Top Officials of Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Describe Recent Great Strides Taken towards Completing Work, in Briefing to Security Council
Top Officials of Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Describe Recent Great Strides Taken towards Completing Work, in Briefing to Security Council
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6782nd Meeting (AM)
Top Officials of Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Describe Recent
Great Strides Taken towards Completing Work, in Briefing to Security Council
Presidents, Prosecutors Say Challenges Remain to Completion by December 2014,
Including Appeals, Staff Attrition, Recent Start to Trials of Long-Time Fugitives
The Presidents and Prosecutors of the International Tribunals on serious crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and the 1994 Rwanda genocide told the Security Council today that they had recently made great strides in completing their work and ensuring a transfer of remaining tasks to a so-called “Residual Mechanism”.
Challenges to finishing all work on schedule by the completion date of December 2014 remained, however, including appeals processes, staff attrition due to the wind-down of the Tribunals and the cases of outstanding fugitives recently arrested or still at large.
In regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, President Theodor Meron said that, of eight trials currently in progress, five were expected to be completed by 2012; however, other trials, including those involving recent arrests — namely, the cases of Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić — might continue past the completion date.
Some appeals had been advancing rapidly, Mr. Meron said, but one complex multi-accused case, which had been affected by translation and staffing issues, had suffered substantial delays. The benches hearing all cases would continue to focus on ways to minimize potential delays, while fully protecting the rights of the accused, he said.
Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, affirmed the heavy workload of appeals cases and highlighted the importance of the Mladić and Karadžić cases. He said that, after a 16 year evasion, the start of the Mladić trial on 16 May was a significant milestone for the Tribunal. On Karadžić, he said the prosecution had made its case within the allotted 300 hours, spanning atrocities committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, crimes committed in 19 municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the kidnapping of United Nations staff. A hearing in June would determine if there was a need for further trial. In such case, Mr. Karadžić would commence the presentation of his defence in October, leaving a reasonable period to prepare.
On regional matters, Mr. Brammertz welcomed overall cooperation from States, but remained concerned over Serbia’s lack of progress in the prosecution of individuals who had harboured fugitives. In addition, he called on Bosnia and Herzegovina to take action on resolving the issue of outstanding files. He also stated that recent comments by the newly elected President of Serbia denying that genocide occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 were not acceptable.
Vagn Joensen, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said that the Tribunal now had a vastly reduced judicial workload. Due in large part to continued hard work of staff, nearly all trial work was complete, only one trial judgement in an ongoing case would remain to be delivered in the second half of 2012, and all appeal judgements remained on track to be completed by the end of 2014.
The Tribunal, he said, had become more focused on requests for referral of cases to Rwanda and administrative energies were increasingly spent on downsizing and providing the support necessary for the opening of the Arusha branch of the Residual Mechanism, due to open next month, without taking attention away from the central task of completing all trial and appellate proceedings in a fair and expeditious manner. Cases for outstanding fugitives were being processed for transfer to national jurisdiction and the Residual Mechanism. He stressed, however, the importance of finding countries to receive persons acquitted in the Court’s trials, and pledged to increasingly apply his energies to persuade Member States to assist with relocation.
Hassan Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, thanking those responsible for his appointment as Prosecutor of the Residual Mechanism, agreed that much progress had been made. Appeals litigation over referral of cases to Rwanda, however, had become a significant concern of his Office, as had further arrangements for monitoring referred trials. The focus would also shift to tracking the three top-level fugitives earmarked for trial by the Residual Mechanisms. He reiterated the responsibility of States to arrest and transfer fugitives found within their territories.
With regard to staffing, both Presidents highlighted the strain put on their remaining personnel by lack of job security and the loss of posts. They welcomed a waiver obtained from the Office of Human Resources Management on the prohibition on the direct hire of interns, and the transfer of a number of staff to the Residual Mechanisms. They called for further measures in that vein.
Both Presidents also agreed that the Tribunal’s progress in preparing for the transition to the unified Residual Mechanism was proceeding smoothly, and it would commence operations on 1 July 2012 with the opening of the Arusha branch. Aside from dealing with remaining judicial and administrative business of the Tribunals, the Mechanism would also serve to give continued access to the archives of the Tribunals for education purposes and to help build judicial capacity in the two regions, they said.
Following those presentations, representatives of Council members and concerned States expressed high appreciation and support for the work of the Tribunals, welcomed the accelerated progress and urged expeditious completion, while ensuring international standards of due process were maintained. They also called for all States to cooperate in the arrest and transfer of fugitives. Many called for progress in the investigation on the harbouring of fugitives and criticized the statement of the Serbian President on the Srebrenica massacre. Serbia’s representative said the country would continue its full support to the Tribunal, including sharing information on ongoing investigations into the harbouring of fugitives.
Most speakers also placed high value on the Residual Mechanism, with the representative of the United States highlighting its importance for preventing denial of serious crimes committed, combating impunity and contributing to the prevention of future mass atrocities around the world.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Guatemala, India, Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, Pakistan, Portugal, France, Morocco, Colombia, Togo, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, China, Croatia and Rwanda.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 12:50 p.m.
The Security Council met today to consider the reports of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (documents S/2012/349 and S/2012/354, respectively) on the progress of their completion strategies.
Judge THEODOR MERON, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, reported that the Tribunal had made great strides in the implementation of its completion strategy and in facilitating a smooth transition to the International Residual Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunals. At the same time, the Tribunal still faced difficult challenges, particularly with regard to staff attrition. Of the eight trials currently in progress, five were expected to be completed by the end of 2012; however, other trials, including those involving the lately arrested accused — namely, Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić — might continue past the indicated completion date of December 2014. The benches hearing those cases would continue to focus on ways to minimize potential delays while fully protecting the rights of the accused, he said. In that regard, he recalled that the Mladić case had commenced on 16 May 2012, which was six months before its anticipated start date. The Hadžić case was due to commence in October 2012, which was three months ahead of its anticipated start date.
The Tribunal’s Appeals Chamber was also making progress towards the completion of the cases on its docket. The hearing on the Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač appeal was held more than nine months earlier than previously forecast, and preparations in the Momčilo Perišić case were advancing very rapidly. However, one complex multi-accused case, which had been affected by translation and staffing issues, had suffered substantial delays. Judgements were expected by the end of the year in the cases of Zdravko Tolimir and Jadranko Prlić et al., and a judgement was expected in the case of Vojislav Šešelj by March 2013. In those cases, measures had been adopted to reduce the translation time in those cases by 50 per cent; nevertheless, unforeseen delays in the trials themselves had delayed the relevant trial judgements. However, he said, with regard to staffing, the Tribunal had benefitted from a waiver obtained from the Office of Human Resources Management on the prohibition of the direct hire of interns.
The Tribunal’s progress in preparing for the transition to the Residual Mechanism was proceeding smoothly, he said, thanks in great part to the Registrars of the Residual Mechanism. In accordance with Council resolution 1966 (2010), the Mechanism would commence operations on 1 July 2012 with the opening of its Arusha branch. In anticipation of that milestone, a number of important steps had been taken, including the swearing in of all judges. The draft Rules of Procedure and Evidence had been circulated, and he hoped the Rules would be adopted expeditiously. The Tribunal had also been advertising vacancies in order to recruit necessary staff. In that vein, he thanked the Office of Human Resource Management for authorizing the Registrar to transfer a number of staff from the Tribunals to the Mechanism, thereby avoiding delays.
Due to those preparations, the Residual Mechanism was slated to assume competence over all judicial and prosecutorial functions identified by the Council on 1 July. In addition, the Mechanism might soon be called upon to exercise jurisdiction over appeals, if any, in up to three cases in which trial proceedings were recently delayed. That would require the assignment of an appeals bench, as well as legal and support staff, and would have financial implications. The overall cost to the United Nations could be greater than formerly envisaged.
Judge VAGN JOENSEN, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said that since the last report the Tribunal has undergone significant shifts: judicial and legal activities had become more focussed on requests for referral of cases to Rwanda and administrative energies were increasingly spent on downsizing and providing the support necessary for the opening of the Arusha branch of the so-called Residual Mechanism (meant to archive records and complete unfinished tasks) next month, without taking attention away from the central task of completing all trial and appellate proceedings in a fair and expeditious manner.
In December 2011, he said, the final multi-accused trial judgement was expeditiously delivered in the Édouard Karemera et al. case. In the same month, the Appeals Chamber upheld the decision to refer the first Tribunal case to Rwanda for trial, with the accused Jean Uwinkindi transferred to Rwanda in April 2012 and a further three cases of accused fugitives already referred. The Prosecutor already requested, or would request, three more referrals of fugitive cases, all of which would be disposed of by next month. The final three fugitives, for whom evidence preservation would be concluded this month, were slated for trial by the Residual Mechanism upon arrest.
Five trial judgements were projected for delivery during the six-month reporting period and all but one would have been delivered by the end of this month, with the exception now expected by the end of 2012. Just yesterday, the trial chambers granted the application for referral to Rwanda of the final accused in pre-trial custody at the Tribunal, although the accused may appeal that decision and the Appeals Chamber would be expected to hand down a decision in the next several months.
In consequence, in what he called stark contrast to the last six-month report, he said that the Tribunal now had a vastly reduced judicial workload. Due in large part to continued hard work of staff, nearly all trial work was complete, only one trial judgement in an ongoing case would remain to be delivered in the second half of 2012, and all appeal judgements remained on track to be completed by the end of 2014.
Turning to staffing matters, he reiterated that judge extensions that had been requested were critical to ensuring that remaining goals were met. In addition, he again stressed the difficulties of staff retention due to the uncertainties presented by the drawdown of the Court, including the strain put on programme managers. He thanked staff of the Department of Management who had continued to explore and adopt additional measures and a common strategy for the problem, including putting in place an outplacement office for staff who have applied for various positions in the United Nations system.
He also reiterated the importance of finding countries to receive persons acquitted in the Court’s trials, and pledged to increasingly apply his energies to persuade Member States to assist with relocation. He called on Council members to “do their part in helping to ensure that we uphold this fundamental right of freedom to live one’s life after being acquitted by an international tribunal”.
Turning to the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals, he said that the Arusha branch would open its doors in less than one month, and from 1 July many judicial and prosecutorial functions would begin to be officially handed over, along with responsibility for the Tribunal’s archives, protection of witnesses and numerous other functions. Efforts were being made towards a seamless transition.
“As the remaining days of the ICTR become fewer and the Mechanism begins to take shape, we will continue to ensure that knowledge gained and lessons learnt are put to good use”, he said, pointing to the importance of sharing best practices, capacity-building and education for the region, “so that the Tribunal’s impact will not only be challenging impunity, but also helping to improve the means to dispense justice for an entire region”.—eob--
SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said that, by October, when the Hadžić case was set to begin, only three cases would remain on the Tribunal’s docket. However, a heavy workload loomed in the Tribunal’s appeals chamber. The case of Mladić had begun on 16 May, less than a year since his arrest. After his 16 year run from justice, the start of that trial was a significant milestone for the Tribunal. With regard to the Karadžić case, the prosecution had made its case within the allotted 300 hours, spanning atrocities committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, crimes committed in 19 municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the kidnapping of United Nations staff. At the hearing to be held in June, the chamber will determine if there was a need for further trial. In such case, Mr. Karadžić would commence the presentation of his defence in October, leaving a reasonable period to prepare.
The Tribunal had overcome a period without regular budget funds for the cases of Mladić and Hadžić, and was suffering from a high rate of staff departures at critical times. There was no mechanism in place for reversing the problem, he stressed in that respect. Staff with knowledge of the cases and relevant professional skills would be needed past 2014, and strategies must be in place to promote their continued availability. With no more fugitives from the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the court would be able to focus on requests for documents and witnesses for particular cases.
While he looked forward to the continuation of the Tribunal’s productive working relationship with its regional partners, there were, however, two exceptions. He remained concerned with Serbia’s lack of progress in the prosecution of individuals who had harboured fugitives, including Mladić. Serbia had committed to conducting more in-depth investigation into fugitive networks in the coming months; the Tribunal awaited the results of that investigation as a matter of priority. As for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9 of the 13 relevant files were still pending, and no concrete evidence of progress had been made since 2008. Bosnia and Herzegovina must take steps towards progress, he stressed.
The Tribunal was also working to assist national authorities with the prosecution of war crimes in their jurisdiction, and was working with its counterparts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to establish a mechanism to better respond to requests from national authorities. Even so, there were serious problems in many of those national strategies, particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unless better strategies were put in place, he said, those processes would fail. Finally, he stated that recent comments by the newly elected President of Serbia denying that genocide occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 were not acceptable. “Such rhetoric is a backwards step, aggravates the victims’ suffering” and put progress in the former Yugoslavia as a whole at risk, he stressed.
HASSAN B. JALLOW, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, concurred with the court’s President that the implementation of the completion strategy had gained significant momentum in the past six months, noting that the evidentiary phase of all current detainees had been concluded pending judgements to be delivered in the course of this year. Litigation over referral of cases to Rwanda, however, had been a significant concern of his Office during the same period. In addition, he had made further arrangements for monitoring referred trials.
He expressed hope that by the end of this year, all the cases of indictees earmarked for referral to national jurisdictions would have been transferred, leaving only the cases of the three top fugitives, i.e., Félicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana, which have been reserved for trial by the Residual Mechanism. The success of the referral mechanism had been due largely to the commitment of the Government of Rwanda, along with the commitment of the Rwanda Tribunal and development partners, in undertaking extensive law reform and capacity-building measures to ensure fair and effective trials.
The referral activity, besides its other benefits, had facilitated the deportation or extradition of suspected genocidaires to Rwanda from national jurisdictions where prosecution or extradition had hitherto been beset by technical difficulties.
The prosecution and management of appeals was also a growing part of his Office’s work, he said. The Office had been litigating in 33 appeals from final judgements and sentences returned in 12 cases. It also had been making preparations for six potential appeals in three cases. He anticipated, however, that the appellate workload would be concluded well within the time frame of the completion strategy.
If success in pending referral applications was successful, he said, the focus of his Office, in terms of tracking, would shift to the three top-level fugitives earmarked for trial by the Residual Mechanisms. The Tribunal would, however, provide support to Rwanda for the tracking and arrest of those fugitives whose cases had been referred. He reiterated the responsibility of States to arrest and transfer fugitives found within their territories, noting that his office was actively encouraging eastern, central and southern African regional institutions to make the arrest of the fugitives a priority.
He said his Office had also been occupied with archiving records for the Residual Mechanism, as well as servicing foreign requests for assistance, a task which would also be taken over by the Mechanism soon. He agreed that the establishment of the Arusha branch of the Mechanism had moved quickly. In terms of downsizing, he said that separation of staff whose services were no longer required had been intensifying. He expressed indebtedness to staff for their hard work. Finally, he thanked all those responsible for his appointment as the Prosecutor of the Residual Mechanism for a term of four years with effect from 1 March 2012, pledging his dedication to the tasks ahead.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said that, 19 years after the first Tribunal had been established by the Untied Nations, he was pleased that no one indicted had escaped justice. With regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he was happy to see that trials were being conducted within their agreed deadlines. However, he remained concerned that nine people were still fugitives from justice. The court could only accomplish its work if it received support from all States, he said, calling upon those States — especially those in the Great Lakes region — to help in the arrest and handing over all remaining fugitives. Guatemala congratulated the Tribunals for having moved forward in their completion strategies despite the heavy workload, but remained concerned about the loss of staff, which was a major impediment. He hoped that both Tribunals would be able to reverse that trend and to complete their mandates on time. Additionally, as Chair of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, Guatemala pledged its full support for those activities. The Tribunals had played an important role in the strengthening of the rule of law and the promotion of stability. Their effects had been far-reaching, in particular with regard to the establishment of the International Criminal Court, he said.
VINAY KUMAR ( India) said he was pleased to see that recommendations made by the Council with regard to the direct hiring of interns had been taken to heart and implemented, and that many cases in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had begun or completed ahead of schedule. All trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were on track, he added, also noting with satisfaction the progress made in the completion strategy and the transfer of work to the Residual Mechanism. It was critical that the Tribunals finish their work on time, he stressed. The judges addressing the Council today had pointed out that trials and appeals were negatively affected by staffing shortages and the attrition of experienced staff. Careful consideration should be given to that pragmatic issue, and the Council should work to solve the problem. He welcomed the cooperation expended by all States concerned with the Tribunals, which was essential for their work. Moreover, the two courts had implemented their mandates, and the support of the Council was crucial at the current “critical time in the life of the Tribunals”.
MIGUEL BERGER ( Germany) recalled that all 161 individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had been apprehended, and that the court anticipated the completion of all of its outstanding trials. Nonetheless, he recognized the need for several of those trials to extend beyond 2014, as the accused were making full use of their right to defence. Germany was satisfied to see the commencement of the Mladić trial on 16 May. With multiple counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of laws or customs of war — of which both Mladić and Karadžić stood accused — those cases would stand out as both a reminder of atrocities committed, and as a warning for future generations, he said. States’ cooperation continued to be crucial for the successful completion of those and other trials, he added, calling upon Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue to maintain that approach in the future. At the same time, he noted with concern the Prosecutor’s appraisal of a lack of results regarding Serbia’s stated commitment to investigate fugitive networks.
Turning to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he welcomed the progress made in nearing completion of all trial work as foreseen in the Completion Strategy report of 2011. Another positive development had been the first ever transfer of an accused, Jean Uwinkindi, to Rwanda for trial, and the setting up of a monitoring mechanism in that respect. It remained a matter of concern, however, that nine accused and internationally sought persons still remained at large. Their apprehension must be a priority, he emphasized, calling upon the international community, and in particular the concerned States, to bring those persons to justice.
PAUL MCKELL ( United Kingdom) reiterated his country’s support for the work of the Tribunals, their Presidents and their Prosecutors. He noted with appreciation that Serbian authorities had fully met the former Yugoslavia Tribunal’s expectations in providing trial-related assistance, but echoed the report’s call for an intensification of efforts to investigate the support network that allowed Messrs Mladić and Hadžić to evade capture for so long. He also welcomed the trial assistance afforded by Croatia and hoped that all sides would respect the Gotovina appeals process. Also welcoming the capture of Radovan Stanković by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he called on country authorities to address the delays in processing domestic war crimes cases as a matter of urgency.
The Mladić trial, he said, was a powerful reminder that impunity was no longer acceptable, while calling for the Tribunal to prevent any further delays in the Karadžić trial. In regard to the ICTR, he welcomed efforts towards timely completion and encouraged all Member States, especially Kenya and Zimbabwe, to provide full cooperation towards bringing the remaining fugitives to justice. In regard to both Tribunals, he welcomed staff retention measures and encouraged the Tribunals to continue to prioritize their resources as effectively as possible, and he encouraged them to continue their close cooperation with each other in transition to the Residual Mechanism.
BASO SANGQU (South Africa), also expressing appreciation for the work of the two Tribunals, said it was important that both invigorate their efforts in ensuring compliance with the completion strategy, while upholding international legal standards. He welcomed referral of cases to national jurisdictions and encouraged the Rwanda Tribunal to make more referrals to domestic courts. Ensuring adherence to international standards was crucial in referred cases, however. With regard to fugitives, he called on Member States to cooperate as much as possible in their apprehension, and in the matter of staff retention, he noted his country stood ready to consider innovative solutions.
ASIM IFTIKHAR AHMAD ( Pakistan) expressed complete support for the two Tribunals, and appreciated that they continued to contribute to procedural and evidentiary international law in a professional manner. He also welcomed progress in the transition to the Residual Mechanism and supported providing sufficient resources to the Tribunals for the completion strategy, and called for the consideration of logical strategies to deal with staff retention. He expressed hope that the remaining fugitives from the Tribunals would be apprehended with cooperation from Member States, which was also needed for finding host States for acquitted persons. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the compilation by the Rwanda Tribunal’s legal library of a bibliography of all relevant literature on the work of the Tribunal and other efforts to ensure the positive legacy for the Tribunals for the future of global justice.
JOÃO MIGUEL MADUREIRA ( Portugal) said that the reports today reflected progress made so far by both Tribunals, and highlighted the fact that practical measures — such as the use of ad litem judges for the trial of contempt cases recently put into practice — could produce considerable results in terms of speeding up judicial activities. Portugal encouraged the Presidents of the Tribunals to continue to actively identify possible ways of further promoting the better use of resources, with a view to improving the management of time devoted to the cases, while keeping fully in line with the required principles of justice. Creative, realistic and cost-effective solutions to that issue needed to be found and implemented as a matter of urgency; he also encouraged flexibility by the Secretariat in that regard.
He highlighted three aspects that continued to be sources of concern. First, on the matter of cooperation, he said that the importance of the cooperation of States with the Tribunals could never be overstated. He urged, in that respect, the continuation of efforts by States concerned to facilitate the arrest of fugitives still sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Second, the Tribunals needed to be prepared to address the increasing number of requests addressed to States to host convicted persons to serve their sentences, and needed to find appropriate and prompt responses to such requests. Finally, definite solutions were needed to address the singular situation of those persons acquitted, and of those released after serving their sentences.
BÉATRICE LE FRAPER DU HELLEN (France) addressed, among other things, the presentation of evidence and the referral of cases to national courts. There were several concerns that continued with regard to cooperation, in particular the need for increased cooperation from Kenya and Zimbabwe in the arrest of outstanding fugitives. The Council should remind the relevant parties of their obligations in that regard, he stressed. Relocating persons acquitted, or those who had served their sentences, was another challenge. At the request of the Tribunals, France was hosting a number of such individuals, he said, and encouraged other States to come forward to do the same. France was fully aware of the challenges facing the Tribunals. While both courts should move forward in the transition to the Residual Mechanism, nothing should be done that could undermine their capacities to address the serious cases currently being considered. In that regard, he underscored that cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and regional cooperation, was important for the European Union. Finally, the massacre of Srebrenica was indeed genocide, he stressed, reminding all parties that such a legal definition was binding.
LOTFI BOUCHAARA ( Morocco) said that his delegation was pleased to hear that the Tribunals were on track to complete their work by the expected completion date. Morocco also welcomed the fact that new measures had allowed the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to complete cases earlier than scheduled. The efforts undertaken at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had also led to the anticipation of early judgements. He hoped, in that respect, that the relevant United Nations bodies would consider additional measures related to the process of downsizing and the completion of the deliberations of both courts. In that context, it was necessary to underscore the importance of the cooperation of Member States, regional and subregional groups with the Tribunals, in particular with regard to fugitives at large, requests for judiciary assistance and the hosting of those who had been acquitted, or who had completed their sentences. The transfer of five cases by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to Rwandan courts, as well as other such transfers, could also help to strengthen those national courts, he said. The protection of the legacy of the Tribunals had a legal and a moral value, he concluded, as they were an important source of history and held lessons for future generations.
JUAN JOSÉ QUINTANA (Colombia), congratulating both Tribunals on progress in completion strategies and the transition to the Residual Mechanism, said that both had made great contributions to international justice and peace and security. He welcomed measures to assist the Tribunals with staff retention matters, as well as progress in facilitating the Residual Mechanism. In regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he called for the Council to call for greater cooperation from Member States in finding homes for acquitted persons and in arresting fugitives. He said his country would spare no effort in supporting the continued success of the efforts of the Tribunals and the Residual Mechanism.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) commended the Tribunal Presidents, Prosecutors and Registrars for the progress on the completion strategy, downsizing and transition to the Residual Mechanism, expressing gratitude to judges and staff members who were performing multiple functions. He called on the Council to be flexible in deadlines, to ensure that both Tribunals were able to administer justice expeditiously, yet fairly. In regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he welcomed the reported cooperation of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the court, which was critical for Euro-Atlantic integration, and looked forward to Serbia’s completion of investigations into the sheltering of notorious fugitives from the Tribunal. At the same time, he deplored the statement made this week denying genocide in Srenbenica, which the Tribunal had confirmed and could not be denied.
Turning to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he called on all Member States to help apprehend remaining fugitives. He welcomed Rwanda’s willingness to fairly adjudicate transferred cases, as well as the Tribunal’s efforts to create a robust monitoring mechanism. He stressed, finally, the importance of ensuring the accessibility of Tribunal archives, to prevent denial of the atrocities in the future, to combat impunity and to contribute to the prevention of future mass atrocities.
KOFFI KUMELIO AFANDE ( Togo), expressing further appreciation for the work of the Tribunals, welcomed the progress that had been made in the six-month reporting period to address remaining challenges in their completion strategies. He called for redoubling the cooperation of Member States in assisting the Tribunals to finish their remaining tasks, and in finding host countries for acquitted persons, or those who had completed their sentences, which he called an issue of human rights. He welcomed progress in the transferrals of Tribunal cases to Rwanda, along with the creation of monitoring mechanisms to ensure that international standards of due process were maintained. On staffing problems, he signalled his willingness to work with other Council members to find flexible solutions, stressing that experienced staff was critical for the continuing success of the completion strategy and the transition to the important Residual Mechanism.
SERGEY N. KAREV ( Russian Federation) said that the Residual Mechanism was the first of its kind, and would require the greatest levels of concentration and responsibility. The Mechanism had the necessary financing, and could use funds freed up by the Tribunals if necessary. The Tribunals themselves must also have additional capacities to complete their case loads within the time frame expected. However, the implementation of resolution 1966 (2010) “did not look that optimistic”. While trials had come to be heard earlier than expected, additional substantive measures were required to ensure that they completed their work on time. He noted that, in the last several years, the Tribunals had been able to significantly advance their work in apprehending fugitives, thanks to the increased cooperation of States. In that vein, he urged Serbia to urgently complete the investigation into fugitive networks, and specifically into the question of why certain fugitives had been able to evade justice for so long.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said that significant progress had been registered during the reporting period. However, he noted with concern that, similar to previous periods, the retention of qualified and experienced staff members continued to be an obstacle to the pace of the Tribunals’ work. Azerbaijan welcomed all measures implemented by the Tribunals to ensure a smooth handover of judicial functions to the International Residual Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunals. Taking note of the referrals of some cases by the Tribunals to national jurisdictions, he said that such an approach served not only to reduce the overall workload of the Tribunals, but to strengthen the capacity of national judicial systems and to reinforce the rule of law at the national level. It was important that States remained committed to living up to their obligations towards the Tribunals. That included by assisting with the arrest of the nine fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
WANG MAN (China), speaking in his national capacity, recalled that the relevant Security Council resolution required the Tribunals to finish their work by the end of 2014, and stressed that that timeline must be complied with. With regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, that compliance was still faced with challenges. Relevant reform measures and the speeding up of cases were, therefore, needed. International cooperation remained of critical importance, he said, welcoming the cooperation of certain States in that respect. He called on States able to do so to host those persons who had been acquitted, or who had carried out their sentences. Finally, he urged the Secretariat to consider “flexible and feasible” ways to solve the difficulties faced by the Tribunals in the area of staff retention.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) expressed strong support for the work of the two Tribunals in effecting a smooth transition to the Residual Mechanism. He welcomed the progress achieved by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and expected swift and efficient procedures in the three remaining first-instance cases, as well as appeals. In that regard, he supported the Tribunal’s efforts to expedite the overall pace of proceedings by introducing innovative reforms in staffing and the continued readiness of the Prosecutor’s Office to provide relevant information to support national investigations on war crimes as an important contribution to national efforts to end impunity.
Over the reporting period, he said, Croatian officials at the highest levels remained engaged in direct dialogue and close working relations with the Tribunal. He was pleased to note Prosecutor Brammertz’s recognition of the unequivocal cooperation of his country with his Office and he reaffirmed his country’s intention to continue such cooperation “until the very end of the Tribunal’s mandate and beyond, in relation to the Residual Mechanism”.
His country, he said, also continued to follow closely jurisprudence emerging from the Tribunal’s work, including its potential to shape future criteria for the lawful use of force. In that regard, he welcomed the Tribunal’s intention to engage eminent scholars in international law to further elucidate those issues. Finally, he affirmed the importance of regional cooperation in the matter of war crimes and related issues, but stressed that it should be carried out with full respect for national jurisdictions and on the basis of accepted international principles of procedure and evidence collection. Regional reconciliation, in addition, was only possible on the premise of accurate interpretation of unambiguously established historical fact and not on their denial or misinterpretation, particularly in regard to the most serious crimes, such as genocide.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda), expressing appreciation for the Tribunals’ work, said that 2012 was a landmark year for the Rwanda justice system. A case had finally been transferred to national jurisdiction for trial after much effort, paving the way for others to be so transferred and signalling the competence of his country’s legal system for that purpose. In regard to those alleged genocidaires still at large, he expressed his country’s firm intention to bring those men to justice, and called for international cooperation in that regard. He welcomed extradition of those apprehended in other national jurisdictions to Rwanda and encouraged all Member States to arrest and extradite remaining fugitives, and to cooperate with the Rwanda Tribunal’s tracking unit in that regard.
He welcomed work towards a smooth transfer to the Residual Mechanism. Acknowledging the complex considerations involved in determining the location of the Rwanda Tribunal’s branch of the Mechanism, he called for its relocation from Arusha to his capital Kigali, to better serve the education of its population and to better perform all its functions. In conclusion, he said that, thanks to the efforts over the past decades of those involved in the local traditional process, known as Gacaca, as well as the Rwanda Tribunal and the national justices system, thousands of perpetrators of terrible crimes had been brought to justice and thousands of victims had told their stories, in favour of truth, reconciliation and healing. He called on the international community to continue the fight against impunity and pledged his Government’s continued cooperation to that end.
FEODOR STARČEVIĆ ( Serbia) said that the assessment of his Government and the Prosecutor’s report were once again in accord. There was not a single person accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia still at large, he stressed, and all those believed to be in Serbia had been captured and delivered to the Tribunal. Additionally, all new requests for assistance received from the Tribunal were received and dealt with on a daily basis, and without delay. The Prosecutor, in his recent report, had also paid attention to the Serbian investigation into the fugitive networks. While that issue did not fall under the competence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, it was still important for Serbia to find out who had harboured fugitives; Serbia had shared information on that ongoing investigation with the Prosecutor’s Office in good faith, and would continue to do so.
He further reaffirmed Serbia’s full cooperation with the Tribunal and its future cooperation with the Residual Mechanism, as well as its willingness to continue to cooperate with the informal working group on the issue of the archives of the Tribunals. Serbia was also willing to share the results of domestic war crimes trials with other States and partners. His delegation believed that relevant States should be allowed to sign agreements on the enforcement of sentences with the Tribunal. Serbia was willing to share in the responsibility of enforcing sentences, and hoped to do so. It further hoped that the Council would pay due regard to that initiative. The many contributions made by Serbia to the rule of law gave that country a moral right to insist on investigations into the matter of illicit organ trafficking by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army. He hoped that many critical questions related to that EULEX investigation would receive adequate answers in the shortest time possible.
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