"OPEN DEBATE ON THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT"
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG
PUBLIC MEETING ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND RWANDA
SECURITY COUNCIL, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 15, 2005
I would like to congratulate Judge Fausto Pocar on his election to the Presidency of the ICTY, last November. I thank Judge Pocar, 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 work of the two Courts, as well as on the still prevailing difficulties and current efforts to tackle them.
The ICTY and the ICTR should be seen as a successful example of the commitment of the United Nations to ensure that those responsible for the most heinous crimes that offend the very essence of human dignity answer to them in public trials. It is necessary that the Tribunals remain committed to the goals set forth by Resolution 1534 (2004), while concentrating resources and efforts to promote justice in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Concerning the ICTY, the arrest of Ante Gotovina, in Spain, early this month is a major step in the fight against impunity in the former Yugoslavia. States in former Yugoslavia - especially the Republika Srpska and Serbia and Montenegro - should intensify, as required, their cooperation with the Court regarding the arrest of the remaining high-level accused, such as Radovan Karadzic and Ratzo Mladic.
Brazil would like to reiterate that rigid deadlines as set out in the Completion Strategy may frustrate justice, rather than assist the international community to end impunity. Yet, my delegation would like to commend the President of the ICTY, and his predecessor, Judge Meron, for their efforts to accelerate the proceedings and trials in the ICTY while meeting the highest standards of international justice and due process of law. The Working Groups on Speeding Up Appeals and Trials, the joinder of cases and the e-Court system, are positive initiatives that - in bringing efficiency to the work of the Tribunal - contribute to preserve the goals of the completion strategy.
My delegation is also pleased to know that the adoption of resolution 1597 - that removed the prohibition on the re-election of ad litem judges - has contributed to the efficient functioning of the Tribunal. In the struggle to keep the success of the completion strategy, we would like to stress the need for enhanced cooperation among the organs of the Tribunal - the Chambers, Registry and Prosecution.
Judge Pocar reports that the Tribunal has been careful to ensure that a fair trial will be accorded to the defendants transferred to competent national jurisdiction. In this respect, we understand that initiatives in capacity-building - particular in strengthening the rule of law in the former Yugoslavia - greatly contribute to reconcile the Court’s concerns between the referral of cases involving intermediate and lower ranking accused and the need to attain justice.
Regarding the ICTR, Judge Møse informed the Council, in his sixth report, that the total number of accused whose trials have been completed or are in progress totalizes now fifty-two. The number of the accused still at large, however, is a reason of concern and for that my delegation supports the Prosecutor efforts to visit Member States in search of political cooperation for the arrest and transfer of fugitives.
We also welcome the decision of the Prosecutor to transfer non-senior detainees to national jurisdictions whenever the country’s judiciary structure so allows.
The report mentions that, as the workload of the Trial Chambers decreases, focus will shift to the Appeal Chamber, where it is anticipated an increase in work. My delegation agrees that the number of judges will need to be reviewed at some stage in the future and the periodic reports of the Court will help in the assessment of this evolving situation.
The international community faces the challenge of adapting the inherent limitations of ad hoc judicial arrangements to the principle of due process and the rights of both victims and those accused as well as the overall objective of bringing impunity to an end. Considering the prospects of the completion strategy for both tribunals, Brazil understands it is essential that the Tribunals 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.