LEGAL COMMITTEE CONTINUES TERRORISM DEBATE; DELEGATE OF IRAQ REPORTS DAILY KILLINGS, HEAVY DAMAGE AS DEMOCRACY EFFORTS CONTINUE

12 October 2006
GA/L/3297

LEGAL COMMITTEE CONTINUES TERRORISM DEBATE; DELEGATE OF IRAQ REPORTS DAILY KILLINGS, HEAVY DAMAGE AS DEMOCRACY EFFORTS CONTINUE

12 October 2006
General Assembly
GA/L/3297
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Sixth Committee

3rd Meeting (AM)


LEGAL COMMITTEE CONTINUES TERRORISM DEBATE; DELEGATE OF IRAQ REPORTS


DAILY KILLINGS, Heavy DAMAGE AS DEMOCRACY EFFORTS CONTINUE

 


Strong Measures are Urged against Global ‘Scourge’, Taking Account

Of Root Causes, Avoiding Links to Particular Religious or Ethnic Groups


When the Sixth (Legal) Committee today continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, the representative of Iraq spoke of the daily terrorist acts suffered in his country, including killings, torture and damage to infrastructure.


He said Iraq was being rebuilt to ensure that democracy, human rights and the freedom of opinion were respected.  It had adopted measures to prevent and sanction terrorist acts, including a 2005 law on terrorism.  He was aware that cooperation with all States was needed, including the exchange of information, effective border control measures and bringing terrorists to justice.


The representative of Sierra Leone, like most speakers, supported the holding of an international conference under United Nations auspices to examine terrorism.  In addition to States, he said stakeholders including religious organizations and civil society bodies must be invited.  The conference should be mandated to examine terrorism in all its aspects, including its root causes.


Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group of countries, Guyana’s representative said that dealing with the eradication of poverty, the introduction of democracy, sustainable development and the rule of law were all vital in the struggle against terrorism.  Respect for all religions and cultures should be ensured.


The representative of Kyrgyzstan, speaking on behalf of the States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said the fight against terrorism must be conducted in a manner that avoided double standards.  It should not be linked to any particular civilization, ethnic group or religion.  Exchanges and dialogue between different religions must be enhanced to improve mutual respect and understanding.


China’s representative said that the fight against terrorism should be conducted on the basis of law and in such a way as to avoid double standards.  States must refrain from linking terrorism to any particular civilization, ethnic groups or religion.  Exchanges and dialogue between different civilizations must be enhanced to improve understanding.  The causes of terrorism, social unrest, injustice and poverty must be tackled for the success of the struggle against terrorism.


Statements were also made by the representatives of Singapore, Niger, Cuba, Congo, Indonesia, Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Belarus, Bahrain, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Egypt, Angola, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Japan, United Republic of Tanzania and the Gambia (on behalf of the African Group).


Statements in exercise of the right of reply were made by the representatives of the United States and Cuba.


The Sixth (Legal) committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 13 October, to continue its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.


Background


The Sixth (Legal) Committee met this morning to continue its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism which it began yesterday.  For background information, see press release GA/L/3296 of 11 October 2006.


Statements


LIM LIANG JIM ( Singapore) said global terrorism posed a new security challenge that had to be confronted.  Terrorists did not respect national, geographic, religious or ethnic boundaries.  The international community would fall into the terrorists’ trap, if terrorism was associated with particular religions, nationalities, civilizations or ethnic groups.  Instead, he said, various initiatives -- such as the Alliance of Civilizations and the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace -- should be built upon, to bring civilizations together.  His country had tried to implement measures to increase security following plots by Jemaah Islamiyah to target the country.  It recognized that no matter how effective national measures, no single country was able to counter the threat of terrorism on its own, hence, it worked closely with partners in South-East Asia and beyond on intelligence exchange and counter-terrorism.


ABDOU ADAMOU ( Niger) said his country vigorously condemned terrorism, which was one of the great scourges against international peace and security.  He noted that the General Assembly had unanimously approved a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which his country supported as a step forward in combating the scourge.   He urged Member States to continue efforts to arrive at a definition of terrorism, and called on them to demonstrate flexibility for consensus to be achieved.  He said Niger was making contributions to the fight against terrorism, and had, this year, adopted measures, among others, to deal with attacks on airports.  It supported various measures adopted at the international level.  To fight terrorism, he said, the root causes must be determined; socio-economic problems and human rights had to be taken into account.


RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said his country strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and it also condemned acts of terrorism in which States were directly or indirectly involved.  Cuba, he said, had never allowed its national territory to be used for terrorist purposes; it had never financed terrorist acts against any other State, without exception.  Likewise, it rejected the use of counter-terrorism as a pretext to justify intervention in the internal affairs of other States.


He said he welcomed the adoption of the General Assembly’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and hoped its objectives would be fulfilled by all; it would be impossible to eradicate terrorism if some terrorist acts were condemned while others were silenced, tolerated or justified.  He said a general convention on international terrorism should contain a clear and precise definition of the crime of terrorism, and guarantee a clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for their independence and in defence of their right to self-determination.


He said the people of Cuba had been the victim of countless terrorist actions since 1959, which had caused death or physical damage to thousands of people and had brought about huge economic loss to the country.  One of the persons responsible for the mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner 30 years ago, in which 73 people died, not only walked freely in the streets of Miami, but also made frequent television appearances and statements to the press.  And the United States refuses to extradite another person responsible for the crime.  He said Cuba would not stop fighting until the two men and other terrorists like them were condemned for their crimes.


ALLIEU IBRAHIM KANU ( Sierra Leone) said his country condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and that no terrorist act for whatever cause could be justified.  Sierra Leone believed that the exercise of the legitimate rights of States, peoples and individuals under international law should not be regarded as terrorism.  However, systematic attacks on civilian populations could not be justified in any way.  The international community should be bold to observe that the present strategy to combat terrorism had not been successful; more attention should be given to the root causes of the phenomenon.


He said it should be recognized that terrorism was not exclusive to a particular region, people or religion.  Terrorism had infested the international body politic “like fleas and should be fought like that of the flea”.


He said Sierra Leone supported the call for the convening of an international conference on international terrorism under United Nations auspices to formulate a unified response; stakeholders including religious organizations and all sections of civil society should be invited to the conference, which should be mandated to examine terrorism in all its aspects, including its root cause.


LAZARE MAKAYAT-SAFOUESE ( Congo) said the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was the latest step forward to emasculate the scourge of terrorism.  His Government had always condemned terrorism, regardless of its motivation, and had adopted measures to combat it, including an instrument by African States.  A ministerial body had been established to coordinate the fight against international organized crime and money laundering, and the financing of terrorist acts.  His Government attached great importance to the work of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee; the multitude of instruments being enhanced by the United Nations and its organs, including the recent adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, was proof of the central role of the Organization and its capacity.  He emphasized the importance of technical assistance to help States draw up measures to counter terrorism and other international crimes.


EDDY PRATOMO (Indonesia), aligning itself with yesterday’s statement made by Viet Nam, on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a testament to the earnest efforts of the international community to seek collective answers to the scourge of terrorism, and served as a central platform.


He said Indonesia had personal experience with terrorism, and knew it was a clear and present danger.  He condemned it in all its forms, while stressing the need to remain focused in ways to build multilateral cooperation and eradicate terrorism’s multifaceted root causes.  The international campaign needed to be balanced, comprehensive, and in full conformity with international law.


His Government, he said, had established the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement for the Asia and Pacific Region, in an effort to strengthen concerted measures to fight terrorism effectively.  He rejected any notion associating terrorism with any religion, nationality, or ethnic group.  Mutual dialogue was needed, with scholars and mass media engaged, in order to influence change.  He also encouraged the exploration of interfaith dialogue as a tool for nurturing mutual understanding.


DUNCAN KERR (Australia), speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, said that, in light of the railway bombings in Mumbai, and attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey, it was imperative that the international community remain united and vigilant.  Terrorism was a global phenomenon and, thus, required a global response.


He said the United Nations had to play a vital role in global counter-terrorism efforts.  The countries for which he spoke encouraged States to refute extremist ideologies, and strongly supported Security Council resolutions 1267, 1373, and 1540, urging all States to meet their obligations therein.  The Security Council should reduce the burdens placed on smaller, developing countries by assisting them.


He said the United Nations had been effective in establishing counter-terrorism norms, but closing the remaining gaps remained important.  At the regional level, Canada had provided training and legal assistance to States in priority areas such as transportation, law enforcement, security, and cyber security.  New Zealand had dedicated funding as well; the Pacific Security Fund was active for some years now.  Australia had also made financing allocations in new initiatives.


ANDREI POPKOV ( Belarus) said that terrorism was a threat to all countries.  The international community could combat it either by force, or by peaceful means.  Following the adoption of the Security Council counter-terrorism resolution of 2001, it had taken five years for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to be produced.  The Strategy did not meet the desires of all States, but it provided interim measures to eliminate some of the problems that led to terrorism.  Belarus would participate in its implementation.


He said fundamental rights should be respected in the efforts to combat terrorism.  Belarus had ratified all the 13 United Nations anti-terrorism instruments.  Its Government had expressed full support for the counter-terrorism resolutions of the Security Council, and believed all States should comprehensively support all anti-terrorist instruments.


He said he thought the comprehensive convention now being negotiated would help States combat terrorism; his delegation was ready to contribute to the achievement of consensus to conclude the draft convention.  He also expressed support for the convening of an international conference on terrorism, and said Belarus would continue to participate in all international efforts to combat terrorism in conformity with relevant principles of the United Nations Charter.


AHMED ARRAD ( Bahrain) said the fight against terrorism required international mobilization at all levels.  Combating terrorism should not be used as a pretext to violate human rights.  The root causes of terrorism should be considered, he said, and he welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the active role of the Security Council in counter-terrorism efforts.  The phenomenon of terrorism was one of the most dangerous challenges facing the international community, he said, and international cooperation was necessary to deal with it.  Bahrain condemned terrorism and rejected any attempt to link Islam, a great religion, with the scourge.  He said Bahrain was party to 11 of the 13 United Nations anti-terrorist instruments, as well as regional ones.  It welcomed the proposed convening of an international conference on terrorism to examine all its forms and manifestations.


JURG LAUBER ( Switzerland) said the adoption by consensus of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy underlined the fact that the General Assembly had the will to contribute effectively to the fight against terrorism, and that it was in a position to do so.  Switzerland hoped the Assembly would adopt, without delay, the text of a general convention on international terrorism, to complement the existing 16 conventions and protocols.  It regretted that the differences of opinion between Member States on questions as fundamental as the definition of terrorism itself had not yet been overcome.  Work on the text should be resumed in the same spirit of international cooperation that prevailed during the discussions on the Strategy.


He said Switzerland was convinced that, to enhance the legitimacy of action against terrorism action, there should be increased respect for human rights and the rule of law.  For example, transparent procedures must be established for the listing and delisting of persons on United Nations sanctions lists.  In that context, he added, Switzerland welcomed the publication of the White Paper entitled “Strengthening Targeted Sanctions through Fair and Clear Procedures” written on the initiative of the German, Swedish and Swiss Governments.


SABINE BAKYONO (Burkina Faso), aligning herself with the statement to be made by the Gambia on behalf of the African Group, said terrorist acts were a major threat to international peace and security, with all States suffering through the same trials and tribulations in the face of abominable acts.  Terrorism was unacceptable and unjustifiable, she said, and undermined the foundation of society.  No State could face terrorism alone; a united front was required, in the sphere of human rights and international law.  Likewise, the United Nations must play a central role in coordinating efforts.


In combating terrorism, she said, success depended on the legal arsenal available to States, but discrepancies existed.  It was imperative to work to reach consensus on a convention that was binding on all.  All countries -- both strong and weak -- were vulnerable to terrorists; only solidarity among States would put an end to terrorism.


GEORGE TALBOT ( Guyana), speaking for the Rio Group of countries, expressed his full support and commitment to the fight against terrorism.  He strongly condemned it in all its forms regardless of who was responsible and for whatever purposes.


He called on all partners and the international community to “build from here”, and continue to face the new challenges in the fight against terrorism.  Creativity was essential to ensure that the Strategy adopted by the General Assembly remained a “living” instrument, comprehensive in scope.  All States needed to embrace this Strategy to ensure its success and to maintain a holistic approach, while not neglecting the need for terrorism prevention.  He said that dealing with the eradication of poverty, and the introduction of democracy, sustainable development, and the rule of law were all vital in that struggle.  And further policies should respect all religions and cultures.


He said his Government urged the settling of any disputes by peaceful means.  It was essential that all fully comply with human rights obligations, and refugee law and international humanitarian law, in particular.  Sanctions regimes related to terrorism would need to be implemented in strict observance of human rights.


MINELIK ALEMU GETAHUN ( Ethiopia) said his country condemned and categorically rejected all acts, methods and practices of terrorism; they were criminal and unjustifiable.  He said Ethiopia welcomed the adoption of United Nations instruments on terrorism, which should serve as a global platform for the intensification of the fight against the menace.  It had redoubled its efforts to combat terrorism through legislative, law enforcement and appropriate measures.  Those efforts, he added, included measures to prevent terrorist attacks, apprehend culprits and further enhance aviation and border security.  He said the international community should take timely, concrete and concerted measures to combat terrorism, with high priority being given to enhancing the capacity of States to effectively respond to the challenges.  The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, based in Algiers, had recently established a programme against terrorism based in Addis Ababa.  This deserved continuing support from United Nations bodies.


ROBERT TACHIE-MENSON ( Ghana) said the landmark United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy pointed the way forward, while at the same time signalled the resolve of the international community to meet the challenges posed by terrorism with unity and a sense of purpose.  He hoped it would give impetus to the negotiations on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  He expressed disappointment that disagreement on a few outstanding issues had stalled the finalization of the convention.


He said he wished to reiterate his delegation’s endorsement of the formulation which “condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever purposes”.  That formulation, agreed in the text of the World Summit Outcome Document of 2005 and in the resolution on the Strategy, should form the basis of any definition of terrorism in the draft convention now being negotiated.  He listed a number of principles that, he added, were essential and should underpin the text being negotiated; no cause, ideology, religion, creed or grievance justified the deliberate, senseless or wanton killings of civilians and non-combatant, and the convention should have as one of its objectives, the creation of mechanisms to give comfort and reparations to victims of terrorist atrocities.


RIADH AL-ADHAMI ( Iraq) said he condemned terrorist acts in all their forms and manifestations, regardless of their cause or motives, and reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to take all necessary measures to eradicate the scourge completely.  He said terrorism was a threat to human rights, international law, economic and social progress, and thus, a threat to international peace and security.  Furthermore, terrorists needed to be brought to justice and receive appropriate punishment.


He said Iraq suffered daily from terrorist acts.  There were killings, torture and chaos, and the Iraqi infrastructure was damaged.  Iraq was rebuilding its country to ensure that democracy, human rights and the freedom of opinion, were all respected.  Iraq had already adopted decisions to prevent and sanction terrorist acts, including the 2005 law on terrorism.  He was aware that cooperation of all States was needed.  This included an exchange of information, taking effective border control measures, and helping bring terrorists to justice.  He further stressed the need to take a long-term approach for dealing with the reasons behind terrorism.  The origins of terrorism were evident -– poverty, ignorance, marginalization, long-standing conflict –- and all created an environment conducive to its spread.


MARKIMAN KOBIRAN ( Malaysia) said his country aligned itself with yesterday’s statement by Viet Nam on behalf of ASEAN, in welcoming the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  He said it was essential to stress the criminalization of terrorist acts, the building of a cohesive network of multilateral and bilateral cooperation instruments, and to ensure that terrorists were brought to justice.  He commended the United Nations for its efforts to identify the needs for technical assistance in the implementation of the instruments, as well as acting as liaison between donor and recipient countries.


He reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to work with the United Nations on concerted actions to combat international terrorism –- a fight that needed a social, human and political perspective.  On the regional level, he said, the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters had been signed by all 10 members of Association of South-East Asian Nations.  Malaysia was also working with other countries of the Group to elaborate a convention for a regional security community.


MAHMOUD SAMY ( Egypt) said the meeting had acquired significance following the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  However, the continued increase of terrorist attacks required concerted efforts to deal with the menace.  The adoption of the Strategy showed the role that the General Assembly could play in the fight against terrorism; the adoption of the Strategy was not the end of the road, but a beginning.  He called for its future review.


He said the General Assembly had two main tasks before it:  the completion of the work on the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, and the convening of an international conference on terrorism under United Nations auspices.  Progress was needed on the first issue, and he spoke of the proposals of the Arab States as one way of resolving the deadlock in the negotiations.  All parties should show the necessary flexibility.


On the convening of the international conference, he said efforts should be made to create the necessary atmosphere for holding it.  The root causes of terrorism should be included on the agenda.  Dialogue among civilizations should be promoted to relinquish the idea that one religion was better than others.


TEODOLINDA RODRIGUES COELHO ( Angola) said the General Assembly’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy could be the foundation for cooperation in the fight against it.  Member States could also cooperate by showing political will to resolve the outstanding issues involved in the negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  Her Government joined in the condemnation of acts of terrorism; it was fulfilling its international obligations, and had ratified the African Convention on terrorism.  It was also undertaking measures to ratify the existing international anti-terrorism instruments.


She said Angola, in its relations with other countries, had developed a framework of systematic actions to reinforce international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and, in line with the relevant regional agreements.  At the national level, it was preparing legislation to ratify and incorporate the Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism into domestic law.


YERZHAN Kh. KAZYKHANOV ( Kazakhstan) said the terrorist attacks around the world were a constant and painful reminder that the scourge remained one of the most serious threats to all States and peoples.  His country had consistently opposed and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and recognized that no one country was able to counter it successfully on its own.  Kazakhstan applauded the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he said, and agreed that it would provide practical and action-oriented measures.  He also said it was in the collective interest of Member States to conclude negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  His country considered that the elimination of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, extremism and all forms of discrimination was one of the primary tasks of the international community, in its efforts to prevent terrorism.  There was a critical role for regional and subregional arrangements in the effective global action against it.


PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said his country, aligning itself with the African Group, reiterated its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.   Terrorism today was the most serious threat to peace and international security.  Those acts were an attack on the founding ideals of the United Nations, and thus, it was imperative that the international community tackle terrorism.  The seriousness of the threat required the mobilization of all -- including Member States, the international community, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations.  He appealed for the better harmonization of concerted actions against terrorism.


He said inter-State cooperation suffered from shortcomings, and funds were insufficient.  Nevertheless, legal instruments and bilateral and regional agreements formed a powerful legal arsenal and were the best weapons to combat the scourge.  He encouraged all States to ratify those instruments.


NURBEK JEENBAEV ( Kyrgyzstan), speaking for the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said they condemned international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  They said the fight against terrorism should be conducted in compliance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and other established rules of international law, including human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.  It must also be conducted in such a way as to avoid double standards.  It should not be linked with any particular civilization, ethnic group or religion.  Exchanges and dialogue between different religions must be enhanced to improve mutual respect and understanding.  For the fight against terrorism to be successful, they said that legislative and enforcement measures should be taken to prevent and to eliminate conditions that would spread the scourge.


The United Nations and its Security Council and General Assembly in particular, should continue to play a leading and coordinating role in the international struggle against terrorism.  The Shanghai Cooperation Organization welcomed the recent Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly, and hoped it would play a positive role in the international community’s efforts.  Strengthening international cooperation to combat incitement to terrorism was important, as was prevention of the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists.


HIROSHI TAJIMA ( Japan), said that Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be further strengthened through international coordination.  Japan welcomed the consensus adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, stating that the strategy should be regarded as a milestone in United Nations history in that field.  It was important that the counter-terrorism task force being established in the Secretariat play an effective role in coordination and implementation of the measures proposed in the Strategy, including capacity building of developing States.  Japan was ready to contribute to enhancing the coherence of United Nations counter-terrorism activities.  It encouraged Member States to engage positively in the negotiations on the draft convention on international terrorism.


MWENWA MALECELA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating itself with the statement made on behalf of the African Group, said that the horrific terrorist attacks on the United States Embassy in Tanzania, in 1998, were still fresh in their minds and they would never forget.


She said her country had devised practical steps in the fight against terrorism, including the Anti-Terrorism Law enacted in 2002.  That provided for measures to deter, disable, identify, investigate and punish terrorists.  Tanzania had ratified 8 out of the 12 conventions and protocols on terrorism, and was working on ratifying the additional four.


On a regional level, she said, it had joined regional initiatives in combating terrorism including the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money-Laundering Group, which acknowledged the need for developing and implementing national anti-money-laundering legislation.  At the national level, Tanzania had introduced new passports aimed at curbing forgery by would-be terrorists.  Law enforcement agencies were also tasked with watching the activities and sources of the funds of non-governmental organizations, so that those organizations could not fund terrorists.  As one of the least developed countries, Tanzania needed help and asked for technical assistance and help with information exchange.


LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said his Government had consistently opposed and condemned international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and was against its use for political purposes.  It had always maintained that the fight against terrorism should be conducted in compliance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and other established rules of international law.  It must be conducted on the basis of law and in such a way as to avoid double standards.  States must refrain from linking terrorism to any particular civilization, ethnic group or religion.  Exchanges and dialogue between different civilizations must be enhanced to improve mutual understanding.  For the fight against terrorism to be successful, he said that issues such as the causes of terrorism, social unrest, injustice and poverty must also be tackled.


The United Nations, and its Security Council and General Assembly in particular, should continue to play a leading and coordinating role in the international struggle against terrorism.


CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON ( Gambia), speaking for the African Group of Member States, said that the progress that had been made was testimony to determination in the global fight against terrorism.  The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a key step forward.  Africa had long recognized the need for concrete measure to combat terrorism.


He said he strongly and unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; there was no justification for it.  The African Group believed that it was not endemic to people, regions or religion.  What was required was a comprehensive approach that dealt with its symptoms and root causes.  Furthermore, legal instruments needed to distinguish between terrorism and the right to self-determination.  In other words, liberation struggles did not constitute terrorism. 


He said the Africa Group needed assistance and adequate levels of support to meet its commitments.  He expressed appreciation for the Trans-Sahara Initiative and welcomed the United States-Africa Centre for Strategic Studies.


Rights of reply


The representative of the United States said the delegation of Cuba had again sought to inject, into the technical discussions of the Committee, its political agenda and had made false charges against his Government.  He had taken the floor to set the record straight, he said.  On the matter of Luis Posada, he said he had been detained by United States authorities on 17 May 2005, after entering the United States illegally, and remained in Government custody pending the outcome of legal proceedings brought against him.  On 4 October, the United States Department of Homeland Security had served Posada with an “Interim Decision to Continue Detention”, pursuant to United States federal regulations, based on a determination that Posada remained a flight risk, a danger to the community and to national security.


He said that contrary to Cuba’s false suggestion, the United States Government had on 5 October not only filed its objections to a federal magistrate’s recommendation that Posada be released, but had taken the objections to the next level of the judiciary -– a federal district magistrate -– seeking to overturn that order of release.  Posada remained in custody while his case was processed in the United States legal system.


In the case of five individuals that Cuba had cited in its statement, they were convicted in United States Federal District Court of conspiracy to commit espionage, among other charges, including conspiracy in a plan to shoot down a civilian aircraft both inside and outside the United States.  The full United States Court of Appeal had affirmed their convictions and had declined to order a new trial.  He said the five remained in federal custody with all the guarantees of due process.  That process had also been extended to Posada.  He said American judges fairly and impartially interpreted and applied the law.


Responding to the United States statement, the representative of Cuba referred the case of Luis Posada and she hoped that the issue would be resolved appropriately.  Thirty years ago, a Cuban flight was shot down and 73 people were killed.


Posada had been neither charged nor extradited, and Cuba hoped that he would be sent to Venezuela, and that the United States would act in accordance with its expressed policies to combat terrorism.  Many were affected by the shooting down of that flight -– not just in Cuba.  Her Government wished to see that individual charged.  Regarding the others involved, they were free in the United States, talking to the media and glorifying their acts.


As for the five Cubans detained in United States jails, she said she disagreed with views of the United States representative.  There had not been due process, she noted.  The trials in Miami were politicised.  Ultimately they were not terrorists; they were seeking information on terrorist organizations that existed in the United States.  Her Government had reported on those organizations and their activities, and had given the names and addresses of these organizations.


Regarding the trial, she said the five were unjustly imprisoned for 17 months, and kept in isolation during that time, an act contrary to all international laws.  The Court of Appeals had heard the appeal of the Attorney General and decided not to reopen the case or hold a new trial.  If there were truly justice in that country, then the five Cubans should be freed and tried properly.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.