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3 December 2009 - Security Council: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia - Statement by Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

At the outset, I would like to congratulate our Austrian colleague for the way in which he presided over the Council in November. I would also like to convey to you, Mr. President, our best wishes for your presidency for the month of December. We know that you will carry out these functions with the necessary firmness and effectiveness. I would like to add that the fact that your presidency is being conducted in French will only lend more clarity, logic and elegance to our work. I see that my statement has earned unanimous approval around the table.

I would like to thank the Presidents and Prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for their presentation of their reports. France endorses the statement to be made by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union.

The briefings we have heard confirm that the deadlines set in the completion strategies for the Tribunals will be missed and that their work will continue beyond 2010. The Security Council must consider the consequences of this. The first thing to do is to give the Tribunals the means to complete their trials and appeals as soon as possible, in full compliance with the rules of fairness and justice. The mandate of the appeal judges must be immediately extended to 31 December 2011. The Tribunals must be able to exceed the authorized tenure for ad litem judges by one more year. We hope that, in these decisions, the Security Council will make clear its resolve to ensure that the Tribunals will be able to bring their work to a successful conclusion. Nevertheless, the delay in implementing the Tribunals’ completion strategies remains of concern, and we ask the Tribunals to redouble their efforts to step up the effectiveness and pace of the work of the Trial and Appeal Chambers.

The work of the Prosecutors is particularly essential to tracking fugitives, whose arrest and transfer to the Tribunals is a priority. The fact that some accused remain at large is one of the major areas of uncertainty hindering the completion strategies. The mission of the Tribunals will not be accomplished so long as these individuals have not been arrested and tried.

In this regard, the Serbian authorities’ arrest of Mr. Karadžić was a major step forward for the ICTY. We now await the arrests of Mr. Mladić and Mr. Hadžić. Serbia must continue on the path that its Government has recently taken. Full cooperation with the ICTY, be it in tracking fugitives or bringing them to justice, is an essential element of the stabilization and association strategy being pursued by the European Union for all countries in the region of the former Yugoslavia. We trust in the efforts of Croatia to resolve pending issues.

With respect to the ICTR, we commend the arrest and transfer of two fugitives to Arusha in the period under review. Eleven of the accused, including three of highest rank, remain at large. We call on all concerned States to provide Prosecutor Jallow with the necessary cooperation. We reiterate our request to Kenya to fulfil its obligations with respect to the arrest and transfer of Félicien Kabuga to the ICTR. We welcome Rwanda’s efforts to overcome legal obstacles to the referral of cases to its jurisdiction, allowing it to try lower-rank fugitives. Ensuring the protection of witnesses remains critical.

I would recall that, if the problem of fugitives is not resolved quickly, it will have to be addressed in the context of the legacy of the Tribunals. Indeed, it would be unacceptable for the Tribunals’ closure to entail impunity for those who are at large. This function will fall to the residual mechanism carrying out essential functions once the Tribunals are closed. The Security Council Informal Working Group on international tribunals has continued to work on this subject under the effective leadership of Austria, for which we are grateful.

An examination of the Secretary-General’s report on this subject (S/2009/258) will allow the Group to consider the topic more deeply. The report contains a number of recommendations addressed to the Tribunals on immediate preparations for the transition to the residual mechanism. My country, eager to ensure that the Council adopts a timely decision on preserving the integrity of the Tribunals’ legacy, is participating in that work. The solution must meet the criteria of simplicity, modesty and economy. It must avoid all duplication and, indeed, should make use of services provided by other institutions.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU