the appeal stage
  • Webpage: http://www.un.org/icty/index.html

ICTR

  • 18 accused at large, including Félicien Kabuga, a businessman accused of inciting massacres in Rwanda
  • Eight accused awaiting trial, 22 on trial, six at the appeal stage
  • Webpage: http://69.94.11.53/default.htm

Full forecast