Thank you, Mr. President.
We wish to thank Tribunal Presidents Khan and Meron, and Prosecutors Jallow and Brammertz, for their briefings today. We also wish to congratulate President Meron on his recent reelection as President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and wish him much success. In addition, we thank former President Robinson for his valuable service at that Tribunal.
Mr. President, since we last addressed the Council on the Tribunals, shortly after the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the last remaining fugitive under ICTY indictment – Goran Hadzic – was captured. We mark their capture, arrest, and transfer as one step – albeit a significant one – on the path to justice and reconciliation. But we understand that this is only one step on a long road to peace and justice.
Even as the ICTY is completing its mandate, and even as we look forward to the start of the Residual Mechanism, the ICTY is extremely busy, with proceedings in 15 cases against 35 persons. We are confident that President Meron and the Tribunal as a whole can meet the challenge of concluding those trials fairly and efficiently, while also coordinating the transfer of key functions from the Tribunal to the Residual Mechanism.
The ICTY recently held a conference to discuss what kind of legacy it is leaving for future generations. Among other things, the ICTY has shown that the international community can establish an effective judicial institution that will bring to justice those who perpetrate atrocities. The ICTY has in large part been a success because of the hard day-to-day work of its judges, prosecutors and staff, who are committed to their core mission of being an effective court and dispensing justice. The ICTY has shown that it can provide fair trials, that war crimes fugitives can* escape justice, and that victims can now expect that those who commit crimes against civilians will be held to account.
Again, we note with appreciation the progress the Tribunal has made in ensuring that its procedures are both expeditious and fair – including doubling-up on staff and judges such that they work on more than one trial at a time. We note with appreciation the measures President Meron has outlined here today, and welcome his continued efforts to improve the work of the Tribunal.
Mr. President, the United States continues to call on states in the former Yugoslavia to cooperate fully with the ICTY. We encourage the Government of Serbia to continue its efforts to determine how Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic were able to avoid justice for so many years, and to take appropriate measures against their support networks. We also look forward to cooperation from the relevant countries in the region on the apprehension of Radovan Stankovic, who escaped in 2007 from prison in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, we note the Government of Croatia’s record of cooperation with the ICTY, and urge it to work to support the ICTY and continue to cooperate with the Prosecution.
Turning to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the United States welcomes the June 24, 2011 judgment in the case against the former Minister of Women’s Development and five others. The conviction of the former Minister of Women’s Development is a significant milestone because it demonstrates that rape is a crime of violence that has been used as a tool of war by both men and women. The United States also welcomes the November 17, 2011 judgment in the case against the former Mayor of Kivumu, who had authority over the local police, yet failed to prevent the massacre of more than 1,500 people.
When we last addressed these issues in the Council in June, the United States welcomed the then-recent apprehension of fugitive Bernard Munyagishari in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, 198 days after his arrest, the United States is discouraged that the nine remaining fugitives remain at large. Ensuring completion of the work of the Tribunal and smooth and efficient transition to the Residual Mechanism is not only the work of the Tribunal. Every member state has an obligation to apprehend the remaining fugitives. The United States, along with many others, is making a concerted effort to assist other nations in bringing these fugitives to justice. We ask all states to redouble their efforts and cooperate fully with the ICTR to locate and apprehend the remaining fugitives.
On behalf of the United States, let me thank the UN Office of Legal Affairs for its dedication and service to these Tribunals. Let me again also thank the Tribunal Presidents, Prosecutors, Registrars, and their staffs for all that they do to promote justice under international law for the victims of war crimes and mass atrocities.
Due to the hard work of the Office of the ICTY Prosecutor and the Serbian authorities, all of the fugitives indicted by the ICTY have been apprehended. We now hope that all parties will make the necessary but difficult decisions to actively encourage interethnic reconciliation by speaking to their communities of the rewards of peace. With the ICTR, the situation is slightly different, since so many indictees remain at large. We pledge our assistance in bringing the remaining ICTR fugitive indictees to justice as quickly as possible, and our doors are always open for consultation with the ICTR.
Since the end of World War II, the United States government has viewed justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide as an essential element for peace and stability. We take this opportunity to affirm again those convictions, and to applaud all those who contribute to this important task.
Thank you, Mr. President.