5 December 2012 – Security Council – Debate on the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) - Statement by Mrs Béatrice Le Fraper, first counsellor of France to the United Nations
I thank President Meron of the International
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and
President Joensen of the International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda (ICTR) for their reports (S/2012/592 and
S/2012/594) and Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallow for
I will start by stressing the importance that France
attaches to the work of the two Tribunals, the fight
against impunity in general and the duty to remember.
Facing vast challenges, including the difficulty of
arresting suspects and the need to provide witness
protection, often over the course of many years, the
staff of the Tribunals have carried out long-term work,
paving the way for the creation of the International
Criminal Court, which has permanent worldwide
jurisdiction. We thank them.
With specifi c reference to the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, we note that the completion of its
work is on schedule, as promised. That is very positive.
We also welcome the fact that the procedure followed by
the Tribunal to preserve evidence, as called for in rule
71 bis of its Rules of Procedure and Evidence, is nearly
complete. That will facilitate proceedings in the cases
of the three high-ranking fugitives Augustin Bizimana,
Félicien Kabuga and Protais Mpiranya, who will be
tried under the International Residual Mechanism for
Criminal Tribunals once they are apprehended.
We believe that the transfer of cases to national
jurisdictions is an important part of the completion
strategy for the International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda. The President and the Prosecutor
came to France to monitor the progress of the cases
brought against Laurent Bucyibaruta and Wenceslas
Munyeshyaka under French jurisdiction. The interim
Registrar is in France this week. French authorities will
fully attend to the Tribunal’s concerns and requests
regarding the proceedings.
The Tribunal continues to face difficulties,
especially on the subject of cooperation. The President
and the Prosecutor spoke to us about the matter
of arresting of fugitives. It is the obligation of all
countries to cooperate with the ICTR, as stipulated in
the Council’s resolutions. The Council should remind
all States of that duty.
A second issue related to the cooperation with the
Tribunal is the relocation of persons it acquits or who
were convicted but have completed their sentences.
France was the first to host several individuals in its
territory at the request of the Tribunal. We support the
Tribunals in urging more States to promptly accept in
their territory the persons concerned.
I confirm that France supports the request made
earlier today for an extension of the terms of judges.
As for the ICTY, it is currently dealing with
very complex cases, which explains the delays in the
calendar. Most complex are the Šešelj, Hadžić, Mladić
and Karadžić cases. Of course, we hope that the
Tribunal will complete its work as soon as possible, but
nothing should detract from its ability to render justice
in cases so serious. In the case of the ICTY, too, we
support the requested extension of the judges’ terms.
Judgements in international criminal justice are
binding on all. It is not for States to debate them, but to
implement them. That is as true for the ad hoc Tribunals
as for the International Criminal Court. They are not an
exercise in variable geometry.
There is also an obligation to honour victims.
The ICTY rules in its judgements on the criminal
responsibility of particular individuals, but its
judgements also attest to the larger fact that in the
former Yugoslavia heinous crimes were committed by
all parties. The ICTY has categorized the Srebrenica
massacres as genocide; disarmed soldiers were subject
to illegal execution; there were campaigns of ethnic
cleansing, and minorities suffered persecutions.
All cases of crimes against civilians or against
combatants in violation of the Geneva Conventions
must be pursued. The excuse that some of the crimes in
question were committed only in reaction to attack is
not acceptable. Victims deserve for those crimes to be
recognized as such, for the perpetrators to be brought to
justice, and for they themselves to receive appropriate
reparation. The most recent judgements of the ICTY and
the widely divergent reactions to its recent acquittals
show that the Tribunal’s work still elicits strong feeling
in the region. The populations concerned must be made
to trust that justice will be done for all victims.
As the international Tribunals are in the process of
completing their work, the responsibility of the States
of the region to be active in the fight against impunity is
of the utmost importance. We were concerned that the
report gives no sense that the countries of the region are
mobilizing to pursue cases at the local level. Moreover,
regional cooperation remains insufficient.
For France, as a member of the European Union,
full cooperation with the International Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia and regional cooperation remain
major considerations, as well as essential obligations
in the framework of the Stabilization and Association
Process for candidate countries and potential candidates
In conclusion, I wish to thank the Ambassador of
Guatemala, chair of the Informal Working Group on
International Tribunals, his team, the representatives
of the Tribunals and the Office of Legal Affairs of the
Secretariat for their efforts to implement the transition
pursuant to resolution 1966 (2010).
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