President Agius briefs UN Security Council on progress of Mechanism work
Arusha, The Hague, 13 December 2021– The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), Judge Carmel Agius, today presented the Mechanism’s nineteenth progress report to the United Nations Security Council.
President Agius commenced his address by reflecting upon resolution 2529 (2020), adopted by the Council following its third review of the Mechanism’s work, and which the Mechanism views as a tool by which it can gauge its performance. This resolution has remained at the forefront as the Mechanism strives to fulfil the requests of the Council contained therein. In this regard, the President informed the Council of the strong progress made during the reporting period, noting that resolution 2529 (2020) has largely been implemented.
President Agius highlighted the timely delivery of three judgements that had been projected for June of this year: the appeal judgement in the Mladić case, as well as trial judgements in the Stanišić and Simatović case and the Nzabonimpa et al. contempt case. He credited this achievement to the remarkable efforts of Mechanism Judges, staff and Defence teams and their determination to overcome obstacles that could have derailed the cases. The President signalled to the Security Council that, as a result of the favourable performance during the pandemic, the Mechanism has entered a new chapter in its operations. The core driver of the Mechanism’s activities – its pending judicial caseload – is now limited to appeal proceedings in the above-mentioned cases and the trial in the case against Félicien Kabuga.
Turning to the Mechanism’s continued efforts to enhance effective and transparent management, President Agius referred to the hard work done to implement of the outstanding recommendations of Office of Internal Oversight Services and, in particular, the steps taken to combine strategic thinking of the three organs on the future of the Mechanism’s numerous remaining functions.
Next, President Agius informed the Security Council of a major breakthrough in the longstanding situation of the acquitted or released persons who have been living in a safe house in Arusha. On 15 November 2021, a milestone agreement was concluded between the Republic of Niger and the United Nations to relocate of all nine of these persons to the territory of the Republic of Niger. This agreement has already been implemented with respect to eight of the nine persons concerned. The President expressed his deepest gratitude to Mechanism Registrar, Abubacarr Tambadou, for his exceptional efforts in securing this outcome, and to the Republic of Niger, currently presiding over the Council, for its “outstanding assistance and demonstrated commitment to international justice”.
Finally, in discussing the need for continued State cooperation with the Mechanism, the President once again called on the Republic of Serbia to fulfil its international obligations, by arresting and transferring to the Mechanism, Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta.
In concluding, President Agius underscored the Mechanism’s determination to “keep achieving results that defy these challenging times” and its undoubted “resolve to do everything within its power towards the optimal fulfillment of its mandate”.