Notion(s) Filing Case
Judgement on Request of Croatia for Review - 29.10.1997 BLAŠKIĆ Tihomir
(IT-95-14-AR108 bis)

26. […] [I]t is self-evident that the International Tribunal, in order to bring to trial persons living under the jurisdiction of sovereign States, not being endowed with enforcement agents of its own, must rely upon the cooperation of States. The International Tribunal must turn to States if it is effectively to investigate crimes, collect evidence, summon witnesses and have indictees arrested and surrendered to the International Tribunal. The drafters of the Statute realistically took account of this in imposing upon all States the obligation to lend cooperation and judicial assistance to the International Tribunal. This obligation is laid down in Article 29[1] and restated in paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 827 (1993)[2]. Its binding force derives from the provisions of Chapter VII and Article 25 of the United Nations Charter and from the Security Council resolution adopted pursuant to those provisions. The exceptional legal basis of Article 29 accounts for the novel and indeed unique power granted to the International Tribunal to issue orders to sovereign States (under customary international law, States, as a matter of principle, cannot be “ordered” either by other States or by international bodies). Furthermore, the obligation set out - in the clearest of terms - in Article 29 is an obligation which is incumbent on every Member State of the United Nations vis-à-vis all other Member States. The Security Council, the body entrusted with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has solemnly enjoined all Member States to comply with orders and requests of the International Tribunal. The nature and content of this obligation, as well as the source from which it originates, make it clear that Article 29 does not create bilateral relations. Article 29 imposes an obligation on Member States towards all other Members or, in other words, an “obligation erga omnes partes”[3]. By the same token, Article 29 posits a community interest in its observance. In other words, every Member State of the United Nations has a legal interest in the fulfilment of the obligation laid down in Article 29[4] (on the manner in which this legal interest can be exercised, see below, paragraph 36).

As for States which are not Members of the United Nations, in accordance with the general principle embodied in Article 35 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties[5], they may undertake to comply with the obligation laid down in Article 29 by expressly accepting the obligation in writing. […]

See also paras 27-29.

[1]           “1. States shall cooperate with the International Tribunal in the investigation and prosecution of persons accused of committing serious violations of international humanitarian law.

2. States shall comply without undue delay with any request for assistance or an order issued by a Trial Chamber, including, but not limited to:

(a) the identification and location of persons;

(b) the taking of testimony and the production of evidence;

(c) the service of documents;

(d) the arrest or detention of persons;

(e) the surrender or the transfer of the accused to the International Tribunal.”

[2]           “The Security Council, . . . Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

4. Decides that all States shall cooperate fully with the International Tribunal and its organs in accordance with the present resolution and the Statute of the International Tribunal and that consequently all States shall take any measures necessary under their domestic law to implement the provisions of the present resolution and the Statute, including the obligation of States to comply with requests for assistance or orders issued by a Trial Chamber under Article 29 of the Statute”.

[3]           As is well known, in the Barcelona Traction, Power & Light Co. case, the International Court of Justice mentioned obligations of States “towards the international community as a whole” and defined them as obligations erga omnes (I.C.J. Reports 1970, p. 33, para. 33). The International Law Commission has rightly made a distinction between such obligations and those erga omnes partes (Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1992, vol. II, Part Two, p. 39, para. 269). This distinction was first advocated by the Special Rapporteur, G. Arangio-Ruiz, in his Third Report on State Responsibility (see ibid., 1991, vol. II, Part One, p. 35, para. 121; see also his Fourth Report, ibid, 1992, vol. Two, Part One, p. 34, para. 92).

[4]           It is worth mentioning that in the Lockerbie case, the United States contended before the International Court of Justice that “irrespective of the right claimed by Libya under the Montreal Convention, Libya has a Charter-based duty to accept and carry out the decisions in the Security Council resolution [784 (1992)], and other States have a Charter-based duty to seek Libya’s compliance” (I.C.J. Reports 1992, p. 126, para. 40). The Court did not however take any stand on this contention, in its Order of 14 April 1992 (ibid.). The fact that the obligation is incumbent on all States while the correlative “legal interest” is only granted to Member States of the United Nations should not be surprising. Only the latter category encompasses the “injured States” entitled to claim the cessation of any breach of Article 29 or to promote the taking of remedial measures. See on this matter Article 40 of the Draft Articles on State Responsibility adopted on first reading by the International Law Commission (former art. 5 of Part Two). It provides as follows in para. 2 (c): “[injured State means] if the right infringed by the act of a State arises from a binding decision of an international organ other than an international court or tribunal, the State or States which, in accordance with the constituent instrument of the international organisation concerned, are entitled to the benefit of that right”, in International Law Commission, Report to the Forty-eighth Session of the General Assembly, 1996, Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/51/10), (“I.L.C. Draft Articles”).

[5]           This Article provides that:

“An obligation arises for a third State from a provision of a treaty if the parties to the treaty intend the provision to be the means of establishing the obligation and the third State expressly accepts that obligation in writing.”

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ICTY Statute Article 29 ICTY Rule Rule 54
Notion(s) Filing Case
Judgement on Request of Croatia for Review - 29.10.1997 BLAŠKIĆ Tihomir
(IT-95-14-AR108 bis)

25. The Appeals Chamber holds the view that the term “subpoena” (in the sense of injunction accompanied by threat of penalty) cannot be applied or addressed to States. This finding rests on two grounds.

First of all, the International Tribunal does not possess any power to take enforcement measures against States. Had the drafters of the Statute intended to vest the International Tribunal with such a power, they would have expressly provided for it. In the case of an international judicial body, this is not a power that can be regarded as inherent in its functions[1]. Under current international law States can only be the subject of countermeasures taken by other States or of sanctions visited upon them by the organized international community, i.e., the United Nations or other intergovernmental organizations.

Secondly, both the Trial Chamber[] and the Prosecutor[] have stressed that, with regard to States, the ‘penalty’ attached to a subpoena would not be penal in nature. Under present international law it is clear that States, by definition, cannot be the subject of criminal sanctions akin to those provided for in national criminal systems.

With regard to States, the Appeals Chamber therefore holds that the term “subpoena” is not applicable and that only binding “orders” or “requests” can be addressed to them.

[1]           Consonant with the case-law of the International Court of Justice, the Appeals Chamber prefers to speak of “inherent powers” with regard to those functions of the International Tribunal which are judicial in nature and not expressly provided for in the Statute, rather than to “implied powers”. The “implied powers” doctrine has normally been applied in the case-law of the World Court with a view to expanding the competencies of political organs of international organisations. See, e.g., P.C.I.J. Reports, Competence of the International Labour Organization (Advisory Opinion of 23 July 1926), Ser. B, no. 13, p. 18; P.C.I.J. Reports, Jurisdiction of the European Commission of the Danube (Advisory Opinion of 8 Dec. 1927), Ser. B, no. 14, pp. 25-37; Reparation for Injuries suffered in the Service of the United Nations, I.C.J. Reports 1949, pp. 182-83; International Status of South-West Africa, I.C.J. Reports 1950, p. 136; Effect of Awards of Compensation made by the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, I.C.J. Reports 1954, pp. 56-58; Certain Expenses of the United Nations, I.C.J. Reports 1962, pp. 167-68; Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia, I. C. J. Reports 1971, pp. 47-49, 52.

As is well known, reference to the Court's “inherent powers” was made by the International Court of Justice in the Northern Cameroons case (I.C.J. Reports 1963, p. 29) and in the Nuclear Tests case. In the latter case the Court stated that it “possesses an inherent jurisdiction enabling it to take such action as may be required, on the one hand to ensure that the exercise of its jurisdiction over the merits, if and when established, shall not be frustrated, and on the other, to provide for the orderly settlement of all matters in dispute. . . . Such inherent jurisdiction, on the basis of which the Court is fully empowered to make whatever findings may be necessary for the purposes just indicated, derives from the mere existence of the Court as a judicial organ established by the consent of States, and is conferred upon it in order that its basic judicial functions may be safeguarded” (Nuclear Tests case, I.C.J. Reports 1974, pp. 259-60, para. 23).

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ICTY Rule Rule 54
Notion(s) Filing Case
Decision on Non-Compliance with Obligation to Cooperate - 06.03.2017 NGIRABATWARE Augustin

Pages 1-2:

CONSIDERING that, pursuant to Article 28 of the Statute, States shall comply without undue delay with orders issued by the Mechanism;


CONSIDERING that, in accordance with Rules 8(A) and 131 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Mechanism (“Rules”), non-compliance with any order relating to a proceeding before the Appeals Chamber may be reported to the United Nations Security Council;[1]


FIND that the Government of the Republic of Turkey has failed to comply with its obligations under Article 28 of the Statute to cooperate with the Mechanism in relation to the proceedings in this case and to comply without undue delay with a judicial order issued by the Mechanism; and

DETERMINE that, pursuant to Rules 8(A) and 131 of the Rules, this matter shall be reported to the United Nations Security Council.

[1] See Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaškić, Case No. IT-95-14-AR108 bis, Judgement on the Request of the Republic of Croatia for Review of the Decision of Trial Chamber II of 18 July 1997, 29 October 1997, paras. 33-35.

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IRMCT Statute Article 28 IRMCT Rule Rule 8
Notion(s) Filing Case
Order to Government for Release of Judge - 31.01.2017 NGIRABATWARE Augustin

16.     I recall that, while the Mechanism will not lightly intervene in a domestic jurisdiction,[1] there is clear authority to order a state to terminate proceedings against individuals on the basis of the immunity they enjoyed as a result of their connection with the Mechanism.[2] Such orders have been implemented.[3] In the present circumstances, an order to Turkey to immediately cease prosecution and to release Judge Akay so that he can continue to exercise his judicial functions in this case is entirely appropriate and necessary to ensure that the review proceedings can conclude. Such an order is binding on Turkey pursuant to Resolution 1966 adopted by the United Nations Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter on 22 December 2010. Article 9 of Security Council Resolution 1966 requires that all States comply with orders issued by the Mechanism.

[1] Théoneste Bagosora et al. v. The Prosecutor, Case No. ICTR-98-41-A, Decision on Aloys Ntabakuze’s Motion for Injunctions Against the Government of Rwanda Regarding the Arrest and Investigation of Lead Counsel Peter Erlinder, 6 October 2010 (“Bagosora et al. Decision of 6 October 2010”), para. 18.

[2] See Prosecutor v. Ante Gotovina et al., Case No. IT-06-90-T, Order Directed to the Republic of Croatia, 18 February 2011, p. 2; Prosecutor v. Ante Gotovina et al., Case No. IT-06-90-AR73.5, Decision on Gotovina Defence Appeal Against 12 March 2010 Decision on Requests for Permanent Restraining Orders Directed to the Republic of Croatia, 14 February 2011, paras. 36, 45, 67, 71; Théoneste Bagosora et al. v. The Prosecutor, Case No. ICTR-98-41-A, Decision on Aloys Ntabakuze’s Motion for Stay of Proceedings, 27 January 2011 (“Bagosora et al. Decision of 27 January 2011”), para. 10; Bagosora et al Decision of 6 October 2010, paras. 20-31.

[3] See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Ante Gotovina et al.,Case No. IT-06-90-A, Communication dated 12 October 2011 from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia (Proceedings Pursuant to the Order of the ICTY Trial Chamber Dated 18 February 2011), 14 October 2011 (confidential), Registry Pagination. 3043; Bagosora et al Decision of 27 January 2011, para. 10.

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IRMCT Statute Article 28