Open Debate on "International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR)"

Statement by Mr. Paulo Roberto Campos Tarrisse da Fontoura, Minister Plenipotentiary, 

Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations

New York, 13 June 2005

First of all, I would like to thank the Presidents of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, Judge Theodor Meron, and Judge Erik Møse, as well as Prosecutors Carla Del Ponte and Hassan Bubacar Jallow for their thorough reports on the level of progress achieved in the works of the two Courts and on the difficulties which are prevailing.

Almost ten years after the establishment of the ICTY and the ICTR, there is no doubt about the importance of the contribution brought by the two courts to international law. They can be seen as an example of the commitment of the international community to ensure that those responsible for the most heinous crimes that offend the very essence of human dignity answer to them in public trials. 

Mr. President,

It is necessary that the Tribunals remain committed to the goals set forth by Resolution 1534 (2004), while concentrating resources and efforts to make sure that the most senior suspects are prosecuted. 

Regarding the ICTY, the increase of almost 50% in the number of persons awaiting trial – now 51, as compared to 34 persons in the last report – will have an impact on the implementation of the completion strategy. Indeed, as Judge Morse has pointed it out in his statement, the trial at first instance may have to slip to 2009. He even proposed the construction of a fourth courtroom, based on voluntary contribution to expedite the workload in the interest of justice. In this regard, Brazil would like to reiterate that insisting on rigid deadlines as set out in the Completion Strategy could frustrate justice and the goal of ending impunity. To expedite the trials, we welcome the determination of the prosecution to refer low and medium suspects to national jurisdiction. However, certain conditions have to be met: such as the compatibility of the laws of the interested country with the Court’s Statute and the prospects for the accused to get fair trial and respect for his human rights, including that death penalty would not be imposed.

My delegation has always supported the appointments of ad litem judges as a means of keeping the current pace of work of the ICTY and we hope that the adoption of amendments 
to its Statute through resolution 1597 (2005) can enhance the level of participation of ad litem judges in the ICTY’s work. 

We encourage Member State to put forward candidates so as to proceed with the elections in the General Assembly as soon as possible. The Security Council has already postponed twice
the holding of elections due to the lack of candidatures, in accordance with the ICTY Statute.

Mr President,

Brazil notes with satisfaction that the number of fugitives remaining at large has been cut in half since the last report presented by Judge Meron to the Council in November 2004. While welcoming this major achievement, we urge States to fulfill their obligations to hand over the 10 
senior remaining fugitives, especially Rodavan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gortovina. It is not acceptable that UN members disregard their obligations under the Charter, the Tribunal Statutes, the Rules of Procedure and the relevant Security Council Resolutions. The comments made by the President of the ICTY and the Prosecutor on the increase of cooperation given to the Tribunal by States in the region, mainly Serbia and Montenegro, is a commendable development.

In this respect, my delegation praises the establishment of the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in March of this year. We also encourage the Court to pursue its effort to consolidate the capacities of the domestic criminal justice system of other countries in the region to deal with referral of indictees. 

Mr. President, 

Regarding the ICTR, Brazil welcomes the progress accomplished so far: Judge Møse informs us that, in addition to the 50 accused whose trials have been completed or are in progress, there are 16 other detainees waiting trial in the detention facility in Arusha. My delegation also welcomes the decision of the Prosecutor to refer lower and intermediate suspects to national jurisdictions while ensuring that international standards of due process and rights of the
defendants are maintained. The Prosecutor considers that more than forty suspects could be tried in national jurisdictions. To enable this referral, cooperation with neighboring 
countries, notably Rwanda, and other interested countries, basically three European States, is fundamental. 

As the workload of the Trial Chambers decreases, the focus will shift to the Appeal Chamber, where it is anticipated an increase in its work. My delegation agrees that the number of judges will need to be reviewed at some stage in the future and we will study attentively the periodic reports of the Tribunal to the Security Council in order to follow up the evolving scenario. 

Mr. President,

Considering the prospects of the completion strategy for both tribunals, Brazil understands it is essential that the Tribunal continue to rely on adequate resources and personnel to perform their functions. Financial difficulties present a threat to the accomplishment of their duties and the ability to meet the Completion Strategies. Therefore, Brazil strongly encourages Member States to meet their assessed contributions as a matter of urgency. 

The Tribunals of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda constitute already a remarkable achievement in the fight against impunity and we are convinced that such experience will definitely contribute to strengthen the activities of the International Criminal Court.