Press Releases

    21 January 2005

    General Assembly Adopts Resolution Extending Mandates of Seven Short-Term Judges of International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia

    It also Approves List of Civil Society Groups to Participate in High-Level Review Event on HIV/AIDS

    NEW YORK, 20 January (UN Headquarters) -- Seeking to ensure that the United Nations International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) could finish trying all the defendants before it by

    2008, the General Assembly today extended the mandates of seven short-term judges whose tenures were to expire before the end of the trials they were conducting.

    Acting speedily on a request from Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Assembly adopted a resolution which also appointed two additional ad litem judges to the war crimes Tribunal -- one to serve for a case beginning on 24 January 2005, and the other to take over a case from a departing judge.

    The Assembly’s decision follows a letter from the Secretary-General to the Presidents of both the Assembly and the Security Council, the Tribunal’s parent body, dated 7 January 2005 (document A/59/666-S/2005/9), in which Mr. Annan notes that the terms of office of the current pool of ad hoc judges for the Tribunal would end on 11 June 2005 and that, under the Tribunal’s statute, the judges were not eligible for re-election.

    The letter expressed concern that if seven of the judges were not allowed to continue adjudicating the cases on which they were working, it would be necessary to restart each trial with fresh panels of jurists, and to order the rehearing of witnesses with a new presentation of arguments. That would have substantial financial consequences and obviously have a serious negative impact on the Tribunal’s ability to achieve the target 2008 dates in its completion strategy.

    Mr. Annan also notes that Tribunal President Meron had requested that he appoint two additional members from the current pool of ad litem judges to try cases anticipated to continue beyond 11 June 2005.  Since there is no provision in the Tribunal’s statute allowing judges to continue to discharge their duties until they are replaced, or, thereafter, until they finished cases which they had begun, action by both the Council and the Assembly was needed. The Council unanimously endorsed both of the Secretary-General’s requests yesterday.

    By the resolution adopted today, the Assembly decided that, once replaced as ad litem judges, Judge Rasoazanany and Judge Swart would finish the Hadžihasanovic case; that Judge Brydensholt and Judge Eser, would finish the Oric case; that Judge Thelin and Judge Van Den Wyngaert, would finish the Limaj case; and that Judge Canivell would finish the Krajišnik case.

    The Assembly also decided that Judge Szénási, if appointed to serve in the International Tribunal for the trial of the Halilovic case, proceed, once replaced as an ad litem judge of the International Tribunal, to finish that case, which he would have begun before the expiry of his term of office, and that Judge Hanoteau, if appointed to serve in the trial of the Krajišnik case, proceed, once replaced as an ad litem judge, to finish that case.

    In other business today, the Assembly approved a list of 15 civil society groups (contained in document A/59/L.59) to participate in the round tables that will be held during the United Nations high-level meeting to review the progress achieved in realizing the commitments set out in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, to be held on 2 June 2005.

    The Assembly will reconvene in a special session on Monday, 24 January, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camps.

    * *** *