SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND RWANDA

21 November 2000
SC/6956

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND RWANDA

21 November 2000

Press ReleaseSC/6956

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND RWANDA

20001121

Council Briefed by Presidents and Chief Prosecutor of Two Organs

The Security Council met today to take up the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. As it did so, it was briefed by the Presidents and Prosecutor of those two organs.

Claude Jorda, President of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, said that to fulfil the mandate of the Tribunal by the year 2007, among other proposals, he had suggested the creation of a pool of ad litem judges from the Member States. Those judges would be called to rule on specific cases when required. He had also suggested that the pre-trial phase be accelerated, more responsibility for which would lie with qualified legal officers to enable judges to devote all their time to trying the cases. He had stressed that the reforms needed to be undertaken rapidly.

He appealed to the Council to use all its influence over Member States, especially the successor States of the former Yugoslavia, to arrest and bring before the relevant Tribunal the accused in their territory. It was imperative to act rapidly since nationalism in its most virulent form was still alive and could compromise the exercise of justice, without which there could be no lasting peace in the Balkans.

Navanethem Pillay, President of the Rwanda Tribunal, said the Tribunal had had a dynamic year and was making a good contribution to establishing respect for the rule of law. A number of judgements had been delivered this year, including life imprisonment convictions for genocide.

She assured the Council that the Tribunal was determined to do the utmost to complete its caseload. There were 35 persons awaiting trial, and she believed completion was possible. The Tribunal could not, however, predict the number of new suspects who would be indicted.

__________

* The 4226th and 4228th meetings of Security Council were closed.

Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6956 4229th Meeting (AM) 21 November 2000

Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor for both Tribunals, said the former Yugoslavia Tribunal’s forced inaction on what had been happening in Kosovo since June 1999 undermined its historical credibility. “We must ensure that the Tribunal’s unique chance to bring justice to the populations of the former Yugoslavia does not pass into history as having been flawed and biased in favour of one ethnic group against another”, she said. As it was presently drafted, the Tribunal’s Statute precluded it from dealing with ongoing crimes in Kosovo. She requested that the Council extend the Tribunal’s jurisdiction in that respect.

She said the Rwanda Tribunal was now entering a very intense period in its mandate. The coming months would see the most senior figures face justice. Those trials would be the most serious prosecutions to be dealt with by the Tribunal. “We have been waiting for these cases to come to court for many months”, she said. “Now, at last we will see in public the results of all the preparation that has been done.” She also stated that she wanted to see progress made outside the courtrooms and in other areas. “We must make our work more relevant to the people of Rwanda”, she said.

During the discussion that followed, the representatives of the United States, Bangladesh, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Argentina, Russian Federation, Malaysia, China, Jamaica, Ukraine, Mali, Namibia, Tunisia and the Netherlands spoke.

The meeting, which began at 10:50 a.m., was adjourned at 1:41 p.m.

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6956 4229th Meeting (AM) 21 November 2000

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning to consider the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It had before it the respective reports of those two bodies which were transmitted via notes from the Secretary- General.

International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia

The report of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 (document S/2000/777) covers the period from 1 August 1999 to 31 July 2000. It explains that the Tribunal was still faced with difficulties, related primarily to the number of accused who remain at large, some of whom are high ranking, and also to the need to find new resources permitting all the accused to be tried within a reasonable time frame, taking into account the number of ongoing and future cases.

According to the report, three final judgements were delivered during the reporting period, and 13 cases, involving 25 accused, were in trial or pre-trial stages. In total, 37 detainees are currently in the Detention Unit.

During the reporting period, the Office of the Prosecutor was engaged in intensive investigative work in Kosovo, once access to the territory became possible following the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air campaign. On 12 June 1999, Tribunal investigators entered Kosovo with NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops. Three thousand and sixty-six people were interviewed between June 1999 and February 2000. Trial work and appellate work have each increased dramatically in the reporting period.

The report states that the number of indictments made public is 28, involving 97 individuals. Despite the best efforts of the Tribunal, several of the accused held public office with complete impunity. Slobodan Milosevic and other important military officers or high-ranking officials were still at large, and Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic had still not been apprehended even though they were indicted five years ago. In another case, in March 1999, the Prosecutor revealed that Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan) had been indicted by the Tribunal, but he was assassinated in January. The Office of the Prosecutor decided that the indictment would remain sealed for reasons of security.

Cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo continued to produce results. However, cooperation with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had not improved during the reporting period. The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at The Hague continued to refuse any contact with the Tribunal. On the other hand, relations with Croatia since the change in government had shown very positive signs of improving.

In conclusion, the report noted that, to achieve a lasting peace and bring an end to the cycles of violence in the Balkans, it was essential for the ordinary citizens of the region of the former Yugoslavia to be satisfied that justice had been achieved. It was the Prosecutor's firm belief that the conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia was sparked by power-hungry politicians who used propaganda and nationalistic sentiments to create an atmosphere of fear and terror, which was then used to motivate ordinary citizens to commit atrocious crimes against their neighbours. It was felt that, by prosecuting the leaders, even down to the municipal level, the Tribunal could lay the foundation for reconciliation.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document S/2000/927) transmitting the fifth annual report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994, submitted by the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in accordance with article 32 of its Statute.

According to the report, during the period under review, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda rendered three judgements, bringing the total number of judgements rendered, thus far, to seven, involving eight accused persons. These judgements, the report states, must be viewed as a step towards transforming the aspirations of international criminal justice into reality, and contributing to the process of national reconciliation in Rwanda and to the restoration of peace in the region. The three judgements rendered concerned Georges Anderson Rutaganda, Alfred Musema and Georges Ruggiu. The Tribunal held two plenary sessions, during which, among other matters, a number of amendments to the existing Rules of Procedure and Evidence and new Rules were adopted with a view to expediting trials.

The present report reviews the main activities of the Chambers, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Registry and the Administration, as well as the support provided to these organs by States and various institutions.

According to the report, during the period under review, the Appeals Chamber entertained three appeals on the merits -- four, taking into account the joint appeals lodged by the Prosecutor in two cases -- and rendered one decision. Five cases are currently pending before the Appeals Chamber. It was seized of 34 interlocutory appeals and it ruled on 24 of them. The Chamber has heard four motions for review of its own decision and ruled on two such motions.

The Witnesses and Victims Support Section of the Judicial and Legal Services Division produced 19 protected prosecution witnesses before Trial Chamber I. The Section had intensified its post-trial monitoring activities in the countries of residence of the witnesses who appeared before the Tribunal. Many such witnesses have also enjoyed a wide range of assistance aimed at improving their psychological rehabilitation.

The report notes that in 1999 the intelligence network put in place by the Office of the Prosecutor and the tracking team’s aggressive approach were determining factors in the arrests of seven suspects. The arrests concern highly placed military authorities, a minister of the interim Government and the long- awaited extradition of a prominent clergyman. The success of these operations was the product of the exemplary cooperation the Office of the Prosecutor received from the national authorities in Cameroon, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark and the United Republic of Tanzania. At present, 42 detainees are currently detained under the jurisdiction and control of the Tribunal.

During the reporting period, the Office of the Prosecutor presented four new indictments for confirmation. These indictments have been brought against 14 persons.

Statements

CLAUDE JORDA, President of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said that last June he had presented a draft reform of the operations and structures of the Tribunal. In order to fulfil the mandate of the tribunal by the year 2007, he had proposed the creation of a pool of ad litem judges from the Member States who would be called to rule on specific cases when required. He had also suggested that the pre-trial phase be accelerated, more responsibility for which would lie with qualified legal officers to enable the judges to devote all their time to trying the cases. He had stressed that the reforms needed to be undertaken rapidly.

Those solutions, however, would not be effective unless internal reforms were carried out, he said. Such reforms would not require additional resources. The rules for administering and presenting evidence must be amended to make them more effective. Moreover, the judges’ control over the conduct of the proceedings must be bolstered to expedite the accused’s trial. In a few weeks, he would propose measures to the Registrar and the Prosecutor to enable the three organs of the Tribunal to set in concert their long-term judicial priorities and to cooperate closely in meeting them within as short a time as possible. To be fully effective, all the reforms supposed that every organ of the Tribunal would strive to implement them in a coordinated manner while, at the same time, being mindful of the need to manage resources better.

He said the Tribunal’s situation had improved with regard to arrests and the transfer of evidence. That progress was the result of the cooperation of all the Member States and the increased cooperation of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. The Council should not forget, however, that the highest-ranking political and military officials remained at large. It was precisely they who must be tried, first and foremost, by the Tribunal.

He appealed to the Council to use all its influence over the Member States, especially the successor States of the former Yugoslavia, to arrest and bring before the Tribunal the accused in their territory. It was imperative to act rapidly since nationalism in its most virulent form was still alive and could compromise the exercise of justice, without which there could be no lasting peace in the Balkans.

He went on to say that he would not hesitate to inform the Council of all serious failures by whichever State to meet the obligation to cooperate with the Tribunal. He would also notify the Council of all the measures which States implemented to remedy such failure to cooperate.

NAVANETHEM PILLAY, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said the Tribunal had had a dynamic year and was making a good contribution to establishing respect for the rule of law. A number of judgments had been delivered this year, including life imprisonment convictions for genocide. The Tribunal faced many challenges, including the expeditious extradition of suspects by Member States. Another challenge was the appointment of counsel of choice for indigent accused. Such people were not entitled to a counsel of their choice due to costs and the available budget for the defence of accused persons.

She said the first year of the Tribunal could be characterized as one of intensive judicial efforts to clear the backlog of pre-trial motions and interlocutory appeals. The year 2001 could now be planned. She went on to say that the trial chambers were seized by large number of pre-trial motions. In the past, those had been heard in the courtrooms. The Judges, however, had amended the rules so that that motions could now be considered by briefs alone and not in the courtroom, thus negating the need for a hearing. That had cut down on costs even more. The use of the courtroom was further reduced when scheduled court dates were vacated due to trials not beginning on schedule. In such cases, administrative procedures, over which judges had no control, delayed the court process.

She said that, for the first time since coming into existence, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Rwanda Tribunal had met. That had taken place in the United Kingdom, courtesy of the British Government. Much had been achieved in preparing the ground for interrupted trials in the Rwanda Tribunal. New trials had also been scheduled for the first six months of next year. She assured the Council that the Tribunal was determined to do the utmost to complete its caseload. There were 35 persons awaiting trial, and she believed completion was possible. The Tribunal could not, however, predict the number of new suspects who would be indicted.

She said more resources and personnel would be required next year for the preparation of judgments. The issue of compensation for miscarriages of justice had also been addressed. Questions had also been raised about the possibility of holding some of the trials in Rwanda. According to the Tribunal’s Statute, however, the seat of the Tribunal was in Arusha. While decisions could be taken to hold trials elsewhere, they could only be taken by the trial chamber. It was up to the Council, nevertheless, to decide whether the Tribunal’s Statute should be amended vis-à-vis its seat.

CARLA DEL PONTE, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunals of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, said that the Rwanda Tribunal had just passed through a difficult period of reorganizing the caseloads and getting cases ready for trial. During the reporting period, however, there were not many prosecutions under way in the courtrooms. That was always a source of concern, particularly when there were persons in custody. Nevertheless, she was pleased to be able to report that some of the big cases had now started, and others were scheduled to begin very soon.

She said one of the biggest cases had started last month by prosecution of the media for its alleged role in the Rwandan genocide. That case was recognized as breaking new legal ground, and was attracting a great deal of interest. She informed the Council that former Prime Minister of Rwanda Jean Kambanda had been unsuccessful in his appeal against his sentence of life imprisonment. It was encouraging to see that convictions obtained in the Trial Chambers were able to withstand the scrutiny of Appeal’s Court Judges. That meant that the job of prosecuting enormous crimes could be done and was being done to the necessary high “criminal standard”.

She said the Rwanda Tribunal was now entering a very intense period in its mandate. The coming months would see the most senior figures face justice. Those trials would be the most serious prosecutions to be dealt with by the Tribunal. “We have been waiting for these cases to come to court for many months”, she said. “Now, at last we will see in public the results of all the preparation that has been done”. She also stated that she wanted to see progress made outside the courtrooms and in other areas. “We must make our work more relevant to the people of Rwanda”, she said. A new information centre had been opened in Kigali, but she still wanted to go further.

She said she was going to ask the Trial Chambers to hold hearings in Rwanda, instead of Arusha, so that the people of Rwanda could see at first hand the contribution by the international justice system to the restoration and maintenance of peace and security. Also, holding trial hearings in Rwanda would greatly improve access to the court for witnesses and victims. It was regrettable that the Tribunal’s Statute made no provision for victim participation during the trial, and made only a minimum of provision for compensation and restitution to people whose lives had been destroyed. Yet, her office was having considerable success in tracing and freezing large amounts of money in the personal accounts of the accused.

That money, she continued, could be used by the courts to compensate victims. Victims should, therefore, be given the right to express themselves and have their voices heard during proceedings. Money seized could also be used to defray prosecution costs. She suggested that the present system fell short of delivering justice to the people of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. She invited the Council to give serious and urgent consideration to any change that would “remove this lacuna in our process”.

Turning to the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, she said that although more than 4,000 bodies or body parts had been exhumed and examined in 1999 and 2000 in Kosovo, it would never be possible to provide an accurate figure of the number of people killed, because of deliberate attempts to burn the bodies or to conceal them in other ways.

She said her office had received a number of passionate pleas to investigate allegations of continuing ethnic cleansing against the remaining Serb and Roma populations in Kosovo. Such practices were unacceptable and sowed the seeds of future revenge and lasting instability in the region. For the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to encompass crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo after the deployment of the international force in Kosovo, KFOR, article 5 of its Statute should be modified and the reference and requirement for there to be “armed conflict” should be omitted. That would make it compatible with the Rwanda Statute.

She said the Tribunal’s forced inaction on what had been happening in Kosovo since June 1999 undermined its historical credibility. “We must ensure that the Tribunal’s unique chance to bring justice to the populations of the former Yugoslavia does not pass into history as having been flawed and biased in favour of one ethnic group against another”, she said. As it was presently drafted, the Tribunal’s Statute precluded it from dealing with ongoing crimes in Kosovo. She requested that the Council extend the Tribunal’s jurisdiction in that respect.

Addressing cooperation between the Tribunal and Croatia, she said that, while there had been improvements, all the problems had not been completely removed. Where Croatia perceived cooperation to be against its political or narrow security interests, a real difficulty still existed. One long-standing problem, namely, the provision of Croatian material for use as evidence in the Kordic trial, was still unresolved. Time was running out fast for full compliance with the Tribunal’s orders that were still outstanding in that case.

She expressed concern about the rate at which indicted persons were being arrested. Recently, far fewer arrests had taken place, and it was disturbing to see that there had been no arrests in the second half of the year. Over recent months, she had recommended the formation of a special police task force, which would have jurisdiction over all of Bosnia and Herzegovina and be responsible for apprehending indicted fugitives. Unfortunately, her suggestion had not been adopted.

“It also appears that we can take little comfort from the results of the recent elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, she said. In the aftermath of those elections, “we cannot expect any improvement in the attitude of some of the local authorities towards cooperation with the Tribunal”. The outcome of those elections was a direct consequence of the lack of resolve shown by the international community with respect to apprehensions. By allowing the main culprits of the Bosnian war to continue to enjoy freedom, a wrong message was sent, both to the people and the politicians of Bosnia and Herzegovina: namely, that criminal nationalism and its promoters were and shall remain beyond the reach of justice; also, that the threatening words of the international community were just words.

She said Slobodan Milosevic must be brought to trial before the international community. There was simply no alternative and it was inconceivable for him to walk away from the consequences of his actions. The surrender of the former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a priority for her and should be one for the Council.

She said that yesterday in the General Assembly the representative of the Russian Federation had criticized the Tribunal and accused it of being: a political institution; anti-Serb; over resourced; of improperly issuing indictments; of being less than diligent in its examination of NATO; and, worst of all, of being a threat to the unity of accepted international law. The Russian representative had gone on to say that by making new legal interpretations, the Tribunal was creating anarchy in international law. She said such allegations were offensive and without any foundation.

Any objective examination of the Tribunal’s work would clearly demonstrate that the remarks of the Russian representative yesterday were without basis, she continued. “I am doubly disappointed that such statements were made because, unless they are maliciously or politically motivated, they have been based on misunderstanding, which could have been clarified had the Russian Government responded to my many requests for a visit to Moscow to discuss the work of the Tribunal”, she said.

JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said the opportunities presented by the positive changes in the Balkans would not be realized unless Judge Jorda and Carla Del Ponte, the Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor, were successful in their important mission. Only through justice for the victims of the brutal wars that had torn the Balkans apart could the process of healing and reconciliation be completed. All of the major indictees must end up behind bars. Many of the perpetrators were still at large, some of them serving in leading positions in the Republika Srpska. Their day-to-day activities impeded the implementation of the Dayton Accords and prevented refugees from returning to their homes.

He called on the Tribunal and others in the international community to take vigorous action to ensure that justice was done and that efforts to block the implementation of the Dayton Accords be stopped. All countries of the region were obligated to comply fully with the Tribunal. His Government had urged the new President of Yugoslavia to comply fully with his legal obligations to the Tribunal and was pleased by indications that government authorities were preparing to reopen the Tribunal’s offices in Belgrade and to permit Mrs. Del Ponte to travel to Yugoslavia. He also encouraged the President of Croatia to ensure that Croatia’s compliance with its obligations to the Tribunal was complete and timely.

Stating that the international community must also do its part, he announced his Government’s support in principle for new ad litem judges for the Tribunal. The common goal of the international community would not be served by extending the Tribunal’s jurisdiction further. Other problems in the region could be resolved more efficiently through different mechanisms. It was not appropriate to set arbitrary deadlines for the Tribunal’s jurisdiction or the completion of its mission. The focus must be on assuring that the Tribunal was able to finish its job as quickly as possible. That process could best be aided by providing it with the resources it needed and by full cooperation of the States in the region.

He said he looked forward to the formulation of an end-game strategy for the Rwanda Tribunal. The Lusaka process was at a dangerous impasse, a core issue of which was the continued presence of units of the ex-FAR/Interhamwe fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Council had called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Frank discussion of the ex-FAR/Interhamwe would speed that process. The faster the leadership of the ex-FAR/Interhamwe was turned over to the Tribunal, and the faster the rank and file soldiers were demobilized, reintegrated and resettled, the easier it would be to resolve the issue.

He went on to say that there had been reluctance by some members to allow mention of the words “ex-FAR/Interhamwe” in any official document. That eroded the Council’s credibility and diminished its effectiveness. “If we yield to political sensitivities and omit reference to the architects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, we do ourselves a disservice”, he said. He urged the Council to break its self-imposed silence on that issue.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that the setting up by the Security Council of the two Tribunals demonstrated the global commitment to justice and respect for international law. Those Tribunals provided precedence for tribunals being established for Sierra Leone and Cambodia and in emerging international institutions based on the rule of law.

Regarding the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, his delegation was very appreciative of the professional way in which the President of the Tribunal was carrying out his very complex responsibilities. Bangladesh had always supported and would continue to support the work of the Tribunal in bringing those responsible for the horrors in the former Yugoslavia to justice. There were a few points which his delegation believed were of particular relevance in the effective discharge of the Tribunal’s responsibilities. First, in order to establish peace in the Balkans, justice must be served. Second, there were many criminals who still remained at large, and they must account for their acts before the Tribunal. Third, the international community must pay close attention to the apparatus that had been created so as to ensure justice. Fourth, there needed to be reform of the penal policy, and his delegation had favourably considered the twofold solution offered by Judge Jorda.

In Rwanda as in the Balkans, the goal of achieving peace and reconciliation was related to justice, he said. True reconciliation would be difficult to achieve without justice. His delegation was happy to note that the Rwanda Tribunal’s performance had improved substantially. Bangladesh encouraged Judge Pillay to complete the 35 cases awaiting trial within the time of the mandate. It was important that necessary resources and support be provided to the Tribunal for that purpose.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said the former Yugoslavia Tribunal had come to a turning point as a result of the historic changes in the Balkans. Those changes should have a positive impact on it. The restoration of the rule of law and peace in the region would work in tandem to bring to trial those who had violated international humanitarian law. It was imperative that States cooperate with the Tribunal’s efforts. He appealed, in particular, to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He was encouraged by signs of political readiness by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia to cooperate with the Tribunal.

He said the Tribunal was tackling its work with effectiveness and alacrity. The proposed amendments to its Statute had been examined, and he hoped the Council would adopt the amendments before the end of the month. Setting time limits on the competence of the Tribunal was an important question and must be adequately pondered. He suggested that the Secretary-General put relevant proposals to the Council.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was now coming fully into its own, he said. It had been the first international tribunal to hand down guilty verdicts for genocide. It continued, however, to encounter many difficulties. The Tribunal must make full use of its human and material resources. Year after year, it had run into many difficulties, including unresolved issues regarding its management. The situation continued to be of serious concern to his Government.

The experience built up by both Tribunals pointed to the importance of assuring victims that those who had perpetrated human rights violations against them would be dealt with. There must be protection for the witnesses who appeared before the Tribunal . He supported the witness protection programme. The two Tribunals had played a pioneering role in the work leading to the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The judgments handed down by the Tribunal attested to the intention of the international community to end impunity, which had too often gone hand in hand with international human rights violations. France would support the work to bring to trial those responsible for violating international humanitarian law.

PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said that the Tribunals had played a crucial role in the promotion of human security by ending impunity for the most serious crimes known to humankind and, therefore, creating a lasting foundation for peace. The existence of the Tribunals and progress towards the International Criminal Court served an important conflict-prevention role. They demonstrated to perpetrators that war crimes and crimes against humanity would not be allowed to stand.

This past year, he said, had brought many changes to both Tribunals. Although there had been a vast improvement in the cooperation by Croatian authorities with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, his delegation was disappointed that the cooperation had not reached the level required. It was encouraged by the recent announcement that the Chief Prosecutor would be travelling to Belgrade, and that the Office of the Prosecutor in Belgrade would soon be reopened.

Canada was pleased with the improvements over the past year in relations with the Rwanda Tribunal and the Government of Rwanda. The opening of a Tribunal information and documentation centre in Kigali would improve access for the Rwandan people to the work of the Tribunal. The launch of the Support Programme for Witnesses and Potential Witnesses would provide important services such as legal guidance, psychological counselling, and physical rehabilitation and reintegration assistance.

Over the past two years, he said, both Tribunals had taken steps to implement the recommendations of the Expert Group report in order to improve efficiency and streamline the work of the Tribunals. Those improvements were key to ensuring that the Tribunals' budgets were being used effectively and that the rights of the accused were respected. To that end, Canada supported amending the Statutes of the Tribunals to add additional Rwanda Tribunal judges to the joint Appeals Chamber and to create a pool of ad litem judges in the former Yugoslavia Tribunal. Those important initiatives would assist the Tribunals in speeding up the pace of prosecutions, thereby ensuring swifter justice.

STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said it was imperative that all the organs of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal work together. The United Kingdom supported the work of the Tribunal and had contributed towards making it more effective. Among other things, for the second year running, his Government had provided a scientific forensic team to Kosovo. He hoped that positive developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would lead to further positive developments. The key issue was that the accused must be brought to justice.

It was incumbent on all members of the Council to stand behind the Tribunal which they had created. There were too many indictees at large. He called on all States to arrest indictees when they were in their States’ jurisdictions. He went on to say that now was not the time to set a deadline for the work of the Tribunal. When all the indictees were in The Hague, there would be a better idea of when the Tribunal could finish its work. He welcomed all proposals to speed up the judicial process, and said he hoped the Council would reach agreement on the proposals this month. He hoped the Tribunals could figure out further ways to increase the effective use of their resources. There had been administrative problems, and he hoped the use of the Court consultant would help to clear up those problems.

Regarding the possible move of the Rwanda Tribunal to Kigali, he said he understood Rwandans’ wishes to feel more involved and the issue required further consideration. However, the Council must not rush too quickly to dismantle the structure in Arusha, which had been set up at great cost and with painstaking care.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLIA (Argentina) said the advent of the two Criminal Tribunals had directly resulted in the creation of the International Criminal Court. In the future, that Court would become the competent international forum for trying the types of crimes currently being addressed by both Tribunals. Without the creation of the Tribunals, progress in creating an international criminal court would have been slower and its establishment would have been achieved much later.

He said the lack of cooperation by certain States frustrated attempts by the Tribunals to take certain individuals into custody. It was incumbent upon such States to assist both Tribunals and ensure that detentions were carried out. Also, he noted that while the former Yugoslavia was working at maximum capacity, it still had to cope with an ever-growing workload. In May, that Tribunal’s President had requested the adoption by the Council of a set of measures to remedy that situation, including the addition of ad litem judges. The Council had established a working group and those measures should now be acted on.

He said the independence of both Tribunals ensured impartiality to all those who had been victimized. His delegation supported the proposed reforms to the Tribunals and urged that they be adopted as soon as possible -- preferably before the end of this year.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said everyone was aware that his country had raised the question of the distortion of the continuing activities of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal over a long period of time. The Prosecutor had called the Russian Federation’s position groundless while, at the same time, stating that the Russian Federation had not invited her to Moscow. Such statements did not add anything to the discussion. He understood that the nameplates before the Council members seats were small and the nameplate in front of Mrs. Del Ponte only contained the name Prosecutor. Her full title was Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. That did not give her the right to make accusations against members of the Council, particularly since none of questions posed by the Russian Federation had been answered.

When the Tribunals had been established, he said, the international community had assumed that the Tribunal would be doing its job independently. From the beginning, however, the work had been politicized and the Tribunal had adopted an anti-Soviet stance. When dealing with possible violations involving the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Prosecutor had immediately moved to levy accusations against that country. Yet, it found no grounds to carry out investigations when people were dying in Kosovo. In recent years, the Tribunal had repeatedly amended and conveniently interpreted its Statute. There were violations of international borders and the hunting down and killing of suspects.

He questioned whether the international community should be financing activities that undermined the fairness of the Tribunal. There should be an investigation on the activities of the Tribunal and to determine how long it should be in effect. He was now hearing forecasts that the Tribunal would need another 15 years. Apart from the political aspects, the colossal financial burden should be taken into account. He viewed positively the proposals to accelerate the Tribunal’s activities.

The time had come to establish more clearly the temporary jurisdiction of the Tribunal, he said. The main responsibility for punishing those who had violated international humanitarian law lay with the States. He reminded the Council of the conditions under which the Tribunal had been established.

The work of the Tribunal did not comply with the aims under which it had been set up, he said. The prosecution of perpetrators responsible for war crimes and violations of international law had not been effective. In six years, the Tribunal had only been able to pass six sentences. Meanwhile, the budget and staff of the Tribunal continued to grow. The Russian Federation would continue to support efforts to correct distortions.

MOHAMMAD KAMAL YAN YAHAYA (Malaysia) said his Government continued to be concerned at the long delays faced by the Tribunals. In consideration of the draft reform, he favoured a simplified and pragmatic approach that would lead to expediting the trial process, but not compromise the work of the Tribunals. Malaysia would not pronounce itself at the current stage, but the proposals presented by the Tribunals had merit and deserved the Council’s consideration. He was confident that the Council would arrive at the appropriate decisions.

The meting out of justice to persons who had been indicted for war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity was vitally important to the international community. Past wrongs must be corrected through the legal process, thus contributing concretely to healing and reconciliation in both regions. He commended the manner in which the Tribunal’s victims and witnesses unit had handled the issue of providing protection for witnesses appearing before the Tribunal. He also commended the contributions of the non-governmental organizations in that regard.

Cooperation of Member States was vitally important to the successful conduct of the work of the Tribunals, he said. He noted with satisfaction that cooperation between States and the Tribunals had improved, and the arrest of the indictees had increased. He was concerned, however, that Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic had not been apprehended even though they had been indicted over five years ago. He called on all Member States to participate fully, and on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to fully cooperate with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal so that lasting and durable peace would be achieved in the Balkans. The issue of indicted war criminals still at large must be addressed. “Peace without justice was like music without instruments”, he said.

WANG YINGFAN (China) said the Tribunals should carry out their missions in a just manner. But there were considerable inadequacies. His country wished to express serious reservations about the allegations by the Prosecutor that there was no basis for investigating crimes against humanitarian law during NATO's bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He said his delegation supported the views and reservations expressed by Russian delegation today. The Tribunals should also consider other measures to reduce their caseload, perhaps by sending lower-level indicted persons before national courts within the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said it was imperative to continue supporting the work of the two Tribunals as they sought to fulfil the mandates entrusted to them by the Council. She also stressed the importance of both Tribunals completing their work in the shortest possible time. Justice delayed was justice denied. The Council must, therefore, take action on the recommendations that had been put before it. Her delegation supported the appointment of ad litem judges and recommended that it be by a process of elections. Those judges would enhance the Tribunals' work and provide them with more essential tools in the execution of their duty.

Referring to compensation for victims, she said one had to be clear about who should be compensated and the manner in which persons should be compensated. In Rwanda, there were signs of improvements to the environment due to the work of the Rwanda Tribunal. The political landscape of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal was also different from what it had been a few years ago. Cooperation between States and that Tribunal had improved and he hoped it would continue. If justice was to be brought to the Balkans, certain restrictions to the former Yugoslavia Tribunal Statute should be reviewed and acted upon.

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that six months ago the Council had discussed, in an open meeting, the Carlsson report on the Rwanda genocide. Earlier this year, the Security Council had adopted a statement of its President on the anniversary of the massacre that had followed the fall of Srebrenica. The scale and brutality of the crimes perpetrated in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the need to enforce respect for international humanitarian law in the future, called for creation of a credible universal system of criminal justice that later culminated in the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Despite significant difficulties and problems faced by the Rwanda Tribunal, the developments since November 1999 had been promising, he said. The resumption of cooperation between Rwanda and the Rwanda Tribunal, the recent inauguration of the Information and Documentation Centre in Kigali, and the increase in number of arrests of high-ranking officials involved in the massacres in 1994 were all signs of improved performance. His delegation was also pleased by the efforts of the Tribunal to ensure that the significant number of cases and the excessive number of motions filed by the parties did not slow down or prolong trials. The Bayaragwiza case was an unfortunate precedent that must not be repeated.

His delegation wished to emphasize the important role played by the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in bringing about the significant changes on the political scene in the Balkans last year. By contributing to those changes, it had successfully carried out the main part of its mandate aimed at restoring peace in the region. The goal to accomplish its mandate within the shortest period of time, possibly by the year 2007, as outlined in the statement by Judge Jorda, required that decisive steps be taken. The improved political situation in the Balkans made it possible for the Tribunal to use the existing mechanisms under the Statute and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence to defer its competence on particular cases to the national courts in the former Yugoslavia.

As had already been indicated by his delegation, the absence of judges from Eastern Europe in the Tribunal was an issue of concern. One could hardly imagine the Rwanda Tribunal without African judges. A wide representation of judges from all regional groups in the Tribunal -- as was the case in practically all United Nations organs -- was important for the effectiveness and credibility of that body. His delegation had made relevant proposals for the amendments in the Tribunal’s Statute, and he called on other delegations to consider them positively.

MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said his Government welcomed the proposals to improve the efficiency of the work being done by the Tribunals. He hoped the Council would take action on them. He welcomed the decision to open the former Yugoslavia Tribunal’s office in Belgrade. That showed the new Government’s intention to cooperate fully with the Tribunal.

He said the Rwanda Tribunal had provided the first instance of prosecution and sentencing of the crime of genocide, demonstrating that no matter what the rank of the perpetrator, the crime must not go unpunished. The Member States must arrest and bring to trial the accused who were on their territories. Cooperation of States was also important regarding the handing down of sentences.

His country, he said, was the first to agree to imprison persons sentenced by the Rwanda Tribunal. He appealed to the Member States to strengthen cooperation with the Tribunal. He assured the Council of his delegation’s support for all the work of both Tribunals.

SELMA ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI (Namibia) said that her delegation had been paying special attention to the work of the Tribunals, both in The Hague and in Arusha. She was grateful to the Presidents and their colleagues for their innovative and pragmatic proposals meant to enhance the work of the Tribunals, while protecting the quality and effectiveness of their proceedings.

Her delegation acknowledged the information provided by the office of President Jorda and also thanked the Legal Division of the secretariat to the Ad Hoc Working Group for its consideration of the proposals presented earlier to the Council. Namibia concurred with other delegations that in order for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal to accomplish its tasks, there should be changes made to the present Statute. For that reason, her delegation had expressed its willingness, more than once, to work with other delegations in the Council. He noted that substantive progress had been made by the Ad Hoc Working Group through its informal consultations in various areas, including the selection process.

Regarding compensation, her delegation could entertain the possibility of amending the Statute of the Rwanda Tribunal in order to address the issue of compensation to and participation of victims of crime, which fell within the

jurisdiction of the Tribunal. In that connection, he took note of United Nations General Assembly resolution 40/34 (1985). However, he felt that due consideration should be given to the issue within the limitation of available resources.

ANOUAR BEN YOUSSEF (Tunisia) said he welcomed the formation of the Council's expert group to study proposals on reform of the Statutes of both Tribunals. His delegation particularly favoured the creation of ad litem judges. The jurisprudence produced by both Tribunals had enhanced individual jurisprudence in individual countries and helped to establish the rule of law.

Addressing crimes of genocide, he said it was now commonly acknowledged that impunity must be banished from the international juridical lexicon. In addition, any measures to assist both Tribunals in addressing their backlogs and also in dealing more efficiently with the cases before them must be supported.

Council President PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands), speaking in his national capacity, said his Government considered the work of the Tribunal encouraging. He was working at getting a Council decision to amend the Statutes. He hoped that would be accomplished during the current Dutch presidency. He encouraged the full use of the Tribunals’ resources. The Netherlands deeply appreciated the role the Tribunals were playing as prototypes for the International Criminal Court.

Ms. DEL PONTE, responding to a question on the effect of the changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the Tribunal, said a new chapter had opened for the Tribunal regarding its activities on the ground. For 10 years, the situation in the Balkans had not permitted any closure due to lack of access to victims. That was now possible, and the inquiries could now be closed out.

She said there was also the issue of Mr. Milosevic and his activities. In that respect, she underscored the need for cooperation on the ground to address money that was frozen in foreign bank accounts. Also, a number of accused persons had sought refuge in Serbia, which had given them protection until recently. Cooperation was now sought to arrest those people and transfer them to The Hague.

Judge PILLAY said she would fully discuss the suggestions and recommendations made today with the other judges of the Rwanda Tribunal and make every effort to implement them. For the record, the Rwanda Tribunal Judges were less than satisfied with the record of only seven convictions.

Judge JORDA said the Council’s ad hoc working group had almost finished its study of the reform proposals and was close to a decision, which could probably be taken before the end of the Dutch presidency.

He said that while an ad hoc body could not continue its work indefinitely, he questioned whether an end date should be specified. Arrests took place at their own pace. Also, one did not know how indictments would proceed. While some flexible formula for a deadline could be adopted, fixing a specific date would be premature.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.