Despite progress in prosecuting war criminals, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had fallen short of its mandate because States had failed to cooperate in arresting and delivering indictees to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal in The Hague, the General Assembly was told this morning, as it considered the Tribunal's fourth annual report.
Also this morning, the Assembly adopted without a vote a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to consider ways to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the University for Peace. It invited Member States, non-governmental organizations and individuals to contribute directly to the Trust Fund for Peace and the University's budget.
In presenting the report on the International Tribunal, its President, Antonio Cassese, said people must know that genocide, mass rape and other abuses were the "pinnacle of human criminality", and their own States would arrest them if they were indicted by the Tribunal. States must cooperate, arrests must be made and assistance given. The Tribunal's most urgent problem was the need for more arrests of military and political leaders, and more investigators. It also faced several financial, logistical, legal and practical hurdles.
The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina said the rationalizations and excuses for not confronting and arresting indicted individuals had rejuvenated those persons, seeming to make them invincible before the international community, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Those responsible for peace should stop the charade of calling for indictees to turn themselves in.
Because of a lack of resources, the Tribunal carried on its work selectively, and those brought before it did not reflect what occurred during the war, according to the representative of Croatia. Only five indictments for crimes against Croatians had been handed down, and only one accused was before the Tribunal.
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The representative of the United States strongly urged Member States to examine carefully the Tribunal's 1998 budget requests and other support in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) for budget levels that would enable the Court to fulfil its responsibilities. That was particularly important as more indictees came into custody and as investigations continued.
Statements were also made by Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union, Netherlands, Italy, Colombia, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Germany, Hungary and the Russian Federation.
The representative of Costa Rica introduced the draft resolution on the University for Peace.
Statements were made by Colombia, Italy, Ecuador, Chile, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Argentina and Uruguay.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 5 November, to consider the need to end the United States embargo against Cuba.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to consider the fourth annual report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
The Assembly was also expected to take action on a draft resolution on the University for Peace.
Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia
A note by the Secretary-General transmits the report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/52/375-S/1997/729) and covers the period 1 August 1996 to 31 July 1997. According to the report, although efforts to bring those responsible for atrocities to justice has gained momentum, the Tribunal's mandate has not been fulfilled since a vast majority of indicted persons are still at liberty. The Tribunal is also said to suffer from a lack of budgetary resources since its requests for additional funding and posts have only been partly met.
The report says that certain States and entities in the former Yugoslavia, namely, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska and the Bosnian Croat authorities, continue stubbornly to refuse to arrest indictees. "The international community must, therefore, put unceasing pressure on those non- cooperative parties to meet their international obligations to cooperate with the Tribunal", the report continues. "The de facto immunity from prosecution that a large number of indictees are currently enjoying in the former Yugoslavia as the result of this lack of cooperation is a direct challenge to the United Nations, and to the international community in general."
The report notes that the Tribunal, established in May 1993, is now a fully functioning court with three organs: a judiciary, comprising of 11 judges assigned to the two Trial Chambers, one Appeals Chamber and the Office of the Prosecutor. The General Assembly has elected the judges, including five new ones, who will serve the next four-year term beginning 17 November.
In the period under review, the report states, the Trial Chambers were busy with the Tadic, Erdemovic, Celebici, and Blakic, cases. Dusko Tadic was found guilty on a several counts involving crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. Drazen Erdemovic pleaded guilty to one count of crimes against humanity and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. Both have appealed the judgement. The Celebici and Blakic trials are still under way. Three other indictees -- Zlatko Aleksovski, arrested by Croatia; Slavko Dokmanovic, arrested by the United Nations Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES); and Milan Kovacevic, arrested by the Stabilization Force (SFOR) -- are awaiting trial.
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The Office of the Prosecutor is investigating and prosecuting violations of international humanitarian law. The Prosecutor has urged States to turn over indicted persons and to comply with requests for assistance in collecting evidence and conducting on-site investigations. In response to the dilatoriness of some States, such as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska and the Bosnian Croat authorities, in handing over indicted persons, the report continues, a number of non-disclosed indictments have been submitted to the Tribunal for confirmation. Two indictments led to the apprehension of two indictees by international forces. Field investigations, including the exhumation of mass graves, have been hampered by funding and other problems.
The Registry of the Tribunal comprises a Judicial and an Administrative Department. In addition to administrative arrangements for courtroom hearings and drafting and adapting legal texts, the report states, it manages a legal aid system for indigent accused, supervises a detention unit and maintains diplomatic contact with States and embassies. The Administrative Department has expanded to cope with the increasing demands placed on it by other organs of the Tribunal, particularly the Office of the Prosecutor.
The report notes that the legal profession's interest in the Tribunal's increasing judicial activities has grown. Over the last year, 230 people from 17 countries have indicated willingness to represent indigent accused and suspects who have right to counsel paid for by the Tribunal. Budgetary constraints have restricted costs and expenses paid to assigned counsel and limited the number of investigators and consultants they may hire. On 12 June, the Registrar established a code of conduct for the behaviour of defence counsel who appear before the Tribunal.
The report goes on to examine the cooperation of States with the Tribunal in implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Agreement, signed in Paris on 14 December 1995, obliges the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Republika Srpska to cooperate by arresting indictees and transferring them to the Tribunal. However, a number of persons indicted by the Tribunal still hold official positions, including Zeljko Meakic, indicted for genocide, Mladen Radic, Nedeljko Timarac and Miloslav Kvocka, all reported to still be working as police officers in Republika Srpska.
The Tribunal relies on the cooperation of States and other entities for assistance, including the arrest and delivery of indictees, the report stresses. Unlike national criminal courts and inter-State tribunals, the Tribunal has to maintain contacts with governments and international organizations to obtain their assistance and cooperation. As reported last year, 20 States enacted legislation to cooperate with the Tribunal but none has done so this year. Unfortunately, other countries, notably the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, continue to refuse cooperation and/or fail to enact legislation that would foster cooperation.
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Despite its accomplishments, the Tribunal remains a partial failure because the vast majority of indictees remained free, seemingly enjoying absolute immunity, the report says. Lack of international response to genocide may embolden others to emulate the crime. The Tribunal's limited police powers are a major stumbling block to its success, and it has to turn to States to execute its orders and warrants. If countries refuse to implement its orders or execute warrants, the Tribunal will be utterly impotent. An additional stumbling block is the lack of cooperation by the States and entities of the former Yugoslavia. When considering their cooperation, or lack of it, the report goes on, a sharp distinction must be drawn between those States that recognize their duty to cooperate, those which enacted legislation to cooperate, those that arrested and transferred indictees to the Tribunal, and those which do none of those things.
In conclusion, the report says, the Tribunal's mission is to hear and record for posterity the stories of human suffering in the camps and killing fields of the former Yugoslavia and to dispense justice in the name of the international community. It should not be forgotten that the persons remaining at liberty who have been indicted by the Tribunal are charged with extremely serious crimes -- genocide, "ethnic cleansing", mass rape and murder of defenceless civilians.
University for Peace
The University, located in Costa Rica, was established in accordance with Assembly resolution 35/55 of 5 December 1980 in conformity with the International Agreement for the Establishment of the University for Peace. It is a specialized international centre aimed at training and education for peace, and its universal promotion within the United Nations system. The University emphasizes conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace-building, peaceful settlement of disputes, democratic consensus-building, and a broad programme in Central America and the Caribbean on the building of cultures of peace.
By the terms of a draft resolution on the University for Peace (document A/52/L.10), the Assembly would invite Member States, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental bodies, interested organizations and individuals to contribute directly to the Trust Fund for Peace and to the University's budget. In addition, it would request the Secretary-General to consider ways of strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the University and to submit a report to the Assembly at its fifty-fourth session. Also, it would decide to include the item entitled "University for Peace" in the agenda of its fifty-fourth session in 1999.
The sponsors of the draft resolution are Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros,
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Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Georgia, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Yemen.
International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia
ANTONIO CASSESE, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said the establishment of the Tribunal was one of the most significant responses of the United Nations to a brutal conflict with violence and atrocities on a scale not seen in Europe since the 1940s. Its aims were to contribute to peace by dispensing justice, to deter further abuses of humanitarian law, and to create a historical record of what occurred during the conflict.
In spite of the Dayton/Paris Agreement, there was today only a fragile peace in the former Yugoslavia. The establishment of the Tribunal was an important contributing factor to the process of reconciliation and peace- building. Without justice there could not be real peace. It would be premature and inappropriate at this stage to say that justice had been served to the victims of violence. In terms of the Security Council's desire to deter future hostilities by applying the rule of law, one striking failure was the shameful slaughter on a massive scale of civilians, following the fall of Srebrenica, in July 1995.
He said States must cooperate with the Tribunal, arrests must be made and assistance must be given to requests from the Tribunal. People must know that genocide, mass rape and other abuses were regarded as the "pinnacle of human criminality" and that their own States would arrest them if they were indicted by the Tribunal. The potential to break the cycle of violence was great, but it could be done only with the assistance of States and the organized world community.
He said that, although endowed with only the minimum necessary logistics, the Tribunal was a vibrant, fully operational judicial body. However, it had faced several financial, logistical, legal and practical hurdles. The establishment from scratch of a functioning international criminal tribunal required enormous funding. Unlike national jurisdictions with dozens of codes and hundreds of precedents to draw upon for guidance, the Tribunal must apply, in addition to its Statute, international customary law, which could be
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ascertained only by consulting widely dispersed international law sources on war crimes and crimes against humanity. Furthermore, no international code of criminal procedure was available and one had to be developed by the Tribunal.
Practically speaking, he went on, it had been extremely difficult to achieve significant State cooperation, in particular, by ensuring that States comply with the Tribunal's orders to arrest and deliver indicted persons to The Hague. While Croatia and the central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina had complied, to various degrees, with such orders, the two entities comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely, the Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had not done so, nor had the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), which has thus flouted the authority of the United Nations.
The most urgent problem facing the Tribunal was the need for more arrests of military and political leaders, and more investigators were needed to undertake the many complex and time-consuming inquiries necessary to fulfil the Tribunal's mandate. He noted that while the Belgian paedophile inquiry began with 350 police investigators and the Oklahoma City bombing case in the United States had 120, the Office of the Prosecutor at The Hague had a total of 45 investigators and analysts. In addition, he continued, three or four courtrooms were needed and possibly more Judges, to conduct numerous trials with expedition and complete fairness.
He said it was the first time in world history that a truly international and impartial criminal court had been established. He urged all Member States to lend the Tribunal all the support to which it was entitled. An end must be put to the "culture of impunity" and the possibility of historical "amnesia", as well as to the "immoral practice of passing laws granting amnesty to all culprits". The international community must ensure that this extraordinary exercise in international morality and law be fully supported and yield lasting results. The cries of the victims of barbarity must be heeded and international justice dispensed.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), speaking for the European Union, and also for Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Cyprus, said the good functioning of the International Tribunal was vital for implementation of the peace accords in the former Yugoslavia. The Tribunal must be completely independent from all political power, but States and parties must cooperate with it. Confidence and security would come to the former Yugoslavia only when the law was respected there. The obligation to cooperate with the Tribunal was contained in article 29 of the Tribunal. Handing over or transfer of indictees for whom arrest warrants had been issued was essential to establish the Tribunal's credibility. Legal considerations aside, the international community had a moral responsibility to see to it that the perpetrators of atrocities were brought to trial.
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He said States and entities of the former Yugoslavia obstructed and refused to cooperate with the Tribunal. Croatia and the central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina had cooperated to a degree with the Tribunal, but the impunity enjoyed by many indictees from the Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was unacceptable. States must adopt measures to ensure that arrest warrants were carried out quickly.
The European Union, he continued, was concerned that the situation was unsatisfactory, and he reaffirmed the need for financial support for the Tribunal's good management. He said the Union was pleased with the decision of the Assembly to ask the Secretary-General to submit as soon as possible the budget recommendations needed to allow the Tribunal to fulfil its mission, and he hoped the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) would study the question soon.
JAN BERTELING (Netherlands) said any failure was not in the operation of the Tribunal, but the bringing to justice of accused war criminals was not occurring as it should. International criminal adjudication, although a new concept for many States, entailed responsibilities for all members of the international community. The Tribunal's ultimate success would be measured by its ability to show that justice prevailed, that inhumanity did not go unpunished, that civilization would be preserved, and that the international community did care. He said the Tribunal was justified in asking Member States to put more effort into arresting indicted war criminals and bringing them before the Tribunal.
He appealed to all Member States to find ways in their domestic jurisdiction of assisting the Tribunal -- which his country felt privileged to host -- in every possible way. That could be done by actively tracing and handing over indicted persons to the Tribunal, by instituting proceedings against alleged war criminals in domestic courts, and by allowing for those convicted to be imprisoned within national borders. The Netherlands recognized the legal obstacles to such efforts. States had legal and political obligations under international law and a duty to cooperate with the Tribunal under the terms of its Statute.
The Netherlands took its role as host country very seriously. It had contributed over a million dollars to finance on-site investigative travels, to fund a new telephone exchange to update the Tribunal's worldwide communications, and to assist the backlog of computerized filing of and access to the Tribunal's documentation. Plans were being made to contribute at least another million dollars to finance a second courtroom. Member States should continue to allot sufficient funds under the Tribunal's regular budget and, if needed, make voluntary contributions to the Tribunal's Trust Fund over the budgeted funds.
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FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy) told the Assembly the Tribunal had contributed to peace by dispensing justice to the victims of atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, deterring further abuses of international humanitarian law, and preserving the historical memory of those atrocities. Since last year's report, a judgement had been delivered that represented a landmark in the history of international criminal law. The Office of the Prosecutor had worked tirelessly, and Italy noted with satisfaction that a number of accused had been arrested and delivered to the Tribunal or had surrendered to it.
However, he said, notwithstanding the efforts of the Tribunal, the vast majority of indictees were still free and seemed to enjoy impunity. The greatest obstacle remained the failure by some States and entities in the former Yugoslavia to comply with their obligation to fully cooperate with the Tribunal. Italy was of the view that the obligation confirmed and reinforced by the 1995 Dayton Agreement must be met in the most complete and effective way. Respect for State authority could not be adduced as a pretext for not cooperating with the Tribunal.
He said adequate funding should be provided for the Tribunal's activities. The Office of the Prosecutor needed to be strengthened, especially through the addition of more investigators. He referred to the project to establish a Permanent International Criminal Court for the prosecution and punishment of serious violations of international humanitarian law, and noted that next June his country would host, in Rome, the diplomatic conference to adopt the statute for the new Court.
MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said recent cooperation extended to the Tribunal by Croatia and the Croat leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been significant not only for the Tribunal, but also for reconciliation, peace and normalcy for his country and the region. Only one party within Bosnia and Herzegovina and only one country, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), continued to reject cooperation with the Tribunal and its orders. He emphasized that he did not speak for the entire presidency of his country and said it was unfortunate that one party, empowered through the peace process, would seek to use its authority to reprimand him for his statement. It was a sad state when legitimacy, which had been gained through signatures for peace, should be usurped and misused to undermine the Dayton Peace Agreement and its most critical provisions.
He said Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and other war criminals, including Arkan and others from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), were initially the "vile products of the region", including neighbouring countries. However, now there was a peace process structured by the Security Council, particularly its most powerful members, and the Tribunal. Therefore, Karadzic and the others who had been indicted and were still free were the problem of the Member States. While one group of indictees had been confronted, for which he thanked the United Kingdom, the continued hesitancy to confront and
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arrest the others was giving them new perceived powers. The rationalizations and excuses for not confronting and arresting indicted individuals had rejuvenated them, seeming to make them invincible before the international community, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The excuses of the powerful undermined their own credibility and that of the peace agreement, and also created a new monster. Those responsible for peace should stop the charade of calling for indictees to turn themselves in.
LOUISA MARIA GIRALDO (Colombia) said her country was honoured to have a justice sitting on the Tribunal. It demonstrated Colombia's involvement in the international community's efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Colombia was aware of the criticism aimed at the Tribunal, but in a four-year period with many obstacles the Court had become an institution worthy of recognition and admiration. However, tremendous economic, political and logistical difficulties existed, with limited facilities and underfunding and understaffing. The international community must contribute more actively to the Tribunal so that it could achieve its objective of applying justice to the atrocities perpetrated in the war in the former Yugoslavia.
She said the momentum created recently to impart justice in the former Yugoslavia must not be lost. The world could not afford to forget the victims who perished in the war. Their silent voices must encourage the bringing to justice of the perpetrators.
MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI (Iran) said the United Nations decision four years ago to establishing an ad hoc international tribunal to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against Bosnian Muslims was historic. It was taken with the wholehearted support of the entire international community, every member which was convinced there would be no real peace in the Balkans without justice.
The Tribunal had taken major steps to achieve its goals, despite the difficulties spelt out by Judge Cassese. It had become a fully operational judicial body. Iran felt that, for its smooth and effective functioning, the General Assembly and the Security Council must pay due attention to its financial and practical problems, as explained by Judge Cassese.
He said that, in view of the wide scope of atrocities committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, it was obvious that, with the trial of just a few criminals and the indictment of some others, the objectives of the Tribunal had far from been realized. The report of the Tribunal indicated that some of the States or entities of the former Yugoslavia, in particular, the so-called "Republika Srpska", still resisted cooperating fully with the Tribunal and refused to arrest and transfer the main indictees to meet justice. Such intractable recalcitrance could not and should not be tolerated by the international community and deserved to be condemned.
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The United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, must adopt decisive measures against those States which persistently disobeyed the orders of the Tribunal.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country had been the victim of "crimes used as tools to achieve a collective aim", and was, therefore, among the first to call for the establishment of the Tribunal. The praiseworthy aims of the Tribunal had only been partially fulfilled. It carried on its work selectively because of a lack of resources, so deciding which crimes and perpetrators to prosecute was especially important. Therefore, the perception created by the Tribunal as a consequence of the prosecutions was critical, and Croatia was not satisfied with that aspect. Those brought before the Tribunal did not reflect what occurred during the war. Only five indictments for crimes against Croatians had been handed down, and only one accused was before the Tribunal.
He said the international community must do its utmost to ensure that the cases before the Tribunal reflected the events that had taken place. So far, it had fallen short of that goal. Countries that had cooperated with the Tribunal were also victims of aggression, while the aggressors refused to cooperate -- a situation that had detracted from the dispensation of justice. The fact that Croats made up 70 per cent of all accused in custody created a distorted picture. The international community must make greater efforts to bring other indictees before the Tribunal for the crimes they committed against the Croatian people.
He said return of displaced Croatians to eastern Slavonia and especially Vukovar would be seriously hampered unless that occurred. In addition, the report on the Tribunal required clarifications. Paragraphs 75 and 76 on "rules of the road" contained misrepresentations. Croatia supported the "rules of the road" principle in relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina; the principle did not apply to Croatia. He said assertions in the report had been superseded by subsequent events and noted that Croatia had successfully appealed a finding of the Tribunal. It was also the case that Croatia had transferred 10 indictees to the Tribunal. The United Nations, he concluded, had a duty to encourage individual countries to cooperate with the Tribunal and must take the necessary steps.
HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said the successful functioning of the Tribunal was imperative for the full implementation of the Dayton Agreement and the establishment of lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While he welcomed the cooperative approach demonstrated by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, it was regrettable that that attitude was not displayed by the other parties. Refusal to comply with the commitments outlined in the Dayton Agreement, after formally recognizing the Tribunal, constituted a violation of the Agreement. For the normalization of relations in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and the attainment of a functioning union in Bosnia and
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Herzegovina, a new atmosphere of trust and security had to be built between the parties. That could be achieved only by respecting the rule of law.
He said the significant recent development of 10 Croatians surrendering to the Tribunal was a turning point in the Tribunal's work and would contribute to the achievement of its objectives. However, the Tribunal remained a partial failure, not through any fault of its own, but because of the need to apprehend the military and political leaders who were indicted. There was strong dissatisfaction in the international community because, even while there was a fully functioning Tribunal, military and political leaders responsible for grave violations of humanitarian law and the acts of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina remained free. He said other problems, such as insufficient funding and personnel, continued to hamper the Tribunal's effective functioning, and those problems must be urgently and effectively addressed in the United Nations.
ABDULLAH AHMAD (Malaysia) said he was glad the Tribunal had made significant progress in bringing to justice the perpetrators of horrendous crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia. Despite its achievements, he considered the trial and sentencing of only a few criminals by the Tribunal disappointing, especially when the main perpetrators of crimes remained free to carry out their activities with impunity, some of them still holding important official positions in violation of the Dayton Agreement. Especially disturbing was that the most notorious of the indicted criminals, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were still free and continued to hold political sway in Republika Srpska. That was a major hindrance towards the realization of the objectives of the Dayton Agreement to bring peace and justice to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He said Malaysia deplored the failure of the parties to the Agreement to meet their obligations. That was a blatant violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and a gross disrespect for international law. Full cooperation by all parties with the Tribunal in bringing the war criminals to justice was a fundamental obligation which must be honoured, if genuine stability and lasting peace was to be consolidated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Failure of the Tribunal to arrest and bring those indicted criminals to trial would be interpreted as a sign of weakness, and would only embolden others to defy the Tribunal and the international community.
KHALID AZIZ BABAR (Pakistan) said the Tribunal still had much to do before it could claim justice had been meted out to the aggrieved people in the former Yugoslavia. The cooperation by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was appreciated, but, from the other parties, it was unsatisfactory. Despite repeated appeals by the international community, one of the parties had not yet enacted legislation enabling it to cooperate with the Tribunal. It was unfortunate that parties which had promoted ethnic cleansing were now trying to protect the criminals through different legal stratagems and different excuses to delay and hinder the dispensing of justice.
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If speedy justice were to be ensured, he went on, States must help in apprehending the indicted criminals, and the international community must ensure full and timely implementation of all aspects of the arrangements agreed to by the parties. The main perpetrators of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were still at large and continued to play an active role in politics of Republika Srpska. Recently, one party had questioned the impartiality of the Tribunal in a malicious campaign to dilute its role of the Tribunal.
He said forensic activities in the sites of mass graves should be carried out as quickly as possible to avoid destruction of vital evidence. Pakistan had contributed $1 million of the $8.6 million received by the Tribunal. He urged all Members to contribute generously to the Voluntary Fund of the Tribunal.
A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said that, with more indictees being taken into custody by the Tribunal, and also by the Tribunal for Rwanda, the number of trials had increased, so more support was needed from the Assembly. The costs for international litigation were particularly high, because such investigations were of the most complex character. Evidence was primarily found with witnesses rather than in documents, and the investigators must carry out their work in countries other than the one in which they are based. He said the United States strongly urged Member States to examine carefully the 1998 budget requests of both Tribunals, and support budget levels in the Fifth Committee that would enable them to fulfil their responsibilities. He said that was particularly important as more indictees came into custody and as investigations continued of those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law.
He said the United States recognized the possible need for more judges for the Tribunal and looked forward to examining specific requests in the Security Council and their budgetary implications. All States and entities should cooperate fully with the Tribunal. There was no justification for the "near total non-cooperation of Republika Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) with the order of the Tribunal", particularly in the apprehension of the indictees in the areas under their control. The recent cooperation of the Government of Croatia in facilitating the surrender of indictees was commendable, but more cooperation was required. The United States would continue to use every tool at its disposal to compel cooperation and to strengthen the capabilities of the Tribunal.
MELVIN SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said impunity for atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia was an obstacle to peace. It incited victims to take revenge and reaffirmed the wantonness of the aggressors. The Tribunal was indispensable for the Balkan peace process. In the last four years it had been consolidated, its rules had been framed, and it had begun hearing its first cases. He said the Tribunal's work had been important in the
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development of international law and catalysed it in areas where gaps still existed. Its existence had encouraged the creation of the International Criminal Court. Costa Rica has been privileged to have one of its citizens serving as a judge and vice-president on the Tribunal.
Lack of cooperation by some authorities was scandalous, he went on. The Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must comply with their international obligations by arresting and transferring to the court accused persons in their territory, and cooperating in the gathering of evidence and in facilitating the participation of witnesses. Some of those indicted still held public office, which was the most flagrant violation of victims' right to justice. The Security Council must make those entities realize their obligation to cooperate with the Tribunal. Short-staffing and underfunding at the Tribunal was another major problem. The United Nations must make sure the Court had the necessary resources to function properly.
GERHARD WALTER HENZE (Germany) said a stable and lasting peace in the Balkans could come about only if justice was done and war criminals, of whatever nationality or ethnic identity, were duly prosecuted. His country had made all efforts to contribute to the prosecution of violations of humanitarian law in the Balkans and would continue to do so. It had vigorously supported the work of the Tribunal in the political and legal fields and had also assisted with personnel and financial contributions. Germany was the third largest contributor to its budget. His Government had extradited two men charged with war crimes to the Tribunal; the extradition of Dusko Tadic by Germany to The Hague was the very first extradition to the Tribunal by a Member State.
He said German law-enforcement authorities cooperated closely with the Tribunal in order to ensure effective and transnational prosecution of violations of humanitarian law. Those efforts included special protection for the many refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina on German territory who were required by the Tribunal as witnesses. Because of the principle of legal universality introduced by a 1995 statute in the German Parliament, German authorities investigated violations of humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia regardless of the citizenship or residence of the suspects. On two accounts, German courts had pronounced imprisonment sentences in connection with violations committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. German law-enforcement authorities were presently investigating further cases again in close cooperation with the Tribunal. His country was actively committed to the establishment of a permanent international criminal court.
ANDRÉ ERDÖZ (Hungary) said the International Tribunal's report fully described the tragic consequences of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, by which Hungary had been directly affected. The acts of inhumanity and barbarity which took place were a warning about the quality and solidity of civilization. The Tribunal aimed not only to dispense justice, but to facilitate normalization
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between peoples and individuals in the territories of the former Yugoslavia. It also aimed to contribute to the advent of a normal, harmonious existence between peoples who had lived together for centuries. The scope of the endeavour was great, but if the international community did not address it, the impunity of the accused would be endorsed.
He said he deplored the lack of cooperation with the Tribunal by some entities and some countries. It was abhorrent that some of those indicted by the Tribunal still held positions of power in the region. Their actions had perpetuated a new type of apartheid in the middle of Europe. Hungary strongly rejected their ideas and called on all members of the international community to support the work of the Tribunal.
ALEXANDR ZMEEVSKY (Russian Federation) said his Government favoured the just punishment of all those guilty of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. However, it could not agree with recent descriptions of a pre-planned seizure of people by the stabilization forces as "cooperation with the Tribunal". The Russian Federation would not be responsible for such unilateral action. It objected to mandatory interpretations of the Dayton Accords. The Russian brigade would not take part in such actions which were contrary to the mandate of the international forces and put at risk the lives of international peace-keepers.
He said his Government was disturbed at the use of military operations to perform civilian tasks. Such actions would not help bring peace to the former Yugoslavia. The recent reliance on force by the stabilization forces would not only undermine the peace structure; it would also create a favourable climate for extremists. The sending of indicted war criminals to The Hague should only be undertaken through cooperation with the parties involved.
University for Peace
EMILIA CASTRO DE BARISH (Costa Rica) introduced draft resolution A/52/L.10: University for Peace.
ARMANDO OLARTE (Colombia) said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the United Nations should coordinate their operations on the University for Peace. The University should give educational programmes or workshops that resulted in societies where peaceful resolution of conflicts and respect for human rights coexisted.
He said the confrontation between capital and labour was a source of strife. The University for Peace should include programmes on the non-violent resolution of such confrontation. Peace and development were interdependent, he said. Colombia rejected violence as a tool for conflict resolution, and recommended that the draft resolution on the University for Peace be adopted by consensus.
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Mr. FULCI (Italy) said that in this day and age, when the news media continued to be dominated by stories of crisis and outbreaks of conflicts in various parts of the world, nothing could be more valuable than the emphasis of the University for Peace on conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace- building. It was not possible to over-estimate how vital those areas were to the United Nations activities. Educating individuals in the principles on which peace rested was, in the long run, the most sound way to prevent conflicts and to promote the causes of world peace, freedom, democracy and justice.
He said Italy was committed to a series of joint educational initiatives with countries that had experienced first hand the horrors of war or civil unrest. In the framework of existing universities and research institutes, those programmes aimed to strengthen cooperation in the field of post-conflict peace- building. Italy fully supported the draft resolution.
LUIS VALENCIA RODRIGUEZ (Ecuador) said the University had accomplished much since its inception. He noted the establishment in 1985 of the Gandhi Centre through a cooperation programme with the Italian Government to supervise the production of training instruments and education of technicians for communication for peace. The International Peace Radio was the result of collective work by the University for Peace and the World Peace University in Oregon, and aimed to inform and educate about a culture of peace. The International Centre for Documentation and Information had been established to identify, collate and disseminate information related to peace, by addressing subjects related to human rights, international relations, ecology and international treaties. The University dealt with issues at the governmental and non-governmental level.
He praised the creation in May of the World Centre for Research and Information on Peace in Montevideo, and thanked the President of Uruguay for his efforts in that regard. The University for Peace was carrying out its important objectives at a time when there was much conflict and hatred in the world, when people were subjected to discrimination, and when where there were still threats to international peace and security.
RAIMUNDO GONZALEZ (Chile) said the University for Peace was a new concept of security. It was a strengthening and promotion of democracy, human rights, respect for ethnic and cultural values, and the protection of democratic institutions for future generations. Education for peace was an important concept. Chile welcomed with satisfaction the most recent support given to the initiative; work in the field had been far-reaching and productive.
He said Chile still believed academic proposals were needed which could deal more directly with global security threats. His Government welcomed the World Centre for Research and Information on Peace by the Government of Uruguay, which would provide a secondary campus for the University for Peace in the southern region. Activities had made people in the region aware that
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they had an active role in the search for peace. Chile was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution and hoped the Assembly would adopt it without a vote.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh) said that, in considering the University for Peace, three questions were particularly pertinent -- whether the thematic aspects, academic content and research projects were focused on the pursuit of peace which constituted the objective and purpose of the University; whether proper assessment or evaluation had been made of the contribution by the University towards advancing the cause of peace; and whether the University had been endowed with necessary human, material and financial resources to carry out its mission.
He believed the programmes of the University should cover interdisciplinary or intersectoral studies in military and non-military threats to peace and security. It was hoped it would gradually assume a truly global vocation and significance within the perimeters of existing institutions like the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, United Nations University, and non-United Nations research organizations.
He said he applauded the special emphasis given by the University in the areas of peacekeeping, peace-building, preventive diplomacy and peaceful settlement of conflicts. It had continued to expand its activities, despite resource constraints. There should be generous contribution to the Trust Fund for Peace established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to receive assistance for this unique institution.
MARIO CASTELLON DUARTE (Nicaragua) said the University for Peace specialized in the peaceful settlement of disputes, communications in the field of peace, national campaigns for peace, achieving consensus in labour- management conflicts, training indigenous leaders and ecology. In Latin America, it was involved in pacification efforts. The University had had a positive impact on that region's efforts to achieve and maintain peace, democracy and sustainable development. That experience could be a model for regions currently experiencing conflicts similar to those that ravaged Latin America in the past.
He said one of the main ways the University transmitted information was Radio International Peace, established in 1987 by an agreement with the World Peace University in Oregon. The Radio was a non-profit, non-governmental organization that disseminated concepts promoting peace and technical communication for peace. Field courses in 1995-1997 reached more than 2,500 students from 27 countries. Thirty-four countries had joined the convention for the University for Peace, and more should do so to give the University greater moral authority. Interested States and institutions should cooperate with authorities in funding the University and fulfilling its mandate for world peace.
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FERNANDO PETRELLA (Argentina) said the United Nations was the only organization capable of re-establishing security in the world by promoting institutions that defined the concept of peace. His Government was committed to supporting initiatives to promote international peace, and supported the establishment in May of the World Centre for Research and Information on Peace in Montevideo.
The enhanced cooperation between the University for Peace and Member States gave it a far-reaching vision which encompassed each country's contributions to the University whose various courses, including its doctoral and masters programmes, were a testimony to its excellent work.
He said the international community must also strive to establish a culture of peace. Dissemination of peace was a continuous process achievable only through active work by all countries. He hoped Member States would continue to support the University.
JORGE PÉREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) said the southern campus of the University for Peace -- the World Centre for Research and Information was established in Montevideo in May. Its main objective was to disseminate information stored in data banks via a "teleport" for peace, and to communicate data by the Internet to universities, colleges, schools and other institutions of civil society.
He said Uruguay wanted to emphasize that Costa Rica's help in making its own work on peace more available and relevant to the Latin American region was greatly appreciated. The focus of the work of the University for Peace would be on education for peace, the promotion of the principles of peace, and the development and formation of leaders for peace.
Action on Draft Resolution
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the University for Peace without a vote.
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