December 2011 Monthly Forecast


International Criminal Tribunals

Expected Council Action
In December the presidents and prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are expected to brief the Council.

If the tribunals’ presidents submit technical requests relating to the extension of judges’ mandates, the Council might adopt a resolution for each tribunal responding to the requests. Currently, a resolution is expected on the extension of ICTR judges terms.  

The working group on international tribunals may also hear a briefing from the presidents and prosecutors prior to their appearance in the Council and continue to discuss practical arrangements for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.

Key Recent Developments
On 7 September, the Secretary-General requested that the Council reappoint the current ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, to a new four-year term in accordance with the tribunals’ statutes. A similar letter requesting the reappointment of Serge Brammertz as prosecutor of the ICTY was sent to the Council on 13 September.

On 14 September, the Council adopted resolution 2006, reappointing Jallow as ICTR prosecutor for a new term with effect from 15 September until no later than 31 December 2014. On the same day, the Council adopted resolution 2007, reappointing Brammertz as ICTY prosecutor for a new term with effect from 1 January 2012 until no later than 31 December 2014. Both resolutions appointed the prosecutors for three-year terms, notwithstanding the four-year term stipulated in both tribunals’ statutes, thus creating an exception to the statutes. (Resolution 1966 set out 31 December 2014 as the day for the tribunals to complete their work.)

On 11 November, the two presidents of the tribunals presented their annual reports to the General Assembly. ICTY President Patrick Robinson told the Assembly that staff attrition was hampering the ability of the tribunal to complete its work. In particular, he suggested that in order to replace critical staff, the tribunal be given a waiver from UN regulations that stipulate that interns must wait six months after the completion of their posts before applying for professional posts at the tribunal.

ICTR President Khalida Rachid Khan spoke of similar concerns and stressed that nine fugitives remain at large. She called on all states, especially in the Great Lakes region and Kenya in particular, to intensify their cooperation with the ICTR in apprehending the fugitives. 

At press time, Council members have received advanced copies of the latest ICTY and ICTR reports. The ICTY report elaborates on the current status of pending cases and their estimated end dates. It stipulates that some appeals are not likely to be concluded by 31 December 2014. The report also elaborates on the office of the prosecutor’s efforts to support its regional counterparts in taking over responsibility for prosecuting war crimes cases. It expresses concern about the level of effective inter-state cooperation in the region regarding prosecution of war crimes. The report highlights the case of Radovan Stanković, who escaped from prison in May 2007 while serving a 20-year prison sentence imposed by a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Notwithstanding the prosecutor’s repeated requests, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not taken satisfactory measures to apprehend Stanković.

The ICTR report stipulates that despite continued staffing challenges, the Tribunal remains at or is close to completion of all trial work as projected by mid-2012. The last appeals heard by the Tribunal are expected to be delivered by 2014. The report stresses once again the lack of success in finding host countries for the five acquitted persons who remain in the safe houses in Arusha under the Tribunal’s protection. As cooperation of UN member states with the Tribunal does not extend to the relocation of acquitted persons, the report requests the assistance of the Security Council in finding a sustainable solution to this issue.

On 20 October, the Secretary-General sent the Council a list of judicial nominees on the roster of the residual mechanism. On 16 November, the Council sent a letter to the General Assembly with 36 nominees. In accordance with the statute of the mechanism, the General Assembly will elect 25 judges to the roster. 

The working group met on 13 September and 31 October to discuss the draft rules of procedure and evidence for the residual mechanism, prepared by the UN Office of Legal Affairs and jointly revised by the tribunals. During the 31 October meeting, Robert Young, the legal adviser of the ICRC, addressed the working group. Young requested that the rules of procedure include a rule on the confidentiality of documents and evidence obtained by the ICRC. According to the rule, such documents and evidence would not be subject to disclosure. Some Council members were supportive of the rule while others viewed it as inconsequential, as confidentiality is undisputedly accepted in the jurisprudence of both tribunals, despite its not being included in their rules of procedure.

On 17 November, Judge Theodor Meron succeeded Robinson as president of the ICTY for a two-year term. Having served as a judge at the ICTY since 2001, Meron was previously ICTY President from March 2003 to November 2005.

Key Issues
The immediate issue for the Council will be the possible requests from the tribunals’ presidents relating to the extension of judges’ mandates and other procedural issues that may arise.

Another issue is the continuing work of the working group on tribunals on practical arrangements for the residual mechanism.

Options for the Council include:

Council Dynamics
At press time, the Council had yet to receive requests from the tribunals to extend judges terms on the tribunals. Only if such requests are out of the ordinary, such as a request requiring an amendment to a tribunal’s statute or creating an exception to it, will they require substantive discussion in the working group.

Council members submitted comments on the rules of procedure in writing and orally during the meeting of the working group. It is possible that the rules will be further discussed in the working group, possibly when it convenes to meet the presidents and prosecutors of the tribunals (this meeting is also an opportunity for the working group to address any procedural requests by the tribunals). The rules of procedure will then go back to the tribunals to be finalised. According to the statute of the residual mechanism, the Council may alter the final version of the rules of procedure if it so chooses. Based on the comments received so far, it seems unlikely that Council members will deem it necessary to take action to amend the final version of the rules of procedure when received.

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2007 (14 September 2011) reappointed Brammertz as prosecutor of the ICTY.
  • S/RES/2006 (14 September 2011) reappointed Jallow as prosecutor of the ICTR.
  • S/RES/1966 (22 December 2010) established the residual mechanism.

Security Council Letters

  • S/2011/716 (15 November 2011) transmitted the latest report of the ICTY to the Council.
  • S/2011/659 (20 October 2011) was from the Secretary-General on the nominees for the judges’ roster of the residual mechanism.
  • S/2011/566 (13 September 2011) was from the Secretary-General to reappoint Brammertz as prosecutor of the ICTY.
  • S/2011/561 (7 September 2011) was from the Secretary-General to reappoint Jallow as prosecutor of the ICTR.

Security Council Meetings

  • S/PV.6613 (14 September 2011) was the meeting in which resolution 2007 was adopted.
  • S/PV.6612 (14 September 2011) was the meeting in which resolution 2006 was adopted.
  • S/PV.6545 (6 June 2011) was the latest Council briefing by the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and 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.

Other Relevant Facts


Two accused awaiting trial, 16 on trial and 20 at the appeals stage


Nine accused at large, of which 3 are considered high-ranking

One accused awaiting trial, 5 on trial and 18 at the appeals stage

Full Forecast