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The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which will take over all remaining appeals after the Hague Tribunal closes, gave a presentation in the Bosnian capital on Wednesday before it officially starts work on July 1.
The legal officer for the UN Mechanism, Andrew Begg announced that the Hague Tribunal would continue to work for the next three years while the trials of Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic and Bosnian Croat leader Goran Hadzic are ongoing.
“The verdict in the case against Karadzic is expected next year, in the case against Hadzic in 2015, and the verdict on Ratko Mladic will be passed in 2016, which will also mean the end of the Tribunal’s work. All the appeals in these cases will be taken over by the Mechanism,” said Begg.
Karadzic and Mladic are on trial for genocide and other crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Hadzic is charged with war crimes in Croatia.
According to Begg, the UN Mechanism will have an initial mandate of four years, which will then be extended every two years.
Its duties, he explained, are to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses, monitor the serving of sentences and maintain the archives of the Hague Tribunal.
“Since the Mechanism would be deciding on early releases of convicts, the Mechanism would exist as long as a single convict is [still] serving his sentence,” said Begg.
He added that the UN Mechanism would make sure that the complete archive of the Hague Tribunal is digitised and published on a new website.
“Since the Hague Tribunal started its work so long ago, there is a lot of possibility to improve on the archive. We will build a new one. On this new platform we will publish all public documents and recordings of all hearings from trials. That way, we believe, access would be much easier,” said Begg.
The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals also has a department in Rwanda, which is tasked with completing appeals for the International Court for Rwanda, which was founded in 1994.