Arusha, 26 November 2007 (FH) - Claude Jorda, former president of the Court of Appeal of the international tribunals, estimated Monday in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde that not being able to try all their defendants in person, the international tribunals should do it in absentia.   

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"Must we close the tribunal? Maybe a lawsuit in absentia is better. Common Law persons do not support this kind of procedure but if we have the possibility of trying in absentia, with all the guarantees in the event of an arrest, that would make the international community reflect", affirms the French judge who resigned from the ICC in August.
In accordance with the rules of the international tribunal on Lebanon, which he is one of the writers, a "ad abstentia" judgment would be final if the defendant is represented by a lawyer or, for lack of a lawyer, the arrested defendant would have right to a new trial. "It is a procedure which makes it possible to complete this symbolic system of international justice. Without it I believe that the leaders end up weighing more than justice and the victims", he adds in his interview.
"I have a political vision of international justice in the noble sense", says Jorda. "The political debate is before the United Nations Security Council in simple terms: You created this tribunal, we are charged to make it work, do not ask us to do all and its opposite", he explained, specifying: "it does not always work".
"Even if the ICTR knew major political problems, I remember having convicted in appeal the former Prime Minister of Rwanda Jean Kambanda", points out Claude Jorda. In addition to Kambanda, Judge Jorda confirmed the majority of the first instance judgments of the tribunal, as well as the first acquittal.
Among the "founding fathers" of international justice, according to his peers, Judge Jorda denies the risk of a justice alibi "... we had between our hands the code of criminal procedures. I believe on more than one occasion the Security Council had to regret having giving us this weapon".

© Hirondelle News Agency