The United States commends the Prosecutors and Presidents for their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since their creation, the Tribunals have answered lawless violence with historic justice, and in myriad ways have produced an impact far beyond the confines of their courtrooms. Today, we take stock of what the Tribunals have accomplished over the last six months and examine the strategies that the Tribunals are pursuing to bring their vital work to a successful completion.
The legacy of the Tribunals must be assured by the creation of a durable and appropriate institution that will outlast the Tribunals themselves and complete their functions, and we applaud the work the Tribunals have done to advance that goal thus far.
We urge both Tribunals to strive to complete their work at the earliest possible date, yet we are mindful of the importance of doing so with appropriate care, leading to a smooth and efficient drawdown. We welcome the Tribunals’ efforts to increase efficiency and believe that fairness and efficiency can, and should, go hand-in-hand. Thus, we urge the Presidents and the judges, in their roles as managers of the courtrooms, to take any additional steps needed to ensure that the trials are both expeditious and fair. We continue to support initiatives to complete trials, where
necessary, through the contributions of ad litem judges, extensions, and redeployment of trial judges to the appeals chamber.
We must act urgently to ensure that individuals indicted by the Tribunals are brought to justice. The arrest of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic is crucial to the achievement of justice in the Balkans. And the United States is committed to doing all that is necessary to ensure that this happens. We welcome the Government of Serbia’s recent efforts to apprehend and transfer indicted war criminals and call on Serbia to continue to fulfill its obligations and to cooperate with the ICTY and ensure that Mladic and Hadzic are arrested and transferred to The Hague. We also recognize Croatia’s efforts to fulfill its obligations to the ICTY, particularly the actions of its Task Force in exploring new avenues in order to locate or account for missing military documents. We urge it to continue these efforts. For States in the former Yugoslavia, full cooperation with the ICTY is key to their progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
The United States reaffirms its commitment to see the architects of the genocide in Rwanda brought to justice, and we renew our calls for the immediate arrest of Protais Mpiryana and Felicien Kabuga. We expect all States to fully and completely cooperate with the Tribunal in its efforts to locate Kabuga, Mpiryana, and other fugitives.
The ability of the ICTR to transfer cases to states, when appropriate, is an important and critical step towards meeting the Tribunal’s completion strategy. The United States acknowledges
Rwanda’s desire to receive transferred cases from the ICTR, as well as the Rwandan government’s judicial sector reform, enhanced judicial capacity, and positive engagement with the UN Security Council on steps to facilitate such transfers.
The United States commends the work of the Austrian chair of the UN Working Group on Criminal Tribunals for his excellent work in shepherding the group to a new era in international criminal justice. We would also like to thank the UN Office of Legal Affairs for its ongoing and tireless assistance in helping to craft the residual mechanism.
Mr. President, I also thank the Presidents, Prosecutors, Registrars, and Tribunal staffs for their contributions to the fight against impunity and for promoting the cause of international justice.
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