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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Genocides could have been avoided – Hassan Jallow

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Speaking in Srebrenica this week as part of a weeklong visit to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia, Prosecutor Jallow said: “What happened here and in Rwanda could have been stopped. We must learn a lesson from this to ensure that such crimes never happen again”. 

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On 11 September, in Grabovica and Bradina the prosecutor also expressed his deep sympathies over the tragedies that took place in those localities and said that his office would do all it can to facilitate national efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Jallow made the trip in his capacity as prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), established by the UN Security Council on 22 December 2010 to carry out a number of essential functions of ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after the completion of their respective mandates.

The former Gambian attorney general has been ICTR prosecutor since 3 October 2003, and was appointed MICT prosecutor on 1 March 2012. He has assumed numerous responsibilities from the ICTY, including dealing with possible appeals in ICTY completed trials of Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić, Goran Hadžić and Vojislav Sešelj. MICT is also supporting national judiciaries’ work on war crimes cases through providing access to a variety of evidence gathered during ICTY investigations. 

During the visit, he held meetings with the ministers of foreign affairs and justice, and with other officials. In the meetings, the prosecutor discussed the transition of functions, jurisdictions and powers from the ICTY to the MICT.  He also met chief prosecutors, including Vladimir Vukčević, Goran Salihovič and Dinko Cvitan, to discuss their cooperation and sign memoranda of understanding regarding the framework for continued assistance of his office in facilitating access to evidence in The Hague. Mr Jallow said he was pleased to note that all interlocutors affirmed their willingness to cooperate with his office.   

The establishment of the Mechanism is a key step of the Completion Strategies of the two Tribunals. It is a new small, temporary and efficient body, tasked with continuing the “jurisdiction, rights and obligations and essential functions” (UNSC Resolution 1966) of the ICTR and the ICTY; and maintaining the legacy of both institutions.

The MICT comprises two branches. One branch covers functions inherited from the ICTR and is located in Arusha, Tanzania. It commenced functioning on 1 July 2012. The other branch is located in The Hague, and inherited functions from the ICTY. It commenced functioning on 1 July 2013.

During the initial period of the Mechanism’s work, there will be a temporal overlap with the ICTR and the ICTY as these institutions complete outstanding work on any trial or appeal proceedings which are pending as of the commencement dates of the respective branches of the MICT.

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