On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the court house for The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on 10 March 2004, at Freetown, Sierra Leone, the Registrars of the SCSL, Mr. Robin Vincent, The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Mr. Hans Holthuis, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr. Adama Dieng have also taken this opportunity to meet in order to select projects for co-operation between the three institutions.
The selected projects for co-operation involving the SCSL, ICTY and ICTR have been made possible through a generous allocation from the European Commission (EC) in October 2003 which was followed by initiatives, discussions and agreements towards improving co-operation in various areas, including matters concerning witness protection, legal aid and court management.
The Registrars of SCSL, ICTY and ICTR also welcomed the participation of the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Bruno Cathala at the Freetown meeting. This participation signifies that inter-tribunal co-operation that is presently undertaken on the basis of funding from the EC, has the promise and potential for the enhancement and development of a coherent knowledge base and consistent practice within the system of international criminal justice, through a wider application of co-operation objectives and initiatives between all four institutions.
This co-operation will be furthered and structured through a network of Registrars of international jurisdictions.
The ICTY and ICTR as temporary institutions are now in their tenth year of existence and are about to face the completion of their mandates. The SCSL’s mandate runs until 2005 whilst the ICC was recently established as a permanent institution. Each institution has encountered challenges and gained valuable insight during their establishment and trial phases with respect to their respective mandates and the role of Registrars therein. Accordingly, sharing the lessons learned and experiences of each institution will significantly assist and improve the common goal of strengthening the international criminal justice system through identifying common areas of difficulty and devising consistent approaches towards those challenges.