Authority of judgement delivered orally (incl. prior to written reasoned opinion)

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 14.12.2011 BAGOSORA et al. (Military I)

23. The Appeals Chamber recalls that, pursuant to Article 22 of the Statute, “[t]he judgement shall be rendered by a majority of the judges of the Trial Chamber, and shall be delivered by the Trial Chamber in public. It shall be accompanied by a reasoned opinion in writing, to which separate or dissenting opinions may be appended”. Similarly, Rules 88(A) and (C) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal (“Rules”) provide that “[t]he judgement shall be pronounced in public”, “rendered by a majority of the Judges”, and “accompanied or followed as soon as possible by a reasoned opinion in writing”.

24. In the present case, the Trial Judgement was rendered unanimously and delivered in public on 18 December 2008. It was followed by a written reasoned opinion on 9 February 2009. On the day of the delivery of the Trial Judgement, the Trial Chamber pronounced its verdict and sentence, and provided an oral summary of the judgement, highlighting key findings. It specified that:

The judgement amounts to several hundred pages. The Chamber will now read out its summary. Only the key findings can be highlighted here. The full text of the judgement will be available in the coming days after the conclusion of the editorial process. It contains many incidents where the Prosecution did not prove its case. A French translation will be provided in due course. This summary is not binding. Only the written judgement is authoritative.[1]

25. While the oral summary of the Trial Chamber’s findings was not authoritative, the verdicts and sentences pronounced on 18 December 2008 were. The reasoned opinion which followed was simply a written version of the judgement. The Appeals Chamber considers it to be clear from the statement noted above that the written reasoned opinion was complete at the time of the delivery of the judgement on 18 December 2008 and that what followed was merely the completion of the editorial process.[2] Nsengiyumva does not demonstrate that Judge Reddy failed to fulfil his judicial duties in this case prior to the expiration of his mandate on 31 December 2008.

[1]T. 18 December 2008 pp. 2, 3.

[2] See also Trial Judgement, fn. 1, para. 2368.

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ICTR Statute Article 22 ICTY Statute Article 23 ICTR Rule Rule 88