YCTY / YCTR - France attaches importance to ensuring that the Tribunals should continue to render justice (12/10/2014)
Statement by Mr. Tanguy Stehelin, Legal Councellor of France to the United Nations- Security Council - 10 December 2014
I would like to thank President Meron, President Joensen and Prosecutors Jallow and Brammertz for their briefings. France reiterates its thanks to all the staff of the Tribunals for their work to carry out the procedures to a successful end. We note the importance of the mobilization of all parties to respect the calendar defined by the Council, with reference to both trials and appeals before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The ICTY and the ICTR branches of the Residual Mechanism have begun the transition, so that the work of justice can continue and come to a conclusion.
France attaches particular importance to ensuring, as part of the completion strategy, that the Tribunals should continue to render justice while fully respecting procedural guarantees. While there are many reasons for the delays relative to the deadlines in resolution 1966 (2010), the delays mean that we must redouble our attention on the effectiveness of the work and the use of the resources allocated. Bearing in mind that double requirement, France can support the extension of the mandates of the judges and prosecutors beyond 31 December 2014.
This debate is an opportunity for the Council to welcome the significant work carried out by the Tribunals
aimed at combating impunity and promoting reconciliation and for us to identify the work that now rests with the States to carry out, so that the work of justice accomplished can be recorded for history. In 2013, we marked the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 827 (1993), establishing the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. In 20 years, as part of the resolute action undertaken by the European Union, regional political dialogue has made significant progress. Through its judgements, its decisive weight with regard to cooperation and criminal assistance between the various States’ prosecution authorities aimed at prosecuting criminals, and through its effectiveness in dealing with 166 people who have had arrest warrants issued for them and were arrested and tried, the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has served as a guarantee for the right to the truth, for the fight against impunity and for a legacy that has played a central role in regional developments. From now on, it will be up to the States concerned to continue to build up the rule of law, which is what will ensure the independence of judicial power. Because of that, trying so-called mid-level criminals must remain a national priority supported by sustained regional cooperation and involvement.
Concerning the ICTR, 2014 witnessed the celebration of the Tribunal’s twentieth anniversary. The ceremonies provided an opportunity to recall the importance of the work of the ICTR, which has positioned justice at the heart of national reconciliation and reconstruction. France will continue to support the Tribunal and the International Residual Mechanism on issues that have been raised this morning, particularly the arrest of the remaining nine fugitives on whom the Tribunal has issued warrants. France recalls the obligation of all States to cooperate with the Tribunal and the Mechanism in that regard. I would also like to point out that the two cases referred by the ICTR to French jurisdictions, those of Mr. Bucyibaruta and Mr. Munyeshyaka, have been addressed with all the necessary diligence and rigour. Finally, France, which recently hosted two persons, would like to emphasize the importance of relocating those persons acquitted by the ICTR or who have served their time.
The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda constitute a major phase of the fight against impunity. As they implement their completion strategies for their work, it is appropriate now to appreciate their juridical legacy as much as their efforts on behalf of justice, and which should now be kept alive, from the point of view of memory as well as the academic record. That has also demanded continued vigilance in protecting witnesses and focusing on the rights of victims. At the Assembly of the States Parties to the International Criminal Court, which is in session right now, the general debate will be an opportunity for those 122 States parties to recall their support for the fight against impunity and for pursuing the demands of justice.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Ambassador of Chile, Chair of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, and his entire team, particularly for their efforts on the issue of settling the question of the management of the completion strategy. I would also like to thank the representatives of the International Tribunals and the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat for their work in implementing the transition provided for in resolutions 1966 (2010) and 2130 (2013).