United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived late on Wednesday, 31 January, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from Nairobi, Kenya. From Amsterdam, he immediately travelled to The Hague.
On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General visited the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court -- international judicial institutions based in The Hague.
At the International Court of Justice, the Secretary-General was welcomed by the President of the Court, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, and by the Registrar, Philippe Couvreur. He was escorted to the Great Hall of Justice, where Court hearings are traditionally held, and then to the Deliberation Room, where members of the Court and senior Registry officials were introduced to him. A general exchange of views ensued.
Following his visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he met with the President, Fausto Pocar, the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, as well as a number of the Tribunal judges and the staff, he spoke to reporters. He expressed his appreciation for the Tribunal’s work and urged the fugitive suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to appear before the court, for their own interest as well as for the benefit of international peace and security.
During his visit to the International Criminal Court, the Secretary-General and his delegation met with the President, Judge Philippe Kirsch; the First Vice-President, Judge Akua Kuenyehia; the Second Vice-President, Judge René Blattmann; the Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo; and the Deputy Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.
He then travelled to the Huis ten Bosch palace, where he had a one-on-one meeting with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
From there, he met with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and then had a working luncheon with the Prime Minister that included the Foreign Minister Bernard Rudolf Bot.
At a press encounter afterward, the Secretary-General was asked about the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and he said he was considering increasing the presence of UNAMA’s office in southern Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General then met with Gerdi Verbeet, President of the House of Representatives, and Marbeth Bierman-Beukema Toe Water, Vice-President of the Senate of the States General.
He also met that day with Agnes van Ardenne, the Minister for Development Cooperation.
The Secretary-General then travelled to Rotterdam Airport from where he departed for Washington, D.C.