NEW YORK, 13 MAY 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3878th MEETING (International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia)
My delegation associates itself fully with the statement delivered by the representative of the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union.
As a sponsor of the draft resolution before the Council today, Portugal reaffirms its full support for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Tribunal plays a crucial role in the significant efforts that the international community is making to help peace take root in the former Yugoslavia. In Bosnia today, it is the Stabilization Force (SFOR) that ensures a secure environment for the implementation of the Peace Agreement. Portugal continues to field troops in that Force.
But the mere absence of war does not make peace. In paving the way towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Bosnia, the High Representative is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement, in which the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, particularly, the United Nations International Police Task Force, play a crucial role. There too, Portugal has police observers on the ground.
However, this long process of peace-building must also be based on reconciliation among the various communities. This is where the Tribunal comes into play. In seeking to prosecute, try and convict war criminals, the international community, through the Tribunal, is laying a foundation of justice which in turn will foment trust and hope in Bosnia and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, where former neighbours became enemies, and where former enemies must now become neighbours once more.
For this entire process to be effective, the Tribunal must be given the necessary means to function, and this is the reason for todays draft resolution. Through the Secretary-General, the President of the Tribunal, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, has requested that the Security Council establish a third trial chamber. This would be decided in the draft resolution before us. We strongly support these additional resources for the Tribunal. Portugal is honoured to have a judge serving on the Tribunal.
Security Council resolutions demand that States fully cooperate with the Tribunal in the fulfilment of its mandate. We strongly support the appeals to that end.
Finally, I would like to say that the important work of this Tribunal and of the International Tribunal for Rwanda points ever more emphatically to the need for a permanent court to bring the perpetrators of war crimes and other serious international crimes to justice. Portugal will strongly support the establishment of an international criminal court this summer at Rome.