In an effort to meet its goal to try all defendants by the end of 2008, the Security Council has agreed to temporarily add four judges to the UN Tribunal set up after the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which proposed the appointment of the additional judges, now may have up to 16 ad litem (or temporary) judges serving on it at any one time, in addition to the 16 permanent judges on the court. Though the new judges cannot serve past the end of the year, the resolution states that they should help the ICTY “conduct additional trials…in order to meet completion strategy objectives.”
In a related story, the ICTY granted temporary leave to five former Bosnian Croat leaders, accused of, among other war crimes, murder, rape, and the wanton destruction of cities. The crimes were committed in 1992 and 1993 against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision to grant leave means that the accused will reside in Croatia until May 4th, the day before the defense case in their collective trial is to begin. However, just two days later, the ICTY stayed the release, fearing that the men could be flight risks. As a result, the accused will remain in ICTY custody until the appeals chamber has a chance to rule on the merits of the prosecution’s appeal of the order granting the temporary leave.
For more information on the new judges, please click here. To read more about the decision to grant the temporary leave, please click here. To read more about decision to the stay the leave, please click here.