14 September 2007
Security Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5742nd Meeting (AM)

Security Council extends term of former Yugoslavia tribunal prosecutor


for final period until end of 2007


Acting on the recommendation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council today extended through the end of this year the appointment of Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

By a vote of 14 in favour, with one abstention ( Russian Federation), the Council adopted resolution 1775 (2007), extending Ms. Del Ponte’s appointment, which was to end today, for a final period that would end on 31 December 2007.

In a letter sent to the Council President earlier this week (document S/2007/538), the Secretary-General noted that, although Ms. Del Ponte had indicated that she did not wish to be reappointed for a new term, she would be willing to have her present term extended through the end of the year, pending the appointment of a new Prosecutor.

To that end, the Secretary-General said that, as the Tribunal moved closer to the completion of its mandate, extending Ms. Del Ponte’s term would allow more time for appropriate consultations regarding the appointment of a successor.  Moreover, in the interest of the Tribunal’s continuity, stability and effectiveness, the extension would also avoid difficulties associated with an interim solution “at a critical time in its operations”.  Suggesting that the Council consider taking such action, he added that, in due course, he would submit the name of his nominee for the position of Prosecutor.

After the Council’s action, the representative of the Russian Federation said that his delegation shared the wider Council’s understanding concerning the need to defer the question of appointing a new Prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal.  There were several ways of resolving that essentially technical issue, but the method that had been introduced to address the issue appeared to be the least successful one.

The Russian Federation had long been concerned about Ms. Del Ponte’s proper understanding of her mandate.  Instead of carrying out the her important work in a manner that befit an international jurist that enjoyed the support of the international community, Ms. Del Ponte had become “some sort of quasi-political player” who had the audacity to write prescriptions on international relations.  All this had been exacerbated by the fact that the Tribunal itself had become an increasingly non-transparent, biased and costly organ of international justice.  Those were all situations that needed urgent correction.  But, for the time being, the Russian Federation tied its hopes to the new Prosecutor, who would assume the post in three and half months.

China’s representative said that, according to the two resolutions just adopted, the mandate of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda would be extended for four years, and the mandate of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia would be extended for three and a half months.  China congratulated the two officials on their respective reappointments and in their respective work.  Both officials had been working diligently.  Their duties were about to increase, as both Tribunals were faced with meeting the fast approaching deadlines for their completions strategies.   China hoped they would both continue to strive for efficiency, fairness and justice.

He said that the view just expressed by the Russian Federation could be understood.  But, given the fact Ms. Del Ponte’s appointment was only a transitional arrangement, China was ready to accept the recommendations of the Secretary-General, especially since the Tribunal was under pressure to meet the completion strategy deadline.  Ms. Del Ponte should do her best to meet that goal and to lay the groundwork for her successor.

The United Kingdom’s representative said that, while she had not intended to take the floor today, in light of the previous explanations, she wished to place on record her delegation’s strong support for the Tribunal and the work of all its Prosecutors, particularly Carla Del Ponte.  Under her stewardship, a number of outstanding fugitives had been reduced to a handful.  The Prosecutor had been responsible for seeing delivered to the Tribunal some of the most prominent Tribunal indictees.  The United Kingdom did not think it helped foster widespread support for the Tribunal for there to be a suggestion of disagreement by the Council over its work.  She said that in light of certain statements from one country in the region that undermined the Tribunal’s work.

Continuing, she hoped that the Tribunal’s two most prominent outstanding indictees -- Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic -- would not gain succour from today’s result, or believe they could challenge with impunity the Council’s will that they be transferred speedily to the Hague.  The Council had adopted two resolutions in 2003 and 2004, both under Chapter VII of the Charter, making clear that should they be arrested and transferred, they would be tried at the Tribunal, at whatever stage of the completion strategy.

The representative of France, the Council’s President for September, reaffirmed his support for Ms. Del Ponte’s work and France’s full resolve to continue to cooperate fully with the Tribunal in the pursuit of its tasks.

The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 10:23 a.m.

The full text of resolution 1775 (2007) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolution 1504 (2003) of 4 September 2003,

Having regard to Article 16 (4) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,

Aware that the term of office for Ms. Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia expires on 14 September 2007,

Noting the need to ensure a smooth transition between the departure of Ms. Carla Del Ponte and the assumption of office of her successor,

Having considered the request of the Secretary-General to extend the appointment of Ms. Del Ponte from 15 September 2007 to 31 December 2007 (S/2007/538),

Noting the intention of the Secretary-General to submit the name of his nominee for the position of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,

Decides, notwithstanding the provisions of article 16 (4) of the Statute, to extend for a final period the appointment of Ms. Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with effect from 15 September 2007 until 31 December 2007.”

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For information media • not an official record