September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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International Criminal Tribunals

Expected Council Action
In September the Council is expected to adopt a resolution appointing the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The working group on international tribunals may meet in September to review the draft rules of procedure and evidence for the residual mechanism, encompassing both ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Key Recent Developments
On 3 April 2008, Ramush Haradinaj, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and his associate Idriz Balaj, were acquitted by the trial chamber of the ICTY of charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including cruel treatment, murder and rape of Serbian citizens and detainees in Kosovo in 1998. Lahi Brahimaj, another associate, was convicted of cruel treatment and torture and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was found not guilty on all other charges.

On 21 July 2010, the appeals chamber of the ICTY partially revoked the judgment of the trial chamber and ordered that Haradinaj and Balaj be retried on six counts of war crimes and Brahimaj retried on four counts of war crimes. The appeals chamber accepted the prosecution’s argument that the trial chamber erred when it refused requests for additional time to exhaust all reasonable steps to secure the testimony of two crucial witnesses. The appeals chamber determined that the trial chamber also erred when it subsequently ordered the prosecution to close its case before such reasonable steps could be taken. On 18 August, the re-trial of the three commenced.

On 29 July 2011, the Secretary-General submitted the annual report of the ICTR to the General Assembly and the Security Council. The annual report of the ICTY was submitted on 31 July 2011. The reports discussed the completion of the tribunals’ caseload and highlighted the challenges posed by staff attrition towards meeting the objectives of the completion strategy. The ICTR report also flagged that three persons acquitted by the tribunal cannot return to Rwanda and are in need of other countries to accommodate them.

On 11 September 2007, the Secretary-General nominated Hassan Jallow for reappointment as prosecutor at the ICTR for a second four-year term. (According to Article 15, paragraph 4 of the ICTR Statute, the prosecutor is appointed for a four-year term by the Council upon the nomination of the Secretary-General, and is eligible for reappointment). On 14 September 2007, the Council adopted resolution 1774, reappointing Jallow as prosecutor for a second term, ending on 14 September 2011.

In July 2011, the draft rules of procedure and evidence for the residual mechanism were circulated to Council members. The draft rules were prepared by the UN Office of Legal Affairs and jointly revised by the tribunals. According to resolution 1966, the rules of procedure and evidence are to take effect upon adoption by the judges of the mechanism unless the Council decides otherwise.

Key Issues
An immediate issue for the Council to address is the appointment and length of term of the ICTR prosecutor.

An ongoing issue in the coming months will be further work by the working group on practical arrangements for the residual mechanism.

Options for the Council include:

  • reappointing Jallow or appointing a new prosecutor, more than likely for a term of four years in accordance with the ICTR Statute; or
  • appointing the ICTR prosecutor for a shorter term, while amending or creating an exception to the ICTR Statute.

Council Dynamics
Council members may need to discuss the draft rules of procedure and evidence for the residual mechanism over several meetings of the working group. Council members are especially concerned that amendments made by the tribunals to the draft rules of procedure should not expand the structure and role of the residual mechanism, resulting in an eventual increase in its expenditures.

The working group may discuss the appointment of the ICTR prosecutor in September if the Secretary-General announces his nominee prior to the scheduled meeting. After the establishment of two separate prosecutors for the tribunals and the designation of an African as ICTR prosecutor in 2003, the appointment of the ICTR prosecutor has not been surrounded by much political debate, especially as the tribunal is nearing completion of its work. The resolution on the appointment may also call on the ICTR to take all possible measures to complete its work and, progress permitting, subject it to earlier termination by the Council.

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/1966 (22 December 2010) established the residual mechanism.
  • S/RES/1774 (14 September 2007) reappointed Jallow as the prosecutor for the ICTR.

Security Council Letters

  • 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.
  • S/2007/539 (11 September 2007) was from the Secretary-General to reappoint Jallow as prosecutor of the ICTR.

Other Documents

  • S/2011/473 (31 July 2011) and S/2011/472 (29 July 2011) were the annual reports of the presidents of the ICTY and ICTR submitted to the Security Council and the General Assembly.
  • S/2011/317 (12 May 2011) and S/2011/316 (12 May 2011) were the 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 on 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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