Statement Debate On International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda [Ictr] And International Criminal Tribunal For Territory Of Former Yugoslavia [Icty] At The United Nations Security Council

Dec 05,2012

Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me at the outset thank Judge Meron and Judge Joensen for their briefings and their assessment on the work of the two Tribunals and the Residual Mechanism. We also appreciate the briefings given by the Prosecutors of the two Tribunals. I would also like to thank Ambassador Gert Rosenthal and the delegation of Guatemala for their contribution as the Chair of the Council’s Informal Working Group on International Tribunals.


2. Mr. President, we welcome the progress made by the two Tribunals in expediting their work. We are reassured by the assessment of Judge Meron and Judge Joensen that the preparations for the commencement and the functioning of the Residual Mechanism are on track. We have noted that the Arusha Branch of the Residual Mechanism commenced its work from 1 July 2012, and hope that The Hague Branch of the Residual Mechanism will begin its work on 1 July 2013, as scheduled.


3. We appreciate that Judge Meron has undertaken a variety of reforms to improve the functioning of various sections of the Tribunal. As a result, all trials will be completed by 2013 except a few which came before it later.


4. We are happy to note that the ICTR has completed work at the trial level with respect to 92 of 93 accused persons, and the one remaining trial judgment will be delivered before the end of 2012. While appellate proceedings have been concluded in respect of 44 persons, the remaining appeals are projected to be completed by the end of 2014.


5. We also commend the efforts of the two Prosecutors for undertaking outreach initiatives, including training, aimed at strengthening the capacity of national systems to handle referred cases effectively.


6. We have listened carefully to the concerns raised by the Presidents of the two Tribunals in relation to their ability to keep pace with their work while adhering to expected timelines. The Judges have pointed out that trials and appeals continue to be affected by staffing shortages and the loss of highly efficient staff members. We share the concerns expressed by the Judges, especially on the need for retaining adequate and experienced staff.


7. Mr. President, careful consideration should be given to the suggestions made by the Judges on how to address these challenges. Any functional, operational or institutional issue in the implementation of the Completion Strategy or the Residual Mechanism should be addressed by the Council in consultation with the Council’s Informal Working Group on International Tribunals.


8. The Judges have also raised the issue concerning the relocation of acquitted persons and those who have already served their sentences. Some of them are living in safe homes in Arusha for a long time. This is an important humanitarian issue and needs to be resolved soon.


9. Mr. President, we welcome the cooperation extended by all States concerned with the Tribunals, which is vital to ensure the completion of the mandates of the Tribunals as well as for the successful implementation of the Completion Strategy and Residual Mechanism. We hope that the remaining three fugitives indicted by the ICTR would be located soon and surrendered to the Residual Mechanism to stand trial.


10. The two Tribunals should continue to implement their mandate strictly in accordance with the principles of justice, impartiality and fairness. There should be no political consideration in their work.


11. In conclusion, Mr. President, while we believe that the support of the Security Council to the two Tribunals is crucial at this critical juncture, we urge both Tribunals to take all necessary measures to keep the trial and appeal schedules on track. In this connection, we support the extension of the tenure of some of the judges as requested by the Presidents of the two Tribunals. This will pave the way for the completion of trials and appeals of the remaining accused and a smooth transition to an efficient Residual Mechanism.


I thank you.

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