June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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International Criminal Tribunals

Expected Council Action
In June, the Council will hold a debate on the international criminal tribunals. 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.

A resolution is expected on the extension of four ICTR judges’ terms. If the ICTY’s president submits a technical request relating to the extension of judges’ mandates, the Council may adopt an additional resolution responding to the request.

The Council 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 December 2011, the presidents of the ICTY and the ICTR, Judge Theodor Meron and Judge Khalida Rachid Khan respectively, and the prosecutors of both tribunals, Serge Brammertz and Hassan Bubacar Jallow, briefed the Council. They emphasised that staff retention and lack of state cooperation in certain areas threatened the successful completion of the tribunals’ work. (All four also attended the meeting of the Council’s informal working group on international tribunals on 6 December.)

On 21 December 2011, the Council adopted resolution 2029, extending the terms of four trial judges and eight ad litem judges at the ICTR until 30 June 2012 or sooner if their trials were completed.

On 29 February, the Council adopted resolution 2038, appointing Jallow as prosecutor of the residual mechanism for a term of four years, starting 1 March. Jallow will continue to hold his current position as ICTR prosecutor alongside his new one.

On 20 October 2011, the Secretary-General sent the Council a list of judicial nominees for the roster of the residual mechanism. On 16 November, the president of the Council sent a letter to the President of the General Assembly with 36 nominees. In accordance with the statute of the mechanism, on 16 and 20 December, the General Assembly voted and finalised the roster of 25 judges.

On 9 April, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Council two letters from the president of the residual mechanism, Judge Meron, and the newly appointed president of the ICTR, Judge Vagn Joensen. The judges requested the Council to adopt a resolution allowing for the prospective appeals in three cases currently pending at the ICTR to be heard by the appeals chamber of the ICTR rather than the residual mechanism. (According to Article 2[2] of the statute of the mechanism annexed to resolution 1966, appeals on ICTR judgments filed after the ICTR branch of the mechanism becomes operative on 1 July shall be heard by the mechanism.) According to the judges, such a decision would serve organisational efficiency as the appeals phase of these cases was calculated within the ICTR’s budgetary projections.

The working group held three recent meetings—on 30 March, 30 April and 10 May. During the meetings, Council members submitted written and oral comments on the rules of procedure of the residual mechanism. Around the end of the month, the UN Office of Legal Affairs will send all the comments and suggestions back to the tribunals to be finalised before 1 July. According to the statute of the residual mechanism, the Council may alter the final version of the rules of procedure if it so chooses.

Another issue discussed in the working group was the letters by judges Meron and Joensen. The working group also discussed the draft bulletin prepared by the Secretary-General on the classification, secure handling and provision of authorised access to records and information entrusted to or produced by the tribunals and soon-to-be-operative residual mechanism. Article 27 of the statue of the mechanism stipulates that the mechanism shall be responsible for the management of, and access to, the ICTR and ICTY document archives.

At press time, the Council has received an advanced copy of the ICTR report. The report states that in December 2011, the appeals chamber upheld a decision to refer an ICTR case to Rwandan courts for the first time. A decision on the referral of the last accused person remaining in pre-trial custody to Rwandan courts is expected in early June, and if that case is referred, all ICTR trial work is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Additionally, the report requests the extension of four judges’ terms.

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 tribunals working group on practical arrangements for the residual mechanism.

Options for the Council include:

  • adopting a technical resolution extending the judges’ terms for the ICTR and responding to a possible request submitted by the ICTY; and
  • laying out solutions or options the Secretariat should employ to address the staffing issues.

Council Dynamics
At press time, the Council had received a request from the ICTR to extend four judges’ terms. Only if such a request is out of the ordinary will it require substantive discussion in the working group.

The request by judges Meron and Joensen to allow for appeals commencing after 1 July to be heard before the ICTR, brought about a split in the working group. Some members thought the Council should take measures to grant the request as a matter of efficiency. Other Council members were against creating an exception to the residual mechanism’s statute as a matter of principle since in their view such action undermines the Council’s authority over the tribunals and the mechanism. Given the lack of consensus, the judges withdrew their request and Council members will not have to take a formal decision on the matter, though the issue may arise again when the presidents meet with the working group in June.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2038 (29 February 2012) appointed Jallow as the prosecutor of the residual mechanism.
  • S/RES/1966 (22 December 2010) established the residual mechanism.

Security Council Letters

  • S/2012/349 (22 May 2012) transmitted the latest report of the ICTR to the Council.
  • S/2012/218 (9 April 2012) was from judges Meron and Joensen on the appeals process in the ICTR.
  • A/66/564 (16 November 2011) was from the President of the Council to the President of the General Assembly containing the nominees for the judges roster of the residual mechanism.
  • 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.

Security Council Meeting

  • S/PV.6678 (7 December 2011) was the latest Council briefing by the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR.


  • GA/11199 (20 December 2011) was the General Assembly’s final round of voting on the judges roster of the residual mechanism.
  • GA/11197 (16 December 2011) was the General Assembly’s first two rounds of voting.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Working Group on International Tribunals

Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala)


  • One accused awaiting trial, 17 on trial and 20 at the appeals stage


  • Nine accused at large, of which three are considered high-ranking
  • One accused awaiting trial, eight on trial and 15 at the appeals stage

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