Tribunal for former Yugoslavia faces challenges in completing its work

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Judge Theodor Meron

It is difficult to precisely predict when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) may complete its work.

That's what Judge Theodor Meron, the President of the tribunal which is trying people charged with war crimes during the Balkan wars in the 1990s, told the Security Council on Wednesday.

Reporting on progress that the tribunal is making in its completion strategy, Judge Meron said there are cases which are expected to be completed faster than originally forecast.

Regarding cases currently before the tribunal, he said the trial of Radovan Karadžić is expected to conclude by 31 December 2014, that of Goran Hadžić by 31 December 2015 and Ratko Mladić by 31 July 2016.

Judge Meron said the tribunal continues to face a myriad of challenges in meeting the estimated completion dates for some of its cases.

"I am well aware of the frustrations that Council members may feel when faced with shifts in forecasted completion dates, particularly when updated forecasts fall short of expectations. I share that frustration. However, I must underscore that predicting the completion dates for trial and appellate proceedings is more akin to an art than a science, and the forecasts the Tribunal provides must be understood in this context."

(Duration: 29")

Judge Meron said the challenges facing the Tribunal include the complexity of its cases, which can surpass that found in proceedings before national courts, and the Tribunal's reliance on States' cooperation with requests for evidence.

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