05 December 2012Statement by Ambassador Philip Parham, Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council meeting on ICTY / ICTR reports
Thank you very much Mr President,
I would like to begin by expressing the United Kingdom’s continued support for the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Residual Mechanism. Their work is essential in helping to tackle impunity and in delivering justice to the countless victims of atrocities in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. All states should respect that work and the independent and impartial way in which it is conducted. I would also like to express our thanks to President Meron, President Joensen, Prosecutor Brammertz and Prosecutor Jallow for their excellent reports and briefings.
Co-operation from all parties is essential for the effectiveness of the ICTY. The United Kingdom notes the new Serbian Government’s assurances to the Prosecutor’s Office of its continued co-operation, albeit at a technical level. Progress has been made. Crucial investigations into support networks which allowed Mladic and Hadzic to evade capture are advancing. This progress must continue. Anyone who provided assistance to fugitives must be held accountable.
Croatian and Bosnian co-operation has also been positive. We expect this to continue over the coming months, and encourage Croatian authorities to react with dignity and respect to the acquittals of Gotovina and Markac. These verdicts were reached through an impartial and independent judicial process. It is essential that all sides respect these verdicts.
We share the Prosecutor’s concern about the ability of national institutions to prosecute war crimes effectively. Efforts to advance regional reconciliation and to promote the rule of law rely on the effectiveness of these institutions. We join the Prosecutor in calling on Croatia to focus on domestic prosecution of war crimes and deal with this legacy of the past urgently.
Bosnia is also experiencing difficulties with domestic prosecutions as we heard. Its adoption of the Co-operation Protocol will help tackle the backlog of cases and will improve parallel investigations between Bosnia and Serbia. We encourage Bosnian authorities to re-double their efforts to adopt the Co-operation Protocol.
We understand that staff retention difficulties are having an effect on the ICTY’s ability to keep the Karadic trial on schedule. Nevertheless, we urge the ICTY to take all necessary steps to minimise delays and complete the trial by 31 December 2014. Timely completion of all trials is essential for transition to the Residual Mechanism. And with that in mind, we support the requested extensions of the judges in both Tribunals. Predictable continuity is required in the interests of both justice and effectiveness. Neither justice nor effectiveness will be served by micromanagement of the Tribunals by this Council.
We reached an important milestone with the start of the Hadzic trial. This demonstrates that, no matter how long it takes, anyone accused of serious international crimes will be held accountable and brought to justice.
Let me now turn to the ICTR. Nine fugitives remain at large. Apprehending these individuals is an urgent and immediate priority. Justice will not be served while these individuals evade justice. We encourage all UN member states to provide their full, unequivocal support and cooperation to apprehend these fugitives and bring them to justice.
Close co-operation between the ICTR and the ICTY is increasingly important as the date of the ICTY’s transition approaches. We welcome the fact that ICTR’s transition to the Residual Mechanism is under way and that the transfer of judicial functions is almost complete. And we encourage further cooperation.
Resettlement of acquitted individuals is a fundamental expression of the rule of law. Host states for the five acquitted individuals in Arusha have not yet been located. Resolving this matter is a priority. And we encourage every effort to find a solution as soon as possible.
Regrettably, ICTR staff retention remains an issue and places strain on existing staff members. There is no easy solution to ICTR turnover rates. So we encourage the Tribunal to prioritise its resources to the best of its ability and to operate as effectively as possible.
We are pleased that the judgment in the Ngirabatware case is expected this month. Ensuring trials are completed on time is fundamental to the ICTR’s completion strategy.
In establishing the Tribunals this Council sent an important signal of its commitment to the fight against impunity. We, and the victims of the atrocities, owe a debt of gratitude to the Tribunals for what they have achieved. We also owe our respect to the Tribunals as independent and painstaking instruments of justice. But as we get closer to the fulfilment of the completion strategy, it is important to recognise that this is not the end. The pursuit for justice for all of the victims requires that every effort be made to advance domestic prosecutions and in that way to ensure that everyone is who should be held accountable is indeed brought to book.
Thank you Mr President.