August 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 July 2011
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International Criminal Tribunals

Expected Council Action
In August the Council is expected to receive the annual reports of the two international criminal tribunals, for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR). These reports are usually discussed in the General Assembly in September. The Council is not expected to debate these reports which are likely to cover the timetables for trials, the latest information on remaining fugitives and the progress on the preparations for the commencement of the residual mechanism and the tribunals’ completion strategy.

The working group on international tribunals may meet in August to review the draft rules of procedure for the residual mechanism, prepared by the UN Office of Legal Affairs and circulated to Council members in July.

Key Recent Developments
On 20 July, Serbia announced the arrest of the last remaining fugitive sought by the ICTY. Goran Hadžić, a key figure in the former Krajina Serb entity in Croatia, faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Council released a press statement the same day calling for the swift transfer of Hadžić to the ICTY. Hadžić was transferred to the ICTY on 22 July.

The presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR last briefed the Council on 6 June 2011. ICTY President Patrick Robinson reiterated his concerns about staff attrition and asked Council members to use their influence with the General Assembly’s fifth committee to support specific exceptions to UN staffing policies. Robinson warned that without addressing this issue, the tribunal would continue to experience difficulties in completing its work. He also raised the concern that if states do not sign additional agreements on the enforcement of sentences of the tribunal, the tribunal will not be able to enforce future sentences. ICTR President Khalida Rachid Khan also raised staffing issues and in addition highlighted the difficulties that acquitted and released convicted individuals who had served their sentences face in leaving from Arusha, where the ICTR is located.

On 29 June, the Council adopted resolution 1993, extending the terms of certain permanent and ad-litem judges of the ICTY until 31 December 2012 or until the conclusion of their cases. The resolution also reiterates the importance of adequately staffing the tribunal and calls upon states to conclude agreements on enforcement of sentences.

On 6 July, the Council adopted resolution 1995, responding to the letter by former ICTR President Dennis Byron requesting that the ICTR statute, which is annexed to Security Council resolution 955 (1994), be amended in order for it to be possible for the president of the tribunal to be redeployed to the appeals chamber sitting in The Hague. Alternatively, Judge Byron suggested the Council authorise that an ad-litem judge be elected vice president and become president later on, after the departure of the president.  The Council decided not to amend the statute but to allow for an exception so that an ad-litem judge could be elected president or vice-president of the tribunal. The resolution also allowed Byron to work as part-time judge from 1 September, while emphasising that the authorisation is exceptional and shall not be considered a precedent.

Key Issues
The main issue in the coming months will be further work by the working group on practical arrangements for the residual mechanism encompassing both tribunals. 

The continued staffing shortage in the tribunals and the resulting impediments to completing trials, and the issues of the relocation of acquitted individuals and released convicts from the ICTR are likely to be considered again at a later stage.

Regarding the issue of enforcement of sentences, it seems that President Robinson also raised informally the possibility of the Council revisiting its decision in 1993 when it approved the recommendation of the Secretary-General that sentences not be carried out in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The ICTY may yet deliver up to 40 more sentences and lack of enforcement locations could become a reality.

Members are likely to receive but not discuss the annual reports, as is the Council’s practice.

Council Dynamics
The Council members resisted President Byron’s proposal to amend the ICTR statute in part to avoid the possible need for certain states to amend their own internal legislation on cooperation with the ICTR and its statute. The Council members also preferred not to allow the president to sit in the appeals chamber in The Hague so as to maintain the presence of the seat of the president of the ICTR in Arusha. This means that current President Khan will not be able to maintain her position if she moves to the appeals chamber. Resolution 1995‘s language also reflects the determination of several members that this exception will not entail further expenses as it clearly states that an ad-litem judge elected as president will not enjoy any additional privileges.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1995 (6 July 2011) said that an ad-litem judge may be elected president of the ICTR and authorised Judge Byron to serve as part-time judge from 1 September.
  • S/RES/1993 (29 June 2011) extended the terms of permanent and ad-litem judges of the ICTY.
  • S/RES/1966 (22 December 2010) established the residual mechanism.
  • S/RES/827 (25 May 1993) established the ICTY and adopted its Statute.

Secretary-General Report

  • S/25704 (3 May 1993) contained the suggested Statute for the ICTY and suggestions on the establishment of the Tribunal.

Security Council Letters

  • S/2011/392 (8 June 2011) was from the president of the ICTY to extend the terms of permanent and ad-litem judges.
  • S/2011/329 (5 May 2011) was from the president of the ICTR on a needed amendment to the statute to fill the position of the president.

Other Relevant Documents

  • S/2011/317 (12 May 2011) and S/2011/316 (12 May 2011) were the latest reports from the ICTR and ICTY, respectively, on implementation of their completion strategies.
  • S/PV.6545 (6 June 2011) was the latest Council briefing by the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR.

Other Relevant Facts


  • Three accused awaiting re-trial, two awaiting trial, 14 on trial and 16 at the appeals stage.


  • Nine accused at large, of which three are considered high-ranking.
  • One accused awaiting trial, ten on trial and 19 at the appeals stage.

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