Arusha, January 13, 2011 (FH) - The United Nations Security Council has at last adopted resolution 1966 of December 2010 to establish the International Residual Mechanism which will take care of the remaining tasks of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and that of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) when both complete their mandates.

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The resolution among others demanded the two ad hoc tribunals ‘' to take all possible measures to complete all their remaining work no later than December 31, 2014 and decided that the Mechanism would continue their jurisdiction, rights, obligations and essential functions subject to provision of the current resolution and the statute of the Mechanism.''

According to the resolution, the Council has decided that the Mechanism for ICTR would commence its operations on July 1, 2012 whereas that of ICTY would kick off one year later, on July 1, 2013.

However the two tribunals shall have competence to complete all trial or referral proceedings which are pending with them as of the commencement date of the respective branch of the mechanism.

The resolution elaborated that ‘'if fugitive indicted by ICTY or ICTR is arrested more than 12 months, or if a retrial is ordered by the Appeals Chamber more than six months prior to the commencement date of the respective branch of the mechanism, the ICTY or ICTR, respectively, shall have competence over such person.''

The tribunals will act in accordance with their respective statutes and rules of procedure  and evidence to conduct and complete the trial of such person, or refer the case to the authorities of the state, as appropriate.       

Mandate of the mechanism

The mechanism which has a total of 32 articles states that ‘' It shall continue the material, territorial, temporal and personal jurisdiction of the ICTY and ICTR.''

It shall have the power to prosecute in accordance with the provision of the present statute, the persons indicted by ICTY or ICTR who are among the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible for crimes.     

In the case of the ICTR, there are 10 most wanted genocide suspects still on the run including former Rwandan wealthy businessman, Felicien Kabuga, ex-minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana and the former Commander of the Presidential Guard Battalion (GP), Protais Mpiranya.

The mechanism is also charged with transferring to UN member state national jurisdictions other accused suspected to have committed genocide who are not among the most senior leaders.   

Organs of the mechanism

The mechanism comprises of two branches, one for the ICTY with its seat in The Hague whereas the other one is for the ICTR with its head office in Arusha, Tanzania.

Each branch of the mechanism will have one Trial Chamber but served with an Appeals Chamber common to both branches and one prosecutor dealing with prosecutions and a registrar responsible for the administrative and financial matters common to both branches of the mechanism.

According to the statute, the mechanism will have a roster of 25 independent judges to be known as ‘'judges of the mechanism''. They will be elected by the UN General Assembly from a list submitted by Security   Council. On the other hand the President of the mechanism shall be appointed by the UN Secretary General as a full time President after consultations with President of the Security Council and judges of the mechanism and furthermore President of the mechanism shall also be a member of the Appeals Chamber, appoints other members of the bench and preside over its proceedings.

The Prosecutor of the mechanism will be appointed by the Security Council on nomination by the Secretary General. The Prosecutor shall be present in either seat of the branches of the mechanism, either in Arusha or The Hague as necessary to exercise his or her functions. He or she shall serve at that capacity for a period of four years term and be eligible for reappointment.

A person in charge of the administration of the mechanism according to the statute is the Registrar who will be appointed by Secretary General for a renewable contract of four years term. The Registrar shall be present in either seat of the branches of the mechanism to exercise his duties.

The archives     

The Security Council has at last made a decision on the most awaited issue on where to store and manage the archives of the two tribunals. ‘'The mechanism shall be responsible for the management, including preservation and access, of these archives. The archives of the ICTY and the ICTR shall be co-located with the respective branches of the mechanism.'' It states that for the ICTY the archive will be in The Hague whereas for the ICTR it will be in Arusha.

According to the statute, in managing the archives, ‘' the Mechanism shall ensure the continued protection of confidential information, including information concerning protected witnesses, and information provided on a confidential basis.''     


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