Given the importance of staff retention for the timely completion of the work of the United Nations tribunal set up in the wake of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, the Security Council today adopted a resolution extending the terms of a number of judges so they can finish the cases assigned to them.
The resolution on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) received 14 votes in favour, while Russia abstained.
The ICTY, which is based in The Hague, is tasked by the Council with trying those responsible for the worst war crimes and other breaches of international humanitarian law committed during the various conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Since its inception 19 years ago, the tribunal has indicted 161 persons.
In its resolution, the Council requested that the tribunal takes “all possible measures” to complete its work as expeditiously as possible to facilitate its closure by 31 December 2014, and to present by 15 April 2013 a consolidated comprehensive plan on the completion strategy, closure and transition to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).
Set up by the Council in December 2010, the Residual Mechanism is mandated to take over and finish the remaining tasks of the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) once their mandates expire. The Council has urged the two tribunals to conclude their work by the end of 2014.
The ICTR branch of the Residual Mechanism, based in Arusha, began its functions on 1 July, while the ICTY branch in The Hague is scheduled to begin on 1 July 2013.
By the resolution, the Council extended the term of office of the following permanent judges until 31 December 2013 or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned, if sooner: Carmel Agius of Malta, Liu Daqun of China, Theodor Meron of the United States, Fausto Pocar of Italy, Patrick Robinson of Jamaica, Jean-Claude Antonetti of France, Guy Delvoie of Belgium, Burton Hall of The Bahamas, Christoph Flagge of Germany, O-Gon Kwon of South Korea, Bakone Justice Moloto of South Africa, Howard Morrison of the United Kingdom, and Alphons Orie of The Netherlands.
The following ad litem, or temporary, judges were extended until 1 June 2013 or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned, if sooner: Elizabeth Gwaunza of Zimbabwe, Michÿle Picard of France, Arpfid Prandler of Hungary, and Stefan Trechsel of Switzerland.
Ad litem judges Frederik Harhoff of Denmark, Melville Baird of Trinidad and Tobago, Flavia Lattanzi of Italy, and Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua of the Democratic Republic of Congo were extended until 31 December 2013 or until they completed the cases to which they are assigned, if sooner.