19 December 2008
Security Council

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

Security Council

6053rd Meeting (AM)



Noting with concern that the 2010 target for the completion of the work of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was unlikely to be met, the Security Council this morning emphasized that the remaining trials of those accused of serious crimes during the Balkan conflicts of the early 1990s be conducted as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In a statement read out by Neven Juric of Croatia, which holds the Council Presidency for the month of December, the 15-member body took note of the presentations made on 12 December 2008 by the President and Prosecutor of the Tribunal (see Press Release SC/9535), and assured the Court of its determination to support its efforts to complete its work at the earliest date, reaffirming the necessity of bringing to justice all indicted persons.

It underlined, however, the need for the Tribunal to concentrate its work on the prosecution and trial of the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible for crimes within their jurisdiction and that an important part of the completion strategy was referring lower-level cases to national jurisdictions.

Because high-level fugitives were still at large, it called again on all States to intensify cooperation with the Tribunal to achieve their arrest and surrender.  It also recognized that there was a need to establish a smaller, efficient ad hoc mechanism to carry out their trials after the closure of the Tribunal.

The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and adjourned at 10:29 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2008/47 reads as follows:

“The Security Council recalls its resolution 827 (1993) of 25 May 1993 which established the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and its resolution 955 (1994) of 8 November 1994 which established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (the Tribunals) and further recallsthat resolution 1503 (2003) of 28 August 2003 called upon the Tribunals to take all possible measures to complete all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008 and to complete all work in 2010 (the Completion Strategies), and that resolution 1534 (2004) of 26 March 2004 emphasized the importance of fully implementing the Completion Strategies.

“The Security Council recalls that the Tribunals were established in particular circumstances of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda as an ad hoc measure contributing to the restoration and maintenance of peace.

“The Security Council takes note of the presentations made on 12 December 2008 by the Presidents and Prosecutors of the Tribunals to the Security Council on the implementation of the Completion Strategies.

“Noting with concern that the deadline for completion of trial activities at first instance has not been met and that the Tribunals have indicated that their work is not likely to end in 2010, the Security Council emphasizesthat trials must be conducted by the Tribunals as quickly and efficiently as possible and expressesits determination to support their efforts towards the completion of their work at the earliest date.

“The Security Council reaffirms the necessity of persons indicted by ICTY and ICTR being brought to justice.

“The Security Council calls on all States, especially States where fugitives are suspected to be at large, to further intensify cooperation with, and render all necessary assistance to, ICTY and ICTR, as appropriate, in particular to achieve the arrest and surrender of all remaining fugitive indictees.

“The Council also reaffirms in this context that the referral of cases to competent national jurisdictions is an essential part of the Completion Strategiesand, in this regard, underlines again the need for the Tribunals to concentrate their work on the prosecution and trial of the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible for crimes within their jurisdiction and urges the Tribunals to work with relevant national authorities to secure the transfer of cases which do not involve this level of responsibility for prosecution by competent national jurisdictions.

“The Security Council acknowledges the need to establish an ad hoc mechanism to carry out a number of essential functions of the Tribunals, including the trial of high-level fugitives, after the closure of the Tribunals.  In view of the substantially reduced nature of these residual functions, this mechanism should be a small, temporaryand efficient structure.  Its functions and size will diminish over time.  Its expenses will be expenses of the Organization in accordance with Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council emphasizes that any such mechanism will derive its authority from a Security Council resolution and from Statutes and Rules of Procedure and Evidence based on those existing for ICTY and ICTR, modified as appropriate, and that accommodations may be needed to address the differing needs and circumstances of ICTY and ICTR.

“The Security Council expresses its appreciation to its Informal Working Group on International Tribunals for its work to date on the establishment of this mechanism, including through a thorough examination of which functions of the Tribunals are necessary for the administration of justice after their closure.  The Security Council requests the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals to continue its efforts in that regard and to concentrate on the main outstanding issues with a view to drafting, as soon as possible, appropriate instruments necessary for the performance of residual functions of the Tribunals.

“In order to facilitate the further work of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, the Security Council requests the Secretary-General to present a report within 90 days on the administrative and budgetary aspects of the options for possible locations for the Tribunals’ archives and the seat of the residual mechanism, including the availability of suitable premises for the conduct of judicial proceedings by the residual mechanism, with particular emphasis on locations where the United Nations has an existing presence.

“The Security Council requests the Secretariat to provide the Informal Working Group with all necessary assistance, including interpretation in the six working languages of the Council.”

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