ICTY President Carmel Agius today spoke before the United Nations Security Council on the achievements of the Tribunal over the past six months and the challenges faced in the completion of its mandate.
President Agius reported that all cases scheduled for completion in the current reporting period have been delivered on time, including the trial judgements for Radovan Karadžić and Vojislav Šešelj and the appeal judgements in both the Stanišić & Simatović case and the ICTR case of Nyiramasuhuko et al. As a result, only two trials and two appeals remain pending before the Tribunal. Judgement in the Stanišić & Župljanin appeal has been scheduled for delivery on 30 June 2016, and the ongoing Mladić trial and Prlić et al. appeal remain on target. In the Hadžić trial, stayed for an indefinite period due to the poor health of the accused, the Trial Chamber is soon to rule on a motion filed by the Prosecutor to formally terminate the proceedings.
Referring to a pending contempt of court case against Jojić et al., President Agius informed the Security Council that the arrest warrants issued against the three accused over 16 months ago are yet to be executed. He expressed disappointment at the recent rulings of the High Court in Belgrade, which held that the conditions for surrendering and arresting the accused had not been met and that Serbia has no duty to cooperate with the Tribunal on matters of contempt. President Agius described this as “a grave step backwards in matters of cooperation with the Tribunal and an unacceptable disregard of the primacy of Tribunal law over the domestic law of Serbia as intended by the Security Council”.
President Agius also addressed the challenges facing the Tribunal during its final biennium. In particular, he called upon the Security Council to assist the Tribunal in implementing strategies to retain staff until the completion of its mandate. The President paid tribute to the tireless efforts of Judges and staff to ensure that cases are finished on time, adding, “Given the Tribunal’s results in the last reporting period, any concerns about the Tribunal’s commitment to concluding proceedings by the end of 2017 should be put to rest.”
The President thanked the members of the Security Council and the UN Secretariat for their continued support. Underscoring the joint efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the most atrocious crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, he said, “Even if more than two decades have passed, and even if it has been a time-consuming and laborious process, we must and we will continue to fight against the culture of impunity and for accountability and justice.”