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contribution 01 - SOREL Jean-Marc

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Session opening remarks

Jean-Marc SOREL

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Dear friends, with your leave, we will enter into this new session. And, as you can see, I am completely isolated. The isolation of power, as one can say.

Now, the little power I have today is to give out the floor, speaking time, to all of us as far as I can. And I just want to introduce myself in about ten seconds because we don’t know ourselves. I am Jean Marc Sorel, as you can see in your programmes. I am a professor at the University of Paris I Sorbonne. Well, I am a law professor, and one of my interests is international justice, in the broadest sense. That is, every year I have the opportunity to organise a study seminar to compare international jurisdictions to bring out models of procedure.

It is not easy because we compare criminal jurisdictions but also the international court which is a State Court, other courts, including European courts. So we do so on the basis of such themes as evidence, the reasoning of the decisions referral to courts. We bring out all these ideas. I am saying this very briefly because we have been organising such seminars for the past 10 years, and when we address the issue of international criminal justice, we always invite Judges or other stakeholders of that system, and I observe that we have never invited persons from the ICTR.

We always invite persons from the International Criminal Court. Judge Jorda, for instance. Or other persons from the ICTY. And I believe that it is a symbol of the place of the ICTR in the way we study international justice, because the models are always the ICC and the ICTY. So that is what I wanted to say. I am really very happy today without any false modesty. I am really proud to be here amongst you to learn about that Tribunal.

I won’t be long, but I would like to thank AndrÈ Guichaoua who is the architect of this meeting which to us is very original. It does not conform to the format of an ordinary symposium. So, in that light, my role will not be ordinary too. I am not coming here as an academic with a broad discourse, but I will just open the floor directly to participants.

Now, my method is rather peculiar to myself. I have read very keenly the various sheets that some of you gave in, just some of you, and I have tried to bring out the points speaking to this theme that of the trial, which is a broad theme to cover in a single morning. I tried to bring out what I considered the main points, the inflexion points and major components of the trial. So you will not be surprised to hear that I would like to insist on what does not really work well.

Well, whatever functions well, whatever works well is not discussed. So I would like to split my presentation into three parts, or our procedure into three parts, depending on how the floor will be taken. First, I would like to dwell on special procedural difficulties, which is not surprising, the issue of evidence, witnesses and victims and all that, specific issues.

And then, secondly, I would like us to address the rather broad issue of the Defence, which appears to be problematic to me. The role of the Defence and maybe problems affecting Defence, ethical problems maybe, problems that were raised yesterday which I consider important.

And in the third place, and this is no surprise, because I had raised this problem before this symposium and it was also raised yesterday, it is a problem that comes up recurrently, the procedural model, which is a major issue. What is the procedure that is used? The Anglo Saxon system. Well, it is an original model. Does it work well? Does it raise raise difficulties?

And at this point I must confess that I will rely rather heavily on the Judges who are in a position to enlighten us on this issue. All the more so as I realise that Judge Khan and some other persons insist on this issue in their papers.

Again, I will try a bit to control the discussion. I chose a speaker I will try to choose a speaker. And if the speaker cannot say anything, of course, I will move on to some other speaker. The whole idea, of course, is to generate discussion. It’s just that I realised that some persons are more interested in some issues.

Now, this morning I will leave the Prosecutors a bit I will keep them a bit quiet this morning because they had a lot to say yesterday. Now, the other side of the hall, the Judges, the registry, the translators, witnesses, will take centre stage this morning.

One last point I am sorry. I asked the authorisation from some persons here to use your first names because I really have trouble pronouncing their family names. It is not any form of new colonisation. Believe me, I just don’t want to mispronounce their names. I have warned them before.

So with your leave, we will start with procedural matters, in the broadest possible sense, issues that arise during the trial, and they are quite many. I noticed in Vice President Khan’s paper that she insisted a lot on the length, the heaviness and the complexity of trials. Well, that is a starting point, and that may be our point on the model of procedure.

One last point I may want to raise is administration of evidence, the establishment of evidence. Of course, it is important, but it’s not the entire trial. On the administration of evidence, there are issues that appear of importance to me. Yesterday we discussed the means of obtaining evidence, the investigators and all those persons. So today I would like us to discuss how evidence is used at trial.

I would like to give the floor to Damien Vandermeersch. I see he is surprised. But in his paper he insists, and I hope he will say so well, he did not say this. He did not write this, but he actually mentioned the search for information, information that could be used as evidence by a judge and which could be used at trial.

There is another issue that came to my mind yesterday, and it was brought to my attention this morning by Guichaoua. There is the issue of financial evidence. What happened in Rwanda well, it is happening with resources. We mentioned persons who provided means for the acts of genocide to be committed. But, unfortunately, there was an infrastructure, an architecture behind those crimes. So in that area there is the quest for evidence. And I asked myself, could evidence have been provided to or adduced to that extent?

So first I will give the floor to Mr. Vandermeersch to tell us about evidence from investigation to evidence at trial.