Justice Supersedes Completion Strategy Deadlines for International Criminal Tribunals in Security Council Debate, following Briefings by Key Officials
Justice Supersedes Completion Strategy Deadlines for International Criminal Tribunals in Security Council Debate, following Briefings by Key Officials
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6228th Meeting (AM)
Justice Supersedes Completion Strategy Deadlines for International Criminal
Tribunals in Security Council Debate, following Briefings by Key Officials
Top officials of the United Nations Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, briefing the Security Council today, called for Serbia’s sustained assistance in apprehending two high-level fugitives accused of atrocities in the Balkan wars of the 1990s and pressed Kenya to cooperate in the case of an at-large suspect in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Without their arrest and trial, the completion strategies of neither Tribunal would be fulfilled, the Presidents and Prosecutors of those bodies stressed in their six-month update to the Council. They also underscored the importance of staff retention, extension of service for ad litem judges and creation of a claims commission to compensate victims.
Patrick Robinson, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said the continued flight from justice of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić risked tarnishing the Council’s historic contribution to peacebuilding in that region. It was the one serious hurdle to implementing the Tribunal’s completion strategy. However, their immediate arrest would obviate the need for a residual trial function for the Tribunal, and he hoped the Council would act decisively to achieve that goal.
Giving an overview of the Tribunal’s work -– and efforts to wind down its caseload -- he said that five trials were to be completed during 2010, and three in the first half of 2011. The remaining case, of Radovan Karadžić, was to be completed in late 2012. With the redeployment of resources to the Appeals Chambers, he anticipated that all appeals would be completed in 2013, except for the Karadžić appeal, due to finish in February 2014. That redeployment was part of the Tribunal’s overall downsizing strategy.
Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, said that State cooperation was vital to the success of the completion strategy. While Serbia’s cooperation continued to progress, most critical was the need to apprehend fugitives, and Serbia must maintain its efforts to track them. The arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić were his Office’s foremost priorities. Prosecutors were reviewing the Mladić indictment, and he expected to file a proposed amended indictment shortly.
Dennis Byron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said the time for arresting three of the 11 remaining fugitives -- Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana -– was long overdue. They had benefited from impunity for far too long and it was in the international interest to arrest and try them fairly.
He said the Tribunal would not accomplish its mandate if top-level fugitives continued to benefit from impunity, while victims awaited justice. He urged States, particularly those where there was significant evidence that fugitives were hiding in their territory -– such as Kenya -– to fully cooperate with the Tribunal. Fugitives must be arrested and transferred to Arusha before the Tribunal closed. Trial functions of a residual mechanism were indispensable, as long as fugitives remained at large.
Rounding out those ideas, Hassan B. Jallow, Chief Prosecutor of the Rwanda Tribunal, said that no progress had been made in the matter of cooperation by Kenya regarding Mr. Kabuga, despite repeated requests to the Government for details of Mr. Kabuga’s reported departure from that country. Kenya should be required to comply with its legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, international law and Council resolution 1503 (2003).
In the debate that followed, Council members stressed the need for both Tribunals to meet their completion strategy deadlines, but not at the expense of bringing the 13 fugitives at large to justice and of their legacies to fight impunity and help strengthen international criminal law and international humanitarian law. They supported the Tribunals’ request to extend judges’ terms in order to finish their work.
They also lauded the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda for handing over fugitives Gregoire Ndahimana and Idelphonse Nizeyimana to the Rwandan Tribunal, and authorities in nations of the former Yugoslavia for responding to the Tribunal’s requests for accessing documents, tracking fugitives, relocating witnesses and transferring cases to national jurisdictions. But several members criticized Kenya’s Government for not doing more to arrest Mr. Kabuga and regretted that Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić had yet to be apprehended.
Responding to those concerns, Wanjuki Muchemi, Kenya’s Solicitor-General, strongly refuted accusations that Kenya continued to provide safe haven for Mr. Kabuga and was refusing to fully discharge its obligations to arrest him. Kenyan authorities were fully cooperating with the Rwanda Tribunal to find him; they had set up a joint Kenya-ICTR Task Force, which had obtained a freeze order for property registered in Mr. Kabuga’s name and offered cash rewards for information leading to his arrest. The fugitive, he stressed, was not in Kenya, and the search for him should be widened to other countries.
Serbia’s representative said Serbian Government institutions were working every day to locate and apprehend Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić, and were fully cooperating with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, including on documents, witness protection and access to State archives. Bringing those fugitives to justice would help heal the Serbian psyche, and confirm the nation’s willingness to face that truth about crimes committed during the 1990s and its readiness to punish perpetrators, regardless of their nationality and that of the victims.
The representatives of Austria, Croatia, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, France, Japan, China, United States, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, Uganda, Libya, Burkina Faso, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Rwanda also made statements.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 1:31 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the reports of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
In the annual report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document S/2009/396), the President of the Tribunal says that the body had faced an unprecedented workload in the reporting period, from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, and that the situation would continue in the coming year. Six trial judgements concerning nine accused were delivered, bringing to 45 the total number of persons whose judgements were completed at the first instance. The evidence phases in trials against 15 persons were completed by the reporting period’s end, and judgements were being drafted in seven cases involving 18 accused.
The report finds that, in addition to many interlocutory decisions and pretrial orders, the Appeals Chamber rendered two judgements in single-accused cases, bringing to 27 the total number of persons whose judgements had been completed at the appellate level. Judge Dennis Byron ( Saint Kitts and Nevis) and Judge Khalida Rachid Khan ( Pakistan) were re-elected for a second term, respectively, as President and Vice‑President, in May 2009.
The support of Member States was essential as the Prosecutor’s Office accelerated its efforts to ensure the arrest of the remaining 13 fugitives, who continued to elude justice, which should not be accepted by the international community, the report concludes. Cooperation on the relocation of acquitted persons and accused who had served their sentence was also essential. It also helped Rwandan authorities in their efforts to meet the conditions for the transfer of cases, as established by the Trial and Appeals Chambers, which could enable renewed requests for referrals.
The Court is formally known as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994.
The Council had also before it the Report on the completion strategy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as of 9 November (document S/2009/587), which states that the court’s three Trial Chambers have delivered four judgements in single-accused cases since 5 May 2009. Six cases concerning 17 accused, including one retrial, are in the judgement drafting phase, with at least two more judgements are to be delivered before the end of 2009. The presentation of evidence has been completed in two single-accused cases, and closing arguments are forthcoming at the beginning of 2010. Six trials involving eight accused are ongoing. The evidence phase of all first instance trials is now projected to be finalized before mid-2010, with the exception of the trial of Karemera et al. Preparations for the trials of two recently arrested indictees have commenced. The Appeals Chamber is presently seized of eight appeals from judgement.
According to the report, the Tribunal is making every effort to complete its mandate as soon as possible, as evidenced by the high output in judgements and the large number of newly commenced trials in 2009. The efforts include the intensified tracking of the remaining 11 fugitives, but also continued work with national jurisdictions, which could accept referred cases from the Tribunal in the near future. The arrest of fugitives and the referral of cases are interlinked and essential elements of the Completion Strategy. The Tribunal depends on the willingness and resources of the international community to achieve the goals of this Strategy.
In the sixteenth annual report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document S/2009/394), the President of the Tribunal says the Appeals Chamber delivered three judgments involving four accused, bringing to 86 the number of cases fully completed. The Trial Chambers delivered three judgements involving nine accused, and at their peak, ran eight trials simultaneously in their three courtrooms.
The report finds that, as of the close of the one-year reporting period on 31 July 2009, appeal proceedings were ongoing for 12 persons, and 21 accused were currently on trial. Four accused remained at the pretrial stage. The failure to arrest two more accused, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, gravely concerns the Tribunal.
Patrick Robinson (Jamaica) was elected President of the Tribunal and O-gon Kwon (Republic of Korea) was elected Vice-President. A new Registrar, John Hocking, was sworn in on 19 May 2009, and the Registry continued to play a crucial role in the provision of administrative and judicial support. Serge Brammertz continued as Prosecutor, taking up office on 1 January 2008 after his November 2007 appointment.
The Prosecutor’s Office backed the use of capacity-building activities in the region and partnerships with national prosecutors to support the rule of law, the report states. Cooperation with regional authorities in judicial matters was crucial for successful prosecution of war crime cases at the national level.
The report also stresses the importance of cooperation of the States of the former Yugoslavia and other States in fulfilling the Tribunal’s mandate, as required under article 29 of the body’s statute. Cooperation with the States of the former Yugoslavia was particularly vital in the areas of access to archives, documents and witnesses; the prosecution of witnesses; and efforts to locate, arrest and transfer the two remaining fugitives and take measures against those who supported them.
To date, the Tribunal had concluded proceedings against 120 accused out of 161 indicted. The report shows the Tribunals’ focus on completing its proceedings as soon as possible without sacrificing due process.
The full name of the Tribunal is the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.
The Council had also before it the Assessment and report of Judge Patrick Robinson, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, provided to the Security Council pursuant to paragraph 6 of Council resolution 1534 (2004), covering the period from 15 May to 15 November 2009 (document S/2009/589). It states that, of the 161 accused indicted by the Tribunal, only one accused remains in the pretrial stage awaiting the commencement of trial, and the start of that trial is imminent. Regrettably, two accused, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, are still at large.
Further to the report, a total of 24 accused are presently on trial and another 13 have appeals pending. All other cases have been completed. Five cases will be completed during the course of 2010, three during the first half of 2011 and the remaining case, that of Radovan Karadžić, is currently estimated to be completed by September 2012.
During the reporting period, three new trials commenced. One trial remains to start in December 2009. The expeditious conduct of some of the Tribunal’s trials was again hindered by contempt allegations, as well as by the departure of three of its experienced permanent Judges and the time taken to secure their replacements, the report states.
After describing measures taken to expedite proceedings for individual trials, the report notes that, as the Tribunal nears the end of its mandate, highly qualified and essential staff continues to leave the Tribunal at “alarming” rates. Critical to staff retention is the granting of internal status equal to that of staff of the Secretariat. Staff will likely fare better under the new Inspira recruitment system, coming into effect in January 2010. Another incentive would be the end of service grant recommended by the International Civil Service Commission.
The reports concludes that the Office of the Prosecutor remains fully committed to the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy goals. However, to successfully complete its work, the cooperation of States remains critical. The apprehension of the two remaining fugitives, Goran Hadžić and Ratko Mladić, remains the highest priority of the Office of the Prosecutor. The Office will further develop its effective partnerships with national prosecutors and continue to provide assistance to national war crimes prosecutions. The steadfast and continued support of the international community for domestic war crimes prosecutions remains of paramount importance.
As trial and appeals work progresses in the next year, the Office of the Prosecutor will undergo a significant downsizing process, it is explained in the report. To cope with the complexity of remaining current and upcoming trials and appeals, the Prosecutor’s Office will need to retain qualified staff. At this stage of the Tribunal’s existence, the continuing support of the Security Council and the Member States of the United Nations remains essential for the Office of the Prosecutor to fulfil its Completion Strategy goals.
PATRICK ROBINSON, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said that since his last presentation before the Council, the Tribunal had continued to focus on completing its work as quickly as possible. Of the 161 accused indicted by the Tribunal, only a single accused remained in the pretrial stage, awaiting the start of the trial, which was scheduled to begin on 17 December. A total of 24 accused were presently on trial in nine cases, with another 13 accused with appeals pending.
He said that five trials were to be completed in the course of 2010, three in the first half of 2011. The remaining case, that of Radovan Karadžić, was due to be completed in late 2012. With the redeployment of resources to the Appeals Chambers, he anticipated that all appeals would be completed in 2013, except for the Karadžić appeal, estimated to be finished in February 2014. That redeployment from trials to appeals was part of the Tribunals’ overall downsizing strategy.
To speed proceedings, he recently had convened the working group on speeding up trials, whose recommendations would be presented in the next Completion Strategy Report. Progress had been seen in the rendering of two contempt trial judgements and two contempt appeal judgements, and amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
“Our efforts to implement the Completion Strategy are coming to fruition and the end of all trials is in sight”, he said. However, one serious hurdle remained: the continued flight from justice of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić. “If these two men are not brought to justice, it will tarnish the Security Council’s historic contribution to Peacebuilding in the former Yugoslavia”. Their immediate arrest would obviate the need for a residual trial function for the Tribunal. It was not too late to arrest and try those fugitives, and he hoped the Council would “act decisively” to achieve that goal.
The other major issue, for which he requested assistance, was staff retention, as the Tribunal was losing, on average, one staff member per working day to more secure employment, many times, to other judicial institutions in The Hague, he noted. In a recent survey of 451 staff members, 57 per cent said they were actively seeking employment elsewhere. That situation risked the Tribunal’s ability to conduct its work as quickly and fairly as possible.
With that, he highlighted two areas requiring the Council’s assistance, saying first that the International Civil Service Commission had recommended an “end of service” grant applicable to those staff separating from the organization upon completion of their contracts, provided they had served continuously for 10 years. Second, staff would benefit from inclusion in the regime of continuing contracts, currently on the General Assembly’s agenda. He urged the Council to ensure that the new regime, if adopted, was made applicable to Tribunal staff, and he appealed for foresight by assisting the Tribunal with measures to retain its staff.
In his recent address to the General Assembly, he had proposed the creation of a claims commission to compensate victims of crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. He had met with various victims groups, all of which felt they had been forgotten. There was no effective mechanism by which they could seek compensation for their injuries, despite that their right to it was rooted in international law. Justice was not only about punishing perpetrators; it was also about restoring dignity to victims. In cases where a State was unable to compensate the victim, a 1985 Assembly Declaration on the basic principles of justice for victims of crime and abuse of power proposed that other funds be established for that purpose, a matter brought to the Council’s attention in November 2000. He implored members to take official steps to support the creation of such a commission.
Regarding the Tribunal’s work to prepare for its transformation to a residual mechanism, he said that the court had been asked to declassify, to the greatest extent possible, all of its records. “This is a mammoth undertaking”, which the Tribunal was tackling in an organized declassification project. To be properly implemented, that would require significant resources. Describing one case involving 1,304 pretrial transcript pages and 9,300 trial pages, he said the project would “significantly” impact the Tribunal’s downsizing strategy in coming years.
The Tribunal had been diligently working towards strengthening competent national judicial systems in the former Yugoslavia, in accordance with Council resolutions 1503 (2003) and 1534 (2004). In that context, a comprehensive report on Supporting the Transition Process: Lessons Learned and Best Practices in Knowledge of Transfer had been published jointly with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. They were now preparing a project to guarantee that national justice systems in the region had the capacity to deal with their growing war crimes caseload, for which generous funding from the European Commission was expected. He urged the Council to also support national jurisdictions in the region. The Tribunal would also convene a conference in The Hague on 23 and 24 February 2010, a goal of which would be to generate support for the Tribunal’s legacy strategy in the former Yugoslavia.
In closing, he said that the Tribunal was dedicated to completing the work entrusted to it, so that peace, justice and reconciliation could prevail in the region. A major obstacle to that was the continued flight from justice of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić, and he urged the Council to seek ways to facilitate their immediate arrest. He also urged the Council to work with other United Nations organs on meaningful staff retention measures, as a matter of urgency.
DENNIS BYRON, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said significant work lay ahead before it could safely be said that the mandate had been achieved. Since Mr. Byron’s last report to the Council in June, the Tribunal had rendered five first-instance judgements in single-accused cases, including a sentencing judgement following a guilty plea, and one appeals judgement. It had begun 10 new trials. In two of them, it had delivered judgements. In three others, including a retrial, the entire evidence had been heard. In the remaining five cases, the defence phase would be completed before year’s end or in the first half of 2010. The spillovers were mainly linked to fair trial concerns. Defence counsels needed more time to prepare their cases initially or more time to respond to the Prosecution case.
He said that the four ongoing multi-accused cases continued to pose the greatest challenge, even where the evidence phase had been completed, as was the case in three of the trials involving 17 accused. The judgement drafting in those three cases was expected to be completed in 2010, but progress was continuously challenged by parallel assignments of judges and their legal support staff in the other cases. The scheduling of complex deliberations in the multi-accused cases was difficult and risked delays. The fourth trial, Karemera et al., continued to be delayed, largely due to the illness of one of the defendants. The court aimed to complete the trial’s evidence phase by the end of 2010. It would be one of three ongoing cases, where judgement drafting would continue into the first half of 2011. The other two, Ngirabatware and Nzabonimana, would also likely spill into 2011.
The Plenary of Judges adopted in September an amendment of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, allowing for the hearing of special depositions for the preservation of evidence against the remaining fugitives, he said. That amendment aimed to prevent the loss of evidence 15 years after crimes were committed. The hearings, planned for the last quarter of 2010, would focus on those of the currently three top-ranked accused who remained at large. During the first half of 2010, the Tribunal expected judgement delivery in four single-accused cases. During the second half of 2010, additional judgements in six cases involving 17 accused would be rendered. Two new trials would start and the court aimed to complete their evidence phases.
He noted that most of the Tribunal’s seven permanent and 11 ad litem judges were involved in several cases in parallel, and judges were needed to handle cases of the two newly arrested accused for possible referral to national jurisdictions and for special deposition hearings. He asked the Council to extend the exception granted in resolution 1855 (2008), allowing for a maximum of 12 ad litem judges to serve at the Tribunal at any one time, until the end of 2010. The Council resolution in July took note of the concerns over the inequality in the terms and conditions of service between permanent and ad litem judges, particularly regarding entitlement to pensions. He had held bilateral discussions with Member States and the Secretariat on that matter, and he expressed confidence that the General Assembly could address the matter in early 2010.
The arrests in August and October of two fugitives ‑‑ Gregoire Ndahimana and Idelphonse Nizeyimana ‑‑ were positive developments, he said, thanking the respective national authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda for contributing to the fight against impunity. The transfer of Mr. Nizeyimana to Arusha one day after his arrest in Uganda should serve as an example of efficient, swift cooperation between the Tribunal and Member States. The three top suspects of the 11 remaining fugitives were Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana. The time for their arrest was long overdue; they had benefited from impunity for far too long. It was in the international community’s interest that the remaining fugitives be arrested and tried fairly.
“This Tribunal has not accomplished its mandate if top-level fugitives continue to benefit from impunity, while victims wait for justice,” he said. “I call strongly upon Member States, and in particular those where there is significant evidence that fugitives hide in their territory, such as Kenya, to fully cooperate with the Tribunal.” The fugitives must be arrested and transferred to Arusha before the Tribunal closed. Trial functions of a Residual Mechanism were indispensable, as long as fugitives remained at large.
In the last two weeks, two accused had been acquitted: Hormisdas Nsengimana on trial level and Mr. Zigiranyirazo by the Appeals Chamber, he noted. Cooperation among Member States was needed to accept the relocation of acquitted persons to their territory and to refer cases to national jurisdictions under Rule 11 bis. The Tribunal’s efforts were channelled towards the completion of remaining trial and appeals work. At the same time, it had been following up on the recommendations for the transitional period in the Secretary-General’s report on the Residual Mechanism. An overview of mechanisms thus far was in the Completion Strategy report.
He said that discussions in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on the Tribunal’s budget submission for the 2010-2011 biennium were ongoing. Two new arrests, among other developments, had since occurred and required certain adaptations of the initial request. He asked Member States to understand that need for increased flexibility. He also asked the Council for its continued support so that the Tribunal could complete its mandate expeditiously and with due respect for the highest standards of fair trials.
SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said that during the reporting period, the Trial Chamber had delivered its judgement in Lukić & Lukić. The two accused had been successfully prosecuted for brutal crimes in Višegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and convicted on 20 July 2009. Milan Lukić had been sentenced to life imprisonment, while Sredoje Lukić had been sentenced to 30 years. The case was now on appeal.
He said that another important development had been the completion of the Prosecution and Defence cases in Popović et al, one of three ongoing multi-accused leadership cases. It related to crimes committed in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995. Proceedings against the seven accused had begun in 2006 and had totalled 425 trial days. Judgement was expected in early 2010.
At present, his Office was working on eight trials involving 17 accused, he said, with the last trial to start at the Tribunal, with the exception of the fugitives, on 17 December 2009. On 27 October, the trial had started against Radovan Karadžić, with the prosecution delivering its opening statement.
As with other cases, his Office had balanced various competing requirements associated with such large cases, he said. It would present a case that was representative of the crimes committed, yet streamlined and manageable. The Karadžić indictment charges had arisen from the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and Herzegovina, shelling of Sarajevo, hostage-taking of United Nations peacekeepers, and attack on the United Nations safe area of Srebrenica. For victims, such crimes remained in the present -– they were not historic events of the past.
He stressed that the arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić was among his Office’s foremost priorities. Prosecutors were reviewing the Mladić indictment, and he expected to file a proposed amended indictment shortly. In the past six months, appeals hearings took place in three cases. Through the next biennium, appeals cases were expected to double, and plans had been implemented to transfer posts and resources to the Appeals Section of his Office. His Office was prepared to meet the work as appeals hearings increased and continued into 2013.
Next, he said, State cooperation was key to the successful accomplishment of Completion Strategy goals. In recent weeks, he had met with authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia to assess their level of cooperation. Serbia’s cooperation had continued to progress, with prosecution requests to access documents and archives being dealt with more effectively. The most critical aspect of that cooperation was the need to apprehend fugitives. He recognized the commitment of operational services tasked with tracking fugitives and was in regular and direct contact with officials in charge of those operations. Serbia must maintain those efforts.
For Croatia, he said his Office continued to work regularly with the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the State Prosecutor. The central concern was the unresolved request to locate and obtain key military documents related to the 1995 “Operation Storm”. He welcomed the personal initiative of the Croatian Prime Minister to establish in October an Inter-Agency Task Force to locate those documents. A Task Force report received this week was helpful in revealing gaps in the administrative investigation. Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to respond to all Prosecution requests, but he was concerned at the possible departure of international personnel and support staff from the Special Department for War Crimes. Despite repeated requests from judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mandates for international staff ending in December had not been renewed, and if that was not addressed, trial proceedings and war crimes investigations could be jeopardized.
He said his Office would soon complete the handover of investigative files to prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. A fundamental aspect of the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy was strengthening judicial systems in States of the former Yugoslavia, and, by way of example, he mentioned a project for National Prosecutors and Young Professionals from the former Yugoslavia, set up by his Office and the European Commission. National prosecution services and judiciaries faced significant legal obstacles vis-à-vis the prosecution of war crimes. The prohibition on extraditing nationals to other States threatened successful investigations and prosecutions, as did legal barriers to the transfer of war crimes cases between States. State prosecutors were encouraged to cooperate in the most professional manner possible.
Continuing, he said downsizing mechanisms had been agreed and communicated to staff and would be implemented as of 1 January 2010. Initial staff reductions in his Office would begin immediately in the new year and increase from then on. His Office’s budget proposal for 2010-2011 called for a nearly 40 per cent reduction in posts, as trials ended over the next year. Over the next two years, there would be a 60 per cent reduction of staff positions. In the meantime, prosecution trial and appeals teams would continue to work at maximum capacity to ensure that trials proceeded quickly, in accordance with the Completion Strategy.
HASSAN B. JALLOW, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said that, over the past six months, his Office had prepared and presented six new cases and completed the prosecution phase of the trials in all but one. It had also filed five appeals and responded to 12 appeals filed by the defence, among other things. Gregoire Ndahimana had been arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August, and Idelphonse Niziyemana in Uganda in October.
He said no progress had been made in the matter of cooperation by Kenya regarding Felicien Kabuga, despite repeated requests to the Government for details of Mr. Kabuga’s reported departure from that country. Kenya should be required to comply with its legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, international law and Council resolution 1503 (2003).
His Office had hosted the fifth Colloquium of the Prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunals in November in Rwanda, which had given Prosecutors an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learnt, he said. The Kigali Declaration on International Criminal Justice, adopted there, called upon all States to take the necessary measures to vest their national and regional judicial systems with the capacity and jurisdiction to prosecute or extradite suspects of international crimes and to provide full cooperation to all the international criminal Tribunals.
He said he was optimistic that the intensification of tracking efforts and greater State cooperation would yield positive results regarding the remaining 11 fugitives. As for case referrals, efforts focused on Rwanda in the absence of other States’ acceptance of cases. Rwanda had undertaken considerable law reform of the justice sector which, if combined with appropriate capacity-building measures, should enable his Office to renew requests for referrals. He proposed to file for the referral of the cases of eight of the 11 fugitives.
Cooperation between the International Criminal Tribunal and national prosecuting and judicial authorities of several States had intensified significantly, he reported. Sharing of information and evidence with national authorities would continue beyond completion, under a residual mechanism.
The Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence had been amended, in order to provide a procedure for preservation of evidence in cases where fugitives remained at large, he said. His Office proposed to request such proceedings in the cases of the three top-level fugitives: Mr. Kabuga; Augustine Bizimana, former Defence Minister; and Protais Mpiranya, former Commander of the Presidential Guard of Rwanda. Statements of prosecution witnesses would be recorded before a judge so that they could be used in a trial in the event that the witnesses were no longer available. His Office was also archiving records of the Investigations Division and of the trials which had been concluded, he said, adding that the Tribunal would continue to require significant resources, as well as the cooperation of Member States, if it was to meet the goals of the Completion Strategy.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) fully supported the efforts of both Tribunals to complete their work at the earliest possible date and urged them to take all possible measures to do so. But he accepted the fact that the dates set forth in resolutions 1503 (2003) and 1534 (2004) would not be met. The Council must adapt to the changed circumstances and extend judges’ mandates beyond 2010 to allow the Tribunals to plan trials and appeals in the coming years. He called on all States concerned to fully cooperate with the Tribunals in bringing the 13 fugitives at large to justice. He welcomed the cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda with the Rwanda Tribunal, which had led to the arrest of two fugitives during the reporting period, and he called on Kenya to step up efforts in that regard. He encouraged Rwanda’s efforts to improve its judicial system and witness protection programme and expressed hoped that those would enable the Tribunal Prosecutor to re-apply for a referral of cases in early 2010.
Speaking next as Chair of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, he reported that the Group continued meeting regularly to advance discussions on creating residual mechanisms, noting that it would meet in the afternoon with the Presidents and Prosecutors of both Tribunals. In mid-July, it had begun discussing the Secretary-General’s report on the administrative and budgetary aspects of the options for possible locations for the archives and the seat of the residual mechanisms. In September, it had reached agreement on recommendations (l) and (m) in paragraph 259 of the report. Both Tribunals’ Presidents, in letters dated 29 September, 15 October and 6 November, had made new requests to extend some judges’ mandates. In that regard, the Informal Working Group was currently discussing two technical draft resolutions, which should be adopted in mid-December. Next week, it would begin the first reading of the draft resolution on creating an “International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals” prepared by the Chair, with the help of the Office of Legal Affairs.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) recognized the vital contribution of the Tribunals to combat impunity, advance the rule of law and pave the way for reconciliation, by providing justice and dignity to victims. His Government was firm in its commitment to continue providing support to the Yugoslavia Tribunal’s efforts to combat impunity by prosecuting those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. It looked forward to the Tribunals’ transitioning to a residual mechanism, but not before securing that those most responsible for crimes faced justice. He welcomed the recent arrest of high-level fugitives indicted by the Rwanda Tribunal, but regretted that the arrest of the remaining high-level fugitives remained elusive for the Yugoslavia court, whose mandate could not be declared complete before Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić were brought to justice.
Continuing, he said he regretted that the case of Radovan Karadžić would enter the trial phase only next spring, despite that more than 12 years had passed since his indictment. He also regretted that trial delays had anguished victims and families and hoped a protracted trial would not repeat the scenario of the Slobodan Milošević trial, whose death had made it impossible for a sentence.
In facilitating the arrest of all suspects in the past, Croatia had established a solid record of support to the fulfilment of the Tribunal’s goals, he said. It continued its full cooperation vis-à-vis requests regarding missing documents sought by the Office of the Prosecutor. He expressed appreciation for the Prosecutor’s assessment indicating Croatia’s determination in pursuing full cooperation. While the administrative investigation had shown Croatia was not in possession of the requested documents, the establishment of a task force clearly indicated the Prime Minister’s determination to comply with the Court’s orders.
He said that Croatia had taken note of the anticipated dates for closing the Tribunals, which would slip well into the next decade. While Croatia shared concerns about lengthy trials, it recognized the need to be realistic. Early closure of the two Tribunals was a legitimate objective, but not at the expense of fair trial guarantees. Croatia had participated in deliberations of the Informal Working Group. Setting up a residual mechanism was a pressing need. The credibility of such a mechanism would reflect on the legacy of the Tribunals. He hoped that the Council would define timely solutions along the lines presented by the Chairman of the Informal Working Group and adopt the necessary decisions.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) thanked the Presidents and Chief Prosecutors of the Tribunals for working to implement their completion strategies. Completion work for temporary bodies of international criminal justice was multi-faceted and they required the Council’s oversight and assistance. Bearing in mind ongoing trials, the Tribunals had indicated, with a large dose of certainty on international legal and political levels, that they were close to completing their mandates. Most of those who had committed heinous crimes had been convicted. The Tribunals had played their role in restoring peace and balance in their respective regions. He noted their important role in developing international judicial systems. Rwanda and States of the former Yugoslavia now had operational independent judicial systems. He supported those systems in dispensing national criminal justice, especially since the Governments of those States had expressed their willingness to take on cases.
He said that the Council must address the issue of extending the terms of current judges, in order for the Tribunals to implement their completion strategies. He expected that, in 2010, the Tribunals would maintain an intensive pace of work. While they must be thorough, the litigation of cases must not drag on interminably. To speed up trials and improve access to archives, documents and witnesses, the Tribunals’ Prosecutors must have the effective cooperation of States. He noted Serbia’s contributions to the work of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal in that regard, and he called on other countries to follow suit. Regarding the creation of residual mechanisms, he expected that next year the Council would come forward with viable options for setting them up.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom), associating himself with the European Union, welcomed progress made in implementing the Tribunals’ completion strategies in the last six months. His Government remained concerned at further slippage in timelines, however, some of which fell outside the Tribunals’ control, such as illness and the welcome arrest of fugitives. Nonetheless, he urged both Tribunals to take all steps to keep their schedules on track. The United Kingdom would welcome their confirmation that all current trial chambers were sitting full time to hear cases.
On staff and judges, he said that those issues needed to be addressed by the General Assembly. The Council must play its part, notably in taking decisions to extend the mandates of judges who needed to be retained. Trial work would not be completed until 2011 and 2012, and appeals work, until 2013. He regretted that delay, but urged working with the Tribunals, as there was a risk that any uncertainty created would cause more judges to leave. Full cooperation by all States was vital to the Tribunals’ completion of their mandates, notably vis-à-vis remaining fugitives. Those fugitives must be located and surrendered to The Hague and Arusha. Mandates would not be completed until they were.
Turning to Croatia, he said that the establishment of the task force was a positive development, but he was disappointed that the Government seemed not to be pursuing all avenues of investigation and that key documents remained to be found. He urged Croatia to take further measures to complete a credible investigation. As for Serbia, its sustained improvement in cooperation showed its commitment to the Tribunal. It should maintain its current level of cooperation.
On the Rwanda Tribunal, the United Kingdom welcomed efforts to track fugitives, and particularly, cooperation by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in facilitating arrests, he said. However, it was “deeply unsatisfactory” that so many fugitives remained at large, and he regretted that Kenya had not responded to requests for information. He urged Kenya to share any information it may hold on Felicien Kabuga. In June, the Kenyan Government had said it was certain that Mr. Kabuga had left Kenya. That begged the question of what evidence it had with regard to that person. The Security Council had to be kept fully informed of information in the tracking of fugitives.
He said his country looked forward to the establishment of a residual mechanism, and he noted the importance of witness protection and sentence enforcement. The Tribunals should do everything possible to refer cases to national jurisdictions. In that regard, he acknowledged Rwanda’s efforts to boost its judicial system; his country supported those efforts. He also welcomed the Secretary-General’s report, which provided guidance to the Council in managing such issues. The United Kingdom would continue to play an active role in discussions and hoped to reach agreement on a resolution for the establishment of a residual mechanism. Timely decisions were needed on its core functions.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) noted with appreciation the commitments of both Tribunals to complete their completion strategies as soon as possible. Both courts had estimated they would complete all appeals between the end of 2012 and mid-2013. That would require the Council to consider proper adjustments to facilitate the Tribunals’ efforts to complete their mandates in that time frame. He urged the Tribunals to take all necessary measures to meet those strategies’ requirements, and he called on Member States to extend their full cooperation to help the Tribunals complete their work early.
He supported all efforts aimed at strengthening competent national judicial systems to facilitate the transfer from the Tribunals to national jurisdictions of cases involving intermediate- and lower-rank indictees, including the fugitives. He lauded the work of the Informal Working Group, which had been able to reach numerous common understandings that provided the elements for an initial draft resolution on creating a residual mechanism to replace the Tribunals. He encouraged the Group to continue deliberations, in close collaboration with the Tribunals, to finalize that draft.
GERARD ARAUD ( France), aligning himself with the European Union, said today’s briefings confirmed that timelines set for completion strategies would continue beyond 2010. The Tribunals must be given the means to conduct their trials as soon as possible. The mandates of appeal judges must be extended to 31 December 2011, while the limits for ad litem judges must be extended by one more year. France expressed hope that the Council would allow them to finish their work.
The delay of completion strategies was a concern, and he asked the Tribunals to redouble their efforts to intensify their pace and effectiveness. Work of the Prosecutors was essential for finding and trying fugitives. The Tribunals’ missions would not be accomplished without their arrest and trial. The Serbian arrest of Radovan Karadžić marked progress. Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić also must be arrested, and Serbia must continue in full cooperation with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal. Finding and bringing to justice fugitives was essential. France trusted in the efforts of Croatia to resolve pending issues.
As for the Rwanda Tribunal, he commended the arrest and transfer of two fugitives in the period under review, and called on all States to provide necessary cooperation going forward. The Government of Kenya should arrest Felicien Kabuga and convey him to the Court. He welcomed Rwanda’s efforts to lift legal obstacles for cases in their jurisdiction, saying that witness protection was critical. The fugitives issue would need to be addressed in managing heritage of the Tribunals. That function would be up to the residual mechanism. The Informal Working Group on International Courts had continued to work on that subject. The Secretary-General’s report contained recommendations for the Tribunals to transition to the residual mechanism. France was working in that area. Any solution must meet the criteria of simplicity and economy, and make use of services that could be provided by other institutions.
NORIHIRO OKUDA ( Japan) said the Tribunals’ contribution to developing international criminal law could not be overstated. He had been expecting and strongly urged them to complete all judicial proceedings in 2010, in line with Council resolution 1503 (2003). He noted that their most recent reports had deemed unrealistic the 2010 completion date, based on their latest estimates. Japan appreciated the Tribunals’ efforts to minimize delays in the proceedings, while ensuring fair trials, and he strongly encouraged them to complete their work as expeditiously as possible. Japan was prepared to work on the measures necessary to extend the terms of judges in order to finish the Completion Strategy expeditiously and cost-effectively.
He commended the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda for arresting and transferring to the Rwanda Tribunal fugitives Gregoire Ndahimana and Idelphonse Nizeyimana. But he regretted that two suspects indicted by the former Yugoslavia Tribunal -– Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic -- and 11 other indictees, including Felicien Kabuga, had yet to be apprehended. He encouraged all relevant States to cooperate in order to secure their arrests.
The referral of cases was an important part of the Completion Strategy, he said. He lauded the Rwandan authorities’ efforts to refer cases and set up a witness protection service within its national judiciary. The cooperation of States of the former Yugoslavia with the Tribunal in access to archives, documents and witnesses was vital. He noted Croatia’s initiative to respond to the Prosecutor’s request concerning missing documents, and improved cooperation from Serbia and adequate responses by Bosnia and Herzegovina. Impunity from the most serious crimes must not be condoned; individuals involved must be brought to justice in accordance with international standards. The residual mechanisms should serve to that end and should be made as cost-effective as possible.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) noted that, since the Council had established the completion strategies, the Tribunals had been working hard to sustain progress. There was one year left before the planned deadline, but trial work was still proceeding, and it was unlikely that all work would be completed before the deadline. The former Yugoslavia Tribunal’s estimated completion had been postponed to 2014, while the Rwanda Tribunal would not finish its appeal cases until 2013. There were many reasons for those delays, but completion strategies, as a comprehensive goal, must be followed carefully by both Tribunals. China expressed hope that they would speed the work of their completion strategies.
He noted that, in the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, eight cases had been transferred to national judicial organs from 2005 to 2007. The Tribunal’s report noted that the court was seeking to transfer work to national judicial organs, which was necessary for the completion strategies. He stressed doing as much as possible to transfer fugitives to willing and capable countries and expressed hope that the Tribunals would adopt measures for that. He also called on States to cooperate with them. The Council’s Informal Working Group was discussing a residual mechanism and would hold consultations on a draft resolution. China viewed positively Austria’s contributions in that regard and expressed appreciation for the Tribunals’ contributions to that process.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) commended the Tribunals for their work to bring perpetrators of some of world’s most heinous crimes to justice. It was important to set up residual mechanisms to manage the necessary functions of the Tribunals after the completion of trials and appeals. She thanked the Secretary-General for his report on the budgetary needs to create such mechanisms. She urged both Tribunals to complete their work by the earliest possible date, and she thanked the Informal Working Group for its efforts to address and resolve those issues. It was necessary to remember that the Tribunals had been established to bring those responsible for the worst crimes to justice. Also necessary was to set up residual mechanisms to not allow the 13 outstanding fugitives to escape justice. She called on all States to cooperate with the Tribunals and to help them take the necessary steps to ensure that the fugitives were apprehended.
She expressed concern that Kenya’s Government had not responded to requests by the Rwanda Tribunal regarding wanted fugitive Felicien Kabuga, particularly concerning his assets and details to support the claim that he had left Kenya. She supported Rwanda’s decision to receive transferred cases from the Tribunal and to build up its judicial capacity. The Tribunal’s ability to transfer cases to Rwanda’s national courts was critical in meeting the Completion Strategy. She commended States for cooperating with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, but said that vital duties remained unmet. The two remaining fugitives -- Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic -- must be arrested and transferred to the court. She commended Serbia for improving its cooperation with the court and encouraged it to do all in its power to arrest the fugitives. Bosnia and Herzegovina had made great strides in cooperating, but last month the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina had said that the inability of leaders to reach decisions to advance national goals had thwarted those efforts. She supported the extension of the judges’ mandate beyond December to enable the Tribunal to complete its work.
ERTUGRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) acknowledged the delay in the trial schedule of the Tribunals, owing to reasons beyond their immediate control. Nevertheless, he urged them to continue implementing their completion strategies at the earliest possible time, while ensuring international judicial safeguards and standards. Cooperation between Member States and the Tribunals was essential for completing the Tribunal’s mandates. In that context, he welcomed the cooperation of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recently arresting and transferring two fugitives to the Rwanda Tribunal. He also welcomed the former Yugoslavia Tribunal Prosecutor’s report on the improved cooperation of Serbia. The arrest of remaining fugitives was a top priority for completing its work. All those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia must be brought to justice. He appealed to all States to cooperate with the Tribunals to ensure the fugitives’ arrest. He welcomed the continued efforts of Croatia, such as the setting up of a task force, and of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s cooperation.
He said that referring cases to national jurisdictions was important to fulfilling the Tribunals’ mandates. The international community should support countries concerned in their efforts to strengthen national jurisdictions. He welcomed Rwanda’s efforts to meet the requirements to refer cases to its jurisdiction. It was important to retain qualified staff for timely completion of the mandates. Both Tribunals should be given the necessary means so that their judicial capacity could meet the current circumstances. Turkey was ready to support steps in that direction. He looked forward to intensifying discussions in the Group, with a view to reaching an agreement on the residual issues in the early future.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) thanked the Tribunals for their reports and for the specific measures they had adopted to conclude their work. He acknowledged their efforts to speed the completion of their judicial activities by imparting justice and respecting the trial rights of the accused. Their work would naturally be subjected to unforeseen circumstances, which they confronted as well as possible. However, he urged them to take additional measures to complete their work.
On the Rwanda Tribunal, he underscored progress made in the significant number of sentences that had been announced. Other trials were close to sentencing and two fugitives had been arrested, thanks to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. On the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, he stressed the transfer of cases to national jurisdictions of mid- and low-level fugitives, which strengthened State capacities to deal with international humanitarian law violations. He noted Croatia’s judicial cooperation and encouraged it to so continue with pending issues. He also noted the need for all States to end the impunity enjoyed by the main perpetrators of serious human rights violations in the Balkans.
He said the Tribunals had stressed the need to retain their staff. The Council should not overlook that the Tribunals must strike a balance between justice and maintaining administrative efficiency. Nor could it underestimate that such a task was made more difficult by the fact that they were judicial bodies. The Council should take a pragmatic and flexible approach to the completion strategies. It would be best for the Tribunals to conclude their work in the very near future, but not based on pre-emptory dates. A residual mechanism would take shape in the coming months in the Working Group, and the Secretary-General’s report provided a good base for that. The Council must continue to observe the main principle of guaranteeing justice for the most serious crimes against humanity, in the context of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) thanked the Tribunals for working to comply with their completion strategies. Lasting peace was inseparable from justice and Costa Rica had supported all efforts to strengthen the international criminal justice system, notably in the consolidation of a system to prevent the most serious crimes and guarantee redress. The Informal Working Group had achieved significant progress. The Tribunals must transfer new cases to national tribunals, when appropriate, and strengthen the capacity in affected countries. Indeed, an important part of the Tribunals’ legacy would be their achievements in transferring skills and building capacity in countries under their jurisdiction.
He regretted that no consensus had been achieved on the elements of a new resolution for the closure of the Tribunals or the laying out of functions for residual mechanisms. However, he appreciated the information presented on the administrative and budgetary aspects of a possible location for the archives. Costa Rica acknowledged that archives were United Nations property, but he stressed their condition as historic memory and instruments of reconciliation, which belonged to the countries under the Tribunals’ jurisdiction.
He also underscored the priority nature of arresting fugitives to the completion of the Tribunals’ work. Without those arrests, the mandates would not be fulfilled. Regarding Ratko Mladić, Felicien Kabuga and Goran Hadžić, he urged cooperation with the Tribunals and provision of any information that would lead to their whereabouts. He noted Croatia’s improved cooperation and thanked the Tribunals’ judges, prosecutors and staff for working to efficiently comply with completion strategies. He also called for measures to curb staff turnover.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said that resolutions 1503 (2003) and 1534 (2004) called on the Tribunals to take all possible measures to complete their trial activities. It was obvious that those targets could not be met. The arrests of Radovan Karadžić and Idelphonse Nizeyimana in Kampala had showed that dispensing justice could not be the subject of arbitrary deadlines. He called on States to cooperate with the Prosecutors and to help in the arrest and transfer of the remaining fugitives.
He said that even when the Tribunals mandates ended, residual issues would remain until the last sentence was served. Fugitives, if they were apprehended, convicts serving sentences, witnesses and victims would still need oversight by the mechanisms. He noted the challenges of “residual issues” that concerned other interim judicial tribunals, saying that perhaps the only sure way of avoiding interim measures was to consider embracing permanent institutions like the International Criminal Court. Uganda was concerned at the inequality in emoluments between permanent and ad litem judges. That injustice must be addressed, and the principle of equal pay for equal work must be upheld.
While aware that archives were the property of the United Nations, Uganda was also cognizant of the need to keep them in the respective regions, along with the residual mechanisms, for ease of access by the primary stakeholders: victims. He welcomed the formation of a genocide awareness-raising network being conducted by the Rwanda Tribunal, and the training of Rwandan jurists in international criminal law. Witness intimidation leading to delay in the trial process should be curbed by measures to ensure that the credibility of the process was not undermined, and Uganda supported the allocation of resources to that end. He was concerned at the high staff turnover and commended the creation of the roster system to ensure ready replacements. He also welcomed outreach and capacity-building programmes, among other legacy matters, being carried out by the Tribunals.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI ( Libya) welcomed the noticeable progress of the Tribunals in implementing their completion strategies and the ongoing determination of judges and staff to successfully complete their mandates as soon as possible. But he was mindful of the difficulties blocking implementation of their work, particularly when the arrest and extradition of the accused became impossible. He welcomed the efforts of authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Serbia and Croatia for arresting some senior fugitives. He hoped that all countries would completely cooperate with the Tribunals to arrest fugitives at large, as soon as possible, in order to provide justice for the victims and to reconcile and provide stability and security in their respective countries and regions.
He stressed the importance of building capacity of national jurisdictions of countries concerned, particularly Rwanda, and he lauded Rwanda’s steps in that direction. It was vital to transfer as many of the Tribunals’ cases as possible to pending national jurisdictions, in full conformity with the rules of procedure and justice. That would build the rule of law in those countries, especially access to documentation, which was often more important than the trials themselves, in order to know the history and to allow for national reconciliation in those countries. Also necessary was to ensure completion of the Tribunals’ work with scrupulous respect for deadlines, and for decisions to be made on the Tribunals’ legacies. He lauded the efforts of the Informal Working Group to reach agreement on all pending issues, and he hoped the Council would put in place an international residual mechanism.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said that, despite efforts to make progress, the situation of high-level fugitives like Ratko Mladić, Goran Hadžić and Felicien Kabuga was still a source of concern. He exhorted prosecutors to continue their efforts to arrest them and called on States to accord the highest level possible of cooperation to that end. He congratulated Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their apprehension of fugitives in neighbouring countries.
Concerning the completion of the Tribunals’ work, he had taken note of the 2013 timeline as necessary for finalizing judicial activities. It was important to redeploy staff and reduce the size of the Tribunals. He was pleased that cases were being transferred to national jurisdictions, which was essential to the completion strategies. Even if the reasons were understood for resorting to dual employment of certain judges who had decided to return to national administrations, he urged that the Tribunals limit such cases.
He invited the Tribunals to continue their awareness- and capacity-building activities and to reinforce their cooperation with national jurisdictions. The protection of witnesses and victims should be a source of their constant concern. As for ad litem judges, it was only fair for the Council to favour the question of benefits linked to judges, so those judges could benefit from the conditions of their service. He had followed the work of the Informal Working Group and he congratulated Austria for preparing a draft resolution, which he hoped would help lay out the character and structure of a residual mechanism.
ANDERS LIDEN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed the importance of preserving the legacy and integrity of the Tribunals, which had a pioneering role in the fight against impunity and made outstanding contributions to international criminal law and international humanitarian law. He regretted that, despite the international community’s continuing appeals, 13 accused remained at large. Their arrest was integral for completing the Tribunals’ work. Among those at large were key indictees allegedly responsible for the most serious atrocities, such as Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Felicien Kabuga. There had been many commendable instances of cooperation, but he urged all States to cooperate immediately and unconditionally with both Tribunals in full compliance with their obligations under relevant Council resolutions.
He said that retaining qualified staff and judges was difficult. He acknowledged the importance of enabling the Tribunals to complete the proceedings as soon as possible without compromising due process, but said the Tribunals must seek efficiencies and move to downsize as soon as possible, in line with the level of trial and other remaining activities. He noted with appreciation the high output in judgements and newly commenced trials in 2009 for the Rwanda Tribunal, and he urged the Tribunals to continue to identify more ways to complete their work efficiently and expediently. Full cooperation with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal was essential to the European Union’s enlargement strategy. That included helping to strengthen national jurisdictions through capacity-building. In that regard, several Union members had concluded agreements with the former Yugoslavia Tribunal on relocating witnesses, enforcing sentences, seconding prison staff and financially and institutionally supporting the Tribunals capacity-building and outreach activities.
He noted with appreciation Rwanda’s efforts to meet the demands on the right to a fair trial. The ongoing strengthening of the Rwandan legal system and its ability to adjudicate cases from the Tribunal would hopefully permit it to transfer such defendants to Rwandan courts. He supported capacity-building of both Tribunals, which helped to enhance the rule of law and regional stability. He welcomed the work on residual issues of the Informal Working Group, and said the European Union was ready to work with the Council to find the most appropriate solutions to residual and legacy issues, including addressing questions of a practical nature and adequate access to archives.
IVAN BARBALIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) welcomed the positive assessment of cooperation between his country and the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, which confirmed its strong determination and long-held commitment to the Tribunals’ goals and legacy. That cooperation had been reflected in the number of accused transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina: of the 13 accused transferred to national jurisdictions of countries of the former Yugoslavia, 10 had been transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proceedings against nine of them had concluded and the manner in which the cases had been conducted was in full compliance with the highest standards of international law. He strongly supported the Tribunal’s outreach efforts and assistance provided to national jurisdictions.
He said that Bosnia and Herzegovina had responded to the Tribunal’s requests for documents and access to Government archives, and had assisted in facilitating appearance of witnesses. He underlined the international community’s role in witness protection programmes. His country recognized the Prosecutors’ efforts in securing justice for victims and their families.
While aware of the conditions set for completion strategies, his Government had noted with concern that, with two fugitives at large, full completion of the Tribunal’s work could not be expected. The Tribunals were an inspiration to the international community by refusing to allow the perpetrators of the most serious crimes to escape justice. Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić must be tried before the Tribunal. Under no circumstances could they count on impunity, owing to the end of the mandate. It was justice, and not deadlines, that tribunals had to deliver. Implementing the completion strategy remained a great concern. He welcomed ongoing discussion on adequate residual mechanisms. Those mechanisms had to be set out in a manner to ensure that impunity was not an option.
FEODOR STARCEVIC ( Serbia) expressed appreciation that the reports of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal President and Prosecutor, more than ever, were fully in accordance with Serbia’s own assessment of the level of cooperation reached. The President and Prosecutor had fully recognized Serbia’s efforts to comply with its legal and moral obligations. The efforts and commitments to track and apprehend the remaining fugitives had been recognized in a way that confirmed Serbia’s political will and institutional capacity to successfully complete remaining tasks. There were no impediments to Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal. Requests for assistance concerning documents, witness protection and access to State archives were handled expeditiously. Efforts to locate and apprehend Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic continued unabated on a daily basis. Serbia’s Government institutions were taking all possible steps to bring them to justice.
He said that that would go a long way in alleviating the legacies of the past, some of which had hamstrung the recovery of Serbian society for a long time. It would also confirm Serbia’s willingness to face that truth about events in the 1990s and crimes perpetrated during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. It would show Serbia’s maturity and readiness to punish those responsible for the crimes, regardless of their nationality and that of the victims. Serbia continued to support the Tribunal’s completion strategy, and, in that regard, it had maintained communication with the responsible authorities in the preceding months. Serbia had submitted its position on the proposed residual mechanism and future residual functions in October 2008 and March 2009. He reiterated Serbia’s strong, lasting interest in those issues and its readiness for future discussions.
WANJUKI MUCHEMI, Solicitor General of Kenya, strongly supported the international criminal justice system, and recognized that the Ad Hoc Criminal Tribunals must provide and protect the administration of justice by punishing impunity. State cooperation was vital to that goal. Kenya was fully aware of international obligations and ready to offer its maximum cooperation. His Government supported the case put forward by the Rwanda Tribunal on behalf of the ad litem judges and urged resolution of that matter.
He said the report on the Rwanda Tribunal implied that Kenya continued to provide safe haven for Felicien Kabuga, and his Government noted with disappointment that, despite its cooperation with the court since its inception, both the President and Prosecutor continued to insinuate that Kenya was hiding Mr. Kabuga or refusing to fully discharge its obligations towards his arrest. He strongly refuted that allegation and reiterated that the fugitive was not in Kenya. Kenya’s cooperation with the Rwanda Tribunal was not in doubt. It had arrested and surrendered the largest number of indictees to the Tribunal. It also had played a major role in the movement of witnesses. Steps had been taken to trace Mr. Kabuga, including through the establishment of a joint Kenya-ICTR Task Force, which had obtained a freeze order for property registered in his name and offered cash rewards for information leading to his arrest.
The search for Mr. Kabuga should be widened, he said, as there might be an over concentration on Kenya. Kenya had concluded an extradition treaty with Rwanda in September, which provided for the extradition of Rwandan “genocide” suspects. That underscored his country’s seriousness in addressing those issues. He called on any person, institution or other actors with information about the fugitive to provide it to the Tribunal, INTERPOL or other authorities. In closing, he reiterated that Kenya had fully discharged its international obligations in the Kabuga case and cooperated with the Tribunal. It would continue to implement the recommendations of the joint Task Force and resolutions of the Security Council.
EUGENE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) said, since the Rwanda Tribunal’s last briefing to the Council, Rwanda’s Government had consistently extended the necessary cooperation and support to enable the court to effectively execute its mandate. It had continued to facilitate unfettered access to witnesses for the defence and the prosecution, and aided in moving them to and from Arusha. In efforts to ensure peace and stability for Rwandans, the Government had continued to ensure the security of witnesses and respond to any related issues on a case-by-case basis, and it had supported investigations initiated by the prosecution and the defence without prejudice to either. Rwanda’s Government was committed to continuing to support the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy, as set out in Council resolution 1503. Despite the regrettable decisions by the Trial and Appeals Chamber to reject the Prosecutor’s decision to transfer cases to Rwanda, the Rwandan Government was prepared to receive any future cases transferred to its competent jurisdiction by the Tribunal and to address all issues raised in objection by the Chambers in respect to their decisions.
He said that the recent transfer by the Special Court for Sierra Leone of five convicts to serve their sentences in Rwanda was a testament that that Court, after due diligence, was satisfied that the Rwandan Government’s efforts merited transfer. He regretted the Court’s decision to yet again transfer Rwanda Tribunal convicts to serve their sentences in countries other than Rwanda. Transfer to Rwanda was based primarily on the fact that most crimes under the Special Court’s mandate were committed in Rwanda, mostly by and against Rwandans. The Special Court’s evidence and witnesses were from Rwanda. The ends of justice administered by the Tribunal were supposed to be more visible in Rwanda than elsewhere. He remained confident, however, that the situation would be reversed.
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