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SC/14544
8 June 2021
8790th Meeting (PM)

Those Who Commit Atrocity Crimes will ‘Ultimately be Brought to Justice’, Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Head Tells Security Council

Delegates Warn about Dangers of Glorifying War Criminals, Denying Genocide

The final judgement against Ratko Mladić by the Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) is proof that perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity will — sooner or later — face justice, no matter who they might be, the President of the Mechanism told the Security Council today.

Carmel Agius briefed the 15-member organ via video-teleconference just hours after the former Bosnian Serb military commander — nicknamed “the Butcher of Bosnia” — lost his bid to overturn his 2017 conviction by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for atrocities which included the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 1995.

“The issuance of the final judgement sends a strong message to victims of atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere that perpetrators of such heinous crimes will ultimately be brought to justice, regardless of their position or how powerful and untouchable they consider themselves to be,” said Mr. Agius as he updated the Council on the Mechanism’s work.

Established by the Council through resolution 1966 (2010), and with chambers in The Hague and Arusha, IRMCT is tasked with completing the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  The Council debates its work twice a year.

Serge Brammertz, the Mechanism’s Prosecutor, also speaking via video-teleconference, said that “today justice has been done”.  He said that he spoke earlier in the day with mothers of those who died in Srebrenica, who asked him to convey the simple message that “justice matters”.  Sadly, there are too many people like Mr. Mladić in the world, but justice matters to ensure that grave wrongs are not repeated, he said.

The IRMCT plans to issue two more judgements in June — one in the retrial of former Serbian State Security officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic in The Hague, the other in a contempt case against Anselme Nzabonimpa and others in Arusha.  Its President added that Félicien Kabuga, arrested in France in May 2020 in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, is undergoing an independent medical examination in The Hague to determine his fitness to stand trial in Arusha.

The President also discussed his letter of 11 May to the Council regarding Serbia’s failure — for the third time in six years — to comply with its international obligations and arrest and extradite Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta on contempt of court charges.  Both served on the defence team for Serbian politician Vojislav Šešel, whose acquittal by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2016 was partially reversed by the Mechanism’s Appeal Chamber two years later.

Turning to the search for six fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Prosecutor said that his Office has viable leads on their whereabouts, but some Member States are preventing it from securing their arrest.  One indictee, Fulgence Kayishema, remains at large because South Africa is failing to cooperate, he said, adding that that country’s authorities are sending a message that theirs is a safe haven for fugitives.

In the ensuing debate, Council members reiterated their support for IRMCT and warned of the dangers of genocide denial and the glorification of war criminals.  Speakers also paid tribute to Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso, one of the Mechanism’s judges, who died unexpectedly in February.

The representative of the United States urged all countries to cooperate with the Mechanism to arrest fugitives and to fulfil its mandate.  He urged Serbia in particular to immediately cooperate with IRMCT, saying that its failure to do so undermines both international law and the Council’s authority.

The Russian Federation’s representative said promoting a theory about Belgrade’s lack of cooperation highlights problems with the Mechanism, which does not believe it should report to the Council on the rights of its detainees.  He hoped that IRMCT will conclude its work and not drag out its proceedings going forward.

Niger’s delegate commended the Mechanism for pursuing its work despite the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that its budget — set by the General Assembly through its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) — should be commensurate with its responsibilities.  Genocide and other war crimes must not go unpunished, he said, calling on States to cooperate with IRMCT.

Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia, spoke via video-teleconference, saying that the Mechanism has indicted Mr. Jojić and Ms. Radeta for contempt of court, not severe violations of international humanitarian law.  He noted that the Higher Court in Belgrade has determined that grounds for their extradition to The Hague have not been met.

Rwanda’s representative said that a lack of cooperation from Member States is the single most important impediment to the completion of the Mechanism’s mandate.  Few countries have responded to the 1,145 indictments which Rwanda has sent out requesting their cooperation with the arrest and prosecution of genocide fugitives or their transfer to Kigali, she said.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s representative said that the final verdict in the Mladić case demonstrates that attempts to rewrite history will fail.  The “Butcher of Bosnia” will die in disgrace and live in infamy, but justice has prevailed, he said, adding that Bosnia and Herzegovina today is a grateful nation.

Also speaking were representatives of Viet Nam, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Kenya, Mexico, France, India, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, China, Ireland, Norway, Estonia and Croatia.

The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 5:20 p.m.

Briefings

CARMEL AGIUS, President, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, briefed the Security Council via video-teleconference, saying that a few hours ago, the Mechanism’s Appeals Chamber dismissed Ratko Mladić’s appeal and affirmed his convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.  It also affirmed the Trial Chamber’s finding that Mr. Mladic is not guilty of genocide in relation to crimes committed in certain municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while also affirming his sentence of life imprisonment.  “The issuance of the final judgement sends a strong message to victims of atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere that perpetrators of such heinous crimes will ultimately be brought to justice, regardless of their position or how powerful and untouchable they consider themselves to be,” he said.

Judgement in the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović retrial is expected to be delivered by 30 June, while at the Arusha branch, the contempt case against Anselme Nzabonimpa et. al. is nearing its conclusion, with closing arguments set for 21 to 23 June and trial judgement expected before the end of the month, he said.  Updating the Council on the case against Félicien Kabuga, who remains detained in The Hague following his transfer in October 2020, he said that an independent medical expert is due to report later in June on his fitness to stand trial and ability to travel to Arusha.

Turning to the Mechanism’s other residual functions, he expressed appreciation to the 15 member States in Africa and Europe that are enforcing the sentences of one or more convicted persons, a task made more challenging by the pandemic.  Hopefully, more States will step forward and enter into enforcement agreements with the United Nations.  In Arusha, a sustainable solution has yet to be found for the resettlement of acquitted and released individuals.  The Mechanism’s Registrar is exploring new possibilities, but the international community must help to resolve this long-standing challenge.  The Council’s leadership, and the cooperation and support of Member States, are essential in this regard, he said.

He went on to discuss his letter to the Council dated 11 May regarding Serbia’s continued failure to arrest Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta and surrender them to the Mechanism, six years after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia asked Belgrade to execute arrest warrants issued against them.  It was the third time that Serbia’s failure to cooperate has been reported to the Council, he said, emphasizing that its inaction not only undermines the effective administration of justice but also defies the international community by challenging the authority of the Council and the Charter of the United Nations.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, said that “today justice has been done” with Mr. Mladić finally convicted and sentenced to the most severe punishment possible.  He said that he spoke earlier today with mothers of those who died in Srebrenica, who asked him to convey the simple message that “justice matters”.  Sadly, there are too many people like Mr. Mladić in the world, but justice matters to ensure that grave wrongs are not repeated.  While his Office takes satisfaction in today’s final conviction, its work continues, he said, with the case of Mr. Kabuga a key priority.  The pretrial brief in that case is expected to be completed by the end of August and the Office of the Prosecutor will be ready to begin its arguments when the Trial Chamber so decides.

Regarding the search for six fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he said that his Office has viable leads on their whereabouts, but some Member states are preventing it from securing their arrest.  Fulgence Kayishema remains at large because South Africa is failing to cooperate, he said, adding that that country’s authorities are sending a message that theirs is a safe haven for fugitives.  The Office of the Prosecutor is meanwhile investigating reports that Protais Mpiranya, former commander of Rwanda’s Presidential Guard, has been engaged in serious criminal activity and operating businesses with illicit funds.  He recalled that anyone providing information leading to the arrest of fugitives could be eligible for a reward of up to $5 million.

Returning to the Mladić case, he said that some people will continue to claim that he is a hero.  That is to be expected.  In Republika Srpska, genocide denial and the glorification of war criminals is so commonplace that it goes unremarked.  Similar attitudes continue to flourish in Rwandan diaspora communities.  Some consider denial and glorification as a difference of opinion and an argument over legal terms, but they are not.  Rather, they are political tools for political purposes, he said, calling on the Council to send an “unmistakable message” that cooperation with the Mechanism is essential.

Statements

DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam) commended the Mechanism for continuing its work and ensuring the health and safety of its staff, witnesses, detainees, prisoners and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Hopefully, the new Registrar’s proactive approach vis-à-vis the relocation of nine acquitted and released persons will produce concrete results.  He encouraged the Mechanism to adhere to its schedule of completion and to consider giving States greater responsibility for supervising the enforcement of sentences.   He welcomed the Prosecutor’s efforts to improve communication with relevant States, including in the search for fugitives, adding that assisting States to improve their ability to prevent heinous crimes should be a top priority.

BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) said the Mechanism continues to show that impunity is unacceptable.  Urging progress on outstanding cases, he encouraged all Member States to cooperate with attempts to arrest fugitives.  For its part, the United Kingdom supports the work of the Mechanism through, among other things, its offer to house prisoners to serve their sentences.  Justice must also be ensured for victims.  Yet, cooperation among States in the Western Balkans is a concern, including Serbia’s failure to comply with orders to arrest two individuals.  The glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide is not acceptable and such acts jeopardize reconciliation efforts.  The United Kingdom fully supports the Mechanism in all its efforts to discharge its mandate.

TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) said the Mechanism defends justice and accountability, which is of great importance at a time when there are reports of denying genocide and rising rhetoric.  The past must be recognized, and perpetrators of atrocity crimes must be held accountable.  The Mechanism must enjoy the dedicated cooperation of Member States.  Lasting solutions must be found for those being kept in safe houses in Arusha.  Efforts must also be made to lighten the Mechanism’s caseload towards timebound progress to complete its work.  Despite pandemic-related difficulties, work has proceeded, he said, commending the Prosecutor’s Office for its diligence in fulfilling its mandate.

GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation), noting that it has been almost 3years since this grinding mechanism for justice has continued to target individuals, wondered whether anyone was held responsible for massive air strikes in cities during the conflict.  Indeed, there are many incidents to which the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has turned a blind eye, demonstrating that it will go down in history as a mechanism of revenge, he said.  Moreover, prisoners’ safety has not be guaranteed, he said, recalling the stabbing of a Serbian national in a United Kingdom prison.  Further, the promotion of the theory over Belgrade’s lack of cooperation only highlights problems with the Mechanism, which also presents questionable accusations.  The enjoyment of rights of detained persons is important to the Russian Federation, however, the Mechanism does not believe it should report to the Council about how these rights are being ensured, he said, recalling a case of a prisoner whose full medical examination has still not been conducted.  The Russian Federation will continue to monitor this and other cases, he said, expressing hope that the Mechanism would conclude its work and not drag out proceedings going forward.

MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) acknowledged the Mechanism’s improved tracking capability which enabled the arrest of Félicien Kabuga following a long search beset by lots of misinformation.  His trial should be conducted expeditiously to help provide closure for survivors and families of victims.  He took note of the Mechanism’s requests for assistance from national jurisdictions and encouraged the Mechanism to keep engaging with relevant members and partners in cases where it has sought cooperation.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) took note of today’s Mladić verdict and looked forward to the other judgements due in June.   Without a doubt, recent developments represent important contributions for accountability.  The location, arrest and prosecution of those still at large is a key priority for the Mechanism, she said, emphasizing that cooperation is vital to ensure that international justice is effective and the rule of law strengthened.  She went on to express grave concern at the denial of crimes committed, saying that new generations must have truthful information about recent history.  There is no room in 2021 for language that divides or which incites hatred, she said.

JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States), recalling a number of concluded and ongoing atrocity and war crimes cases, said recent judgements have ensured that justice is served.  He urged all countries to cooperate with the Mechanism to arrest fugitives and to fulfil its mandate.  Deeply disappointed that Serbia has neglected to comply with its obligations, he said failing to cooperate with the Mechanism undermines international law and the Security Council.  In this vein, he urged Serbia to immediately comply and cooperate.  Member States’ assistance is indeed essential for the just resolution of cases.  Commending the work of the Mechanism to support national jurisdictions, he called on all States in the Western Balkans to cooperate to ensure that it can do its work effectively.

DIARRA DIME LABILLE (France) said recent and forthcoming judgements will help with reconciliation efforts.  Regretting to note recent cases on non-compliance, she urged Serbia to cooperate with the Mechanism and with the arrest of two individuals.  Noting the Mechanism’s respect for national jurisdiction, she said a case is now being heard in Paris, with a decision expected in 2022.  The international community and future generations must remember the important work of the international criminal tribunals.  Recalling efforts to commemorate the occurrence of the genocide in Rwanda, she said denials are not acceptable.  In this vein, she called on stakeholders in the Western Balkans to refrain from supporting genocide denials.

T. S. TIRUMURTI (India) welcomed the progress made by the Mechanism in The Hague and Arusha during the reporting period and its efforts to ensure business continuity amid the pandemic.  Going forward, it should continue to implement its mandate strictly in accordance with the principles of justice, impartiality and fairness.  It should also make headway in its remaining residual functions, including the protection of victims and witnesses, tracking the remaining fugitives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, assisting national jurisdictions and managing the archives of the ad hoc Tribunals and the Mechanism.  He went on to urge the Mechanism to keep its trial and appeal schedules on track.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said the Mechanism continues to be an essential pillar of the international criminal justice system, and its critical role in the fight against impunity cannot be overstated.  Commending its commitment to ensuring operational continuity, notwithstanding the various pandemic-related challenges, she also recognized efforts to ensure the rights and well-being of detained persons, including through regular inspections and the facilitation of COVID-19 vaccinations.  Fulfilling the Mechanism’s mandate hinges on international cooperation, without which, the Security Council’s vision of “a small, temporary and efficient structure, whose functions and size will diminish over time” cannot be achieved.  A lack of political will to cooperate with the Mechanism severely impedes the search for missing persons and the tracking and apprehension of fugitives, she said, pointing to Mr. Kabuga’s arrest as a testament to effective legal cooperation.  International cooperation also remains necessary to resolve the matter of those individuals who have been acquitted and released and are presently residing in Arusha, she said, expressing hope for a swift, durable solution.  Taking note of the President of the Mechanism’s 11 May referral of Serbia to the Security Council, she said non-compliance is unacceptable and serves to undermine the administration of justice and the rule of law.  Remembrance of the horrific events of the past is an important tool to prevent recurrence, and the international community must condemn all forms of genocide denial and the glorification of convicted war criminals.  She urged Member States to engage constructively with the Mechanism in the pursuit of accountability for mass atrocity crimes and the strengthening of the rules-based international system.

AOUGUI NIANDOU (Niger) commended the Mechanism for continuing its work despite the pandemic and for supporting witnesses suffering from trauma or HIV/AIDS.  Going forward, the Mechanism’s budget should be commensurate with its responsibilities.  Emphasizing that crimes of genocide and other war crimes cannot go unpunished, he called on relevant States to step up cooperation with the Mechanism and to provide all necessary assistance so that indicted persons may be apprehended and brought to justice.  Efforts must also be made to help acquitted and released individuals who now find themselves in legal limbo.  He stressed the need to strengthen the judicial capacity of national authorities and acknowledged cooperation between the Mechanism, the European Union and Switzerland to raise awareness among young people in the former Yugoslavia.

GENG SHUANG (China) recalled that the Mechanism was intended to be a small, temporary and efficient structure with a mandate that will diminish over time.  Hopefully, it will carry out its work in accordance with Council resolutions as per the timeline set out in its report.  Going forward, the Mechanism should rationalize the use of its budgetary resources and prioritize its judicial activities.  He added that China hopes that the Mechanism and Serbia will strengthen their cooperation, accommodate each other’s concerns and find proper solutions while also promoting national reconciliation.  In addition, the Mechanism should improve its working methods as per the recommendations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and find solutions for the relocation of acquitted and released persons.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), emphasizing the need for Member States to cooperate with the Mechanism, expressed deep concern at Serbia’s non-compliance in relation to the surrender and arrest of Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta.  Serbia must cooperate fully with the Court and comply with its obligations.  She also called on States to help the Mechanism to arrest and surrender remaining fugitives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  Ongoing attempts to minimize or deny genocide that took place within living memory are concerning, she said, emphasizing that genocide denial and the glorification of convicted war criminals are unacceptable, undermine reconciliation and must be challenged and condemned.

TRINE HEIMERBACK (Norway) said the fight against impunity is a central element of her country’s foreign policy.  Expressing strong support for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, she commended the Mechanism for its progress and support to national judicial authorities.  The Mechanism depends on the cooperation of Member States in order to fulfil the mandate this Council has provided:  to ensure accountability, and justice for the victims.  Norway is deeply concerned by Serbia’s non-compliance, she said, urging Belgrade to comply with its international obligations to arrest and surrender Mr. Jojić and Ms. Radeta.  After more than six years and three referrals on this matter to the Security Council, it is beyond time for this protracted situation to be solved in accordance with international law.  Norway greatly appreciates the Office of the Prosecutor’s work to account for the remaining six fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  Concerned by the reported lack of timely and effective cooperation from Member States that is preventing successful results, she urged all States to fully cooperate with the Mechanism and arrest and surrender all remaining fugitives.  The Security Council’s decisions must be adhered to.  Non-cooperation undermines the Mechanism, the Council and international law.  The Council should assume its responsibilities by examining every possible measure to facilitate the arrest and surrender of those wanted by the Mechanism.

GERT AUVÄÄRT (Estonia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, commending the Mechanism for its work, including efforts to assist national jurisdictions prosecuting international crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.  Noting slower progress in national justice initiatives in recent years, he called on States to increase their efforts.  Ongoing denial of the genocides in situations under the Mechanism’s jurisdictions must stop.  Estonia remains concerned about the challenges facing the Prosecutor’s Office, he said, strongly urging States, especially African nations where fugitives are suspected of being at large, to intensify their cooperation to arrest and surrender fugitives.  Recalling that the Security Council has received a communication from the President of the Mechanism on Serbia’s non-compliance to fulfil the arrest warrants, he said resolution 1966 (2010) clearly stipulates that all States shall cooperate fully and urged Belgrade to comply with the latest warrants to arrest, detain and transfer the accused to the custody of the Mechanism.  Pointing to delays in Serbia’s response to requests for assistance from the Prosecutor’s Office, he called on Belgrade to cooperate in a timely manner.  International criminal justice and the fight against impunity relies on collective efforts, he said, emphasizing that the international community and the Council must put the victims and survivors first.

ALEKSANDAR VUČIĆ, President of Serbia, speaking via video-teleconference, reiterated his country’s suggestion that Serbian citizens sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Mechanism serve their time in Serbia, under the monitoring of the Mechanism and with full respect for the Mechanism’s authority regarding early release.  That would be natural, as the majority of those who have been sentenced are citizens of Serbia, he said, adding however that the Council has never responded to this proposal.

Regarding the letter dated 11 May from the President of the Mechanism to the Council, asking it to take steps to ensure that Serbia fulfils its obligations under resolution 1966 (2010) and apprehend and turn over Mr. Jojić and Ms. Radeta, he said that those two persons have been indicted for contempt of court, not severe violations of international humanitarian law.  After the Mechanism issued warrants for their apprehension and extradition, the Higher Court in Belgrade determined that grounds for doing so had not been meet.  Serbia repeatedly expressed its readiness to take on the case, with appropriate guarantees, he noted, adding that his country accepts the Mechanism’s obligation to monitor trials transferred to national courts.  He also recalled that when France was asked to extradite Florence Altman for contempt of court and the publication of Tribunal documents, it refused to do so, explaining that it did not extradite its citizens.

Serbia condemns all crimes and those who perpetrated them in the former Yugoslavia, including the terrible crime in Srebrenica, he said.  But while Serbia speaks openly about crimes perpetrated by Serb nations, other countries in the region say nothing about the crimes committed by their representatives against Serb people.  Overall, Serbs have been sentenced to a total of 1,138 years in prison and eight life sentences, but the Tribunal did not sentence a single Croat for crimes against Serbs.  He requested Council members to take a rational and pragmatic approach and respect international law rather than attempt to further humiliate Serbs.  Serbia is a small country, the fastest-growing in the Western Balkans.  Its people are proud and courageous and want to live it peace with their neighbours, and despite the Tribunal’s application of selective justice, it is open to dialogue and cooperation of any kind, he said.

SVEN ALKALAJ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), describing his country’s cooperation with the Mechanism as stable and complete, called on all Member States to fulfil their obligations and ensure that the Mechanism has the financial resources it needs to carry out its work without interruption.   He reported that his country recently opened its first national-level prison built in line with European Union standards, with assistance from the bloc, other international donors and domestic resources.  Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to investigating and prosecuting all persons responsible for war crimes, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, he said, adding that cooperation with neighbouring countries is critical as the search for more than 6,000 missing persons continues.  The glorification of war criminals and perpetrators is unacceptable and must be made punishable by law, he added.  Turning to today’s final verdict in the Mladić case, he said that it demonstrated that denial and attempts to rewrite history continue to fail.  The “Butcher of Bosnia” will die in disgrace and live in infamy, but justice has prevailed, he said, adding that Bosnia and Herzegovina today is a grateful nation.

IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ (Croatia), welcoming the judgement on the Mladić case on atrocity crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, recalled that it was in his country that the defendant began his infamous warpath in 1991.  Hundreds of Mr. Mladić’s victims in Croatia never saw him stand trial for those crimes and were never included in his indictment, despite the Croatian authorities’ assistance to the Prosecutor’s Office.  Croatia pays great attention to the progress of all ongoing cases, in particular the trial case against Mr. Stanišić and Mr. Simatović.  As the Milošević case did not end with a verdict against him, it is very important that this case ends with a judgement that demonstrates top Serbian authorities were involved in atrocity crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Expressing concern about Serbia’s lack of cooperation with the Mechanism, he said compliance is imperative, adding that witness intimidation is a serious crime that undermines accountability.  Citing positive developments in cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said Croatia hopes to achieve the same progress with Serbia in due time.  However, his delegation is still waiting for Belgrade’s response to an invitation from September 2019 to the fourth and final round of negotiations towards finalizing a draft bilateral agreement on processing war crimes.  For its part, Zagreb continues to work to establish whereabouts of the remaining wartime missing persons, including the ongoing search for 1,864 missing Croatian citizens and their remains.  While Croatia holds dialogues with other States and international organizations in this regard, Serbia still does not invest sufficient efforts to find the victims who went missing in the war.  This issue was raised on every occasion with Serbia’s representatives, he said, reiterating Croatia’s full support for the mission and work of the Mechanism.

VALENTINE RUGWABIZA (Rwanda), noting that both reports before the Council focus on the remaining fugitives, expressed disappointment by the continued lack of effective cooperation from Member States.  This is the single most important impediment to the completion of the Mechanism’s mandate, she said.  Calling for the Council’s urgent attention on this matter, she recalled that few countries responded to the 1,145 indictments Rwanda had sent to countries around the world, requesting their cooperation with the arrest and prosecution of genocide fugitives or their transfer to Kigali.  Commending States that have extended full cooperation to the Prosecutor’s Office and to cases in Rwanda’s jurisdiction, she noted France’s efforts that led to the arrest of Mr. Kabuga, who had been a fugitive for more than two decades, and to its trial of Laurent Bucyibaruta.  Welcoming these trial proceedings, she encouraged the courts to accelerate efforts to permit long-delayed justice to finally be rendered.  Citing the United States cooperation in the extradition of fugitive Beatrice Munyenyezi, she said these developments demonstrate that justice can be rendered where there is political will to bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity.

Turning to other recent developments, she highlighted the African Union Peace and Security Council decision PSC/PR/COMM.(CMLXXXIX) of 12 April, calling on all African Union Member States to investigate, arrest, prosecute or extradite the genocide fugitives currently residing in their territories.  Failure to comply with related Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council resolutions and decisions has a negative impact on the maintenance of international peace and security.  The attacks on populations by armed groups which were formed and funded by genocide fugitives are well documented and their violent crimes on civilians and communities where they fled have often been reported to this Council.  The Prosecutor’s Office has regularly reported on the issue of genocide denial, with Rwanda and many other countries having expressed grave concern in this regard.  The Government of Rwanda welcomes the prosecution of those who interfere with witnesses with the aim to revise established facts.  Rwanda also agrees with the Prosecutor that such contempt of court is a form of genocide denial and those guilty of it must face the force of the law.

Mr. VUČIĆ, taking the floor a second time, said that unlike the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, he did not mention anyone or any country in the region in his statement.  Also, Croatia’s representative did not say that more Serbs than Croats remain missing.  Serbia stands ready to deliver everything on missing persons.  He said that while many Member States are demanding that Serbia comply with resolution 1966 (2010) which established the Mechanism, nothing is said about those who violated resolution 1244 (1999) and recognized Kosovo as independent.  Serbia will continue to cooperate with the Mechanism and the Office of the Prosecutor and fulfil its obligations, but those entities should try to find proper solutions, work in partnership with Belgrade and not humiliate Serbs, he said.

For information media. Not an official record.