Top Officials from International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Report Significant Progress towards Wrapping up Work within Next 12 Months

15 October 2012
GA/11301

Top Officials from International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Report Significant Progress towards Wrapping up Work within Next 12 Months

15 October 2012
General Assembly
GA/11301
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

24th Meeting (AM)

Top Officials from International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia

Report Significant Progress towards Wrapping up Work within Next 12 Months

 

Tribunals Helped Forge New Culture of International Accountability;

Residual Mechanism Needs Adequate Resources to Preserve Legacy, Speakers Say

As the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia approached the completion of their mandates - and the twentieth anniversaries of their inception - it was now up to their smaller, leaner successor body to preserve the “new international culture of accountability” they had created, top officials from the courts said today as they briefed the General Assembly. 

“Admittedly, when it was first established, the Tribunal was little more than an ideal – an expression of the outrage of the international community at the atrocities that were being broadcast on television screens”, said Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as he presented the body’s annual report.  At that time, he said, there had been little faith about what the Tribunal could actually accomplish.  However, from its very first trial, the court “breathed life” into laws that had hitherto rarely been applied and began the vital process of elucidating and defining the contours of international humanitarian law.

Noting that the Tribunal would celebrate two decades of operation in May 2013, he said that, over that time, the court had established the feasibility and enforceability of international criminal justice, “blazed the trail” for a host of new international courts and tribunals and pioneered the work of what was effectively a new world order – one in which all alleged perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in times of armed conflict would be held responsible for their actions, and in which “the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ and ‘where’ they will be called to account”.

He reviewed some of the court’s most important specific accomplishments, which included the clarification that the crime of rape could also constitute the crimes of torture and genocide.  That had led to a new focus by the international community on crimes of sexual violence during armed conflict, and had motivated the United Nations to take action in support of women and other victims the world over, he added.

[To date, the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has concluded the proceedings for a total of 126 accused, with proceedings for the remaining 35 accused ongoing.  Meanwhile, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has completed 72 cases, with one case in progress and 16 currently on appeal.]

According to the annual report of the Rwanda Tribunal, which was presented by its President, nine individuals indicted in relation to the brutal 1994 genocide in Rwanda remained at large, with six of those cases transferred to Rwanda and with the Arusha branch of the Tribunals’ successor body – the Mechanism for International Tribunals, which began operation in July - retaining jurisdiction for the other three cases.

“I am pleased to report this will be one of the last speeches the President of the ICTR makes to the General Assembly […] as we are rapidly approaching the conclusion of our mandate”, said Vagn Joensen, noting the importance of capturing the collective experience of the court now, as it would be difficult to retrieve in the future.  There were ongoing Tribunal-wide efforts to that end, among them the Youth Sensitization and Genocide Protection project in the Great Lakes region, and capacity building activities for approximately 100 legal professionals in Rwanda. 

He echoed the concern of several speakers today who pointed out challenges in relocating acquitted and convicted persons from the Tribunals.  The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda provided acquitted persons protection in Arusha, he said; those persons had no travel documents, were separated from their families, were limited in their freedom of movement and not permitted access to employment.  The rule of law required that those acquitted be allowed to recommence their lives in full enjoyment of their rights, yet among such persons residing at a safe house in Arusha, one had been there for over six years.  He therefore urged Member States to accept such individuals and implement a strategy to facilitate relocations.

Eighteen years after a devastating genocide, both the Tribunal and Rwanda itself had come a long way in delivering justice to victims and promoting reconciliation, said Rwanda’s representative.  Describing some recent developments, he welcomed the decision taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to launch a manhunt for the fugitive Protais Mpiranya - one of the “masterminds” behind the genocide – and urged other countries in the region to make similar efforts and cooperate with the Tribunal in tracking, arresting and transferring the remaining fugitives.  Rwanda also welcomed the decision, taken in January by the Federal Court of Canada, to extradite Léon Mugesera, a genocide suspect well known for his 1992 hate speech against the Tutsi people.

“The establishment of the International Residual Mechanism is significant to the continued protection of the rights of victims, witnesses and persons tried by the ICTR and the ICTY and to maintaining the legacy of the Tribunals”, said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania.  As a host to the Mechanism’s Arusha Branch, his country felt that the proceedings, decisions and judgements of the Tribunals had provided indispensible guidance to national and international courts.  “The lessons learnt have been instrumental in disseminating the rule of law and the application of criminal jurisprudence”, he concluded, adding that, “Now it is up to the international community to ensure the success of that legacy through the Residual Mechanism.”

As for the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, many speakers praised the start of the court’s most recent trial, that of Goran Hadžić, which had begun last week.  With that case, all indictees were, or had been, on trial, said the representative of the United States in that regard.  In addition, she said, her delegation looked forward to the prosecutor’s report at the end of the year, in particular to learn more about Serbia’s reports on those who had hidden the accused war criminal Ratko Mladić.  “Those who harbour fugitives put themselves in peril and are only delaying the inevitable”, she stressed.

The defendants convicted to date had been tried and found guilty of some of the most hideous crimes against mankind.  Thanks to the work of the Tribunals, “the world now knows about those crimes”, she added, noting that they had brought to light stories that would otherwise be lost or hidden in the shadows.

In that vein, Serbia’s representative stressed that the cooperation of his country with the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had been “continuous, smooth and successful.”  With the arrest and transfer of Goran Hadžić, Serbia had completed its cooperation with the body regarding the transfer of indictees.  The tracking down of the persons who had taken part in aiding the fugitives was of great importance to his country, he stressed, noting that the processing by Serbian national courts of 389 persons indicted for criminal offenses against international humanitarian law was “telling evidence” of the contribution of his country to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy, as well as to the process of the normalization of relations in the region.

Also speaking today were representatives of the European Union, India, Canada, Norway and Russian Federation.

The Assembly will reconvene on Wednesday, 17 October, to hold a joint debate on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Background

Meeting today to discuss the work of the United Nations international criminal tribunals, the Assembly had before it a report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/67/253–S/2012/594).  It states that, over the last year, the Tribunal continued its efforts to complete itsremaining workload at the trial and appeals levels in the most expeditious manner possible.  Despite continued challenges related to staff retention and recruitment, the Tribunal had made significant progress, delivering five trial judgments during the reporting period.

One trial judgment involving one accused remained to be delivered, the report notes, and completion of the first instance work was expected by the end of 2012.  The Appeals Chamber rendered seven judgments concerning eight persons, bringing the total number of persons whose judgments had been completed at the appellate level to 43.  Completion of appeals work was expected by the end of 2014.  The Office of the Prosecutor focused on tracking of fugitives, referral of cases to national jurisdictions and support for national authorities in the prosecution of crimes relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Continuous support was also extended to Rwandan authorities to assist them in preparing for the transfer of cases from the Tribunal.

The Registry continued to provide a high level of administrative and judicial support to the Tribunal.  It ensured the cooperation and assistance of Member States with the court and further strengthened its outreach and capacity-building activities in Rwanda.  Trial proceedings continued to receive support from the various units and sections of the Judicial and Legal Services Division.  The Division of Administrative Support Service sustained its work to ensure the efficient management of the Tribunal’s downsizing process.

The report goes on to state that all organs of the Tribunal were ensuring their best efforts to complete the court’s work expeditiously and to prepare for a smooth transition to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.  The following efforts required essential cooperation and support of Member States:  (a) three fugitives remained to be arrested; (b) five acquitted persons and three persons who had completed their sentences needed countries for relocation; and (c) the Tribunal needed to be provided with sufficient resources to be in a position to complete its tasks within the expected time frame.  The Tribunal relied on the ongoing support of Member States to achieve those goals.

Among its conclusions and recommendations, the report notes that, in its final months, by working closely with the Residual Mechanism and by sharing best practices for closure with other international legal institutions, the Tribunal will continue to ensure that knowledge gained and lessons learned are put to good use in order to ensure a smooth transition.  Efforts at capacity building and education for the region will remain strong, so that the Tribunal’s impact would not only include challenging impunity, but also helping to improve the means to dispense justice for an entire region.

Also before the Assembly was the nineteenth annual Report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/67/214-S/2012/592), covering the period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012.  It states that the Tribunal continued to focus on the completion of all trials and appeals, with 17 persons in appeal proceedings, 17 persons on trial and one person at the pretrial stage at the close of the reporting period.  Proceedings against 126 of the 161 persons indicted by the Tribunal had been completed.

The report further details the activities of the Tribunal during the reporting period and demonstrates the court’s focus on its goal of completing its proceedings as soon as possible, without sacrificing due process.  The President intensified efforts to streamline procedures and introduced a variety of reforms to improve the pace of the Tribunal’s work.  That official focused especially on problems that might impact the efficiency of proceedings, such as delays in translations and imbalanced workload distribution between ad litem and permanent judges.  Staff attrition continued to be a serious challenge to the work of the Tribunal, the report adds.

All sections of the Tribunal coordinated to ensure a smooth transition of functions to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.  The Office of Legal Affairs and the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on International Tribunals provided extensive and valuable assistance and advice to the Tribunal.  On 1 July 2012, the branch for the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of the Residual Mechanism began operating.

During the reporting period, the Tribunal continued to make significant contributions to the development of legal norms of international criminal law and procedure, and to the maintenance of peace and stability in the States of the former Yugoslavia.  The Tribunal’s success was underscored by the fact that all 161 indictees were accounted for, and by the Tribunal’s reputation for procedural fairness and impartiality.  The Tribunal made extensive efforts to share information about its work with relevant individuals and organizations, facilitating exchanges of information about the trials and appeals it had conducted, the substantive norms its judgments had elucidated, and the procedural approaches its judicial branches had adopted.

The Office of the Prosecutor made progress towards the completion of the court’s mandate at both the trial and appellate levels.  The Office continued the development of working relationships with the authorities of the States of the former Yugoslavia to encourage cooperation with the Tribunal and to support domestic war crimes prosecutions.  Under the President’s authority, the Registry continued to play a crucial role in the provision of administrative and judicial support to the Tribunal.  The Registrar’s Office coordinated the work of the various Registry sections, which dealt with a wide range of legal, policy and operational matters, including the practical arrangements necessary for the commencement of the Residual Mechanism.

Briefings

Presenting the seventeenth annual report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Tribunal’s President, VAGN JOENSEN, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), said: “I am pleased to report this will be one of the last speeches the President of the ICTR makes to the General Assembly with respect to the Annual Report as we are rapidly approaching the conclusion of our mandate.”  The Tribunal was on schedule for delivery of its final trial judgement by the end of this year and completion of all appeals by the end of 2014.

There had been a shift in focus in both judicial and administrative activities, he continued, with judicial and legal activity becoming more focused on requests for referral of cases to Rwanda and administrative energies turning to downsizing and providing support to the Arusha branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which began its work in July.  During the reporting period (1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012), the Tribunal had rendered five trial judgements and seven appeals judgements, involving a total of 17 accused.  To date, the total number of people whose judgements had been completed at the trial level was 74 and at the appellate level, 44.

Turning to the future, he noted the problems facing the Tribunal that would continue if action was not taken.  The court provided acquitted persons protection in Arusha.  They had no travel documents, were separated from their families, were limited in their freedom of movement and not permitted access to employment.  The rule of law required that those acquitted be allowed to recommence their lives in full enjoyment of their rights, yet among such persons residing at a safe house in Arusha, one had been there for over six years.  He urged Member States to accept such individuals and implement a strategy to facilitate relocations.

On the Tribunal’s legacy, he noted the importance of capturing collective experience in memory now as it would be difficult to retrieve in the future.  There were ongoing Tribunal-wide efforts to that end, among them the Youth Sensitization and Genocide Protection project in the Great Lakes region, and capacity building activities for approximately 100 legal professionals in Rwanda.  In addition, the Tribunal had seen a higher number of visitors during the downsizing and 500,000 individuals had visited the Tribunals Website during the reporting period.  Resources must be allocated to preserve the legacy, or lessons learned by an institution that had helped shape international law could be lost, he warned.

THEODOR MERON, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), reported that the court was very close to completing its mandate, and that all efforts were being expended to ensure its work was wrapped up in an orderly fashion and within the time limits set by the Security Council.  However, he stressed, certain challenges – including the “vagaries” of common international criminal trial law procedures and the inherent complexity of such criminal proceedings – created myriad challenges for the Tribunal.  They underscored the fact that predicting the length of proceedings at the Tribunal was an “art, and not a science”.

Tremendous progress was already being made, however, and it was anticipated that all trials, other than those of the late-arrested accused, would be completed within the next 12 months.  The bulk of the Tribunal’s work would then be in appeals, most of which would be completed by the Appeals Chamber by December 2014, while others would fall to the competence of the International Residual Mechanism.  The Tribunal would celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its mandate in May 2013, he added, noting that, in light of that milestone, it was only fitting to focus on the remarkable achievements of the Tribunal since its inception.  Indeed, its accomplishments had resonated far beyond the former Yugoslav region, leading to the creation of other international courts and tribunals and “forging a new international culture of accountability”.

“Admittedly, when it was first established, the Tribunal was little more than an ideal – an expression of the outrage of the international community at the atrocities that were being broadcast on television screens as the conflict raged throughout the former Yugoslavia”, he said.  At the time, there had been little faith or real comprehension about what the Tribunal could actually accomplish.  However, he said, from its very first trial, the court had demonstrated that it could do much more than what was expected; it also “breathed life” into laws that had hitherto rarely been applied, and began the vital process of elucidating and defining the contours of international humanitarian law.

Among other major achievements, the Tribunal had clarified that the crime of rape could also constitute the crimes of torture and genocide, leading to a new focus by the international community on crimes of sexual violence during armed conflict and motivating the United Nations to take action in support of women and other victims the world over.

“The Tribunal has truly been a success story”, he said.  In that context, he stressed that, while the international community understandably wished to bring the Tribunal’s work to a close as expeditiously as possible, he hoped that it would reflect with justifiable pride upon the extraordinary benefits that had accrued from its initial investment in the Tribunal and from the years of support that followed.  Over the last two decades, the court had established the feasibility and enforceability of international criminal justice, “blazed the trail” for a host of new international courts and tribunals, and pioneered the work of what was effectively a new world order – one in which all alleged perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in times of armed conflict would be held responsible for their actions, and in which “the question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’ and ‘where’ they will be called to account”, he said.

Statements

IOANNIS VRAILAS, Delegation of the European Union, said the cooperation of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had “generally been adequate” during the reporting period.  Serbia had met a key obligation with the apprehension of Goran Hadžić, the final inductee to be tried before the court.  Completing the process of rendering justice for crimes committed in the firmer Yugoslavia was essential for lasting reconciliation.  Full cooperation with the Tribunal remained an essential condition for Stabilization and Association Process in the Western Balkans and was an essential condition for European Union membership.

He said that Security Council resolutions 1503 (2003) and 1534 (2004) had called on the Tribunals to transfer all lower and mid-level accused to competent national jurisdictions for trial by domestic courts.  The European Union welcomed the work of the Tribunals on strengthening the capacity of national authorities to handle the remaining war crime cases effectively, and expressed support, including through financial aid, for training and information exchange as well as the access to publicly available investigating material and evidence from the Tribunals.  “This is important for the Tribunal’s legacy and for the domestic capacity to adjudicate war crimes,” he said.   

ANANTH KUMAR (India) welcoming the progress made by the two Tribunals to implement their completion strategies, said it was reassuring that preparations for the commencement of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals were on track, including the development of a budget proposal for the biennium 2012 and 2013, and a Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the Mechanism.  He further welcomed the opening this past July of the Rwanda Tribunal’s branch of the Mechanism in Arusha.

He also expressed appreciation for the close cooperation of the Tribunals with the Security Council.  It was critical to help the Tribunals finish their work on time.  He shared the concerns expressed by the Judges regarding staffing shortages and concerning the relocation of acquitted persons.  That was an important humanitarian issue.  He urged the Secretariat and Security Council to give careful consideration to the suggestions made by the Judges on how to address that challenge.  He further commended the Tribunals’ outreach initiatives, including capacity building for national systems, and said that the legacy of the Tribunals must be preserved.  The courts’ impact would not only challenge impunity but also help to dispense justice for an entire region.

OLIVER NDUHUNGIREHE ( Rwanda) welcomed the decision taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to launch a manhunt against the fugitive, Protais Mpiranya, one of the “masterminds” of the Rwanda genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994.  He urged other countries in the region to make similar efforts and cooperate with the Rwanda Criminal Tribunal in tracking, arresting and transferring the remaining fugitives, particularly the most wanted one, Félicien Kabuga.  He went on to welcome the decision, taken in January by the Federal Court of Canada, to extradite Léon Mugesera, a genocide suspect well known for his 1992 hate speech against the Tutsi, to Rwanda.  All Member States, particularly in Europe and North America, were similarly urged to arrest and/or extradite all genocide fugitives and suspects living within their territories.

While taking note of the commitment of the Tribunal to continue monitoring the cases of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, who had been transferred to France in 2007, Rwanda expressed its concern at delays taken by the procedure in France.  Therefore, it called on the Tribunal to produce a more substantive report on the status of the prosecutions of those two cases.  On that issue, he noted, the Tribunal had the right and the duty to revoke those referrals from the French courts, if those delays persisted.

Regarding the Tribunal’s archives, he said that Rwanda felt such records and documentation should remain the property of the United Nations.  Nonetheless, Rwanda had, on many occasions, formally requested to host the archives in its capital, Kigali, upon completion of the work of the International Residual Mechanism of Criminal Tribunals.  Indeed, he stressed, those records constituted an “integral part” of Rwanda’s history and were vital to the preservation of the memory and education of younger generations.

Eighteen years after a devastating genocide, Rwanda, with the support of the international community, had come a long way in delivering justice to victims and promoting reconciliation.  The community-based “Gacaca” courts were officially closed on 18 June after trying more than 400,000 people and fostering truth and reconciliation.  For its part, the Tribunal was now in its final phase and had brought a number of genocide fugitives to book.

GILES NORMAN ( Canada), speaking also for New Zealand and Australia, commended the achievements of the Tribunals, saying that “the impressive record of the ICTY speaks for itself.”  He cited in that regard the conclusion of proceedings for 126 accused and the ongoing proceedings for the remaining 35 accused.  The commencement of proceedings for the final two fugitives, Goran Hadžić and Ratko Mladić, was particularly welcome.  As for the Rwanda Tribunal, nine indictees remained at large, but the court had nevertheless indicted 92 individuals, he said, calling on States to make special efforts to bring those fugitives to justice.  Of the nine cases, six had been transferred to Rwanda, with the Residual Mechanism retaining jurisdiction of the other three.

His delegation was satisfied with the launch this past July of the Residual Mechanism’s branch that had inherited functions from Rwanda Tribunal, hoped for an equally smooth handover of the other tribunal’s functions to the Mechanism in July next year.  Canada attached importance to the Mechanism’s work relating to the enforcement of sentences, witness protection and the maintenance of the courts’ archives, which were critical legacy functions.  The two tribunals had proven their value by significantly contributing to the reestablishment of the rule of law, by developing the jurisprudence in the area of major international crimes and by delivering effective justice to victims of such crimes.   

JOAN PRINCE ( United States) said that, since the last presentation to the Security Council, the Residual Mechanism had begun its work, and had already transferred several cases - including that of Pheneas Munyarugarama, a former commander in the Rwandan genocide charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, to Rwandan courts.  Noting that a strengthened national and legal justice sector would help to promote a stronger rule of law in that region, she called on all States, especially those in the Great Lakes, to apprehend the remaining fugitives and bring them to justice.  “Those who harbour fugitives put themselves in peril and are only delaying the inevitable”, she stressed in that respect.  The United States also commended the Tribunal presidents for enacting cost-saving, managerial and administrative measures in the three bodies, as well as their efforts to transfer the remaining duties of the Tribunals to the Residual Mechanism.

Turning to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, she recalled that the trial of Goran Hadžić – the last indictee to be apprehended - had begun last week.  With that case, all indictees were, or had been, on trial.  The United States looked forward to the Prosecutor’s report at the end of the year, in particular to learn more about Serbia’s information on those who had hidden Ratko Mladić.  It had been almost 20 years since the Security Council had established the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and later for Rwanda, and since then, those courts had articulated a “robust body” of international law.

Indeed, she stressed, the defendants convicted to date had been tried and found guilty of some of the most hideous crimes against mankind.  Thanks to the work of the Tribunals, “the world now knows about those crimes”, she added, noting that they had brought to light stories that would otherwise be lost or hidden in the shadows.  Finally, in addition to combating impunity, the Tribunal’s efforts in the areas of local capacity building and education would help to foster long-term peace and reconciliation; the international community must continue to fund those efforts.  Efforts on prevention, response and accountability at the national level must also be strengthened, she said.

TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said that justice was a prerequisite for national reconciliation and lasting peace.  As the work of the two Tribunals drew to a close, there was no doubt that they had laid a strong foundation for international peace and justice through their development and the enforcement of international criminal law.  The arrests of the remaining fugitives of the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, last year, was a historic precedent demonstrating that international justice could be delivered.  She expressed concern, however, at the number of outstanding arrest warrants from the Rwanda Tribunal and urged all States, especially those of the Great Lakes Region, to intensify efforts for the arrest of the remaining nine fugitives.

She commended Rwanda’s efforts, with the support of the international donor community, to strengthen its criminal judicial system, and trusted that that country would put into practice its commitments to enforce the highest standards of international justice.  On the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, she expressed concerns about political statements made by countries of the region that could undermine reconciliation and national efforts to prosecute persons charged with war crimes.  Further, she said that it was important to foster effective cooperation between States and to strengthen national judicial capacities to effectively handle the many war crimes cases that remained to be prosecuted.

Noting the opening of the Arusha branch of the Residual Mechanism and also noted that The Hague-based branch would open soon, she said that Mechanisms had an important role to play to ensure the long-term legacy of the Tribunals.  She expressed confidence the work of the Tribunals would lead the way in the continued fight against impunity.

TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the reports on the work of the Tribunals reflected the progress made thus far.  However, his delegation was concerned that, as the courts were about to complete their mandates, the recruitment of workers and the retention of staff continued to pose major challenges.  The United Republic of Tanzania therefore supported the appeal from the Rwanda Tribunal to the Secretariat and other relevant United Nations organs to look for more predictable ways of addressing the problem of staff attrition.  It also supported the idea of providing adequate resources to the Tribunals.  The cooperation of United Nations Member States would also be helpful in the transfer of individuals who had either been convicted or acquitted, or those who had successfully completed their sentences.  Indeed, the issue of the relocation of acquitted and convicted persons had assumed urgency in view of the pending closure of the Tribunals, he stressed, calling, in that regard, for Member States to consider positively the requests for more support and cooperation.

“The establishment of the International Residual Mechanism is significant to the continued protection of the rights of victims, witnesses and persons tried by the ICTR and the ICTY and to maintaining the legacy of the Tribunals”, he continued.  As a host to the Mechanism’s Arusha Branch, the United Republic of Tanzania would continued to follow up closely on all pending issues pertaining to the construction of the branch’s premises with the urgency it deserved.  As the work of the tribunals wound down and the new Mechanism began to take shape, he recalled that the proceedings, decisions and judgements of the Tribunals had provided indispensible guidance to national and international courts.  “The lessons learned have been instrumental in disseminating the rule of law and the application of criminal jurisprudence”, he concluded, adding, “Now it is up to the international community to ensure the success of that legacy through the Residual Mechanism.”

FEODOR STARČEVIĆ ( Serbia) said that all the agencies of his Government in charge of cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had maintained good professional relations with both Tribunal representatives and defence teams.  “This cooperation had been continuous, smooth and successful,” he said, noting that with the arrest and transfer of Goran Hadžić in 22 July 2011, “ Serbia has completed its cooperation” with the Tribunal regarding the transfer of indictees.  Of the 46 indictees, one died before being transferred but the others were transferred to the Tribunal, including two former Presidents, a former Prime Minister, a former Deputy Prime Minister, three former heads of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, a former head of the State Security Service and a number of military and police generals.

Serbia fully understood the interest of the Tribunal in the so-called “fugitive aid network”, he said.  The tracking down of the persons who had taken part in aiding the fugitives was, first and foremost, of great importance to his country, and all the more so as that issue “burdened Serbia’s international position”.  The results Serbia achieved in its cooperation with the Tribunal, including the processing by Serbian national courts of 389 persons indicted for criminal offenses against international humanitarian law, were “telling evidence” of his country’s contribution to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the Tribunal’s completion strategy, as well as to the process of the normalization of relations in the region.

He went on to insist that the effective investigation into allegations of crimes of killing people for the purpose of organ trafficking committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army.  Serbia expected that the ongoing investigation into these war crimes allegations would be conducted “professionally, impartially and efficiently” in order for the truth to be established and perpetrators brought to justice, he said.

IGOR A. PANIN ( Russian Federation) noted, among other efforts, the work of the Tribunals’ leadership to launch the Residual Mechanism on time and ensure the recruitment of staff.  Those bodies now had two interrelated tasks:  to complete their remaining work successfully and in line with their mandates, and to complete their work on time.  The Tribunals were delivering justice well in the trial jurisdictions, he said.  There had been no major delays, and the last case would be heard in trial proceedings by the end of 2012.  However, the Tribunals still had trouble respecting the timeframe for legal proceedings, he said; even if appeals remained in the Appeals Court, they should be completed before the end of 2013.

The Russian Federation regretted that some cases, which should have, had not been referred to the Residual Mechanism.  Turning to Serbia, he pointed out the significant support received by that country, which had demonstrated a high level of cooperation in implementing investigations into why Hadžić and Mladić had been on the run for so long in the country.  The Russian Federation also approved of the position adopted by Rwanda, which had actively participated with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including by trying cases which had been referred to it.

* *** *

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