Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Courtroom 3 Inaugurated

Tribunal Update 80: Last Week in The Hague (8-13 June 1998)
By IWPR ICTY

Only five weeks after the opening of the second, small courtroom (with only four seats for the public, which can be reached through an armored door of what used to be a treasury vault), the large and modern, third courtroom was ceremoniously inaugurated last Friday at the Tribunal.

This will finally help overcome the "judicial congestion," in which the Tribunal has functioned over the past two years, when trials took place in the one and only courtroom in shifts: from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Tribunal's President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald said at the opening ceremony that the third courtroom "will ensure that our trial chambers will now be able to conduct trials simultaneously, which will expedite significantly the handling of our caseload."

Moreover, McDonald added, "the passage last month of Security Council Resolution 1166 to provide three new judges, whom we expect to begin work no later than November, ensures that we will utilize fully our three courtrooms."

Thanks to the fact that the number of accused persons in custody has increased almost threefold in the last seven months, as President McDonald stressed with satisfaction, the Tribunal does, in fact, have enough cases to fill all three courtrooms.

Apart from five already initiated trials (for a total of eight accused), there are another 18 people in custody for whom another eight trials should be organized. The appeal procedure for one convicted (Dusan Tadic) is underway.

The third courtroom was built and equipped from funds provided by the governments of the Netherlands, the United States, and Canada, whose high representatives attended the inauguration last Friday.