PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL, ASKS FOR CHANGE IN COURTS STATUTE20000620
The President of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia asked the Security Council this morning to amend the Tribunal's Statute to facilitate the creation of a pool of judges who would be called upon when a case was trial- ready and who would try only that one case.
Changes in the Statute dealing with the creation of ad litem judges might be used to introduce other modifications, Judge Claude Jorda said as he briefed the Council on the report of an Expert Group established to evaluate the operations of the International Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Such modifications would include those dealing with compensation for persons unjustly detained or prosecuted, or suggestions relating to the payment of compensation to victims through the seizure of the revenues of convicted accused.
He said that recourse to ad litem judges, and mechanisms for selecting and assigning them, seemed far less costly than the creation of additional chambers comprising permanent judges. Such a solution was best adapted to the irregular pace of indictments, arrests, or even incidents that might affect the pre-trial phase of a case. Also, the expeditious and effective conduct of the pre-trial phase could be handled partly by professional legal specialists, under the authority of the pre-trial judges.
The Yugoslavia Tribunal had reached a turning point in its history, he said. With significant political changes in the Balkans, arrests of those suspected of serious violations of international humanitarian law had become more regular and frequent while trials had become increasingly complex. From the Prosecutor's perspective, pre-trial detention had given rise to disputes over requests for provisional release.
He said the Tribunal had been set up at a time when conflict was still raging in the Balkans. While trying those responsible for humanitarian violations was the essential raison dêtre for any criminal court, justice of the type being rendered in The Hague must be exemplary. It must also conform to the highest standards of international humanitarian law in respect of both the victims and the accused.
Six years after starting with nothing, he noted, the Tribunal had indicted 96 individuals, rendered 16 judgments and several hundred interlocutory decisions and orders of various sorts. Above all, the Tribunal had demonstrated that an international judiciary institution was both feasible and operational. Its failure would deal an extremely heavy blow to the future International CriminalSecurity Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6879 4161st Meeting (AM) 20 June 2000
Court at the very moment when many States were on the point of ratifying the Treaty that established it.
Council President Jean David Levitte (France), speaking in his national capacity, said that delays and long procedures were not only a judicial matter, but also a political one. If justice must wait, so must peace. The Council did not intend to deprive States of the opportunity to try those who had committed crimes against humanity, but in some cases States were unwilling or unable to prosecute. Although the Council had created ad hoc Tribunals, it must also pay attention to the reform and reinforcement of the national judicial systems that should take over in the future.
Expressing his country's serious reservations about the Tribunals work, the representative of the Russian Federation said it had been believed at the organ's inception that it would contribute significantly to resolving the problems of the former Yugoslavia in a manner free of politicization. However, the Tribunal had taken a clearly anti-Serb line, while turning a blind eye to humanitarian violations by other groups. It had taken no action, even though last year's bombing campaign by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians and the destruction of non-military targets.
The representative of the United States, however, rejected the accusations of bias, saying they were neither justified nor productive. The countries making those accusations had been full participants in the Tribunal's formation, he said. He stressed that long-term peace and stability would not be possible in the Balkans while the Belgrade Government remained in power. The Security Councils task was to strengthen the Tribunals ability to bring about international justice, and the Prosecutors ability to bring those indicted to account must not be weakened in any way.
Ukraine's representative expressed his country's continuing concern about the absence from the Tribunal of judges from Eastern Europe. A wide representation in the Tribunal of judges from all regional groups -- as was the case in practically all United Nations organs -- was important for the effectiveness and credibility of the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Also, the Security Council should not create the impression that the similar problems now facing the Rwanda Tribunal were less important or pressing, he said. The changes contemplated in the Yugoslavia Tribunal would be difficult to approve without adopting the same approach to the workload of the Rwanda Tribunal.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Jamaica, Netherlands, Canada, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, China, Argentina, Tunisia, Malaysia and Namibia.
The meeting began at 10:51 a.m. and adjourned at 1:27 p.m.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6879 4161st Meeting (AM) 20 June 2000
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning for a briefing by Claude Jorda, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
The Tribunal was established by Security Council resolution 827 of 25 May 1993. According to its statute, the International Tribunal shall have the power to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991. It has its seat at The Hague, the Netherlands.
The Council had before it a letter from the Secretary-General transmitting a report of an Expert Group on the operation and functioning of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document S/2000/597). The Expert Group was established following the General Assembly's request for an evaluation of the operation of the two Tribunals. It was asked to focus on the judicial administration of the Tribunals and held its first meeting at the end of April 1999. It contains 46 recommendations.
That the Tribunals share structures that would be clearly separated in national courts has led to friction, the report states. They are unique in being dependent on the cooperation of Member States, with no coercive powers in relation to their arrest warrants, orders affecting property, obtaining access to victims or witnesses or obtaining evidence. That dependency has led to greater difficulties for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal than for the Rwanda Tribunal.
The experts state that obstacles to effective functioning of the Trial Chambers include the time allowed for procedural steps prior to trial, time needed to translate documents and the availability of judges. To reduce the extent of pre-trial detention, the experts suggest provisional release of those who have voluntarily surrendered after an initial appearance be considered, on the understanding that they could be tried in their absence if they do not reappear.
Some factors leading to prolonged trials, according to the report, are: the legal complexity in establishing guilt under the Statutes' terms; the heavy burden of proof required and, therefore, the amount of testimony needed; defendants' rights under the adversarial system; and defence tactics. They note insufficient judicial control over presentation of evidence. They suggest some possible measures to address delays, such as greater intervention on the part of trial judges, requiring parties to provide reasons for disputing facts, accepting transcripts of witnesses to other proceedings and requiring a general defence disclosure following required prosecution disclosures.
The report states there seems to be no overpowering evidence in favour of having a separate Prosecutor for each Tribunal. While the jurisdictions are not identical and the Prosecutor has spent more time at The Hague, she has nevertheless spent significant time at the Rwanda locations, and the Deputy Prosecutor for Rwanda has also spent significant periods at The Hague. Moreover, the presence of a single Prosecutor has resulted in a consistent body of prosecutorial interpretation, which is a great advantage.
The experts conclude that, while there is room for improvement, the operations and functioning of the Tribunals are reasonably effective, and have maintained respect for human rights, while demonstrating that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity.
Among the Expert Group's recommendations is a recommendation that legal assistance to judges be increased. For the Appeals Chamber, two further judges and associated staff are recommended, although they note a more satisfactory result might be obtained by permanent separation of that Chamber. The experts also state the use of ad hoc judges should be considered.
Briefing by Tribunal President
Judge CLAUDE JORDA, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said he had submitted a report on the operation of the Tribunal to the Secretary-General on 12 May. The time had come to put forth proposals designed to make the Tribunal more effective. The work of the Expert Group had given rise to 46 recommendations, many of them already implemented. The Judges report did not supplant that of the Expert Group, but was an extension of it.
The Tribunal had no real precedent, and was set up at a time when the conflict was still raging and when the leaders were still the heads of their governments, he continued. Although the Tribunal had fulfilled much of the hope placed in it, it was impossible to conceal the difficulties encountered. The establishment of the Tribunal had not prevented recidivism. The fall of the Srebrenica enclave and the thousands of Albanians expelled from Kosovo were an example, he said.
Prosecuting and trying those responsible for what happened was the essential raison dêtre for any criminal court, but for justice as extraordinary as that being rendered in The Hague, it must be exemplary. That justice must conform to the highest standards of humanitarian international law in respect of both the victims and the accused. It must move the law forward, a law which was constantly being born anew.
Starting with nothing, in six years the Tribunal had adopted several rules and directives, including the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Rules of Detention, and the Directive on the Assignment of Counsel. It had indicted 96 individuals, rendered 16 judgments on the merits and several hundred interlocutory decisions and orders of various sorts. Above all, however, it had demonstrated the fact that an international judiciary institution was both feasible and operational, he said.
The Tribunal had reached a turning point in its history. There had been significant political changes in the Balkans, the impact of which must be measured. Arrests had been more regular and more frequent and the Tribunal was now confronted with quantitative management. Trials had become increasingly complex. The perspective of the Office of the Prosecutor should also be included. Pre-trial detention had already become long and given rise to disputes over requests for provisional release. The place the Tribunal now occupied within the mechanism of humanitarian international law placed a degree of responsibility on its shoulders. A failure of the Tribunal would deal an extremely heavy blow to the future International Criminal Court at the very moment that many States were on the point of ratifying the treaty that established it, he said.
He said that the judges supported a flexible pragmatic solution that combined internal reforms (procedural, practical and organizational), rather than one which would reinforce the Chambers trial capacity. Practice of an initially highly adversarial procedure had shown that more initiative and manoeuvrability should be left to the judges, who were the custodians of the protection of the universal values that underpinned the missions assigned to them. That trend related to the pre-trial phase, whose expeditious and effective conduct was put under the control of the pre-trial judge. That phase, the pre-trial preparation, could be handled in part by professional legal specialists, acting under the authority of the judges. It would give a trial pruned of all its useless branches and focus on the real factual and legal issues. That phase would be conducted on an uninterrupted basis, independent of the chronic bottleneck in the Chambers.
Another proposed reform was the constitution of a pool of judges who would be called on as soon as a case was trial-ready and only for that one trial (ad litem judges). That solution was best adapted to the irregular pace of the indictments, arrests, or even incidents that might affect the pre-trial phase. Also, many more judges and, consequently, many more States, would participate in the work of international justice. In practical terms, the mandate assigned to the Tribunal could be shortened to the end of 2007, instead of 2016. At the time the International Criminal Court was set up, the Tribunal would have completed its task. Ad litem judges were not proposed for the Appeals Chamber.
The proposed changes would require an amendment to the Statute, he said. Changes dealing with the creation of ad litem judges might be used to introduce into the Statute several other modifications, such as those dealing with additional judges for the Appeals Chamber, compensation for persons unjustly detained or prosecuted or suggestions which relate to compensation for the victims paid by seizing the revenues of the convicted accused. Recourse to ad litem judges seemed to be the least costly solution when compared to the creation of additional Chambers composed of permanent judges, he said.
He asked for the Council to amend the Statute to introduce the principle of the creation of ad litem judges and mechanisms for selecting and assigning the judges to cases. Independent from that request, he asked the Council to consider the request for reinforcement of the Appeals Chamber as presented by the Expert Group as an intangible and unanimous request from the Arusha Judges and those in The Hague. The mechanism of a single Appeals Chamber would be able to continue to deal with the many cases before it only if it was reinforced.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his country had serious reservations about the Tribunals work. At the inception of that important organ, it had been believed that it would contribute significantly to resolving the problems of the former Yugoslavia in a manner that was free of politicization. But, increasing politicization had become apparent in the Tribunals activities.
He said that the Tribunal had taken a clearly anti-Serb line in Kosovo, while turning a blind eye to violations of humanitarian law by other groups. Indictments against Serb accused had been readily handed down, while no action had been taken against accused of other national groups. Similarly, the Tribunal had taken no action against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), even when faced with the deaths of innocent civilians and the destruction of non-military targets resulting from that organizations bombing campaign last year.
Regarding the Tribunals judicial activities, he said that when the Statute was first prepared, it had been assumed that it would strictly apply existing humanitarian laws without having the right to create new laws. In practice, the Tribunal had repeatedly tinkered with the norms and rules of international law and had given interpretations that suited itself. It had introduced the very dubious legal practice of handing down sealed indictments and submitting them to international organs.
He said it had also been wrong for the Tribunal to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with NATO behind the Security Councils back. That action went against the mandate of the Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the memorandum still had not been submitted to Council members. The Tribunal was not helping to normalize the political situation in the former Yugoslavia and its activities had been destructive of the quest for a settlement in the Balkans.
The Russian Federation was convinced that the Tribunals rules of procedure and practice should be approved by the Security Council and its activities should conform with Council resolutions. If that did not happen, the Tribunal would no longer be regarded as impartial. The Russian Federation would support the Tribunals activities as long as they were strictly in keeping with the mandate given to it by the Security Council.
CURTIS A. WARD (Jamaica) said the Tribunal was an organ of the international community and it was imperative that it receive its full support. Those who had engaged in acts against humanity should get the message that they could not escape with impunity. Procedures had, therefore, to be fair and impartial.
There had been criticism because of the long pre-trial delays, he continued. Those delays might be related to defence tactics, but also to problems in the system. Justice delayed was justice denied. Justice must be swift and certain. Pre-trial release was not a practical approach for an International Criminal Tribunal, for obvious reasons.
He believed that full consideration of recommendations was timely. Expansion of the capacity at pre-trial, trial and appeals levels required urgent attention. Appointment of professional legal specialists during the pre-trial phase and of ad litem judges should improve the Tribunals efficiency, and the period from arrest to trial would be reduced. There was concern about the structure of the Appeals Chamber. Judges of the Trial Chamber had double responsibility, and the appeals process might, therefore, be tainted. The recommendations for establishing a permanent Appeals Chamber should be supported.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) said that the creation of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals was historic and they must succeed. Long-term peace and stability in the Balkans would not be possible while the Government in Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, remained in power. Those already indicted must also be brought to justice. The Security Councils task was to strengthen the Tribunals ability to bring about international justice and the Prosecutors ability to bring those indicted to justice must not be weakened in any way.
The issue of Sierra Leone was directly related to the topic under discussion in the Council today, he said. The country could not have a peaceful and stable future until the leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were brought to justice. It was noteworthy that President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah had requested the extension of the international war crimes umbrella to cover those people. Some extension of that umbrella must be undertaken.
While the creation of a tribunal for Sierra Leone might not be the ideal solution, he said, some form must be examined positively and with a view to taking action at the earliest opportunity. Following the signing of the Lomé Agreement last year, the Secretary-General had noted that the accord could not be considered an obstacle to action against those responsible for humanitarian violations in Sierra Leone. The United States looked forward to working in partnership with Sierra Leone to move forward in that regard.
Noting that the Dayton Peace Agreement would not have been possible without the international war crimes tribunal, he expressed deep concern about attacks uttered against it during todays Council meeting. The accusations of bias were neither justified nor productive. The countries making such accusations had been full participants in the formation of the Tribunal.
PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) said the negotiations on the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal had shown that the example of the two existing Tribunals was crucial for the establishment of individual responsibility for universal crimes.
He supported many of the recommendations made, but some required further reflection. The report had diplomatic, legal and financial implications. The shortening of the trial length should be of priority concern. The Tribunal had proved itself, but it seemed that the international community had suspended its judgment until the most senior officials had been arrested. Until then, the problems of the Tribunal must be resolved.
The Tribunal had indeed reached a turning point, he said. During its seven years of operation, the Tribunal had become fully operational and had proven that universal criminal justice was possible. The importance of the suspended judgment of the international community should, however, not be underestimated. There was skepticism and disbelief, even reflected in some statements in the Council. The Tribunal must be exemplary to the end. He would actively participate in the work of the working group of legal experts.
MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) said that to the thousands of victims of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, the wheels of justice were turning too slowly. Ways must be found to expedite the work of both Tribunals, recognizing the imperative of impartiality and respect for the rights of the accused. While recognizing that international justice was expensive, Canada appreciated the implicit recognition in the reports that financial resources were not unlimited and that the Tribunals must, therefore, explore cost-effective options to achieve their mandates.
Regarding the report on the Yugoslavia Tribunal introduced by Judge Jorda, he said it was an extremely useful start in efforts to achieve more efficient international justice. Canada generally supported the contents of the report and was particularly interested in the two-pronged approach recommended by the judges: partially delegating certain pre-trial management tasks to senior legal officers; and creating a pool of ad litem judges.
He said the delegation of some pre-trial tasks could shorten the length of proceedings, and the designation of ad litem judges could allow more cases to be heard simultaneously. Ad litem judges would need to be properly integrated into the system, and it would be valuable to include some former judges of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals in that pool to ensure consistency with the jurisprudence and practice of the Tribunal.
In addition to examination of the report by the Security Council, he said, it was important to consult with others, including States that had made significant contributions to the Tribunals operation. It would also be important for the General Assembly to examine certain aspects of the report, for example, those with financial implications.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that his country was strongly committed to the work of the two international criminal courts, which were effective and impartial. The courts should be able to undertake their tasks as efficiently as possible.
It was important to consider the international criminal courts' contribution to international peace, he said. Stability could not be established without justice. It was, therefore, important to ensure a quick trial. Once an accused person was in custody, there must be minimum delay in going to court. He welcomed the fact that the Yugoslavia Tribunal had already acted on recommendations of the Expert Group. He also welcomed the analysis of the future demands on the Tribunal. The speed of trial was an issue of concern and he appreciated the degree of flexibility with which it was approached.
Certain options mentioned were not possible, he said. The Balkan region was not a suitable site for the trials. It was not possible to react to all the recommendations until the details were clearer, but two key elements should be looked at. How would the use of legal officers in the pre-trial phase increase efficiency, and, if an increased number of judges was required, what status would be best. The idea of ad litem judges should be studied carefully, but the creation of an additional Trial Chamber also deserved consideration.
The impact of increased efficiency on the Appeals Chamber had not been considered sufficiently, he said. There was a call for new judges for the Appeals Chamber from the Rwanda Trial Chamber, but other options should be considered as well.
ANWARUL CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said his country attached importance to the need to ensure justice without delay. It would favour recommendations for an increase in the number of judges and legal assistance personnel. The need for increased resources for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was obvious from Judge Jordas presentation.
Bangladesh supported the recommendation of the Expert Group that indictees bearing major responsibility be brought to justice in the first place, rather than minor perpetrators, he said. He was seriously concerned that some major political and military figures had remained at large and the Council should consider ways to secure their surrender or arrest for trial. Humanitarian laws would be better protected if individuals in the higher chain of command were brought to justice.
He stressed the need to strengthen the outreach programmes for developing public information programmes in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere throughout the world regarding the Tribunals work and objectives. He agreed with the Prosecutor that the most effective form of outreach would be hearing of the Tribunals proceedings in the former Yugoslavia. Justice being done should be seen.
It was necessary to firm up the recommendations of the Expert Group in the Security Council, he said. In order to consider the Groups report, Bangladesh would support the formation of an informal working group, which would, within a stipulated time, submit its recommendations for the Councils approval.
SHEN GUOFANG (China), stressing the need for the Tribunal to be impartial, said that only when its independence and impartiality were guaranteed could it be effective. While there were many areas of the Tribunals activities that required improvement, China hoped that it would become a truly independent and impartial dispenser of international justice, which it was not at present.
He said that some examples had been given today of the Tribunals lack of impartiality. China was aware that it faced several other problems, as had been mentioned by Judge Jorda. With respect to the lack of trial capacity, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that the right of accused persons to a speedy trial was guaranteed.
The proposed appointment of ad litem judges involved adding to the Statute and many other legal and technical requirements, he said. Such actions could not be undertaken hastily. A final solution should be based on a consideration of all factors. It was also necessary to consider the application of an equitable and balanced geographical distribution based on judicial systems used around the world.
Calling for equal opportunity in the selection of ad litem judges to participate in the Tribunals work, he said that the pre-trial stages of trials could be handled by senior legal officers under strict conditions monitored by the Trial Chamber. Efficiency should not be achieved at the expense of compliance with the Tribunals Statute.
VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) stressed the importance of the Tribunal's role in the process of reconciliation and restoring peace in the Balkan region. It was, therefore, imperative for the institution to maintain the highest standards of impartiality and to remain free of any political considerations in its activities. It was with that perspective that any proposed measures to expedite and rationalize the Tribunal's proceedings should be looked at.
He said his country continued to be concerned about the absence of judges from Eastern Europe in the Tribunal. While that situation remained in the hands of the General Assembly, the situation was hardly acceptable. Could anyone imagine the Rwanda Tribunal without African judges? A wide representation of judges from all regional groups in the Tribunal -- as was the case in practically all United Nations organs -- was important for the effectiveness and credibility of the Yugoslavia Tribunal.
The Security Council should not in any way create the impression that the similar problems now facing the Rwanda Tribunal were less important or pressing, he said. The changes contemplated in the Yugoslavia Tribunal would be difficult to approve without adopting the same approach to the workload of the Rwanda Tribunal. The two issues should be considered in conjunction.
He underlined the need for a wider dissemination of information regarding the Tribunal's activities and its role in establishing the rule of law and promoting reconciliation in the Balkans. Ukraine welcomed the launching last fall of an outreach programme focusing on countries of the former Yugoslavia. At the same time, Ukraine encouraged a broadening of that programme to other countries of the region.
ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) said that while the novelty of the Tribunal had made it necessary to amend the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Argentina believed the Tribunal was doing excellent work. The judges and others who were working to secure the prestige it enjoyed today deserved the international communitys gratitude. He supported the establishment of the Expert Group and agreed with the recommendations contained in the report submitted by Judge Jorda last May. All the proposals made should be assessed. The appointment of ad litem judges was a good option whose flexibility had led to its use in many countries. If that step were taken, the restrictions placed on the judges' powers should be considered.
ODHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said that the practical problems described by the Expert Group and the Tribunal itself should be considered carefully. Tunisia supported the proposal by the French delegation to set up an informal working group within the Security Council to make recommendations on the proposals of the Expert Group. He stressed the linkage between justice and reconciliation, which was of great importance within the Balkan region.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) agreed that it was timely to take stock of the working of the Tribunal. The analysis would facilitate the Councils arriving at the right decisions. He was concerned about the long delays of the Tribunal.
He was grateful for the pros and cons that each proposal was subjected to, but the many implications had to be closely examined by the Council members. The fact that an Expert Group was set up by the Council was therefore very helpful. He was in favour of the simplified and pragmatic approach the judges had decided on without sacrificing quality of trial process.
For the international community, it was important that justice was done, especially in the Balkan region, he said. The Tribunal should be commended for its high professionalism and their conduct as individuals. They should not be seen as representatives of their States. The criticism leveled against the Tribunal was unfair, coming from particular ethnic groups. The recommendations deserved serious consideration by the Council and all implications should be approached constructively.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) welcomed the Secretary-General's report and the proposals it contained, and also the Court itself for the service it rendered to the region. The report was a comprehensive review of the work of the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal, and he read it with a mind also to the Rwanda Tribunal. He appreciated the Tribunal's efforts to take on board the Group of Experts recommendations, and believed that, despite problems experienced in the application of new institutions, both Tribunals had passed the test of time and were viable judicial instruments dispensing justice in an exemplary fashion.
He asked what the similarities were between the processes of the Rwanda Tribunal and the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal. He also asked how the Tribunal handled political pressure from Member States, and whether that mechanism could be employed at the International Criminal Court. Namibia would be happy to participate in an informal working group to study the recommendations and proposals of the judges on the working methods and practices of both Tribunals, he concluded.
The President of the Council, JEAN DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking in his national capacity, said that the Council had demonstrated its conviction, in establishing the International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, that it was possible to reconcile independent justice with penal politics conscious of peace, democracy and national reconciliation. It was always necessary, however, to work on greater efficiency for the Tribunals.
The issue of delays and the long procedures was not only a judicial matter, but also a political one, he continued. If justice had to wait, peace must wait as well, he said. Conscious of the fact that the number of judges had already been increased by the creation of a third Trial Chamber two years ago, the number could not be increased indefinitely. Ad litem judges was an idea that deserved serious consideration, although there were issues of the Statute, the number of judges and the way they were elected that had to be addressed. He would approach the matter with an open mind.
The judges of the Tribunal for Rwanda think that reinforcement of the Appeals Chamber should be a priority. Judges for the Rwanda Tribunal should be appointed first in order to replace those who had been called to serve on the Appeals Chamber. It was also important that the judges had the necessary authority to conduct deliberations. The experts, appointed by the Secretary- General, had insisted on that point. They had also recommended a better control by the judges on procedural matters, particularly in the expansion of the functions of the pre-trial judge.
The Council did not intend to take away from States the possibility of bringing to justice those who had committed crimes against humanity. In cases where States were unwilling or unable to prosecute those criminals, the Council had created ad hoc Tribunals. But, the Council must also pay attention to the reform and reinforcement of the national judicial systems that should, in the future, take over. The Council, in considering the International Tribunals, should not abdicate its main responsibilities for maintaining peace. Criminal justice was an instrument in preventing and suppressing atrocities, but political solutions to persistent conflicts must be pursued, he said.
Judge CLAUDE JORDA, in response to comments and questions raised, said that the establishment of a working group by the Council only had advantages.
In response to the political issue of the Tribunal, he said that there were two independent branches, that of the Office of the Prosecutor and that of the judges. It was true that the majority of the accused were Serbs, but it was nowhere stipulated that the number of accused had to consist of an equal number of
all three ethnicities. As far as the remarks about the NATO were concerned, he said that prosecution was only possible based on evidence. In this case, evidence had to be gathered through cooperation of States, but the State complaining most about the matter had been least forthcoming in that cooperation.
He reiterated that the judges unanimously agreed on the idea of ad litem judges. Modalities in regards to election, among others, had to be chosen. The cost issue was also a matter for further consideration, depending on the number of ad litem judges to be installed. A small majority of the judges in The Hague were in favour of some combination of permanent and ad litem judges.
As far as the 46 recommendations of the Group of Experts was concerned, he said that the Group had not come up with any major criticism. Those recommendations concerning expediting the trials had already been anticipated by the Tribunal and had been immediately implemented. The main recommendations concerned the contamination of judges, and those recommendations had been incorporated immediately in the Rules of Evidence.
In regard to remarks about Rwanda, he said that he was not the President of the Rwanda Tribunal. With regard to the Appeals Chamber, he said that he could not speak for the Rwanda Tribunal, but there had been a plenary meeting of the judges of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the Rwanda Tribunal and five Appeals Chamber judges. There was a unanimous preference for adding two judges to the Appeals Chamber, which would be one of the best remedies for dealing with the caseload.
He was flexible on the use of ad litem judges. If the principle of ad litem judges was included in the Statute, then the principle might be followed for the Appeals Chamber as well. However, if the mandate of the Tribunal was concluded before 2007 through the inclusion of ad litem judges in the primary level, ad litem judges for the Appeals Chamber would not be necessary, he said.
He supported the initiative of establishing a working group. The Tribunal needed the Council. Those who criticized the Tribunal should come to The Hague and hear the cries of the victims. They should visit the universities to see the enormous amount of jurisprudence made available and used in The Hague and Arusha.
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