UNSC to authorize 'ad hoc mechanism' for warcrimes courts

A U.N. working group has already begun studying a possible follow-up body to succeed the tribunals.

UNSC to authorize 'ad hoc mechanism' for warcrimes courts

The Security Council acknowledged on Friday that a follow-up body may be needed to continue the work of U.N. war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, which are meant to wind up in 2010.

The Hague-based Yugoslavia court, set up in 1993, and the Rwanda court based in Arusha, Tanzania, established in 1994, are both struggling with their case loads and have both indicated their work is not likely to end by the deadline.

In a unanimous formal statement, the council noted "with concern" that the tribunals had already failed to meet the end-2008 deadline for first-instance trials.

"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," it said.

The mechanism should be a "small, temporary and efficient structure," it added. U.N. member states are concerned about the costs of the existing tribunals.

A U.N. working group has already begun studying a possible follow-up body to succeed the tribunals, but diplomats said this was the first time the Security Council had publicly recognized the need for one.

The Yugoslavia court will stage a major trial next year -- that of former Bosnian Serb war crimes indictee Radovan Karadzic, whose military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, also indicted by the court, is still on the run.

The court's chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said on Thursday he hoped Mladic, thought to be in Serbia, could be caught in time to put him on trial along with Karadzic.

The Security Council said it would have to authorize any "ad hoc mechanism" in a resolution. It called on the working group to focus on the "main outstanding issues" and recommend as soon as possible how the mechanism would work.

It also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within 90 days on possible locations for the mechanism, saying these should be where the United Nations is already present.

The council called on the existing tribunals to carry out their work as fast as possible and to focus on the most senior leaders indicted, transferring lesser figures to national justice systems to deal with.

It called on countries where fugitives are suspected to be hiding -- a reference to Serbia among others -- to step up efforts to arrest and hand over those indicted.

Separately, the Security Council passed a resolution on Friday authorizing Ban to appoint extra short-term judges for the Rwanda court, where five long-term judges are expected to quit soon.

Reuters

Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2008, 14:40
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