NEW YORK, 30 APRIL 1998
STATEMENT BY Ms. ANA GOMES, REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3877th MEETING (the creation of a third Trial Chamber in the International Tribunal for Rwanda)
The International Tribunal for Rwanda was established in 1994 to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The creation of this Tribunal should be seen as part of the response of the international community to the tragedy that occurred in the Great Lakes region. It is no doubt contributing to the restoration of peace and justice in that region.
But the International Tribunal was meant to serve, above all, as a means to enable as much as possible the redressing of the gross violations perpetrated. We cannot forget how important this is for those who survived and suffered the effects of those blatant human rights violations. We also recognize that the trials of the persons responsible for them will serve as a clear signal to the international community: crimes such as those perpetrated in Rwanda are simply not admissible and will not be tolerated; impunity cannot continue.
The same views and goals lead us today to adopt this draft resolution. Justice has to be done, and has to be done without delay. Those accused must be tried fairly and promptly. We are extremely concerned about the large number of people detained and waiting for trial in Rwanda. The Council is aware of its responsibility to ensure these rights of the accused and does not forget that justice delayed is justice denied.
We know the difficulties faced by the International Tribunal, and we recognize the efforts put forward by all its magistrates and personnel to overcome them. We believe that the Council, in establishing this important judicial mechanism, cannot overlook the need to continue to provide them with the necessary means to carry out their tasks.
The creation of a third Trial Chamber, which is the object of the draft resolution before the Council, is the appropriate response at this moment. We are confident that this measure will result in improving the efficiency of the Tribunal. In taking this measure, we are also contributing to redressing a horrifying tragedy and thus to the restoration of peace, justice and security in the Great Lakes region.