SECURITY COUNCIL REVIEWS PROGRESS MADE BY INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS FOR RWANDA, FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

13 June 2005
SC/8409

SECURITY COUNCIL REVIEWS PROGRESS MADE BY INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS FOR RWANDA, FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

13/06/2005
Press ReleaseSC/8409

Security Council

5199th Meeting* (AM)

Security Council reviews progress made by international tribunals

 

for Rwanda, former Yugoslavia

Speakers Stress Need to Bring High-Profile Offenders

To Justice, Gain Cooperation of Governments in Arresting Those Accused

There were now 50 per cent more people awaiting trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) than the last time the Council had discussed it, a dramatic increase that had significant implications for the Tribunal’s completion strategy, ICTY President Theodor Meron said this morning as the Council considered the latest report on the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Presenting his report to the Council, he said it highlighted the fact that 22 new accused persons had arrived at The Hague since the last report.  It also indicated that two judgements had been issued since the last report and predicted that by the end of November, four additional judgements would have been issued in cases involving an additional seven accused.  That meant that by the end of this year, another batch of four cases would begin.

Speaking in his personal capacity, he said that over the years, the Council had played a critical role in using its power and prestige to resist impunity, to establish individual criminal responsibility for perpetrators of atrocities, and to impose sanctions on those who violated human rights and humanitarian norms.  Its decisions to establish the ad hoc tribunals in 1993 and 1994 were seminal moments, and its referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court was a critical next step in the historic evolution of the anti-impunity principle, underscoring the world community’s resolute commitment to the principle that the perpetrators of such crimes against humanity would be held to account.

Carla del Ponte, Prosecutor of the ICTY, said that the continuing failure of the relevant authorities to arrest and transfer 10 fugitives, including those mentioned several times in Council resolutions, overshadowed such positive developments as the surrender of 20 accused since November -- including 10 who had been fugitives for an extended period of time -- and the lifting of the recruitment freeze, which allowed her office to hire the staff necessary for an efficient preparation and conduct of the remaining trials and appeals.  As long as Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina managed to escape justice and defy the international community, the Tribunal’s work would remain unfinished.

She recalled that in a recent visit to Sarajevo to discuss cooperation with the relevant authorities, she had met the families of the Srebrenica victims.  Despite all the progress made, it was obvious that the great expectations that they had placed in the international community and the Tribunal had not been met and would not be realized until Karadzic and Mladic were in The Hague.  As a sign of protest and out of respect for the victims, she had decided not to participate in any commemoration of the genocide next month unless Karadzic and Mladic were arrested.

However, there had been a major change in the attitude of the Serbian authorities, she noted.  Access to documents, including military files, and witnesses, was continuously improving.  Most importantly, Serbia had finally started to transfer fugitives and newly indicted persons.  Since December 2004, the Serbian Government had transferred 14 accused, including half a dozen who had been indicted for Srebrenica.  Another seven were within reach of the Serbian authorities.  But there was still cause for concern that the Croatian authorities had not fulfilled their obligations to locate, arrest and transfer Gotovina.  In April, Croatia had presented an action plan aimed specifically at locating him and until he was in The Hague, or until Croatia provided his precise whereabouts, it was impossible to say the country was fully cooperating with the Tribunal.

ICTR President Erik Møse said that in order to achieve maximum judicial output, it was important to find the right balance between the steady progress of the multi-accused trials and the completion of single-accused cases.  That would not be easy, particularly because the multi-accused trials required a lot of time in court.  In addition to the 50 accused whose trials had been completed or were in progress, 16 detainees were awaiting trial in the Arusha detention facility and their trials would commence as soon as courtroom space allowed.  This week, 16 accused were being transported to and from the courtroom every day, a number that would increase to 20 next week.

Emphasizing the importance of making the necessary resources available so that the Tribunal could complete its task, he said the negative effects of the recruitment freeze last year illustrated the importance of States paying their contributions to the ICTR budget.  While it was premature at the present stage to go into details about the Completion Strategy of the Appeals Chamber, the Presidents of the two Tribunals were in contact on that issue.  In addition, the work of the Coordination Council, composed of the President, Prosecutor and Registrar, continued to be very useful.  Also, the ICTR continued to appreciate the cooperation of the Rwandan authorities, and there was still a steady flow of witnesses from Kigali to Arusha.  It was essential that the prosecution and defence receive the necessary assistance in terms of witnesses and documents from Rwanda, which contributed to the integrity and efficiency of the Arusha proceedings.

Hassan Boubacar Jallow, Prosecutor of the ICTR, said the conclusion of investigations would lead to a progressive downsizing of the Prosecutor’s Investigations Division in Kigali and to a redeployment of personnel from that office to other organs of the Tribunal in order to reinforce their capacity.  However, some investigative capacity would still be required at the Kigali office, albeit in declining numbers until 2010 to provide for trial preparation, trial support, appeal support, tracking and apprehension of fugitives, as well as management of informants and sensitive witnesses.  The prosecution’s focus in the months ahead would be the courtroom prosecution of the cases of the 25 accused currently on trial, the preparation of the cases of the remaining detainees and the final group of persons indicted for genocide in order to ensure their trial readiness; the implementation of a more effective tracking and apprehension strategy for fugitives; and the commencement of referral proceedings concerning indictees to national jurisdictions for prosecutions.

Noting that the tracking and apprehension of the 14 fugitives continued to be a high priority, he said the organization and strategies of the Tracking Unit had been the subject of review as a result of which three measures had been taken.  The Unit’s capacity had been increased with additional staff.  It also had now adopted a strategy for ensuring a greater physical presence of its members in the field than at headquarters in Arusha and Kigali.  Contact with the political and law enforcement authorities had been initiated with the countries in which the fugitives were suspected to be taking refuge.  Each of those countries had agreed to establish joint mechanism with the Prosecutor’s Investigation Division tracking team through which they could collaborate in tracking the fugitives.  There had also been useful discussions with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the African Union on modalities of collaboration in that respect.

He said the strategy of referral of cases to national jurisdictions endorsed by Council resolution 1503 (2003) had begun implementation in February 2005 with the handing over of 15 files to the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda.  He also proposed to hand over an additional 10 files to the Rwandan authorities shortly.  The referral of a substantial number of the remaining cases to a national jurisdiction would be decided by the Trial Chamber.  Not many countries had demonstrated a willingness to take on cases on transfer from the Tribunal, and Rwanda continued to be the country primarily interested.  Three European countries had also expressed in principle an interest in taking some of the cases, and six were respectively under consideration by those jurisdictions.  A decision was expected shortly from the authorities there.

Other speakers this morning included the representatives of the United States, Romania, China, Brazil, Argentina, Denmark, United Kingdom, Philippines, Russian Federation, Japan, Greece, Algeria, United Republic of Tanzania, Benin, France, Serbia and Montenegro, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m.

Background

When the Council met this morning, it had before it letters from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) addressed to the President of the Security Council.

Erik Møse, President of the ICTR, notes in his letter (document S/2005/336) that there are currently 25 detainees in the nine trials that are different stages and that an estimated 1,046 trial days will be required for their completion.  Trials of 11 detainees awaiting trial will require about 682 trial days.  Approximately 868 trial days will be required for the completion of trials in respect of the 14 persons comprising the indictees who remain at large and suspects likely to be indicted and tried.

The letter notes that the target projected in the completion strategy of April 2004, that three trials would be completed in that year, had been met.  In 2005, judgements have thus far been delivered in two cases, while judgements in two others are expected later this year.  The completion strategy of November 2004 indicated that three single-accused trials will commence in 2004 and one of them is in progress.  It is, therefore, expected that the two other trials will commence later this year.

In 2006, the letter states, trials in the Butare, Military I and Government cases are expected to be completed and in 2006/7Karemera et al and the Military II cases are expected to be have been completed.  About six single-accused trials could commence, including indictees at large or suspects.  Depending on the progress of those cases, about six single-accused trials could start in 2008.

Theodor Meron, President of the ICTY, says in his letter (document S/2005/343), that the Office of the Prosecutor is doing the maximum possible to keep up as much as possible with the time frame of the completion strategy.  The first deadline of that strategy was met with all the remaining investigations completed by the end of last year.  The Office of the Prosecutor has initiated the transfer of mid- and low-level perpetrators to domestic courts.  It is actively considering the joining of cases and is reviewing the charges in all cases, so as to increase the chances of meeting the next deadline.

He states, however, that the Tribunal does not operate in a vacuum and the successful implementation of the completion strategy will depend on the willingness of the States to cooperate with the ICTY.  The Tribunal needs Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro to cooperate and bring all remaining 10 indictees to The Hague as soon as possible.  The failure to arrest and transfer Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic remains a disgrace both for the international community and for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro.

Briefing by ICTY President

THEODOR MERON, President, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said that since the last report submitted in November 2004, the Tribunal’s three Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber had been working at maximum capacity, the Trial Chambers handling six cases simultaneously.  That meant, on the average, that six different cases were being tried by different benches of three Judges each.

The written report, he said, indicated that two judgements had been issued since the last report and predicts that by the end of this November, four additional judgements would have been issued in cases involving an additional seven accused.  That meant that by the end of this year, another batch of four cases would begin.  The pace was unrelenting.  The new report also highlighted the fact that 22 new accused had arrived at The Hague since the last report –- meaning that there were now 50 per cent more people awaiting trial than the last time he appeared before the Council.  That dramatic increase obviously had significant implications for the Completion Strategy.

Surveying the major features of the report, he said that, with regard to internal measures taken to implement the Strategy, the Tribunal had adopted significant amendments to its Rules of Procedure and Evidence, including one relating to “Judgement of Acquittal”, which mandated oral rather than written submissions.  He had also appointed two Working Groups of Judges for speeding up trials and appeals.  Turning to ad litem judges, he appreciated the Council’s adoption of resolution 1597 (2005), which amended the Tribunal’s Statute to allow for the renomination and re-election of ad litem judges.  However, he was concerned about the lack of a sufficient number of nominations.  That had significantly delayed the election of a sorely needed new roster of ad litem judges.  He appealed to all States that had not yet submitted nominations to nominate experienced jurists for that important position.

A key component of the Completion Strategy, he said, was the referral of cases involving intermediate and lower rank accused to competent national jurisdictions.  The Sarajevo War Crimes Chamber was now in a position to accept cases which the Tribunal’s Referral Branch might decide to refer to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  So far, the Prosecutor had filed 10 motions involving 18 accused for such referrals.  Future decisions on the Prosecutor’s motions to refer cases to competent national jurisdictions were expected in the very near future.

Turning to cooperation of States in the region with the Tribunal, he said there had been a dramatic increase in the number of indictees and fugitives transferred to the Tribunal, mostly thanks to the efforts of the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro, sometimes together with authorities of Republika Srpska.  While cooperation with Croatia remained good in some areas, it was of major concern that one of the last remaining “stumbling blocks” to achieving full cooperation with the Tribunal was the continuing failure on the part of authorities in Croatia to apprehend, and render to The Hague, Ante Gotovina.

Concerning Republika Srpska, he noted that other than assistance with regard to the arrival of some indictees and fugitives, cooperation remained woefully lacking in other areas, in particular the lack of any serious attempts to locate and arrest such notorious fugitives as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.  Cooperation with Serbia and Montenegro had improved with regard to the arrival of indictees and fugitives.  During a meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica and President Tadic of Serbia, he strongly encouraged them both to ensure the arrival of the remaining fugitives thought to be in Serbia and Montenegro or Republika Srpska.  The largest impediment on that front was the continuing failure to apprehend and render to The Hague Ratko Mladic.  The Tribunal, he added, would not have fulfilled its historic mission –- and it would not close its doors –- until Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina had been arrested, brought to The Hague, and tried before the Tribunal.

Regarding the Completion Strategy, he said that in his last assessment, he had estimated that by 2008 the Tribunal could complete the trials of all accused in its custody at that time, including Gotovina if he had arrived before 2006, but warned that any further growth of the trial docket would make achieving that target date entirely dependent on some cases being disposed of by guilty pleas.  He had also added that if new indictees or fugitives arrived and required separate trials, “it would become likely that it would take at least until the end of 2009 to complete the trials of all accused within the custody of the Tribunal”.

Among the factors bearing on the implementation of the Completion Strategy were the number of new indictments, the number of guilty pleas, the arrival of new indictees and fugitives, and the timing of the arrivals of remaining indictees and fugitives.  Knowing what he knew now, the most he could indicate was that trials would necessarily have to be conducted in 2009, and would most likely continue until the end of that year.  When the next six-month report was presented, the President should be able to provide an assessment based on more factual predictions.

He also raised the matter of adding a fourth courtroom, which would be very advantageous and would make it possible to speed up trials and appeals.  He would not request the cost of constructing such a courtroom to be borne by the United Nations budget, but would rather approach possible donors who would see the long-term advantage of expediting trials and appeals by increased courtroom capacity.  He would welcome comments from Council members on that issue.

He noted that this July would mark 10 years since the atrocities -– the genocide -– at Srebrenica.  It was a shame that Karadzic and Mladic were still at large, 10 years after Srebrenica.  It was worth emphasizing that it was to the Security Council that the international community, the public and especially the victims of atrocities turned for leadership and justice for redress of atrocities.  The Tribunal was one manifestation of the Council’s commitment to international justice, the rule of law, and the struggle against impunity, as well as to peace and reconciliation.

Speaking in his personal capacity, he said that over the years, the Council had played a critical role in using its power and prestige to resist impunity, to establish individual criminal responsibility for perpetrators of atrocities, and to impose sanctions on those who violated human rights and humanitarian norms.  The Council’s decisions to establish the ad hoc tribunals in 1993 and 1994 were seminal moments.  He saw the Council’s referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court as a critical next step in the historic evolution of the anti-impunity principle.  The referral underscored the world community’s resolute commitment to the principle that the perpetrators of such crimes against humanity would be held to account.

He added that in mid-November his presidency of the Tribunal would come to an end, and he would continue as an Appeals Chamber Judge.  As this was his last appearance before the Council, he thanked the Council for its steady support of the Tribunal and of international justice.

Briefing by ICTR President

ERIK MØSE, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said the number of accused in completed and ongoing cases was now 50 and included a former prime minister, 11 former ministers, four prefects and many other prominent personalities.  That illustrated the importance of the Tribunal in establishing the guilt and innocence of alleged leaders in 1994 and would probably not have been brought before a court had it not been for the ICTR.

He said that since last November’s Security Council meeting, two single-accused judgements had been delivered, thereby bringing the total number of accused having received judgements from 23 to 25.  The Muhimana judgement of April 2005 was a significant contribution to the ICTR’s jurisprudence on sexual offences, and the Rutaganira judgement, rendered in March, had been the fourth time that an accused at the ICTR had pleaded guilty.  In addition to those 25 persons, trials involving accused were in progress.  Five of those trials were voluminous, multi-accused cases, and three had now reached an advanced stage.

In order to achieve maximum judicial output, it was important to find the right balance between the steady progress of the multi-accused trials and the completion of single-accused cases, he said.  That would not be easy, particularly because the multi-accused trials required a lot of time in court.  The November 2004 Completion Strategy mentioned that it would facilitate the Tribunal’s work if a fourth courtroom could be constructed, based on voluntary contributions.  The Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom had subsequently made the necessary contributions and, following approval by United Nations Headquarters, the construction of the courtroom had been completed in record time -- only four weeks.  The cost had been about half the construction costs of the first three courtrooms.

He said that in addition to the 50 accused whose trials had been completed or were in progress, 16 detainees were awaiting trial in the Arusha detention facility and their trials would commence as soon as courtroom space allowed.  This week, 16 accused were being transported to and from the courtroom every day.  According to the schedule, that number would increase to 20 next week.  All four courtrooms were being used to maximum capacity and the Tribunal’s activities were at an all-time high.  There had been some unforeseen problems, but they had been addressed and the ICTR was on schedule to complete its trials by the end of 2008.

It was important that the necessary resources be made available to allow the Tribunal to complete its task, he said.  For instance, the negative effects of the recruitment freeze last year illustrated the importance of States paying their contributions to the ICTR budget.  While it was premature at the present stage to go into details about the Completion Strategy of the Appeals Chamber, the Presidents of the two Tribunals were in contact on that issue.

He reiterated that the work of the Coordination Council, composed of the President, Prosecutor and Registrar, continued to be very useful.  It was also important to state that the contribution of the defence teams to the work of the Tribunal was highly appreciated.  The ICTR continued to appreciate the cooperation of the Rwandan authorities and there was still a steady flow of witnesses from Kigali to Arusha.  It was essential that the prosecution and defence receive the necessary assistance in terms of witnesses and documents from Rwanda, which contributed to the integrity and efficiency of the Arusha proceedings.

Briefing by ICTY Prosecutor

CARLA DEL PONTE, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said that there had been a number of positive developments since her last report.  Among other things, no less than 20 accused were surrendered since November, including 10 who had been fugitives for an extended period of time.  Also, the lifting of the recruitment freeze had allowed her office to hire the staff necessary for an efficient preparation and conduct of the remaining trials and appeals.

Unfortunately, those positive developments were overshadowed by continuing failure of the relevant authorities to arrest and transfer 10 fugitives, including those mentioned several times by the Council in its resolutions.  As long as Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina managed to escape justice and defy the international community, the work of the Tribunal would remain unfinished.

Ten days ago, she said, she visited Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo to discuss cooperation with the relevant authorities.  In Sarajevo, she also met families of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.  Despite all the progress made, it was obvious that the great expectations placed by the victims in the international community and in the Tribunal had not been met and would not be realized until Karadzic and Mladic were in The Hague.  As a sign of protest and in respect for the victims, she had decided not to participate in any commemoration of the genocide next month unless Karadzic and Mladic were arrested.

There had been a major change in the attitude of the Serbian authorities, she noted.  Access to documents, including military files, and witnesses was continuously improving.  Most importantly, Serbia had finally started to transfer fugitives and newly indicted persons.  Since December 2004, the Serbian Government had transferred 14 accused, including half a dozen who were indicted for Srebrenica.  Another seven were within reach of the Serbian authorities.

She remained concerned that the Croatian authorities had not fulfilled their obligations to locate, arrest and transfer Ante Gotovina.  In April, Croatia had presented an action plan aimed specifically at locating Gotovina.  Further serious progress in the implementation of the plan should lead to Gotovina.  Until Gotovina was in The Hague, or until Croatia was providing the precise whereabouts of that fugitive, it was impossible to say that Croatia was fully cooperating with the Tribunal.

The transfer to The Hague of the 10 remaining fugitives was the most serious obstacle to the Completion Strategy, she said.  It created uncertainties that were hampering a proper planning of the trials, and might oblige the Court to conduct several trials where a joined trial would have been possible.  Joining cases was a method her office intended to use whenever possible so as to save court time while preserving all guarantees of due process.

Another major development was the referral of cases to domestic jurisdictions, she noted.  Her office had continued to help build credible domestic jurisdictions by contributing its expertise to training judges and prosecutors.  Furthermore, it had participated in significant efforts made to improve judicial cooperation between the prosecutors of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro.

By completing all its investigations by the end of 2004, her office had demonstrated its commitment to the Completion Strategy, she stated.  While a number of internal measures taken had increased the chances that the Completion Strategy was successful, she had seen in the past months dramatic improvements in the external conditions impacting heavily on the Strategy.  Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia and Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina were not yet cooperating fully with the Tribunal.  However, all of them had shown considerable progress in that regard.  There was now a momentum that had to be used so as to bring the remaining fugitives to justice.

The international community, she added, must play its part in that process to ensure the success of international criminal justice.  The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and EUFOR’s assets would be invaluable in bringing Karadzic and others to justice.  The European Union’s power of attraction remained a key political motivation for the countries of the former Yugoslavia, and that should remain so.  The Security Council must keep constant attention on the Tribunal’s work.

Briefing by ICTR Prosecutor

HASSAN BOUBACAR JALLOW, Prosecutor of the ICTR, said the end of 2004 marked an important stage in the implementation of the Completion Strategy, in accordance with which the Tribunal had been able to conclude all the remaining investigations into the genocide by 31 December 2004.  Until then, 16 targets had been under investigation, and the evaluation of the evidence available on those cases had been concluded.  Based on the evidence and on the law, the prosecution had determined that indictments should be filed concerning eight of the accused persons who had been under investigation.  The indictments had, accordingly, been filed by last week for confirmation, ahead of the original deadline of the end of October 2005, and the remaining eight files had been closed for lack of prima facie evidence to support any charges.  The conclusion of investigations and the filing of those indictments related only to charges of genocide and did not include the allegations against the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).  Work continued regarding those allegations.

He said the conclusion of investigations would lead to a progressive downsizing of the Prosecutor’s Investigations Division in Kigali and to a redeployment of personnel from that office to other organs of the Tribunal in order to reinforce their capacity.  However, some investigative capacity would need to be retained at the Kigali office, albeit in declining numbers until 2010 to provide for trial preparation, trial support, appeal support, tracking and apprehension of fugitives, as well as management of informants and sensitive witnesses.  The prosecution’s focus in the months ahead would be the courtroom prosecution of the cases of the 25 accused currently on trial, the preparation of the cases of the remaining detainees, and the final group of persons indicted for genocide in order to ensure their trial readiness; the implementation of a more effective tracking and apprehension strategy for fugitives and the commencement of referral proceedings concerning indictees to national jurisdictions for prosecutions.

The prosecution proposed to ensure that by earl next year, the cases of the remaining detainees and other indictees were ready for trial, he said.  All the steps necessary to ensure trial readiness would be taken so that when judicial time and space were available, some of the cases could commence.  For the remainder of 2005 the Prosecutor’s Investigative Division was ready to commence trial in respect of cases against five accused persons, three of which had already been scheduled for trial this year.  The ensuing year was thus anticipated to be the busiest in the Tribunal’s life with the largest number of accused ever on trial.  It had adequate capacity to handle that workload with the lifting of the freeze on recruitment and with the appropriate redeployment of staff from the Kigali office.

Noting that the tracking and apprehension of the 14 fugitives continued to be a high priority, he said the organization and strategies of the Tracking Unit had been the subject of review as a result of which three measures had been taken.  The Unit’s capacity had been increased with additional staff.  It also had now adopted a strategy for ensuring a greater physical presence of its members in the field than at headquarters in Arusha and Kigali.  Contact with the political and law enforcement authorities had been initiated with the countries in which the fugitives were suspected to be taking refuge.  Each of those countries had agreed to establish joint mechanism with the Prosecutor’s Investigation Division tracking team through which they could collaborate in tracking the fugitives.  There had also been useful discussions with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the African Union on modalities of collaboration in that respect.

He said the strategy of referral of cases to national jurisdictions endorsed by Council resolution 1503 (2003) had begun implementation in February 2005 with the handing over of 15 files to the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda.  He also proposed to hand over an additional 10 files to the Rwandan authorities shortly.  A substantial number of the remaining cases for referral related to indicted persons, either at large or in custody in the Arusha detention facility.  Their referral to a national jurisdiction would be decided by the Trial Chamber.  Not many countries had demonstrated a willingness to take on cases on transfer from the Tribunal, and Rwanda continued to be the country primarily interested.  Three European countries had also expressed in principle an interest in taking some of the cases, and six were respectively under consideration by those jurisdictions.  A decision was expected shortly from the authorities there.

Altogether, he proposed in the next few months to submit referral applications to the Trial Chamber in respect of some of the remaining 13 detainees, he continued.  In the event that, for any reason –- whether due to reluctance of States to accept the cases or inability to secure referral orders from the Trial Chamber –- referral became impossible, those cases would then have to be prosecuted at the Tribunal.  That would be an additional workload to be accomplished by the end of 2008. 

The prosecution remained fairly committed to the Completion Strategy and optimistic that with the continued provision of necessary resources, the deadlines for the conclusions of trials at first instance by the end of 2008 and the conclusion of appeals by the end of 2010 could be attained, he said.  All three organs of the Tribunal were determined to reach that goal.  The prosecution continued, however, to emphasize the need for the fullest international support and cooperation, particularly in respect of the tracking and apprehension of fugitives, in the referral of cases, and the relocation and protection of witnesses whose testimony had been crucial to the Tribunal’s success but who faced continuing threats to themselves and their families because of their courage.

Statements

CHARLES NICHOLAS ROSTOW (United States) said that he was conscious of the fact that this year marked the tenth anniversary of Srebrenica.  It also marked the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Accords.  He strongly supported the work of both Tribunals and was pleased with their increased operational efficiency.  The Council had endorsed the Tribunals’ Completion Strategies.  The international community must provide assistance so that domestic trials could go forward.  The United States was committed to providing such assistance.

The international community must also fulfil its obligation to bring to justice the remaining fugitives, he said, calling on Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo and Kenya to help bring indictees to The Hague and Arusha, respectively.  He also called on Republika Srpska to increase cooperation with the Yugoslav Tribunal.  He noted President Meron’s request for a new courtroom and additional ad litem judges, and awaited a more detailed request containing information on how additional resources would increase the Tribunal’s efficiency and further the Completion Strategy.

MIHNEA MOTOC (Romania) said that the number and seniority of indictees transferred to the ICTY since the last report was an important indication of the positive shift in the approach of the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro and the Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina with regard to cooperation with the Tribunal.  Nonetheless, further steps were required, especially as far as the apprehension and handing over the high-profile indictees who were still at large were concerned.  Within the same broad context of cooperation, Romania sought further elaboration regarding the prospects of bringing before the ICTR the other prominent fugitive, Felicien Kabuga.

He said the transfer of cases involving medium- and low-level accused to national jurisdictions was an essential component of the Completion Strategy.  Such an approach would not only ease the docket of the Tribunal, but also contribute to fostering local ownership.  Romania also welcomed the recent inauguration of the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and encouraged the officials of the two Tribunals to pursue their efforts to consolidate the capacities of the domestic criminal justice systems to deal with such cases.

All those suspected of having committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal should be brought to justice, he stressed, adding that justice should be served irrespective of the political, ethnic or religious affiliation of the alleged perpetrators.  Since the indicting stage had come to an end for both ICTY and ICTR, some of the main perpetrators of crimes within their jurisdictions might, however, remain outside the scope of the Tribunals’ activity.

Pointing out that that the issue of ad litem judges had just recently been brought to the Council’s attention, he encouraged Member States to put forward candidates for the post of ad litem judges with the ICTY.  As the mandates of the current judges had already expired, it would be highly desirable if the General Assembly could proceed as soon as possible with the election of the new roster, in accordance with the ICTY Statute.

ZHANG YISHAN (China) said the establishment of the War Crimes Chamber within the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina would not only share the workload of the Yugoslav Tribunal, but would also be conducive to the implementation of the Completion Strategy, as well as enhance the judicial capacity of the country.  He endorsed the ICTY’s efforts to transfer as many indictees as possible to national courts for trial.

He thanked the various parties concerned for their contributions towards the establishment of the War Crimes Chamber in the Bosnian State Court and was pleased that the countries concerned were furthering their cooperation with the Tribunals.  He also noted that both Tribunals were conducting appraisals regarding their future work plans.   He appealed to them to enhance efficiency and save resources.

PAULO ROBERTO CAMPOS TARRISSE DA FONTOURA (Brazil) said it was necessary that the Tribunals remain committed to their goals by ensuring the prosecution of the most senior suspects.  Brazil reiterated that insisting on rigid deadlines as set out in the Completion Strategy could frustrate justice and the goal of ending impunity.  Brazil noted that the number of fugitives remaining at large had been cut in half since the last report by the ICTY President, and urged States in the region to fulfil their obligations to hand over fugitives.

Regarding the ICTR, he welcomed the progress achieved so far, saying his country also welcomed the determination of the prosecution to refer low- and medium-level suspects to national jurisdictions.  In order to facilitate that, cooperation with neighbouring countries was fundamental.  There was also a need to review the number of judges in the future, and it was essential that the Tribunals receive adequate resources and personnel to carry out their tasks.

CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina) said that the work of the Tribunals constituted an important milestone in the evolution of international criminal law.  Regarding the Yugoslav Tribunal, he appreciated the fact that there had been an increase of 50 per cent in the number of indictees whose trials were in progress.  That increase might delay the pace of the work, but it was important.  It seemed appropriate that two working groups of judges had been established to speed up the processing of trials.  Also, the possibility of having recourse to ad litem judges would relieve the work pressure in a rapid manner.  He would like to see the election of ad litem judges, which had already been postponed twice, take place soon.  It was not appropriate for that election to continue to be delayed.

He noted the high volume of work facing the Rwanda Tribunal.  The referral of cases to national courts would also expedite cases before that Tribunal.  It was important for the Tribunals to keep the Council informed on talks with national authorities regarding the transfer of indictees to national courts.  It was also important for the Tribunals to gain sufficient guarantees from national courts to ensure due processes in all cases.  The workload of the Appeals Chamber of the Rwanda Tribunal, which was also shared by the Yugoslav Tribunal, would increase as further advances were made in the Completion Strategies.  At some stage, it would be necessary to increase the number of judges in order to complete their work.

The Appeals Chamber, he continued, would become a key factor to enable the Tribunals to complete their work by 2010, as encouraged by the Council.  There should be in the Statutes and Rules of Procedure and Evidence clear-cut procedures to ensure that judges remained assigned to the Appeals Chamber.  He hoped that, notwithstanding the new factors affecting implementation of the Completion Strategies, the Tribunals would be able to conclude their work by the appropriate time.  The work of the Tribunals would serve as a precedent of immense value for the work of the International Criminal Court.

ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) said it was crucial that the Tribunals finalized their work according to schedule.  The Tribunals, the countries directly involved and the international community must stand side by side to make that happen.  The Tribunals must continue to develop and implement sound and realistic Completion Strategies ensuring a reasonable match between objectives and resources.  They must, at the same time, make sure that justice was served in strict accordance with international standards of due process.  Noting with interest the focus of both Tribunals on referral of cases to competent national courts, she said it was key that the necessary national capacity-building preceded those referrals to ensure that international standards of justice were met.

The Security Council and the international community must ensure adequate and predictable funding for the Tribunals, she said.  She strongly encouraged Member States to do their utmost to meet their assessed contributions as a matter of urgency.  The primary task of the Tribunals was to bring to justice “the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible” for the crimes within their jurisdiction.  To that end, it was an unconditional responsibility of Member States to cooperate fully with the Tribunals.  Full cooperation was critical for the ability of the Tribunals to perform their functions.  For the countries of the former Yugoslavia, it was also a precondition for their integration into European and Trans-Atlantic structures.

EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) welcomed the progress made by the ICTY towards meeting the Completion Strategy.  However, it looked as if the trials would slip into 2009.  The Prosecutor’s review of indictments to see whether cases could be joined was also very welcome, as it would be helpful to reduce the amount of trial time.  Also welcome was the commitment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the conduct of cases referred to national jurisdictions.

The past six months had been very good for the ICTY, he said.  It was good to hear that the Prosecutor was receiving cooperation from regional States.  As the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre approached, all the countries that had been involved in the Balkan wars had the chance to put the conflicts behind them and move forward.  The clearest evidence possible that they were ready to do that would be the delivery of Karadzic and Mladic to The Hague.  The countries could and must do more to apprehend the fugitives.  Croatia’s action plan to deliver Ante Gotovina was welcome, but it would take more than a mere action plan to deliver him.

Turning to the ICTR, he said steady progress was being made towards the implementation of the Completion Strategy.  The completion of the fourth courtroom would further enhance that progress, and the speed and cost-effective manner of its installation had been remarkable.  The Prosecutor had set out a plan to track and apprehend fugitives, and more details of that plan would be welcome.  The transfer of case files to Rwanda raised questions about the death penalty and the capacity of the Rwandan justice system, and the United Kingdom would welcome further details on those questions.

BAYANI MERCADO (Philippines) noted the steps taken by both Tribunals to further implement their Completion Strategies.  He lauded the establishment of the two working groups, and stressed that any recommendations should be implemented in line with the principles which established the Tribunals.  The ability of the Yugoslav Tribunal to refer cases to competent national jurisdictions was important not only for completing its work but also to further national healing and enhancing the judicial capacity of national courts. 

He welcomed the adoption of measures by the Rwanda Tribunal to enhance the efficiency of its work, and the last reporting period had been a productive one for both Tribunals, he noted.  He was fully cognizant of the challenges in achieving the Completion Strategies.  The work of both Tribunals was an important contribution in addressing justice in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  He called on all States concerned to fully cooperate with the Tribunals.

ILYA ROGACHEV (Russian Federation) said that since the last Council meeting on the ICTY in November 2004, implementation of the Completion Strategy showed, on the whole, remarkable progress in its implementation.  The Russian Federation welcomed the two working groups on the question of ad litem judges, as well as the proposed transfer of low- and medium-level suspects to national jurisdictions.  The Russian Federation welcomed the opening of the War Crimes Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and urged the Tribunal and regional States to intensify their cooperation in the transfer of fugitives.

Noting that 11 June marked the expiration of the terms of ad litem judges, he said that while the Tribunals had continually extended their time in office, their numbers were still high, which was a cause for serious concern.  Unfortunately, no views had been expressed as to the reason for that.  The Council should consider the question of lowering the prestige of working on the Tribunals or seek alternative solutions.  The Russian Federation wished to find out the views of the Tribunal on that question.

SHINICHI KITAOKA (Japan) said his Government was concerned about two remarks in the report presented by President Meron.  The first was the observation that the trial activities at first instance of the Yugoslav Tribunal would run into 2009.  The second point of concern was the possibility President Meron raised of establishing a fourth courtroom.  With regard to the latter, careful consideration should be given in light of the fact that the Tribunal was proceeding with the phasing down period in the near future in accordance with the Completion Strategy.  Concerning the former point, he recalled that Council resolution 1534 had emphasized the importance of full implementation of the Completion Strategies, including the completion of all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008.  The ICTY should take all possible measures to meet that goal, as it had previously confirmed its commitment to the full implementation of the Completion Strategy.

At the same time, the cooperation of States in the region with the Yugoslav Tribunal was essential for the achievement of its objectives, he said.  While recognizing that cooperation had improved, he believed that the States concerned must further enhance their cooperation in order to expedite the arrest and transfer of fugitives, especially Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina.  The transfer of cases from the ICTY to domestic courts in the region should be facilitated, as well.  In that regard, he welcomed the inauguration of the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in March.  Japan had donated half a million U.S. dollars for the activities of that Chamber through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund. 

He asked the Presidents and Prosecutors of both Tribunals for their views concerning how the people in the region recognized the work of the Tribunals.  He added that better coordination and scheduling well in advance would be needed to avoid putting too great a burden on the Appeal Chambers of both Tribunals.  When considering the schedules of the Appeal Chambers, the timing of expiration of terms of office for the permanent and ad litem judges should be taken into account.  It was desirable that the Council consider specific factors in each case, as the Council did in extending the terms of office of nine ad litem judges in January this year.

MARIA TELALIAN (Greece) said the inauguration of the War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo had been a major event.  The Chamber had already started its work regarding the prosecution of local crimes.  The referral of cases involving lower and intermediate ranking officials from the ICTY to national courts of the former Yugoslavia and, most specifically to the War Crimes Chamber, would contribute to the consolidation of justice, reconciliation and peace in the region.  It was of great interest that one case had already been transferred to the Sarajevo Chamber, and it was important that the Referral Bench, when deciding to refer that case to domestic authorities, had reviewed existence of certain conditions such as:  the compatibility of the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Tribunal’s Statute; the prospects for the accused to get a fair trial; and respect for his human rights, including that the death penalty would not be imposed.

She said that one of the most serious obstacles preventing the Tribunals from keeping their Completion Strategies on course was that there were indictees who still remained at large.  The Tribunals could not achieve their important tasks in ending impunity unless the principal indictees had been arrested and transferred to The Hague and Arusha so that justice was done.  However, States were urged to make further efforts in assisting the arrest of fugitives and the provision of missing documents and access to witnesses.  Furthermore, Member States should meet their financial obligations.  As both Tribunals had entered the most critical and productive stage in their lives, it was important that the Security Council spare no effort to ensure that they accomplished their mission and mandates in a most effective way, so as to contribute to the achievement of international justice.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria) noted with satisfaction that the efforts of both Tribunals had made it possible to conclude their Completion Strategies well before the deadline set.  He was aware that there was much pressure on the Tribunals, and their workloads might increase, compromising the timetable for the completion of their work.  To consolidate the forecast for the Rwanda Tribunal, financial and logistical support was needed.  He noted the contributions of ad litem judges and the contribution of the establishment of a fourth courtroom at Arusha.

Regarding the Yugoslav Tribunal, he welcomed the efforts made during regular procedures to improve working methods and speed up trial and appeal processes.  The establishment of the War Crimes Chamber would help in alleviating the workload of the Tribunal.  He was still concerned by the delay in implementing the Tribunals’ Completion Strategies.  Full cooperation with the parties concerned was a prerequisite for the attainment of the objectives laid down by the international community.  Another stumbling block was the difficulty of obtaining enough candidates for election as ad litem judges. 

TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) noted that the two reports suggested that more needed to be done if the Tribunals were to maintain their Completion Strategies.  The Rwanda Tribunal report stated that 41 cases were expected to be transferred to national jurisdictions, with 15 of them earmarked for Rwanda.  He supported the Prosecutor’s assertion that it was important to transfer those cases to African countries where certain suspects were living.  The Rwandan judicial system should not be overburdened by transferring all the cases back to Rwanda.  He proposed that capacity-building and assistance should be provided to Rwanda and other national jurisdictions which would take up the trials.

On the Yugoslav Tribunal, he said the arrival at The Hague of an unprecedented number of indictees, bringing the total up to 51 awaiting trial, was a good signal that the war criminals in the former Yugoslavia would not go unpunished.  He commended the establishment of two working groups to examine the expediting of trials and appeals while maintaining the Tribunal’s established regard for due process.  He noted that the ICTY report did not offer a specific completion framework for its mandate as a result of a number of outstanding issues.  He agreed with the assertion that the Tribunal would not have completed its mission if Mladic, Karadzic and Gotovina were not brought to The Hague to face justice.

The two Tribunals should continue to receive resources to enable them to carry on their functions, he added.  He asked the officials of the Tribunals to comment on the transfer of cases to national jurisdictions.

JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINZOU (Benin) noted the constant endeavours by both Tribunals to execute their respective Completion Strategies, as well as the joining of trials.  Great care had been taken to ensure that the transfer of low- and medium-level suspects to national jurisdictions did not jeopardize the legal security of the transferred indictees.  Benin wished to ask about the reasons behind the low number of indictees pleading guilty and being set free.  The Council should carry out its responsibility fully concerning the problems raised by the Presidents of the two Tribunals.  Benin paid tribute to the Tribunals’ officials for their dedication to spreading respect for international humanitarian law and for their efforts to end the culture of impunity.

Council President MICHEL DUCLOS (France), speaking in his national capacity, noted that, since the Council was last briefed on the Tribunals, much progress had been made.  There had been progress concerning the cooperation of States with the two Tribunals, and progress in how the Tribunals themselves operated.  The Tribunals were in a satisfactory situation to cope with the recent increase in the number of cases to be handled.  Also, ways must continue to be found to expedite the workload in the interest of justice.  It was important to remain vigilant concerning the operation of the Tribunals.

Another concern, he said, was witness protection, which must remain a constant imperative for the two Tribunals.  On that point, he asked the two Prosecutors to describe their main concerns in that area and make some recommendations.  Also, Member States must continue to contribute to the fulfilment of the mission entrusted to the Tribunals.  Ten years on, it was necessary to send a message of determination because remarkable progress had been made, and also because the international community could not be satisfied when the most important indictees were still at large.  The efforts to secure their transfer should be doubled.  The timetable give to the Tribunals should not result in impunity by default.  The fugitives and the States concerned should be aware that the Council would be unflagging in its requirements.

ZORAN LONCAR, Minister for Public Administration of Serbia and Montenegro, said that over the past five years, the Tribunal’s Prosecutor’s Office had submitted more than 850 requests for cooperation regarding the provision of documents, granting waivers or requesting other information.  Thanks to the progress made recently, almost all of those requests had been granted.  As many as 290 witnesses had been granted waivers, and the same number of requests for documents had met positive responses.  Consequently, owing to the progress made in cooperation with the Tribunal, there were practically no outstanding requests for cooperation regarding documents, and all new requests were processed promptly with utmost engagement of all State authorities.

He said that all in the Government were fully aware that they had to continue to cooperate and honour international obligations.  That issue would remain open until full cooperation had been achieved, which implied that all indicted persons had to end up in The Hague.  The Governments of the Republic of Serbia and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro remained fully committed to honouring all international obligations concerning cooperation with the Tribunal, and the results achieved so far were the best proof of that.  His country continued to undertake all efforts to track down other indicted persons and establish whether some of them were hiding in Serbia and Montenegro, which was fully determined to make sure that all those indicted for war crimes be tried, whether by the Tribunal or by national courts.

From the very beginning, Serbia had emphasized the need to establish a two-way cooperation with the Tribunal, he said.  There were several aspects of the two-way cooperation, one of which was the cooperation between the ICTY Prosecutor’s Office and national judicial authorities in tracking down and prosecuting the war crimes perpetrators.  The Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade was currently processing 881 cases of war crimes, and requests for investigations against 113 persons had been filed, with 23 indictments.  The Prosecutor’s Office had established cooperation with the prosecutors, and judicial and police authorities of other States in the region, primarily Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Another form of the two-way cooperation was the referral of cases, he said.  It was one of the most important elements of the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy.  Serbia and Montenegro reiterated its willingness and ability to conduct fair and impartial trials against war crimes perpetrators and to emphasize in particular that it would be extremely important if the Tribunal referred to Serbia and Montenegro the cases of Mrksic, Sjivancanin and Radic for the crimes committed in Ovcara.  The referral of that case to the national judiciary would be yet another powerful confirmation of the great progress achieved in cooperation over the past year.

MARTIN NGOGA, Deputy Prosecutor-General of Rwanda, said that, while he welcomed the assessment of the expected output of the Tribunal by 2008, he regretfully recalled that a few years ago, the Tribunal had targeted as many as 300 suspects, who bore the greatest responsibility for the genocide, for trial.  That figure had been revised downwards over the years, until today, there was talk of only 65-70, less than one quarter of the original figure.  While the number of persons targeted for prosecution had gone down, serious accusations remained against some of the suspects who were no longer being considered targets for prosecution.  Also many of those targeted for prosecution were still at large and were being provided with a safe haven by Member States.

His Government appealed to the Council to seriously consider that matter with a view to ensuring that no suspects evaded justice, he said.  The Tribunal’s Completion Strategy should not be seen as an exit strategy for the obligations of the international community to bring all the suspects of the crime of genocide to trial at the Rwanda Tribunal, in Rwanda or elsewhere.

He believed the impact of the Tribunal on justice and reconciliation in Rwanda had been constrained because of the geographical distance between Arusha and Rwanda and the management and ethical problems that plagued the Tribunal in its earlier life.  Since its establishment in 1994, his Government had strongly advocated for the transfer of some cases for trial in Rwanda.  It was a widely accepted principle that trials should always take place as close as possible to where the crimes were committed.  The crimes before the Tribunal were committed in Rwanda.  It was his Government’s belief that trials, especially those targeted for transfer, should all take place in Rwanda.  That would address the problem of the impact of the Tribunal on Rwanda, advance the cause of justice, and promote national reconciliation and healing.

On the issues raised with respect to Rwanda’s capacity to handle transferred cases, he recalled that his Government had, on several occasions, informed the Tribunal that a moratorium had been in force on the death penalty since 1998.  Also, in any case, the Government would be willing to enter into an agreement with the Tribunal to not exercise the death penalty in any of the transferred cases.  As for the capacity of the Rwandan judicial system to handle such cases given the large caseload from thousands of local cases, he noted that the strain of cases on the ordinary courts was lifted with the commencement of Gacaca community trials earlier this year.  Also, the Government had embarked on an intensive programme to build a strong and respected judiciary.

The Rwandan Government believed it had the capacity to handle all the cases transferred from the Tribunal, and hoped that the Tribunal Prosecutor would, at the appropriate time, make the decision to transfer all those cases to Rwanda.  He also believed it was critical that sentences be served inside Rwanda, which would also advance the cause of justice, combat impunity and promote national reconciliation.

MIRZA KUSLJUGIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said his country’s cooperation with the ICTY had mainly been within the context of the entities of the Federation.  They had passed the Criminal Code and provisions for war crimes.  There was a tradition of good cooperation with the ICTY when it came to the indictment in local courts with the Tribunal’s consent in order to combat impunity.

Reporting on the surrender of war crimes indictees, he listed a number of people who had surrendered themselves voluntarily and who had subsequently been transferred to The Hague.  By establishing the Department for War Crimes and by delegating some cases to the War Crimes Chamber, it was anticipated that the Chamber would deal with two categories of war crimes.  Regarding the financing of the War Crimes Department, he renewed an appeal to the international community for additional funds.

Speaking in his personal capacity in his final appearance before the Council, he said that some progress had been achieved in peacebuilding.  However, his country still had to become a sustainable State.  Lasting peace and stability could not be achieved in the region as long as major indictees, particularly Karadzic and Mladic, had not been brought to justice.  The fact that they were still at large was a major impediment to the facing of their past by the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Without their arrest, the Tribunal’s work will remain an unfinished task despite whatever else the ICTY had achieved.

IVAN NIMAC (Croatia) said that his country was cooperating fully with the Tribunal, in accordance with its Constitutional Law on Cooperation with the ICTY.  Full cooperation with the Tribunal was a priority of the Croatian Government because of the positive effects of the Tribunal’s work on security and reconciliation in South-East Europe and its strong commitment to the rule of law.  In order to close the last remaining issue in cooperation with the ICTY, his Government had designed and begun implementing its Action Plan, presented to the European Union Task Force at the end of April.  Croatia was convinced that the implementation of the Action Plan would be conducive to an assessment of full cooperation.

In order to facilitate the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy, his Government had designated four special courts for war crimes proceedings, he said.  In order to ensure sufficient transparency, Croatia had accepted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring of war crime trials before its national courts.  As a further measure of support, Croatia’s State Attorney had established a fruitful working relationship and cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor.  To foster cross-border cooperation in trials of war crimes, Croatia had signed an agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro on cooperation in war crimes proceedings and in combating organized crime.  He was pleased to note that efforts to harmonize legislation relevant to war crimes in the countries of the region were also under way.

Response of ICTY President

Mr. MERON, President of the ICTY, said the timetable set for the Tribunal could not be impunity by default.  Responding to the representative of Romania about provisional release, he said that a trial chamber would grant it only after it was satisfied that the accused would appear for trial and that his release would not pose a danger to or intimidate a victim, witness or anyone else.  If more release were recently granted, it was a reflection in part of the fact that they could place greater trust in the cooperation of Member States.

He said to the representative of the Russian Federation that, while States had been slow to nominate candidates for ad litem judges, it was hoped that between now and 7 July a great number of eminent jurists would be presented.  He told the United Kingdom representative, regarding the number of judges on the Appeals Chamber dealing with the backlog of appeal cases, that in the not-too-distant future the Tribunal would have to address the matter of speeding up appeals once it was known when the trials would be completed.

Turning to comments by the representative of Japan, he said that it was true that the phase-down period was approaching.  At the same time, it had to maintain full speed and go even faster in its final years in order to meet the target for its final work laid down by the Security Council.  There would be additional costs to pay additional staff, but they would not be major costs, and there would be overall savings.  The ICTY was committed to cost-effectiveness, and there would be no adverse impact on its work, particularly owing to the unprecedented increase of indictees arriving in The Hague.  The Tribunal was determined to minimize any encroachment of the deadline on the fairness of trials.  The issue of fairness was more important that any question concerning the calendar.

Mr. MØSE, President of the Rwanda Tribunal, said he appreciated the positive remarks of Council members, who had stressed the need for States to cooperate with the Tribunal, as well as the necessity for Member States to pay their contributions to the Tribunal.  He assured the Council that the Tribunal would continue to streamline its working methods.

On the transfer of cases to national courts, he made the distinction between the transfer of files and the transfer of indictees.  The transfer of files depended on the decision of the Prosecutor.  The transfer of indictees was a matter to be decided by the Trial Chambers, following a request from the Prosecutor.  A decision had been taken by the Tribunal not to transfer indictees to States which might impose the death penalty.  Indictees could only be transferred if conditions for fair trials existed within the national courts.  The Tribunal could in no way reduce its standards and had to stick to its policy.  He added that the Tribunal was well perceived in the region.

In addition, he said witness protection was an important question, which was taken seriously.  When witnesses expressed concerns, immediate orders were given to investigate the matter and to submit reports to the Trial Chambers.

Ms. DEL PONTE, Prosecutor of the Yugoslav Tribunal, drew attention to the cooperation begun between the Tribunal and Serbia and Montenegro.  A major accomplishment was the recognition of what the Tribunal was doing.  Effective reconciliation could come about when States not only accepted the truth coming out of the trials, but also proceeded with their own war crimes trials.  Witness protection was a constant concern and the situation varied within the region.  The major problems were with Kosovo, where the Tribunal relied on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo multinational security force (KFOR) to protect witnesses.

With regard to saving time by combining cases, she said that it was necessary to prove the basic crime each time.  Time could be saved if that did not have to be done every time.  Regarding Srebrenica, instead of having three trials, it could be possible to have only one instance in which genocide had to be proved. 

Mr. JALLOW, Prosecutor of the Rwanda Tribunal, said that regarding arrests, Mr. Kabuga was still the first priority on the list of fugitives.  There were many challenges in tracking fugitives.  The Tribunal had a Tracking Unit, which had to work with national police authorities in order to arrest the fugitives.  The fullest support was needed from national political and law enforcement authorities.  He was optimistic that with the new strategy of the Tribunal there was a good chance to make progress in that area this year. 

On transfers, he said that certain legislative and administrative measures needed to be taken to comply with standards for fair trial and the death penalty before cases could be transferred to national courts.  He was pleased to hear that Rwanda would soon take the necessary legislative measures.  Regarding the death penalty, he noted that the United Nations did not accept the death penalty.  Therefore, the Tribunal could not effect the transfer of indictees to States which might impose the death penalty.

Turning to witness protection, he said the efficiency and integrity of the Tribunal depended on the flow of witnesses, who come forward free of intimidation.  So an effective system of witness protection was needed.  He had received reports of intimidation of witnesses, some of which were currently under investigation.  The rules did allow for the prosecution of those responsible for intimidation.  It was also necessary to look at the possibility of relocating witnesses to third countries.  His office had requested several countries to accept relocated witnesses and their families.  He appealed to Member States to consider those requests, realizing how important they were to the integrity of the process.

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*     The 5198th Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.