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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
1. On behalf of my delegation, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to Judge Fausto Pocar on his election to the Presidency of the ICTY and wish him success on his term and future endeavors in the Tribunal. I would also like to extend my delegation’s commendation to Judge Theodore Meron for the achievements and progress the Tribunal has achieved under his leadership.
2. At the outset, I would like to thank the Presidents and Prosecutors of the two tribunals for their reports. My delegation notes with satisfaction much of the progress done since the last report, particularly the changes and new procedures implemented to increase the efficiency in the working methods of the two Tribunals.
3. On the ICTY, we await the further report of the Working Group on Speeding up Trials which focuses on improvements to pre-trial and trial practice, particularly its views on increasing the efficient disposal of pre-trial motions. We note with satisfaction that the recommendations of the Working Group on Speeding up Appeals which were implemented in September and November of 2005 have increased the efficiency of appeals proceedings before the Appeals Chamber.
4. Of particular note is the foresight shown by the court in realizing the importance of e-technology in enhancing its work. The integration of case-related documents into a central electronic database, the e-Court system, increases the accessibility of information needed in writing the judgment.
5. We take note with much satisfaction the apprehension of General Ante Gotovina who was arrested last week in the Canary Islands. We laud the efforts of the Spanish government in facilitating his arrest and transfer to the ICTY. It is through cooperative efforts among states, such as this, that perpetrators of horrific crimes against humanity are brought to justice.
6. On the ICTR, we welcome the efforts of the Prosecutor in formulating a more aggressive program for tracking and apprehension of fugitives and requesting cooperation with member states in this regard. In our last intervention, we welcomed the new procedures followed by the ICTR Chambers in restricting the length of examination-in-chief and cross-examination, without unduly deterring from principles of fair trial. These, as well as the adoption of measures to regulate the pre-trial process and to restrict the number of interlocutory appeals have greatly contributed to the efficiency in the working methods of the Rwanda Tribunal.
7. We laud all the efforts of the two tribunals in referring cases to competent national jurisdictions and undertaking measures to build local capacity of national courts. While the principal judicial purpose of the two Tribunals has been to recover the universality and equal application of law, both have also been designed to promote peace by restoring the authority of law and justice in the communities that have been victimized by such atrocities. The Tribunals are thus meant to foster national reconciliation.
8. My delegation believes that the international criminal tribunals represent fora and even symbols of transitional justice whose revelations and verdicts need to be consolidated through national prosecutions. The restoration of law and justice must be then founded and affirmed in national communities through their laws, courts and constitutions.
9. My delegation is aware that issues of justice, healing, reconciliation and accountability need to be addressed in a way that is owned by and rooted in the affected communities. Mechanisms for ensuring the engagement and participation of stake-holders across the affected countries are essential. Sustainable and effective reconciliation processes must be designed, rooted in, and owned by the people of the affected countries.
10. Building peace and reconciliation and healing from the effects of the war and violence will require sustained efforts over time. Most of all, a sincere and committed support for the people to choose and build their own future and own processes for reconciliation and healing is likewise needed. It is important to recognise that, in the long run, there can be no reconciliation without justice. For only if there is justice can true reconciliation, or social healing, occur.
11. My delegation congratulates the Tribunals for carrying out their work at full capacity and in integrating time-saving measures that do not deter from the international standards of justice and due process. My delegation is fully cognizant of the challenges and difficulties to achieve the Completion Strategy, specifically the requirement for the completion of all trials by 2008. We appeal to all States to cooperate fully with the Tribunals, specifically in bringing the fugitives to justice, as this is crucial in the achievement of the Completion Strategy. My delegation would not want to see any further adjustment to the Completion Strategy.
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