Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations, at a Security Council Briefing on the ICTY/ICTR

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 12, 2013




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Judge Meron, Judge Joensen, Mr. Brammertz, and Mr. Jallow, for your reports.

The prevention of mass atrocities and genocide is both a core national security interest and a moral responsibility of the United States. The prosecution of perpetrators of heinous crimes is essential, not only for the sake of justice and accountability, but also to facilitate transitions from conflict to stability and to deter those who would commit atrocity crimes. Thus, the United States has strongly supported the work of International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda since they began to fulfill dual goals of justice and prevention.

In the 20 years since the Security Council established the ICTY, the Tribunal has made a significant contribution to international justice. The body of work of both the ICTY and the ICTR - established a year later -- reflects the bedrock principle of providing fair trials for the accused and the opportunity for every defendant to have his day in Court. This has been a hallmark of international justice since the Nuremberg trials and remains critical to advancing the rule of law internationally.

While no system of justice is perfect, the United States has always respected the rulings of the ICTY and ICTR and celebrates the progress that both Tribunals have made toward completing their work. Only three ICTY trials are expected to continue past the end of this year, all of which are for the late-arrested accused. We look forward to the July 1st opening in The Hague of the branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals that will handle any ICTY appeals after this month. The Arusha branch of the MICT has been open for almost a year and has taken some consequential steps, including ordering the transfers of three high-level accused to the courts of Rwanda when they are apprehended. We appreciate the considerable work by both Tribunals to share resources with the MICT to reduce costs. We look forward to further measures to streamline operations while maintaining the highest standards of justice. At the same time, we recognize that budgets for the next few years must support new premises for the MICT Arusha branch, archives for both Tribunals, accommodations for victims and witnesses, outreach activities focusing on reconciliation, and judicial proceedings which may arise.

As a measure of our support to the ICTR and the countries of the Great Lakes, and as Judge Marron and Prosecutor Jallow graciously noted, the United States recently announced an expansion of our reward program for fugitives. Under the War Crimes Rewards Program, the United States now offers rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of the nine ICTR fugitives as well as designated foreign nationals accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, or war crimes by any international, mixed, or hybrid criminal tribunal. The list of Rewards subjects now includes Joseph Kony, two other leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, and Sylvestre Muducumura, sought by the International Criminal Court for crimes allegedly committed in the DRC.

We also note the importance of resolving the issue of the relocation of acquitted and released persons in Tanzania and, to this end, welcome the ICTR's new Strategic Plan.

Mr. President, what we have supported in the past twenty years is a system of justice that aims to hold accountable those responsible for some of the most monstrous crimes known to humankind and prevent them from recurring. The tribunals continue to play an indispensable role in establishing global respect for the rule of law. And the United States' commitment to working with the international community toward peace and justice remains steadfast.

I thank you.

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PRN: 2013/095