Let me start by expressing Norway’s continuous support and full recognition of the achievements and the high standards of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, as reflected in the Tribunals’ well reasoned judgements and in the annual reports before us.
We would like to thank the Presidents of the Tribunals, Judges Pocar and Møse for their detailed and informative reports, which reflect the progress made during the period under review.
The Tribunals have made a crucial contribution to international criminal law and developed a jurisprudence that has set standards for national, as well as other international tribunals. By effectively prosecuting the perpetrators of the most severe international crimes, the Tribunals have not only contributed to justice for victims in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, but also made significant achievements in the fight against impunity for mass atrocities in general.
Norway is pleased to note that both Tribunals are fully committed to meeting the completion strategy targets approved by the Security Council.
We commend the measures taken to increase the efficiency of the Tribunals and we encourage continuing this positive development, whilst at the same time ensuring that due process and fundamental legal principles are realised.
According to the report of the Rwanda Tribunal, the revised completion strategy which was submitted to the Security Council on 29 May 2006, confirms that the tribunal is on course to complete trials involving 65 to 70 persons by 2008 depending on progress in present and future cases.
The Rwanda Tribunal has delivered three judgements in major trials during the period of review, bringing the total to 22 judgements involving 28 accused since 1997. In addition, trials involving 27 accused are in progress, thus bringing the number of accused whose trials have been completed or are in progress to 55. The Appeals Chamber delivered an appeal judgement during the period under review. The Yugoslavia Tribunal has continued to operate at full capacity. Six trials have been running simultaneously and three trials of multi-accused, involving 21 accused, commenced earlier than anticipated.
We welcome the decision by the Security Council to allow the Yugoslavia Tribunal ad litem judges to serve as Reserve Judges, as well as the decision by the Council and the General Assembly to extend the term of office for the permanent judges of the Rwanda Tribunal. Furthermore, we support the extension of the terms of office for all 18 ad litem judges of this tribunal until the end of 2008.
It is critical to the success of both Tribunals that all States are committed to the fulfilment of their mandates and provide concrete and effective co-operation in accordance with their legal obligations.
We appeal to all States to demonstrate, not only in words but also in practice, their fullest cooperation with the Tribunals. As the completion of the Tribunals is coming to a close, the States’ unreserved contribution is crucial.
It is of the outmost importance that all States honour their financial commitments and pay their assessed contributions on time. Furthermore, Member States must fulfil their obligations to arrest and transfer fugitives to the Tribunals without delay.
There can be no doubt that the failure to arrest Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, as well as Félicien Kabuga who is indicted by the ICTR, remains a serious concern.
We urge the involved states to fully co-operate with the Tribunal. It is not acceptable that perpetrators of serious international crimes are avoiding legal proceedings. The main mission of the Tribunals will not be fulfilled unless the highest ranking indictees are brought to justice.
Norway has an agreement regarding enforcement of sentences with the Yugoslavia Tribunal and cooperate closely in several fields with the Rwanda Tribunal. There is a precarious need of States that are willing to enter into agreements regarding enforcement of judgements.
It is unreasonable that today only few Member States shoulder this important responsibility.
We strongly support the Tribunals’ external activities and their involvement and co-operation with local judiciaries.
All states must honour their international obligation to cooperate with regard to requests for full and effective assistance to the Tribunals. This applies with regard to witnesses, giving financial and material support as well as providing practical assistance in the enforcement of sentences.
All States should prove their commitment to the Tribunals by their active and concrete action.
Norway will stand by our long-term commitment to the successful completion of the missions assignees to the two Tribunals by the Security Council.
Thank you, Madame President.