The United Nations war crimes tribunal is nearing completion

Chief Justices and Prosecutors with the International Surplus Mechanism for Criminal Courts (IRMCT) briefed ambassadors on the progress made over the past two years as the country moves closer to a successful conclusion.

The mechanism was established by the Council to continue the essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which closed in December 2015, and another body of the former Yugoslavia, the ICTY, which closed in December 2015. ended two years later.

A proud legacy

“The work of the Mechanism and its predecessors has has contributed to justice on two continents, creating a rich system of international criminal jurisprudence and creating a repository of important lessons learned. for future courts,” said Judge Graciela Gotti Santana, President of IRMCT, emphasizing the need to protect this legacy.

She said the focus was on providing the Council with forecasts for completion of all activities and delivery options for remaining activities. A framework document was submitted in April.

Furthermore, budget requirements have been reduced by more than a quarter, the field office in Rwanda’s capital Kigali will close in September and just under half of the positions will be eliminated by December.

Streamline operations

“After transitioning to the remaining pure functions, we scaled back and streamlined operations, but still determined to complete the final stages of the mission you have entrusted us,” she said.

Ms. Gotti Santana noted that important work still needs to be done and requires significant resources.

“The mechanism is still responsible for monitoring the execution of judgments 41 convicted people are serving their sentences in 12 states and seven others under our jurisdiction,” she said.

“Going forward, it is expected that work related to this function will increase, as more and more prisoners reach the threshold for consideration for early release.”

Preserving a ‘powerful resource’

Another mandatory task concerns the management, preservation and facilitation of access to the archives of the Mechanism and of the two former courts.

“This function is closely linked to one of my key priorities, namely strengthening the rich legacy of these courts, which can serve as powerful resources to combat denialism and revisionism.

Demonstration of justice

IRMCT prosecutor Serge Brammertz said the fact that all 253 people indicted by the court have now been announced “is an important demonstration of the determination of the international community to ensure justice for these atrocious crimes.” violence,” although adding that more justice is still needed.

Over the past two years, the Prosecutor’s Office received 629 requests for assistance from United Nations Member States, providing support for approximately 219 national case files.

While Rwanda and the countries of the former Yugoslavia are important partners, the Office has also met with prosecutors from Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa, Belgium, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries. other places.

There needs to be greater responsibility

“Our national colleagues know that there are people guilty of genocide living in their countries with impunity, some of whom have already been cleared. And they know it every case is about the victims and survivors who are still waiting for justice to be servedhe say.

Today, bringing perpetrators to justice is now the responsibility of national courts, he said, and while countries have achieved significant results, more accountability is needed.

“Rwandan authorities are still trying to bring more than 1,000 fugitives to justice genocidal people. Similarly, prosecutors in the former Yugoslavia still have thousands of war suspects to investigate and prosecute.

“Domestic authorities in third-party Member States, particularly in Europe and North America, are also prosecuting these cases under a ‘no safe haven’ policy,” he said.

Mr. Brammertz emphasized that “it is essential to continue this work – of course for victims and survivors, but also for Member States, which have placed accountability to the fore at the national level, to ensure the rule of law and promote reconciliation.”


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