|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6678th Meeting (PM)
Funding Shortfalls, Lack of State Cooperation, Personnel Retention Threaten Timely
Completion of International Tribunals’ Tasks, Security Council Told
Members Hear Briefings by Presidents,
Prosecutors of Courts Trying War Crimes in Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda
The Presidents of the ad hoc International Tribunals investigating war crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and the 1994 Rwanda genocide today highlighted the contributions of those courts to international criminal law, but cautioned the Security Council that limited resources, lack of State cooperation in critical areas and ongoing staffing challenges threatened the successful completion of their work.
“Together, we have developed international criminal law from its embryonic stage,” said Khalida Rachid Khan, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, describing the creation of the Tribunals as “a ground-breaking move” by the international community, premised on the noble goals of accountability, justice and ending impunity.
She said the work of the Rwanda Tribunal — established in November 1994 — was expected to be finished by June 2012, with all its judges’ terms scheduled to end by that date, in line with the court’s Completion Strategy. After December, judgement would be rendered in three cases and was expected to be delivered in the first half of 2012. Moreover, the Tribunal had made its fist national referral with the transfer of Jean Bosco Uwinkindi’s case to Rwanda for prosecution.
But even as its work drew to an end, the Tribunal continued to face problems with the relocation of acquitted persons, maintaining the Clinic for Victims and Witnesses of the Rwanda Genocide, and, most critically, retaining its staff. Indeed, nearly one third of the Trial Chambers’ legal staff had left for more stable employment in the past few months alone, she noted.
Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said his court continued to work as rapidly as possible to complete its cases by 31 December 2014, the target date set by the Council. It had resorted to such steps as doubling-up judges and, barring any objection from the Council, would depart from its previous practice and assign its nine ad litem judges to contempt cases not arising from their trials.
He said that to accelerate the appellate process, he had instructed the Registrars of both courts, in his capacity as President of the Appeals Chambers of both Tribunals, to take “exceptional measures” to bolster the number of staff assigned to judgement translation, with a view to halving the translation time in four cases.
Echoing appeals by his predecessor, Judge Patrick Robinson, he called for the use of a “retention bonus” to help stem large-scale staff departures, and suggested that many personnel problems could be remedied if the Tribunal were allowed to hire its most talented interns directly to fill vacant posts. In that regard, he urged the Council to have the Secretariat revisit its administrative policies and devise a pragmatic, flexible solution.
The Council also heard briefings by the Prosecutors of both courts, with the Rwanda Tribunal’s Hassan Bubacar Jallow asserting that tracking and arresting the remaining nine fugitives indicted by the court posed a major challenge for the timely completion of its cases. He hoped that with greater cooperation from States of the Great Lakes region, those fugitives located in their territories would be arrested and brought to account, thereby serving the interests of both global justice and regional peace and stability.
He said that to prepare effectively for the transition to the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals — set to begin functioning on 1 July 2013 and which would conclude the work begun by both Tribunals, as stipulated by Council resolution 1966 (2010) — the Office of the Prosecutor was currently updating case files with respect to six of the nine fugitives, in order to ensure their readiness for trial. It was also working to ensure that the Residual Mechanism would have the ability to continue providing support in national investigations and prosecutions.
Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said that if the court had no more fugitives, it was because the international community understood that justice was sometimes a long-term project. However, he pointed to several worrying trends in States of the former Yugoslavia, warning that if regional national war crimes strategies were allowed to fail, the Tribunal’s legacy, as well as reconciliation and the rule of law, would be endangered.
To that end, he stressed that State leaders in the region of the former Yugoslavia now had the opportunity to choose a future built on accountability and the rule of law, rather than nationalism and strife. To succeed, they must put aside narrow-minded and short-term political agendas. Meanwhile, the international community must show commitment and vision in helping those States cement their commitment to justice.
Among concerned States taking the floor, Rwanda’s representative expressed concern over the relevance of the Residual Mechanism, suggesting that it would divert attention to the transition rather than the empowerment of national jurisdictions. Its terms must be strictly limited, with a strong emphasis on transferring cases to permanent and national jurisdictions, he said.
Croatia’s representative, while voicing strong support for the Tribunals’ efforts to take the steps within their power for the expeditious completion of proceedings and transition to the Residual Mechanism, said the transition must not affect in any way the courts’ respective mandates or the due-process standards upon which their proceedings were based.
Serbia’s representative emphasized that his country’s successful cooperation with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal gave it the moral authority to continue to insist on an effective investigation into allegations that the Kosovo Liberation Army had killed people for the purpose of organ trafficking. Serbia expected that the ongoing investigation into those war crimes allegations, contained in the 7 January 2011 report of the Rapporteur of the Council of Europe, would be conducted professionally, impartially and efficiently in order to establish the truth and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development also participated in today’s debate.
Also speaking were representatives of Portugal, Germany, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Brazil, Lebanon, China, India, France, Colombia, Gabon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, United States and the Russian Federation.
The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. and ended at 5:35 p.m.
As the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it a letter dated 15 November from the President of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to the President of the Security Council (document S/2011/716), which contains assessments of the Tribunal’s President and Prosecutor regarding implementation of the its completion strategy. The report covers the period from 15 May to 15 November 2011.
Annexed to the letter is the assessment of the Tribunal President, which states that, at the close of the reporting period, two persons indicted by the Tribunal are at the pretrial stage, 16 are on trial and 17 are in appeal proceedings. With the arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, there are no outstanding fugitives. To date, the Tribunal has concluded proceedings against 126 of the 161 persons it indicted.
The President reports that the Tribunal conducted eight trials and rendered two judgements in contempt trials, with six appeals pending. It continues to take all measures possible to expedite its trials without sacrificing due process, but the pace of the trials and appeals continued to be affected by personnel shortages and the loss of highly experienced staff members. Despite General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, staff retention remains a problem, and without practical and effective retention measures, the situation will worsen. The Council should expect continuing revisions of estimates for the completion of the Tribunal’s core work.
According to the assessment, the Outreach Programme intensified its efforts to bring the Tribunal close to communities in the former Yugoslavia, taking initiatives to provide assistance and support to victims. The President also provides a summary of ongoing work to close the Tribunal and ensure a smooth transition to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, set to begin functioning on 1 July 2013. That work includes transferring functions to the Mechanism, downsizing staff and preparing digital records.
Regarding the issue of legacy- and capacity-building, the President reports that more than 60,000 pages of transcripts have been completed and uploaded onto the Tribunal’s website, and 157 legal professionals from regional judiciaries have received training on searching and accessing publicly available Tribunal material.
Annex II contains the assessment of the Prosecutor, which covers the period 17 May to 15 November 2011. It says that the long-awaited arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić have enabled the Office of the Prosecutor to move into the final phase of its mandate. The Office managed personnel shortages arising from staff attrition and the current absence of funding by continuing to use existing resources flexibly, and by depending on the willingness of staff to take on extra burdens to meet deadlines.
As the Tribunal’s work approaches completion, the Office is intensifying efforts to support its regional counterparts in taking over responsibility for prosecuting war crimes cases, the assessment states. The Office also continues to maintain positive working relationships with national prosecution offices, with the joint project of the Tribunal and the European Union being an example of a mutually beneficial working arrangement.
While the Prosecutor’s Office will continue to facilitate the transfer of information and expertise to prosecutors in the region, he remains concerned about persistent impediments to the effective implementation of national war crimes strategies in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Greater regional cooperation is needed to overcome those impediments, the assessment states. The fact that Radovan Stanković remains at large more than four years after his escape from prison is symptomatic of the prevailing regional coordination problems. The situation requires for an urgent solution.
As trials are completed, the Office of the Prosecutor is moving ahead with its downsizing plan, which will accelerate in the next reporting period, the assessment says. At the same time, it is increasingly focusing on transferring its capacity to the Office of the Prosecutor of the Residual Mechanism by anticipating its future needs and taking preparatory action.
Also before the Council was a letter dated 16 November 2011 from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to the President of the Security Council (document S/2011/731), which transmits the assessments of the court’s President and Prosecutor on the implementation of its completion strategy. Recalling that the Tribunal formalized in 2003 a completion strategy to achieve the objectives of completing investigations by the end of 2004, it notes that by 4 November 2011, it had completed its trial-level work with respect to 76 of the 92 accused, which included two referrals to national jurisdictions, two withdrawn indictments and two deaths of indictees before or in the course of the trial. The Tribunal has delivered 50 first-instance judgements involving 70 accused, 9 of whom pleaded guilty. Appellate proceedings have been concluded in respect of 37 persons, and 9 fugitives remain at large.
According to the report, the Tribunal remains at or close to completion of all trial work, despite continued staffing challenges, as projected in the completion strategy report issued on 18 May 2011 (document S/2011/317). The Trial Chambers rendered the three multi-accused judgements that were projected for the present reporting period, and the pretrial phase began for one recently arrested accused person. For the first time, the Tribunal referred a case to Rwanda, and a final decision on the appeal is expected shortly. Only five trial judgements remain to be delivered, two of which are anticipated before the end of 2011, including the last of the multi-accused, to be delivered in line with the court’s projections since 2010.
Still, a substantial amount of work remains to be completed by the Tribunal, including completion of the remaining trial judgements, evidence-preservation hearings, anticipated contempt cases, and review of more than 500 witness-protection orders. At least one further trial by the Tribunal is possible beginning in early 2012 if the referral of the accused person to Rwanda is not upheld on appeal.
According to the report, it is vital that the Tribunal maintain the necessary resources in its remaining time, especially in Chambers and in the Prosecutor’s Office, so that it may complete all necessary work within current projections. The continued attrition of experienced staff, in addition to difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified candidates, may have an adverse impact on the successful and timely implementation of the completion strategy. Nevertheless, in its final months, the entire Tribunal has rededicated itself to the mandate of challenging impunity, in line with completion-strategy targets.
THEODOR MERON, President, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said he had assumed the presidency on 17 November 2011, taking over from Judge Patrick Robinson. Paying tribute to his predecessor’s achievements in strengthening the Tribunal, he expressed full support for the initiative to establish a Victim’s Trust Fund.
Recalling the recent arrests of Goran Hadžić and Ratko Mladić, he said that meant there were no outstanding fugitives. “All living persons indicted by the Tribunal have been or will be tried in a court of law, either at the Tribunal or in the courts of national jurisdictions.” One of the greatest achievements of the Tribunal and its sister court on Rwanda was their contribution to the development of substantive, procedural and evidentiary international criminal law. That corpus of jurisprudence far outweighed that of Nuremberg, he said, pointing out that national judiciaries in the former Yugoslavia were successfully prosecuting war crimes cases, partly owing to the Tribunal’s example.
The Tribunal continued to work as rapidly as possible, given the constraints imposed by limited resources and the need to ensure the highest standards of procedural resources. Proceedings were ongoing against 35 persons — 18 at the trial level in seven cases and 17 at the appellate level in six cases. It was anticipated that judgements in six trials would be issued in 2012, and the Karadžić judgment during 2014, he said, adding that it was currently impossible to predict when the judgments on the Mladić and Hadžić trials would be issued. One appeal judgment was expected in 2012, with a further five to be delivered in 2013, including two multi-accused cases.
While acknowledging that Council resolution 1966 (2010) required the Tribunal to do everything possible to complete all cases by December 2014, he noted that that text had been adopted before the arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić. All efforts would be made to complete their trials before the 2014 deadline, but appeals in those cases would fall under the Residual Mechanism. Moreover, the Tribunal might not be able to conclude appeals emanating from three other cases, he said, pointing out that the completion report’s estimate for translating the Prlić case must also be corrected to 21 months.
He said he had reviewed the Tribunal’s activities to identify possibilities for reducing the time needed to complete appeals, and had identified the translation of judgements as a potential area for exceptional measures. Despite resorting to embedded translators in judgement drafting teams, the translation time represented a considerable impediment to a timely appellate process and risked running beyond the Council’s target dates, he said, adding that, as President of the Appeals Chambers of both the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, he had instructed the Registrars of both courts to bolster the number of staff assigned to judgement translation, with a view to halving the translation time in four cases — Butare, Prlić, Seselj and Tolimir — although they might still not be completed by the target date.
The President said he was also working to minimize the disruption caused by the Tribunal’s substantive caseload by contempt proceedings. There were currently 10 such cases outstanding and their burden was largely borne by the court’s eight permanent trial judges, some of whom were sitting on seven or eight contempt cases in addition to their substantive cases. Barring any objection from the Council, he intended to depart from the Tribunal’s previous practice and assign the nine ad litem judges to contempt cases not arising from their trials, he said.
Turning to staff retention, he said no progress had been made during meetings in November on the Tribunal’s proposal for a retention bonus in the form of a small termination indemnity of the type paid to staff whose contracts were terminated or abrogated prior to expiry. Thus, nothing had been done to remedy the problem posed by large-scale staff departures. In addition to the measures already outlined, the Tribunal had resorted to such steps as doubling-up judges, he said, warning, however, that unless something was done, he could not guarantee that estimates for the completion of the Tribunal’s core work would not require further revision.
He went on to suggest that many staffing problems would be remedied if the Tribunal were allowed to hire its most talented interns directly to open posts. However, General Assembly resolution 51/226 was currently interpreted as preventing the employment of those interns for six months following the completion of their internships, which prevented the Tribunal from implementing its preferred solution, a cost-free measure that would apply to only a small number of interns.
Looking to the future, he said the establishment of the Residual Mechanism, with judges whose remuneration would be on a per-day basis and who would be allowed to hold outside positions, would present many challenges. While the Tribunal was moving into unchartered territory, he was committed to making the transition and to ensuring the Residual Mechanism functioned smoothly.
KHALIDA RACHID KHAN, President, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said the court’s work was almost complete and was expected to be finished by June 2012. After December, judgement would be rendered in three cases and was expected to be delivered in the first half of 2012. All the judges’ terms were scheduled to end in June 2012, or earlier pending the completion of their assignments, in line with the completion strategy.
The Trial Chambers had referred Jean Bosco Uwinkindi’s case to Rwanda for prosecution, the first time such a referral had occurred, she said, adding that his appeal would be decided soon. Nine fugitives remained at large, she said, urging all Member States, especially those in the Great Lakes region, to redouble their efforts to cooperate with the Prosecutor to ensure that none of them escaped justice.
Staff retention remained the greatest challenge, as nearly one third of Chambers legal staff had left for more stable employment in the past few months alone, she said, expressing strong support for the proposal to allow the most qualified interns to be hired without a six-month break.
Another challenge was the relocation of acquitted persons, she said, noting that in national jurisdictions, such a person was set free and allowed to reintegrate fully into society, she said. Because there was no formal mechanism for securing relocation assistance from Member States, those acquitted by the Tribunal were forced to remain in safe houses in Arusha, she said, expressing hope that Members States would support the forthcoming joint proposal of the Registrar and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
She recalled that in 2004, the Tribunal had set up the Clinic for Victims and Witnesses of the Rwandan Genocide, which had provided treatment to 1,000 people this year alone. However, the Clinic faced closure due to funding shortages and she hoped Governments would consider contributing to the trust fund that provided support.
Providing an update on preparations for the Arusha branch of the Residual Mechanism, she said the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals had provided substantive inputs to the first budget proposal of the Residual Mechanism, as well as detailed comments on the draft Mechanism Rules of Procedure and Evidence prepared by the Office of Legal Affairs. The Arusha branch would house the Tribunal’s archives, nearly 900,000 pages of transcripts, as well as audio and video recordings, of more than 6,000 trial days, more than 10,000 interlocutory decisions and the judgements of all accused persons.
She went on to highlight some achievements, calling the creation of the ad hoc Tribunals “a groundbreaking move” by the international community premised on the noble goals of accountability, justice and ending impunity. “Together, we have developed international criminal law from its embryonic stage,” she said. “Thus, the Tribunals are compelling proof of our shared evolution towards a more effective system of international justice, in which perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable.” As part of its mandate to contribute to lasting peace and reconciliation in the region, “the Tribunal has given a voice to thousands of victims”, having heard more than 26,000 hours of testimony from over 3,200 witnesses
SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said the significance of the arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić was multilayered and went well beyond simple statistics. “The arrests mean that no individual has ultimately escaped the [Tribunal’s] reach and the final impediment to completing our mandate has been removed,” he said, adding that an important and problematic chapter in Serbia’s cooperation with the court had been closed.
Expressing hope that the arrests also meant brighter prospects for international justice, he said that if the Tribunal had no more fugitives, it was because the international community understood that justice was sometimes a long-term project. It had also maintained pressure and provided positive incentives for Serbia to choose accountability over impunity, and the rule of law over misplaced loyalty to war criminals. Moreover, with the arrests, the Completion Strategy was fast becoming a reality, he noted, noting that the presentation of evidence in most of the trials would likely conclude in the next reporting period. The focus would then be on the remaining trials and on managing the appellate caseload. Nevertheless, the departure of key staff remained an ongoing problem requiring careful consideration and smart solutions.
State cooperation in ongoing cases also remained essential, he emphasized, expressing the hope of seeing results from Serbia’s investigation into how the Tribunal’s last two fugitives had managed to evade justice for so long. While Serbia had undertaken to hold accountable any individual who assisted the fugitives, he had seen little follow-through during a November visit to Belgrade, and more must be done. He went on to note that his Office was making far fewer requests for assistance to Croatian authorities since it had no current cases involving accusations against Croatian citizens.
Nevertheless, he stressed that his previously expressed concerns about statements made by high-level Croatian authorities questioning the Tribunal’s validity had been reinforced during the current reporting period. State officials at the highest level continued to glorify illegal war-time conduct and to question the impartiality of the Tribunal’s judgements. Legislation had been passed to annul war crimes indictments issued by Serbia against Croatian citizens, he noted, saying that as long as such developments continued, reconciliation would be delayed and the rule of law derailed.
He went on to report that day-to-day cooperation between his Office and Bosnia and Herzegovina was proceeding well, but there were troubling signs that the National War Crimes Strategy was struggling, and urgent action was required to turn that situation around. Also symptomatic of broader problems was the case of Radovan Stankovic, who had been transferred from the Tribunal to national authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had convicted and sentenced him to 20 years. Four years ago, Mr. Stankovic had escaped, yet national authorities and neighbouring States had done little to return him to custody, despite repeated requested to do more.
During a November trip to Sarajevo, he recalled, there had been limited political will and insufficient resources to complete the remaining war crimes prosecutions. Cases had been backlogged rather than moving efficiently between State- and entity-level prosecutors. Frequent political attacks on the judiciary had undermined the National War Crimes Strategy and the international community must help the country steer more successfully towards accountability, he stressed.
He said that in preparation for the Residual Mechanism, his Office was working with the Registry and the Office of the Rwanda Tribunal’s Prosecutor to facilitate a smooth transition, including by drafting a proposed budget for its counterpart office. The proposed budget kept projected costs to a minimum by ensuring that the majority of posts were “double-hatted” with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal during the Mechanism’s first phase of operations.
If regional national war crimes strategies were allowed to fail, the Tribunal’s legacy, as well as reconciliation and the rule of law, would be endangered, he warned. Leaders in the States of the former Yugoslavia now had the opportunity to choose a future built on accountability and the rule of law, rather than nationalism and strife. To succeed, they must put aside narrow-minded and short-term political agendas, he emphasized, adding that the international community, for its part, must show commitment and vision in helping those States cement their commitment to justice.
HASSAN BUBACAR JALLOW, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said the court was on the verge of concluding an important phase of its mandate. All trial proceedings relating to four accused persons had been concluded over the past six months and trial judgements had been rendered in all the mutli-accused cases except that of Karemera et al. Two detainees remained at the Tribunal, Mr. Uwinkindi and Mr. Munyagishari, whose cases were awaiting trial. In a landmark decision, the Tribunal Referral Chamber had granted a request to transfer the Uwinkindi case to Rwanda for trial, and appeals in that and other cases over referrals would be a significant aspect of the work in months head, he said.
He went on to say that the Prosecutor’s Office would be focusing on the prosecution and management of appeals, tracking fugitives, servicing foreign requests for assistance and preparing for a smooth and effective transition to the Residual Mechanism. The Appeals and Legal Advisory Division was fully occupied with prosecuting and responding to numerous appeals in cases involving 18 accused persons and 24 separate appeals. Tracking and arresting the remaining nine fugitives remained a major challenge for the timely completion of the Tribunals, and it was to be hoped that with greater cooperation from Member States of the Great Lakes region, the many fugitives located in their territories would be arrested and brought to account, thereby serving the interests of both global justice and regional peace and stability.
Noting that the joint Tribunal-Kenya Police Task Force had been reactivated, he said it had been in operation since November 2010 to secure the arrest and transfer of Felicien Kabuga to the Tribunal for trial. Kenya must cooperate fully with the Tribunal to bring the matter to a conclusion, he stressed. Meanwhile difficulties continued to prevent the apprehension of Protais Mpiranya, a top-level fugitive reportedly in Zimbabwe. The Security Council should request both Kenya and Zimbabwe fully to discharge their legal obligations in that respect.
To prepare effectively for the transition to the Residual Mechanism and reduce its workload, the Prosecutor’s Office was currently updating case files with respect to six fugitives so as to ensure readiness for trial, he said. The steady increase in the volume of foreign requests to the Office in support of national investigations and prosecutions was a strong indication of the growing partnership between national systems and international courts in combating impunity through legal accountability. In 2010, the Office had tended to 143 requests from 12 countries, he recalled. Between January and November 2011, 106 requests had been submitted by 26 Member States. The Office of the Prosecutor was committed to ensuring that the Residual Mechanism would have the ability effectively to continue providing that important service to Member States, he said.
ANDRIES C. NEL, Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa, said his country supported the provision of the resources necessary to ensure the Tribunals could complete their work. There was a need for innovative ways to retain competent staff members, he said, adding that some cases could be referred to appropriate national jurisdictions. South Africa was concerned about the unwillingness of Member States to enter into agreements with the Rwanda Tribunal for the transfer of those who had served their sentences or had been found not guilty. In that context, he expressed thanks to the United Republic of Tanzania for its willingness to receive such people and to provide them with safe houses. States also had an obligation to cooperate with the Tribunals in effecting the arrests of those who were still wanted, he stressed, calling upon States to step up their efforts to arrest the nine fugitives still sought by the Rwanda Tribunal.
JOSE FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) highlighted the major progress made by the Tribunals in implementing their respective completion strategies, particularly the arrest of the two remaining fugitives indicted by the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal and that of Bernard Munyagishari, indicted by the Rwanda court. Both Tribunals had continued to perform invaluable work in the field of accountability for the worst crimes in the most professional way under difficult circumstances. Both had also made valuable contributions to the establishment of the Residual Mechanism by contributing to the drafting of its Rules of Procedure and Evidence and drawing up its budget. The challenges ahead fell into two categories: staff and resources; and national and regional ownership and cooperation.
Creative, realistic and cost-effective solutions to staffing issues must be found, including practical ad hoc solutions, he continued. The particular nature of the Tribunals as judicial bodies required a more flexible interpretation of general administrative norms. The measures proposed for expediting translation and assigning ad litem judges to contempt cases were welcome improvements in management, he noted. At the same time, the issues of national and regional ownership in the fight against impunity had gained new importance as the courts entered their final stages of work, he said. He encouraged States to cooperate among themselves in investigating and prosecuting war crimes, emphasizing also that they must cooperate with the Tribunals, particularly in arresting the nine fugitives still wanted by the Rwanda Tribunal. Prompt and appropriate responses by States to requests to host convicted persons must be found, he added.
CHRISTOPHE EICK ( Germany) said the existing prohibition on employing interns six months after their internships ended did not work in the context of a tribunal on the verge of shutting down. He welcomed Security Council resolution 1993 (2011), saying it called for a flexible approach to the issue while noting that important work remained to be done. However, the arrest of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić was a significant step towards the end of impunity, he said, adding that it was of the utmost importance to bring fugitives to justice. However, he expressed concern that nine fugitives remained at large. Security Council resolutions 1503 (2003) and 1534 (2004) emphasized the importance of transferring mid- and lower-level accused persons to national systems, he noted.
PAUL MCKELL ( United Kingdom) hailed the arrest and transfer of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić as an important milestone for international justice. However, questions remained about how two high-level fugitives had managed to avoid capture for so long. Noting the difficulties highlighted in respect of staffing levels, he said that would be a continuing problem until the Tribunals completed their work. To tackle difficulties concerning staff retention, he suggested revisiting the rules on interns. He said he remained concerned about the number of fugitives at large, urging Zimbabwe and other countries to help bring them to justice. He also suggested transferring lower-level cases to national courts.
OBINNA C. ONOWU ( Nigeria) said it was regrettable that staffing shortages continued to prevent the Tribunals from expediting their work. Effective solutions must be found, and the point of departure should be the staffing and recruitment measures mentioned by the Tribunals’ heads. The arrest and prompt transfer of Mr. Hadžić and Mr. Mladić embodied the kind of cooperation needed between State authorities and the courts, he said. That was also true of the assistance provided by authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in arresting Mr. Munyagishari. Such cooperation was required to help the Rwanda Tribunal apprehend the nine fugitives still at large, which would help it meet its Completion Strategy. He commended both Tribunals for increasing their efforts to help States mount national prosecutions and stressed that the international community must not relent in its support in that regard.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) said today’s presentation was timely in light of the upcoming election of judges to the Residual Mechanism. She reaffirmed her country’s understanding that committed judges were the pillars of any Tribunal. The fact that no fugitives from the former Yugoslavia Tribunal remained outstanding was notable, but the issue of staff retention must be addressed as a priority matter, she said. A smooth transition to a lean and efficient Residual Mechanism was essential in the quest for accountability. However, because judicial decisions alone could not bring peace and reconciliation, accountability and adherence to the rule of law must be part of the equation. Moreover, the Tribunals must be brought closer to those communities affected by their work, including through outreach and student education.
NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon), calling for a practical solution to the problem of retaining staff in both Tribunals, said that filling more permanent posts would allow them to fulfil their mandates on time. Commending the recent arrests of fugitives, he called upon Rwanda’s neighbours to help apprehend the remaining nine fugitives. Attention was also needed on the subject of freed persons, who should be able to return home, as was their right. The work of both Tribunals had contributed to combating impunity and rendering justice for victims, he said, adding that it had also strengthened the rule of law nationally and internationally. There could be no peace without justice, he added.
WANG MIN ( China) said both Tribunals had entered their wrap-up periods, and urged both to finish all their work by 2014 in order to ensure a smooth transition to the Residual Mechanism. Meanwhile, attention was needed to overcome difficulties in retaining staff. Regional cooperation was also needed in the arrest and transfer of fugitives, he said, calling upon countries that were able to do so to demonstrate political will and offer support to both Tribunals. Transferring cases to the appropriate courts was an important part of the Rwanda Tribunal’s work, he said.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said the recent arrest of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić was a sign of international cooperation efforts, and the remaining fugitives from the Rwanda Tribunal must also be apprehended. The judges had pointed out that trials were affected by staff attrition among other things, he recalled. There was a need for flexibility in terms of staff retention, he said. The relocation of cases must also be addressed, he said, adding that the Council should stand ready to handle operational or institutional issues arising from the Residual Mechanism. The continued support of the Council was crucial as the Tribunals tried to keep their trials on track.
MARTIN BRIENS (France) said the transfer of the Uwinkindi case to Rwanda, if confirmed, would be a great stride forward, adding that his country would be happy to welcome the Prosecutor of the Rwanda Tribunal to see the state of judicial proceedings against Laurent Bucyibaruta and Wenceslas Munyeshyaka in France. Noting the Prosecutor’s expectation of cooperation from Kenya, he also expressed concern that Mr. Mpiranya was in Zimbabwe. Turning to the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, he said the fact that no fugitive remained at large showed that those indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide could not count on the Council’s lassitude. Emphasizing that the Tribunal must have all necessary means to work effectively, particularly in addressing the challenge of staff retention, he said Judge Meron’s proposal regarding interns was easy to fulfil. He also questioned why it had taken so long to arrest the Serbian fugitives, and why the prisoner who had escaped in Foca had not yet been apprehended.
ISAURA DUARTE ( Colombia) said the apprehension of the last two fugitives wanted by the former Yugoslavia Tribunal was a great achievement. She also welcomed the transfer of the two Tribunals’ institutional knowledge and mechanisms to national institutions and the International Criminal Court. Both Tribunals had demonstrated that the establishment of an effective international justice system was not only desirable, but also achievable, she said. Underscoring the need to resolve problems of staff retention, she said her country supported the Tribunal Presidents’ requests in that regard. The Council should renew past appeals so that relevant United Nations units could step up their efforts to resolve such matters, she said, adding that the practice of preventing the hiring of interns for a certain period of time following their internships did not apply to the Tribunals.
ANNETTE ANDRÉE ONANGA (Gabon) said since the debate centred on important developments in combating impunity, the arrest of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić was yet another critical step forward for international criminal justice and for the victims involved. The positive current environment should be harnessed towards efforts on other issues, including jurisdiction, she said, encouraging countries neighbouring Rwanda to step up their efforts to apprehend fugitives remaining at large. Increased political resolve was needed to strengthen the Tribunals’ work within trial deadlines. The Tribunals played a crucial role in international criminal law, and the international community should pay particular attention to the victims, she stressed, calling for the establishment of a special fund for them.
MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) took note of the Tribunals’ continued efforts successfully to complete in accordance with the highest standards and commended their steadiness in fulfilling their remaining judicial functions, particularly in the face of unforeseen challenges beyond their control. However, she expressed concern over steps taken to reconcile the Completion Strategy’s requirements with demands for the presentation of cases in the pre-trial phase in a way that fully reflected the gravity and scope of the crimes committed. Bosnia and Herzegovina hoped that in their final stages, the Tribunals would move to meet the requirements and demands, she said, noting that her country still had a large number of cases awaiting prosecution. There could be no meaningful peace and reconciliation without justice, she said, emphasizing that all those responsible for war crimes must be brought to justice. She agreed fully that cooperation between countries in the region was very important and every effort must be made to improve and enhance it through numerous bilateral agreements that would address potential deficiencies.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) pointed out that the arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić were only steps in a long road to peace and justice. The former Yugoslavia Tribunal remained extremely busy even as it moved towards its Completion Strategy, he said. Noting that it had recently held a conference on its legacy, he said that showed that the international community could bring those who perpetrated atrocities to justice. The Tribunal had been a success largely because of the commitment of its staff, he said, reiterating his country’s call on all States in the region to cooperate fully with the court.
He went on to emphasize that Serbia must take appropriate measures against those who had supported Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić before their arrests, Bosnia and Herzegovina must take action regarding Radovan Stanković and Croatia should also continue its cooperation. Turning to the Rwanda Tribunal, he welcomed the conviction of the former Minister of Women’s Development as a milestone which showed that the use of rape as a tool of war was unacceptable. Still, the United States was discouraged that nine fugitives remained at large, he said, underscoring that every Member State had obligations regarding their apprehension, and asking all States to cooperate fully in that respect.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), noting the Tribunals’ efforts to fulfil their mandates, said recent success stories had resulted from cooperation with other States, including Serbian efforts, such as the establishment of a national investigation. He said he did not understand why the former Yugoslavia Tribunal was getting distracted from its tasks and focusing on that investigation.
The cause for delays in winding up the former Yugoslavia was unclear, he said, adding that, according to its latest report, the trials of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić had been scheduled to start in 2012 and 2013, respectively. However, there was no significant reason for that lengthy timeframe, he said, adding that he would be grateful for updates on developments regarding the appeals of another accused person. The Yugoslavia Tribunal had not yet established specific dates, and as it stood, it seemed as though that appeal would last as long as 2016, beyond the timetable for the completion of cases.
Underlining the importance of both Tribunals implementing Security Council resolution 1966 (2010), he said the time spent on judgements should be reduced, as the volume of judgements had reached some 14,000 pages. It was hard to understand the judgements as they were currently written without proper training and some lawyers had trouble reading them, he said. While not denying that different legal systems had different approaches to drafting judgements, he stressed that the Tribunals should represent all legal systems and deliver shorter judgements.
FEODOR STARČEVIĆ (Serbia), recalling that Serbian authorities had apprehended and transferred to The Hague the last two remaining fugitives indicted by the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, said the arrests were “milestones” to remember. Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal concerning access to documents, archives and witnesses had been impeccable for a long time and successfully maintained over the last six months.
As there were no outstanding requests for assistance relating to the ongoing proceedings before the Tribunal, Serbia had undoubtedly achieved full cooperation with it, and would continue to do so in the coming period so as to secure a smooth transition to future cooperation with the Residual Mechanism. The country was now ready to share the responsibility of enforcing sentences and would continue initiatives, with other countries of the former Yugoslavia, to sign an agreement on the enforcement of sentences with the Tribunal. Serbia was also willing to continue to cooperate with the Security Council Informal Working Group on International Criminal Tribunals in relation to the Tribunal’s archives, he said.
He went on to underscore that his country’s successful cooperation with the Tribunal gave it the moral authority to continue to insist on an effective investigation into allegations that the Kosovo Liberation Army had killed people for the purpose of organ trafficking. Serbia expected that the ongoing investigation into those war crimes allegations, contained in the 7 January 2011 report of the Rapporteur of the Council of Europe, would be conducted professionally, impartially and efficiently in order to establish the truth and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice. The mutual goals of Serbia and the Tribunal had proven to be identical and feasible, he said.
EUGČNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda) reaffirmed his country’s support for and cooperation with the Rwanda Tribunal’s work, as well as its readiness to facilitate the trials of the remaining cases by mid-2012. Through the Rwanda Witness Protection Service, the Government of Rwanda would continue to provide security and access to witnesses from both sides while facilitating their movement to and from Arusha. The Government would also support investigations and make all relevant documents available, he said.
Welcoming the Tribunal’s 28 June 2011 decision to refer the Uwinkindi case to Rwanda, he said the Government also expected the pending application for Mr. Munyagishari to be granted. Rwanda also welcomed the 27 October 2011 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the extradition of Silvere Ahorugeze, accused of war crimes and genocide, who had been arrested in Sweden. That ruling would facilitate the Tribunal’s decisions on referral applications and alleviate its burden in the final phase of its Completion Strategy, he said. In that regard, he called upon European Union members to arrest and/or extradite all genocide suspects and fugitives living within their respective territories to help fight impunity for the most serious crimes, a prerequisite for any reconciliation.
The Rwanda Tribunal Tracking Unit’s great efforts, and those of various Member States, to arrest numerous fugitives over the years should be recognized, he said, urging all Governments to cooperate with the Tribunal in arresting remaining fugitives, including one of the masterminds and financiers of the genocide, Felicien Kabuga, and in facilitating their transfer to Arusha or Kigali. However, he expressed concern about the relevance of the Residual Mechanism, saying it would unnecessarily prolong the transition rather than focusing on empowering national jurisdictions, particularly from countries that had suffered the most serious crimes. The Residual Mechanism’s terms must be strictly limited, with a strong emphasis on transferring cases to permanent and national jurisdictions, he emphasized.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia), calling attention to Prosecutor Brammertz’s statement that “State officials at the highest level in Croatia continue to glorify — and I repeat — glorify illegal wartime conduct and question the impartiality of the [International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s] judgements”, underscored Croatia’s rejection of those qualifications as unfounded and unacceptable. At the same time, expert opinion on the issue should be freely expressed and by no means interpreted as questioning the Tribunal’s judgements, he added.
He went on to express his country’s strong support for the Tribunals’ effortsto take the steps within their power to expedite proceedings in implementation of its Completion Strategy and transition to the Residual Mechanism. However, the transition must not in any way affect their respective mandates or the due-process standards upon which the proceedings were based. Croatia had closely followed the possible emergence of new jurisprudence founded on the Tribunals’ judgements and any possible impact on future criteria for the legitimate use of force to maintain international peace and security, he noted, stressing the importance of conducting a thorough analysis of such a complex matter. Hailing the fact that Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić had been brought to justice as a “great achievement” for the Tribunal and international justice, he said it was proof that impunity for grave breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law would not be tolerated.
He said the European Parliament’s 1 December decision to accept his country’s request to join the European Union, subsequent European Council decisions to that effect as well as Croatia’s plans to sign the European Community Accession Treaty testified to the country’s readiness and ability fully and unconditionally to fulfil its global obligations and commitments. In that context, Croatia continued its unwavering cooperation with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal. It had complied fully with the Trial Chamber’s decision concerning the request by the Office of the Prosecutor for missing documents, he said, commending the Prosecutor’s recognition that Croatia had cooperated well, through timely and adequate responses, and access to witnesses and evidence in relation to cases pending before the Tribunal.
* *** *For information media • not an official record