As mentioned in our earlier posts the ad hoc international criminal tribunals have been preparing to transition their responsibilities to the Mechanism after completing their mandate and marking 20 years of existence in 2014. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) closed on Dec. 31, 2015 and the Mechanism assumed it work as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the tribunal.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (the MICT)
was established by the United Nations Security Council on 22 December 2010 (S/RES/1966 (2010)) [acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter] to carry out a number of essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), after the completion of their respective mandates.
The SC Res. 1966 in its Annex I includes the Statute of the Residual Mechanism articulating the Machanism’s competence, functions, structure, and organization, the election of judges, rules of procedure and evidence, the role of the Prosecutor and Registry, investigation, trial, right of the accused, protection of victims and witnesses, judgments and penalties, appellate procedures, enforcement of sentencing, pardons, and management of the archives. The Mechanism has two branches; one covering the remaining functions of the ICTR and the other of the ICTY. According to the Mechanism’s website, it is tasked with “continuing the jurisdiction, rights and obligations and essential functions of the ICTR” and “maintaining the legacy of both institutions.”
The President of the ICTY, Theodor Meron in its address to the UN Security Council on June 7, 2012 stated:
By establishing the Mechanism, the Council has helped to guarantee that the closure of the two pioneering ad hoc tribunals does not open the way for impunity to reign once more.
The Mechanism commenced action on July 1, 2013 temporarily overlapping with the ICTR and ICTY as both tribunals complete their outstanding mandates. The Security Council expects the Mechanism to function until it is decided otherwise with periodic reviews of its progress every 2 years. The first progress report (S/2015/883) was compiled and submitted in November 2015 for the Security Council review in 2016. In paragraphs 52-59 of the status report, President Meron describes the purpose and function of the Archives and Records stating that the Mechanism has the responsibility to manage, maintain, preserve and provide access to archives of the Mechanism and the two tribunals, as required under art. 27 of the Mechanism’s statute.
It is the Mechanism’s website ensuring access to information and documents related to the tribunals as well as the documents related to the Mechanism’s work, including basic documents (statute, rules of procedure and evidence, regulations and policies, reports and publication and budget), as well as links to the ICTR and ICTY archives (including basic documents, cases, news, reports, etc.), and links to review reports submitted to the Security Council on the progress of the Mechanism, news, and documents related to cases handled by the Mechanism.