By Justice Hub
Essentially, the MICT – to give it its full name the Mechanism for the International Tribunals – is the follow-up body to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Both of those tribunals have (nearly) finished their work, and the MICT will do anything that’s left over.
Image: President Theodor Meron (photo: tedxhagueacademy.org)
Q: What’s the structure of the MICT?
It was established by the UN Security Council on December 22, 2010 and consists of two branches. The one in Arusha, Tanzania covers functions inherited from the ICTR from 1 July 2012. The branch in The Hague covers functions inherited from the ICTY from July 1, 2013. The Security Council expects the MICT’s “functions and size will diminish over time”.
Q: What’s left over?
The ICTR still has three fugitives on the run. Three files have been given to the Rwandan government to chase, but six still officially belong to the MICT and could be tried by the Mechanism if they are ever arrested. Then there’s the archives, looking after protected witnesses and deciding if good behaviour means that some of those convicted for crimes against humanity genocide or war crimes can be get an early release.
Q: What about the people who testified at the ICTR trials?
The MICT has taken over protection of victims and witnesses, both for ongoing cases before the Mechanism and for the completed cases from the two tribunals and the Mechanism. The ICTR and the ICTY remain responsible for the protection of victims and witnesses in cases ongoing before the two tribunals.
Q: Who are the judges?
The judges are elected to work for the MICT on an ad hoc basis. They only receive pay when they are selected to take on a case. If a trial chamber is needed, the MICT president selects three judges to hear the case.
Q: Do states have to cooperate with the MICT?
Just the same as the tribunals because the MICT has been set up by the UN Security Council, all states are under legal obligation to fully cooperate with it concerning the location, arrest, detention, surrender and transfer of accused persons and the fugitives (top priority).
Q: How does the MICT decide whether a case belongs to it or the national authorities?
It’s up to the MICT, so long as there will be a fair trial and no death penalty. The usual rules apply – no trial twice for the same crime, presumption of innocence, a fair and public hearing, no undue delay. And free assistance of an interpreter. Legal help or counsel has to be provided for suspects who don’t have sufficient means to pay.