East African Court of Justice Arusha 17th February 2017: The Registrar of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), His Worship Olufemi Elias, accompanied by Mr. Samuel Akorimo, Head of Office MICT Registry Arusha Branch and Mr. Ousman Njikam, External Relations Officer, Arusha Branch paid courtesy call on the Judge President of the EACJ.
His Lordship Justice Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, President of the Court welcomed the Registrar to the East African Court of Justice and wished the best in his new office as the 2nd Registrar of the Mechanism.
The Registrar of the Mechanism expressed his gratitude to visit the EACJ and called upon the Judges and staff of the Court to have access to the records of the MICT for several purposes. His Worship explained that, the Mechanism has two branches: one in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, which covers functions inherited from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Arusha Branch, and one in the Hague, the Netherlands, which covers functions inherited from the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Hague Branch. The Arusha Branch additionally has a satellite field office located in Kigali, Rwanda (“Kigali Office”).
His Worship also told the meeting that he heads the Registry of the Mechanism, which is responsible for the institution’s administration. That the Registry also assists the Chambers, and the Office of the Prosecutor, in the performance of their responsibilities through the provision of support services.
Mr. Samuel Akorimo, Head of Office MICT Registry Arusha Branch, said that the functions of the Mechanisms include; assistance to national jurisdictions. That with the completion of the ICTR’s mandate at the end of 2015, and the expected completion of the ICTY’s mandate at the end of 2017, further cases related to crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia are now being tried within national jurisdictions. Consequently, the number of requests for assistance from courts, prosecutors, and defence lawyers in relation to national investigations and prosecutions has been growing. That the Mechanism responds to requests for assistance from national authorities and others by providing evidence, facilitating the collection of information, and offering other technical support at their request.
He further said that cases referred to national jurisdictions, Pursuant to Article 6(5) of its Statute, the Mechanism is responsible for monitoring cases referred by the ICTR and the ICTY to national courts, with the assistance of international and regional organizations and bodies. That the Mechanism currently monitors five cases referred by the ICTR to national courts.
In addition his Worship said that, the Mechanism is responsible for the preservation, including the management and access, of the ICTR, the ICTY, and the Mechanism archives. These archives document investigations, indictments, and court proceedings, the protection of witnesses, work relating to the detention of accused persons, the enforcement of sentences, and the Tribunals’ relationships with States, other law enforcement authorities, international and non-governmental organizations, and the general public. The archives consist of a range of materials, from photographs and documents to maps and audiovisual recordings. That the archives are the property of the United Nations and the Mechanism Archives and Records Section (“MARS”) preserves them in accordance with the highest international standards.
The Registrar added that also the Mechanism facilitates the tracking and prosecution of remaining fugitives. He said that eight individuals indicted by the ICTR for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are still at large, three individuals are expected to be tried by the Mechanism, and the cases of the remaining five individuals are expected to be tried in Rwanda. That locating and arresting the remaining ICTR fugitives is a top priority for the Mechanism’s Office of the Prosecutor.
He further said that among other functions of the Mechanism is protection of victims and witnesses, that
over 10,000 witnesses, many of whom are also victims, gave evidence before the ICTR and the ICTY. In total, 46 per cent of those witnesses were granted protective measures by the Tribunals. He further said that the Mechanism continues to ensure that witnesses receive protection and support both for ongoing cases before the Mechanism and completed cases from the two Tribunals and the Mechanism.
Registrar also added that supervision of enforcement of sentences is a key function of the Mechanisms. Those persons convicted by the ICTR, the ICTY, and the Mechanism serve their sentences in one of the States that have signed an agreement on the enforcement of sentences. That these sentences are enforced in accordance with international standards on detention and the applicable law of the enforcing State, subject to the supervision of the Mechanism. He also said that the President of the Mechanism is responsible for designating the State of enforcement, supervising the enforcement of sentences, and deciding on requests for pardon, commutation of sentence, or early release.
That the Mechanism also is responsible for conducting the appeals proceedings, review of the judgements pronounced by the tribunals or Mechanism, retrial of the tribunals or mechanism as well as trials for contempt and false testimony.
His Worship called on EACJ for the good cooperation and working relations to render justice.
His Lordship, the President of the Court thanked the Registrar of the Mechanism and his team for sparing their time to visit the Court and he pledged continuous working relations between the Court and the Mechanism. The President was accompanied by the Two Judges of the Appellate Justice Liboire Nkurunziza, Vice President and Justice Edward Rutakangwa, who are in Arusha for the sessions as well as the Deputy Registrar, Her Worship Geraldine Umugwaneza and other Staff of the Court.
About the EACJ
The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.
Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The Court’s sub-registries are located in the respective National Courts in the Partner States.
For more information please contact:
Yufnalis Okubo, Registrar, East African Court of Justice. Tel: 255-27-2162149
East African Court of Justice