Remarks by Ambassador Brooke D. Anderson, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, at a Security Council Debate on the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda
Thank you, Mr. President. Let me start by recognizing with appreciation the important successes of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the increased regional cooperation of the countries where the crimes judged by these courts were committed.
The United States is deeply committed to bringing to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. We welcome this chance to let the Security Council focus on the work of the Tribunals—to take stock of what has been accomplished over the last six months, and to work together to examine the Tribunals’ completion strategies and specific ways in which the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda may assist the Tribunals.
The Tribunals have had many successes: more than 250 people have been indicted, proceedings against approximately 170 people have concluded, and about 70 persons are on trial or have appeals pending. Just eight days ago, the ICTY delivered a judgment in the trial of seven high-ranking Bosnian Serb military and police officials accused of a range of crimes, including genocide. The judgment reaffirmed that the murder of Bosnian Muslim men at Srebrenica was genocide and convicted all seven of the accused for Srebrenica-related crimes—a particularly important verdict since it comes as the international community prepares to gather in less than a month to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 1995 genocide.
We applaud the many accomplishments of the Tribunals, but we note that the projected timelines for completion have significantly slipped. We urge the Tribunals to take all possible steps to move their remaining cases forward in a disciplined, fair, and efficient manner. We also urge them to focus on completing their core mandate: prosecuting those responsible for violating international humanitarian law.
Nevertheless, we recognize that some factors are well beyond the Tribunals’ control, and we encourage our fellow Council members to take a practical approach to dealing with such matters as extending the judges’ terms of office so that we do not find ourselves dealing with further delays caused by premature departures from the bench. Retaining experienced staff is a growing and real concern, and it will become even more important as the completion dates near. We encourage the Tribunals and relevant UN offices to develop flexible and cost-effective solutions to these challenges.
Despite the Tribunals’ efforts to finish their work, indicted individuals remain at large. They must be apprehended and brought to justice without further delay. We call on all states to fulfill their legal obligations to cooperate with the Tribunals and to take the steps necessary to ensuring that the remaining fugitives are apprehended.
In particular, let me underscore what has already been said about the need to apprehend ICTR fugitive Felicien Kabuga. The Government of Kenya has still not responded to the Prosecutor's requests—last made on March 27, 2009—for access to investigative files and other government records relating to Kabuga. Nor has it provided details to support the claim that he has left Kenya. The Kenyan authorities have also not responded to the Prosecutor's requests for meetings with Kenyan officials to discuss these issues. We urge the Government of Kenya to immediately respond to the Tribunal's requests, to make good-faith efforts to locate and seize Kabuga's assets, and to cooperate with the Tribunal to find him and arrest him. Similarly, we urge regional cooperation to apprehend two other major figures in the Rwandan genocide: former Commander of the Rwandan Presidential Guard Protais Mpiranya and former Minister of Defense Augustin Bizimana. The United States applauds the cooperation among MONUC and the Governments of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that resulted in two fugitive arrests last year. This type of cooperation must continue to bring the remaining fugitives in the region to justice.
Mr. President, the United States commends states’ efforts to cooperate with the ICTY. For states in the former Yugoslavia, full cooperation with the ICTY remains not only a fundamental obligation but also a key to their progress toward Euro-Atlantic integration. As our colleagues here know, the United States also supports these countries’ EU aspirations, which would promote regional stability, economic prosperity, and judicial reform.
The most critical unmet duty is the arrest of the two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, and their transfer to the Tribunal to face justice. In addition, we urge all states to support requests from the Prosecutor in connection with ongoing trials, including cooperation on protecting witnesses and providing access to archives, documents, and witnesses.
We welcome the Government of Serbia's cooperation and commend the seizure of materials, including 18 notebooks containing Mladic's handwritten wartime notes and associated audiotapes. We urge Serbia to do everything in its power to locate, arrest, and transfer Mladic and Hadzic to the Tribunal. Their arrests are vital for the successful completion of ICTY's mandate.
We commend Croatia's cooperation with the ICTY and its renewed, high-level commitment to continue a credible, ongoing investigation to locate artillery documentation from Operation Storm—and, if that documentation cannot be located, to expand the investigation into its fate. We encourage the Croatian authorities to continue to explore additional investigative techniques that might help recover responsive documents or account for them.
Bosnia-Herzegovina has made good progress in its cooperation with the Tribunal. We would encourage the Bosnian government take a more proactive approach in implementing the National War Crimes Strategy adopted in December 2008. In addition, all possible measures must be taken by countries in the region to apprehend Radovan Stankovic, who escaped from prison in Bosnia while serving his 20-year sentence.
As we noted last December, the ICTY has done a commendable job supporting the development of domestic courts, particularly in Bosnia. International judges and prosecutors in Bosnia have performed critically important work to bring justice on behalf of the victims, regardless of ethnicity.
Mr. President, we cannot speak of the completion of the Tribunals’ work without addressing the critical need to establish a residual tribunal to continue the essential functions of the Tribunals after the completion of their pending trials. We must work together to establish a strong, effective, and efficient residual tribunal that will ensure, among other things, that the remaining ICTY and ICTR fugitives do not escape justice.
Let me thank the Tribunal Presidents and Prosecutors for their presentations today and written assessments. The United States extends its gratitude to the representatives and staff of both Tribunals for their effective and important work to ensure that perpetrators of some of the most horrific crimes known to humankind are brought to justice. One reason we continue to push for a successful completion of the Tribunals’ work is simple and clear: we owe it to the victims, we owe it to all those who have worked so hard to provide them, their families, and their countries with a measure of justice. Our collective consciences will not rest until this task is done.
Thank you, Mr. President.