Speech

"Through your efforts we will hold to account the perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes of the 20th century."

Statement by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN, at the Security Council Debate on ICTY and ICTR

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Thank you Mr President.

I thank the Tribunal and Mechanism Presidents and Prosecutors for their presentations of their reports. Let me begin by emphasising the UK’s continued support for the important work of the ICTY, the ICTR and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Through your efforts we will hold to account the perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes of the 20th century.

On the ICTY, we are pleased that the appeals of Popovic et al and Tolimir have now been completed. We hope that the timetable for the Karadzic trial is maintained, and that a means can be found to complete the Hadzic trial. Now that the Office of the Prosecutor has filed a motion to proceed in Hadzic, we look forward to hearing the Trial Chamber’s decision on that soon.

On the Mladic case, we recognise the importance of new evidence presented in that trial. And we now look forward to the case’s timely resolution. We note that the judgment in Seselj is due at the end of 2015 and we also understand the complexities with his revoked provisional release. We hope that the remaining three appeals can also be completed to the timetable in the ICTY report. We encourage the Tribunal to continue with its efforts to conclude its work in an expeditious and timely manner.

Mr President,

It is encouraging that the Office of the Prosecutor for the ICTY remains satisfied with its cooperation with authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia and the UK welcomes their continued co-operation. It is also positive that the search for missing persons has been reinvigorated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We support the Prosecutor’s call for accelerated searches for, and exhumation of, mass graves and identification of remains. And we urge the Bosnia and Herzegovina Governments, at State and Entity levels, to support those efforts.

However, the Prosecutor again raises concerns over the significant challenges which remain with respect to regional prosecutions of war crimes, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This risks breaching the timelines of the National War Crimes strategy. We are concerned that only a fraction of cases have been prosecuted at the national level and that regional war crimes prosecutions continue to face systemic and persistent challenges. Mr President, Turning to the ICTR, we are pleased that the Tribunal remains on track to complete its one remaining case – Butare – at the end of 2015, with formal closure of ICTR by the end of this year. But the failure to apprehend the nine fugitives remains a cause for concern. We encourage all states to provide their full support to Rwanda and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to ensure their arrest. The work of ensuring accountability cannot be completed until these individuals have been brought to justice.

We thank the ICTR for their efforts in trying to resolve the problem of relocating the individuals in Arusha. And we are pleased that the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals has adopted a strategic plan on this. We also welcome discussions on reparations for victims. As the Rwandan Government remains in consultation with the International Organisation for Migration on a report with recommendations, we would be grateful for a progress update on this. Moving on to the Mechanism, we welcome the news that it has delivered its first appeal judgement and is now reviewing referred cases. And we also commend the significant progress on administrative issues, including the start of work on the permanent premises in Arusha.

Mr President,

We commend both Tribunals for the ongoing transition of activities to the Mechanism. A smooth transition is a priority and we encourage the Tribunals and the Mechanism to continue to work together to meet the joint aims of the completion strategies.

Let me close by echoing the Prosecutor Brammertz’s call for the international community to use the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide to reaffirm its commitment to achieving justice. This anniversary should be foremost a time to pay respect to the victims and their families, as well as to all innocent victims of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 3 June 2015