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Past Activities from the Legal Counsel of the United Nations

Official visit of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Ms. Patricia O'Brien, to the Hague

                 Welcome by
        Mr. Philippe Couvreur

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
International Criminal Court (ICC) 

       Visiting ICJ                                  Meeting with
                                                         President Owada

The Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Under-Secretary-General Ms. Patricia O’Brien, visited The Hague from 25 to 27 January 2010.

The Legal Counsel travelled to The Hague at the invitation of the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Hisashi Owada. During her stay at The Hague Ms. O’Brien also visited the International Criminal Court (ICC),
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. She also met with the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Mr. Ed Kronenburg, and with the Mayor of the City of The Hague, Mr. Jozias van Aartsen.

At the, International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, Ms O’Brien was welcomed upon her arrival by the Registrar of the Court, Mr. Philippe Couvreur, who gave her a short tour of the Peace Palace. She then held a private meeting with President Owada and the Registrar, before being introduced to Judges of the Court, with whom she exchanged views regarding the role of international law in contemporary times, co-operation between the Court and the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, the jurisprudence of the ICJ and other issues of mutual interest. Ms. O’Brien underlined the importance of the relationship between the Court and her Office, emphasizing that this relationship “has always been excellent”. She assured Members of the Court of the respect held by the Secretary-General as well as by her Office and the United Nations Secretariat in general had “not only for the Court’s crucial role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes between States, but also for its major contribution to the development of international law”.

At the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Legal Counsel held meetings with the President of the Tribunal, Judge Patrick Robinson, the Vice-President of the Tribunal, Judge O-Gon Kwon, the Prosecutor, Mr. Serge Brammertz, and the Registrar, Mr. John Hocking. Topics of the exchanges with ICTY principals included conveying the Secretary-General’s highest regard for the work of the Tribunal, the progress of trials pending before the Tribunal, the strategy for the completion of the Tribunal’s mandate as well as the institution’s plans to preserve its legacy in the region of the former Yugoslavia and in the wider international setting. Matters pertaining to the residual mechanism of the Tribunal were also discussed. During her visit, the Legal Counsel held a townhall meeting to get to know the ICTY staff and to discuss issues of concern with them.

At the International Criminal Court, Ms. O’Brien was received by the President of the Court, Judge Sang-Hyun Song. The Legal Counsel and the President discussed the current activities of the Court, co-operation between the two organizations, especially in view of the upcoming Review Conference of the Rome Statute to be held in Kampala, Uganda, at the end of May of this year. Ms. O’Brien conveyed the commitment and strong support of the Secretary-General for the pursuit of international criminal justice and the noble mission of the Court. The Legal Counsel also met with the ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, and the Registrar, Ms. Silvana Arbia, to discuss matters of common interest and concern.

At the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Legal Counsel met with the President, Judge Antonio Cassese and his principals, Prosecutor Mr. Daniel Bellemare and Registrar Mr. David Tolbert.

The Legal Counsel further met with the Members of Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone which is currently hearing the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia.

Eleventh report of the Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC): S/2008/752 (2 December 2008).

- in Arabic   - in Chinese - in English - in French - in Russian - in Spanish

Third report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the establishment of the Lebanon Tribunal: S/2008/734 (26 November 2008).

- in Arabic - in Chinese - in English - in French - in Russian - in Spanish


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