The statement was delivered by Councellor Mari Skåre under Agenda Item 121: Financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and Agenda Item 122: Financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on November 24th
First, let me reiterate Norway’s strong and continued support for the work of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. These Tribunals make important contributions to the search for truth and the fight against impunity for the most serious international crimes. They represent effective systems of international criminal law and leave a legacy of international jurisprudence that can guide other courts, including the International Criminal Court, and deter the commission of the worst crimes of international concern.
We have studied carefully the first performance reports of the Rwanda and Yugoslav Tribunals for the biennium 2004-2005, as well as the other relevant reports before us.
At the last General Assembly, Norway expressed some doubts as to the desirability of maintaining biennial budgeting at the Tribunals. We have since then received the report of the Secretary-General which underlines the advantages of biennial budgeting. We also note the letter of 9 July 2004 from the Chairman of the Board of Auditors to the Secretary General, in support of the conclusions of the report. Furthermore, the ACABQ report supports the proposal to maintain the biennial format for the presentation of the budgets for the Tribunals.
On the basis of these conclusions, we are convinced that biennial budgeting will bear advantages for the administrative planning of the Tribunals. Biennial budgeting will enable the Tribunals to focus more attention on long-term planning, instead of having to spend limited administrative resources on more repetitive tasks. A return to annual budgets could as well have a negative impact on staff morale and, by extension, the completion strategy, while staff could only be offered contracts for a maximum of one year. We see the merits in the arguments favouring maintaining biennial budgets and can therefore align ourselves with the conclusions of the report of the Secretary-General.
We commend both Tribunals on their efforts to put the Completion Strategies into effect. The Tribunals have increased their efficiency significantly and both Tribunals are on schedule. Never before has the judicial output been so high.
The financial situation of the Tribunals is however deeply worrying, and could severely threaten the implementation of the Completion Strategies. The Tribunals are committed to meeting the completion strategies. It is our obligation to secure that they are provided with the necessary resources approved by the General Assembly. We therefore reiterate our appeal to all States that have not yet done so to honour their financial commitments, and to pay their assessed contributions as soon as possible.
The financial situation has led to a freeze on new recruitment, which prevents both Tribunals from recruiting and even replacing essential personnel. Both Tribunals are having severe difficulties retaining qualified staff, in particular in the prosecution divisions where the situation is nearing the critical point. Both the ACABQ and the Board of Auditors are concerned about the negative impacts of the current freeze on the completion strategy schedule. We share these concerns. The issue of relief measures must be addressed as a matter of urgency, including incentives to retain staff.
At the last General Assembly, my delegation welcomed the decision of the Security Council in its resolution 1523 (2003), to increase the number of ad litem judges sitting at the Rwanda Tribunal at any one time from five to nine. Moreover, ad litem judges would be allowed to adjudicate in pre-trial proceedings. We consider the amendments essential to ensure the timely completion of the mandate of the Tribunal.
We are therefore somewhat disappointed to learn that the remaining four ad litem judges arrived in Arusha as late as in September this year, due to the fact that none of the permanent judges were available to sit jointly with the new ad litem judges.
The eight trials currently in progress before the Rwanda Tribunal are taking place in three courtrooms only. More courtroom capacity would be an important element in the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy. Due to the current budgetary constraint, an additional courtroom must be based on voluntary contributions. Norway is therefore pleased to be able to finance the construction of a fourth courtroom at the ICTR. This contribution is a testimony of our continuing strong support for the Tribunal, which was underlined by Norwegian Prime Minister Bondevik’s visit to the Tribunal on 11 October.
We continue to be troubled over the fact that there are still a large number of individuals, who continue to evade justice. Norway welcomes the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council in March of resolution 1534 (2004) reaffirming the need to intensify efforts to arrest and transfer the main fugitive indictees, including Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina, to the Yugoslavia Tribunal, and Felicien Kabuga to the Rwanda Tribunal, for trial. Unless the highest-ranking indictees are brought to justice, the main mission of the Tribunals will not be fulfilled.
We welcome the Tribunals’ detailed analysis regarding the resource requirements for the Investigations Division for 2005. We consider the proposals adequate for the effective implementation of the Completion Strategies, which calls on the Tribunals to take all possible measures to complete investigations by the end of 2004. We commend the efforts of both Tribunals in streamlining and rationalising the activities of the Investigations Division, and support the conclusions of the ACABQ to approve the proposed resource requirements.
To conclude, I would like to stress the need for continued close collaboration and co-ordination between the two Tribunals in order to complete successfully the mission assigned to them by the Security Council.
Let me further extend my thanks to all the members of the Tribunals for their tireless efforts in carrying out our common task. I can assure you that we will stand by our long-term commitment to the successful completion of the missions assigned to the two Tribunals by the Security Council.