Sunday, December 4, 2016

UN Chief appoints Nigerian national to stand for MICT courts in Arusha

UNITED Nations Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon has appointed Mr Olufemi Elias of Nigeria as the Registrar of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICTs) which was recently inaugurated in Arusha. Mr Olufemi, who once worked as an anti-chemical weapon director, will effectively resume his position at ICT or “Mechanism”, effective from January 2017. The Nigerian takes over from Mr John Hocking of Australia, who has been serving as the Registrar of the MICT since January 2012. The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to Mr Hocking for his service, including his instrumental role in setting up the Mechanism, and overseeing the construction of its new premises in Arusha. Mr Elias has been serving as the Executive Secretary of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal since July 2016, a position which he also held from 2008 to 2013. He has also previously served as a Legal Adviser and Director at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from 2013 to 2016, and as a Senior Legal Officer at the OPCW from 2005 to 2008. Between 1998 and 2005, he worked in legal positions at the United Nations Compensation Commission. Judge Theodor Meron, President of the Mechanism, welcomed the appointment of Mr Elias, stating: “I look forward to working closely with Mr Elias to ensure that the Mechanism will continue to serve as a model of best practices and to be lean, efficient, and effective as it carries out the essential functions entrusted to it.” President Meron also praised Mr Hocking, who will continue to serve as the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, for his contributions to the Mechanism over the course of nearly five years. “Registrar Hocking has played an invaluable role in helping the Mechanism take shape, overseeing the smooth transition of key functions from the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and seeing the construction of the Mechanism’s new premises in Arusha through to completion, a legacy of which Mr Hocking can and should be proud,” he said. The official opening of the new premises of the Arusha branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) or ‘Mechanism’ took place at Laki Laki area late last week and was presided over by Vice- President Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan. More than 300 delegates attended the function, including Tanzanian government officials, representatives of the international community and the United Nations, judges and staff of the MICT, and the media. The unveiling of the plaque at the new premises marked the official opening of the new home of the Mechanism in Arusha at the Lakilaki area. During his remarks commencing the opening ceremony, Judge Theodor Meron, President of the MICT, acknowledged the indispensable role the government of Tanzania played in making the new MICT premises a reality. President Meron also underscored the role of the MICT in Africa, noting that: “With the Mechanism rooted firmly here, in mandate, culture, and context, it is not too much to say that this is an African court, and that in carrying out the vital mandate that it has been given, the Mechanism will serve, first and foremost, the people of this region and the world.” Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, delivered a message on behalf of the United Nations Secretary- General, Ban Ki-Moon. Mr Moon was of view that all victims share the same desire “to see those responsible for the crimes against them brought to justice”, adding “the opening of the new MICT facility in Arusha, the African city of justice, is an important opportunity to promote and support accountability for international crimes more broadly”. The three buildings of the new premises – the courtroom, the archives and the office building – have been designed to serve the specialized functions of the Mechanism, which include the completion of remaining judicial work, archives management, witness protection, supervision of enforcement of sentences, and assistance to national justice.

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