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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations - Security Council: Reports of the ICTY and the ICTR (New York)

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations

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Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Montenegro and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.


Mr. President,

At the outset, we would like to express our appreciation to you, Mr. President and to the Presidents of both Tribunals Judge Pocar and Judge Byron and the Prosecutors Mr. Brammertz and Mr. Jallow for providing today's briefings on the implementation of the respective Tribunals' Completion Strategies.


Mr. President,

The European Union wishes to reiterates its strong support to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). During the years of their existence, Tribunals have brought an important contribution to international law, and in particular to international humanitarian and criminal law. The work of both Tribunals has shown that international criminal law is an enforceable body of law.  They have sent a clear signal that a transparent and effective international criminal justice is viable. By bringing to justice persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and by rendering justice to the victims, the Tribunals have invaluably contributed to the restoration of peace and stability, and to the promotion of the rule of law in the affected areas. Achievements of the Tribunals have clearly proven that peace and justice can go hand-in-hand and it remains our firm conviction that they should go hand in hand. In our view the Tribunals have invaluably contributed to the restoration of peace and stability.

The European Union welcomes this meeting of the Security Council as an important opportunity to consider the next steps in ensuring the criminal accountability of persons responsible for crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia since 1991, and in Rwanda and its neighboring States in 1994. Shocking crimes, as we have seen in these conflicts, should not go unpunished and the perpetrators of those crimes must be held accountable for their acts.


Mr. President,

The EU deeply regrets that despite continuing appeals of international community 17 indictees are still at large, 4 indicted by ICTY and 13 indicted by ICTR, and among them some of the key persons  allegedly responsible such as Ratko Mladić, Radovan Karadžić and Felicien Kabuga. Since the last Completion Strategy report only one fugitive has been arrested.  While EU commends the arrest of Mr. Callixte Nzabonimana, a top level fugitive, by Tanzanian authorities at the same time it urges all States to immediately and unconditionally cooperate with both Tribunals in full adherence with their obligations under the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The EU remains absolutely committed to ensuring that all remaining fugitive indictees face international justice. This is the only way to achieve the key objective of the Tribunals of bringing justice, peace and reconciliation to the affected societies.


Mr. President,

Full cooperation with the Prosecutor's Offices of both Tribunals by providing access to archives and documents, access to and protection of witnesses, and in particular, tracking, arresting and surrendering the remaining fugitives is paramount for the successful completion process. We call on all those involved to redouble their efforts to expedite the arrest and surrender of the remaining fugitive indictees. In the context of ICTY, the EU remains absolutely committed to seeing all four remaining indictees face international justice. The EU regrets that Serbia’s cooperation during the last reporting period concerning the apprehension of fugitives remains unsatisfactory. Statements made by Serbian President Tadić following the recent elections on making the co-operation with the ICTY one of priorities of the new Government are encouraging. It must be emphasized that full cooperation with the ICTY is a state responsibility, regardless of which government is in office. The EU takes note that much work still remains to be done to facilitate cooperation between States of the region in the investigation and prosecution of alleged war criminals.The EU calls upon States in the region, in particular Kenya, to fully cooperate with the ICTR according to their legal responsibilities.

At this occasion, let me remind that the EU has adopted three Common Positions and a Council Regulation in order to support the effective implementation of the mandate of the ICTY by imposing the freezing of funds and economic resources[1] and restrictions on admission of persons who help persons indicted by the ICTY to evade justice[2]


Mr. President,

The EU commends both Tribunals for the ongoing efforts to take all possible measures, including additional hearings during this summer, to complete all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008 and to complete all work in 2010, pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolutions 1503 and 1534.  In particular, the EU welcomes the recent adoption of the Security Council Resolution 1800, allowing Secretary General to temporarily exceed the maximum of twelve ad litem judges provided under Article 12 (1) of the ICTY's Statute to a maximum of sixteen in order to expedite current proceedings. The EU further welcomes the decision to reconstitute the Working Groups on speeding up Trials and Appeals and looks forward to the final conclusion of the judicial activities in the next Tribunals reports. However, the EU takes note of the estimated delay to the original completion strategy deadlines due to a number of factors, including the late capture and transfer of fugitive indictees.  The EU urges the Tribunals to continue to identify further reforms to complete its work as efficiently and promptly as possible.

The EU further welcomes the work which both the ICTY and ICTR have undertaken on residual issues, including identifying which functions need to continue after the two Tribunals complete their work and the EU welcomes the discussions under Belgian leadership of these issues within the Informal Security Council WG on International Tribunals. The EU, and its member States, stand ready to work with the Council to find the most appropriate cost-effective solutions regarding the residual and legacy issues, which would both address questions of practical nature as well as preserve the immense achievements of both Tribunals and would secure their long-term legacy.


Mr. President,

We acknowledge that the completion strategy has positive impacts on the national judicial systems and consequently its societies. EU welcomes the creation of specialized institutions for the prosecution and trial of intermediate and lower-rank accused in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. EU also fully supports the strengthening of the Rwandan judicial system and the improvement of its capacity to start prosecuting cases awaiting referral from the ICTR. 

We would like to underline that national judicial authorities need to exercise fair judicial proceedings and to provide that sentences are served in accordance with the appropriate security standards. The EU also stresses the importance of adequate measures for witness protection. Therefore the EU attaches importance to the continued monitoring of referred trials to ensure they are conducted in accordance with international standards. The legacy of the Tribunals must be preserved through continued domestic prosecution and trials of the crimes. At the same time, while transfer of intermediate and lower-rank cases is a feasible solution in the light of an ongoing completion process, the EU remains convinced that high - level remaining fugitives, once apprehended, must be prosecuted and tried before an international tribunal. There should be no impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The EU also takes note of the need to seek additional avenues for the transfer of convicted persons from the United Nations Detention Unit. In that respect EU welcomes recent signing of agreements on enforcement of sentences by Estonia and Slovakia and calls on other member states to follow that example.


Mr. President,

International community must strive to secure the archives of the Tribunals, and thereby protect the long-term legacy of the Tribunals and the credibility of the international justice. In that respect, the EU welcomes the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Archives (ACA) chaired by Judge Richard Goldstone and looks forward to the recommendations on the location and management of their archives after completion of the Tribunals. The EU further welcomes the Tribunals' preparation of the manual in order to identify the challenges that Judges, Prosecutors and Defense Counsel face in the conduct of war crimes cases to gather best-practices for the future international criminal justice.


Mr. President,

Finally, the EU commends the Outreach Programme of the Tribunals that disseminate the work of the Tribunals to the wider population in order to assist in achieving our key objective that is truth-telling and reconciliation processes in the respective post-conflict regions and consequently to guarantee peace and security in the international community as a whole. The EU stands ready to take its part of responsibility to achieve these objectives.

Thank you Mr. President.


* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

[1] Common Position 2004/694/CFSP (OJ L 315, 14.10.2004, p. 52); Common Position 2007/635/CFSP (OJ L 256, 2.10.2007, p. 30); Council Regulation (EC) No 1763/2004 (OJ L 315, 14.10.2004, p. 14)

[2] Common Position 2004/293/CFSP (OJ L 94, 31.3.2004, p. 65); Common Position 2008/223/CFSP (OJ L 70, 14.3.2007, p. 22)


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Date: 05.06.2008