From 31 March to 4 April 2003, a delegation from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), composed of the Registrar Mr. Hans Holthuis and his senior officers, visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), for the purpose of discussing the Inter-Tribunal Co-operation Projects. Mr Adama Dieng Registrar of the ICTR and his counterpart Mr Holthuis hope that increased co-operation will play an important role in achieving common goals, as entrusted to them by the international community.
Among the projects identified, one of the most significant joint projects is the ICTR-ICTY Joint Telecommunications Project, which aims to establish a permanent and fully operational telecommunications network. This will make it possible to broadcast trial proceedings and to have videoconferences between The Hague, Arusha and Kigali. The telecommunications project will also have significant impact on other projects, such as the development of a common searchable database which will make available ICTY/ICTR decisions in electronic formats to both the parties and the public. In addition to this, the ICTR database will be available to the Appeals chamber Judges posted in The Hague as well as to the ICTY legal officers.
Other benefits of this cooperation are the harmonizing of the legal aid systems in both Tribunals, the linking both Tribunals in their external public information policies and operations and the designing of a common terminology database by and for the Language Service System. Also important is the co-operation with the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Both Mr. Dieng and Mr. Holthuis renewed their commitment to the expansion of the scope of the Inter Co-operation initiative to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. This proposal will be given a new impetus as soon as the European Commission, the major donor funding the initiative, gives its go ahead for the re-allocation of the funds available. In the meantime the two Registrars have decided to designate focal points in their respective organizations to serve as liaison with the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Mr. Holthuis made a thorough briefing to ICTR management on ICTY’s experience in designing and implementing an exit strategy, followed by extremely fruitful exchanges with ICTR colleagues. Mr. Holthuis also briefed ICTR Judges on the ICTY’s experience in utilizing Ad Litem judges. The co-operation initiative was formally launched in Arusha on 20 September 2001 by the Registrars of the two Tribunals, Mr. Adama Dieng, ICTR, and Mr. Hans Holthuis, ICTY. The broad areas of cooperation were later identified and further developed by the Deputy Registrars in the two tribunals in March 2002. This is the second visit of Mr. Holthuis to the Tribunal, which follows the visit of the Registrar of the ICTR to The Hague in October 2002. Wherein the two Registrars further reviewed and assessed potential projects for cooperation.
At a press conference Thursday 3 April the Registrars explained the progress of the Inter-Tribunal Co-operation Project. They expressed their gratitude to the European Union for the generous grant allocated to the Inter-Tribunal Co-operation. The ICTY Registrar, Mr. Holthuis concluded by expressing his entire satisfaction for the extremely successful and fruitful exchanges he and his delegation had with their ICTR counterparts in Arusha.