New York, 6 December 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious
Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the
Former Yugoslavia since 1991
International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for
Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for
Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring
States between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994
I wish at the outset to extend a warm welcome and our appreciation to Judges Patrick L. Robinson and Dennis Byron, Presidents of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) respectively, as well as to the Prosecutors of the Tribunals, Mr. Brammertz and Mr. Jallow. Their extensive briefings today, together with the reports before us (see S/2010/588 and S/2010/574), reflect the tireless work of the Tribunals and their efforts to contribute to the overall fight against impunity.
Being the country most affected by the crimes under the jurisdiction of one of the Tribunals, we would like to emphasize how important it is to bring justice to the victims and their families and hold accountable those who committed the heinous crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. In that context, we reiterate the strong support of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Tribunals and our commitment to full cooperation.
After careful consideration of the reports, it is evident that the Tribunals have undertaken every effort to bring their work to an end in an efficient and reasonable manner, especially bearing in mind that they faced many obstacles beyond their reach and out of their control. We should not allow the Tribunals’ groundbreaking contributions to international jurisprudence to succumb to the pressure to end their mandate with partial results and without adequate resolution.
Thus the support and encouragement of the Council is both crucial and necessary at this sensitive and important period in the Tribunals’ existence. A timely, efficient and complete transition to a residual mechanism requires that the mechanism be very carefully constructed as a credible and proper continuation of the Tribunals’ functions.
In that regard, allow me to extend our appreciation to Ambassador Mayr-Harting for his strong leadership in chairing the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals and to commend the entire Austrian delegation for its dedication and tireless work. As a result of their efforts, the Group’s deliberations are successfully moving toward the creation of a residual mechanism that will adequately reflect the Tribunals’ legacy.
Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina has, with each new report, demonstrated a commitment to its obligations and unwavering support for and dedication to strengthening international criminal justice. That is reflected in a record of continued and positive cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ICTY. As stated, the authorities of my country have effectively responded to all requests of the Office of the Prosecutor, providing documents, enabling unobstructed access to government archives and facilitating the appearance of witnesses before the Tribunal.
Cooperation has been particularly constructive in regard to the Rule 11 bis cases transferred by the Office of the Prosecutor to the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Five of the six cases transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina have been concluded with final decisions.
Bearing all that in mind, it is disappointing and frustrating that the Tribunals still account for 12 fugitives and especially that Félicien Kabuga, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić are still at large, undermining and ridiculing the very notion of justice that we are all dedicated to. Therefore, the Tribunals’ efforts to comply with the completion strategy and our tireless work in developing a residual mechanism are useless until we take firm steps and serious measures to bring those criminals to justice. Additionally, the unconditional cooperation of relevant international and regional organizations and States is essential for the fulfilment of the Tribunals’ mandates.
Finally, I would like once again to voice Bosnia and Herzegovina’s support for the work of both Tribunals, which we regard as highly important. At the regional level, it has brought justice to those who suffered the most, contributed greatly to the advancement of the rule of law and paved a path towards reconciliation. At the global level, it is considered a milestone in the existing system of international criminal justice. As such, it needs to be respected and preserved.