I would of course like to thank the Presidents and the Prosecutors of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and the Tribunals for their reports (see S/2012/354 and S/2012/349).
With respect to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the President and the Prosecutor have described the considerable efforts that were made in recent months by the entire staff of the Tribunal to complete the trials under way. We thank them for that.
We would specifically like to highlight two key points, namely, the preservation of evidence and the referral of cases to national courts. With regard to the preservation of evidence under rule 71 bis of the rules of procedure, we are extremely pleased to see that this will help to support the proceedings against the three fugitives — Félicien Kabuga, Augustin Bizimana and Protais Mpiranya — in the event that they are arrested one day.
With regard to the referral of cases to national jurisdictions, we believe that this is in fact an important element in the current transition. We thank the President and the Prosecutor of the Tribunal for having come to France in order to take stock, under French jurisdiction, of the cases of Bucyibaruta and Munyeshyaka. French authorities would like to assure the Tribunal that they are giving those two cases the full attention they require.
There are two concerns that remain, particularly in terms of cooperation. The Prosecutor just spoke of the issue of arresting fugitives. We note that he has reiterated a desire for increased cooperation from Kenya and Zimbabwe, respectively, in the cases of arresting Félicien Kabuga and Protais Mpiranya. Cooperation from all parties with the ICTR is obviously a requirement under Council resolutions. It would perhaps be important that the Council remind the various parties of that obligation.
The second key point with regard to assistance to the Tribunals is that of relocating persons acquitted by the Tribunals or those who have served their sentences after having been convicted. France is hosting several individuals at the request of the Tribunals, and we encourage — as the Tribunals and certain delegations here present have done — other States to consider hosting on their territory the persons concerned.
Lastly, on the issue of the ICTR, I wish to underscore that France will, of course, support the extension of the mandates of the judges and the President that has been submitted to us by Mr. Vagn Joensen. France is fully aware of the challenges facing the Tribunals at this time. For example, we are asking the ICTY not only to move forward towards the Residual Mechanism but also to deal with very important cases such as Mladić and Karadžić. We wish to underscore that nothing should be done that could undermine the capacity of the ICTY to ensure that justice is done in such serious cases.
In terms of cooperation with the ICTY in particular, questions remain, now that we have heard Mr. Brammertz’s report, as to the reasons for the very long period of time that elapsed prior to the arrests of Mr. Karadžić and Mr. Mladić. In addition, in general terms the low level of cooperation among the States of the region with respect to the prosecution of mid-level criminals is of concern. The members of the European Union believe that cooperation with the ICTY and regional cooperation continue to be important.
Lastly, I would also like to echo fully the comments made by Prosecutor Brammertz and recall here that the ICTY has held that the Srebrenica massacre was an instance of genocide, and that this decision of international criminal justice, as well as the duty of respect for the victims, is binding on us all.
In conclusion, I should like to thank Guatemala, in its capacity as Chair of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, the representatives of the Tribunals and the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat for the efforts made to meet the transition timetable set out in resolution 1966 (2010) and ensure the smooth functioning of the Residual Mechanism.