I have the honour to give this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway.
After almost 20 years of effective operation as ad hoc international criminal tribunals, the ICTY and ICTR are now in the process of completing their tasks. At the ICTY, all 161 indicted persons have been accounted for. The ICTY has concluded proceedings against 136 of the 161 persons indicted, and there are no outstanding indictments for violations of core statutory crimes. Similarly, the ICTR has completed all cases at the trial level, and made significant progress at the appeals level. Several cases have been referred for proceedings in Rwanda. A Residual Mechanism (MICT) has been established to finalise the remaining cases and judicial tasks of both Tribunals, with a branch in Arusha and The Hague respectively.
These are significant achievements that move the ad hoc tribunals closer to their ultimate goal of mandate completion. We commend both tribunals for having made substantial efforts in successfully dealing with their case load despite various challenges. Trials and proceedings have been conducted under high standards of rule of law, and valuable contributions to the development of international criminal law have been made.
It is important to recall, however, that both tribunals are still in function, and in need of continued support from the international community.
The remaining cases at the ICTY entail a substantial workload for the Tribunal’s staff. Despite resolutions by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations on the issue of staff retention at the Tribunal, staff shortages remain a serious challenge and this is affecting the pace of the Tribunal’s continuing trials and appeals. We would also like to point to the ongoing work of ICTY investigators in localising mass graves in the region. These efforts are crucial to ensure closure for survivors and families of victims, and proper documentation of the crimes committed.
Under the framework of the ICTR, three fugitives remain to be arrested and brought to the Residual Mechanism. We strongly urge all States, in particular in the Great Lakes region, to intensify their efforts to ensure the arrest of the remaining fugitives.
The Nordic countries wish to emphasise the important task of ensuring successful transition of cases to national jurisdictions, both from the ICTY to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, and from the ICTR to Rwanda.
Such referrals help to strengthen the capacity of those jurisdictions to prosecute violations of international law, and to reinforce the rule of law in the States concerned. It is also important to give more attention to ensuring that victims receive effective reparation for their suffering. Having a firm belief in the importance of justice for ensuring lasting peace, we would like underline the need for continued capacity-building and support to national jurisdictions both in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.
Thank you, Mr President.