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UN Security Council extends terms of ICTY judges

The UN Security Council [official website] on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution [press release] extending the terms of office for the judges [official profiles] of the International Criminal Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Resolution 1931 [text] was welcomed by the ICTY, which has been struggling with staff retention, causing a "significant slippage" in the tribunal's trial schedule. ICTY President Judge Patrick Robinson [official profile] addressed the Security Council on the importance of this issue, stating that "a failure to take action immediately on the rate of staff attrition at the Tribunal will have profound effects on the ability of the Tribunal to complete its mandate as expeditiously as possible." The new resolution will extend the terms of office for five appeals judges to the end of 2012, and the terms of eight permanent trial and 10 ad litem judges until the end of 2011, or until the completion of the caseload if sooner. The latest completion strategy report estimates that all first instance trials will be completed by mid-2012 with the exception of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive], which is expected to finish in late 2012. Most appellate work is scheduled to be completed by early 2014.

In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said that the ICTY will continue to operate [JURIST report] beyond its originally planned end date in part to apprehend the two indictees still at large, former Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladic [case materials; JURIST news archive] and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic [case materials], who both face a significant number of charges. In May, the ICTY amended the indictment of Mladic in order to help speed up the court proceedings once he is captured. Mladic's family members, who have not seen or heard from Mladic in seven years, recently asked for the former commander to be declared dead by the Serbian government [JURIST report]. Mladic is wanted on 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws and customs of war during the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. Hadzic, who was last seen fleeing his home [JURIST report] in Serbia in 2004, faces crimes against humanity charges for killings of non-Serbs and for abuses in Croatian prison camps between 1991 and 1995.

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