Govor sp Vilovića prilikom rasprave VS o ICTY/ICTR

Stalni predstavnik Republike Hrvatske pri Ujedinjenim narodima veleposlanik Ranko Vilovic održao je govor na javnoj raspravi Vijeca sigurnosti UN-a o periodicnom izvješcu predsjednika Medunarodnog kaznenog suda za bivšu Jugoslaviju i Medunarodnog kaznenog suda za Ruandu, koje ukljucuje i izvješca glavnih tužitelja navedenih sudova.

Mr. President, honorable Presidents of the Tribunals, distinguished Prosecutors, esteemed colleagues, allow me to begin by welcoming Presidents Meron and Joensen, as well as Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallowand by thanking them for their reports on the work of the Tribunals and on the progress and challenges in implementation of their Completion Strategy. 1. The Republic of Croatia advocated the establishment of the Tribunal and its operation from the outset. Its establishment was a welcome and much needed development which signalled the international community’s opposition and response to the culture of impunity that had for centuries prevailed in matters concerning responsibility for crimes committed during wars and armed conflicts. The main purpose of the Tribunal was to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law, and through that to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of peace, as well as to the promotion of justice and reconciliation in the region. 2. Despite certain shortcomings, the Court has played an important role in enhancing the universality of justice. We sincerely hope that judicial proceedings against indicted individuals will be concluded in a short period of time, taking into account deadlines for the completion of the ICTY’s work. Mr. President, 3. Prosecuting war crimes is a process that must continue. An important element of that process is confronting the past, however difficult that may be. 4. The acceptance of the substantiated truth is a prerequisite to the process leading to reconciliation. We could understand the possible frustration of those who developed their positions based on attempts to create a false sense of parity by equalising criminal policy in se with individual crimes committed on the other side that did not have support in government policy. However, we cannot accept reactions that are tantamount to questioning or even rejecting decisions of the Tribunal and that are contributing to creating an atmosphere that makes it difficult to continue positive processes underway in the region. We are of the view that every responsible member of the international community should respect legal order and commitments undertaken, whether they agree with them or not. Mr. President, 5. The initial purpose of the Tribunal can only be achieved by determining the truth. Part of the truth that the Tribunal confirmed in the recent judgements concerning retired Croatian generals is that Croatia was not involved in nor did it conduct any „joint criminal enterprise“, and that it was not government policy to plan or commit war crimes. On the other hand, the judgement did not state that there were no individual crimes committed, including war crimes, on the Croatian side. We are aware that on an individual level such crimes occurred, and this judgement does not by any means trivialize those crimes or negate the fact that they are unacceptable. The Republic of Croatia has prosecuted individuals for such crimes and, I particularly stress, will continue to do so. In doing this we count on the cooperation of all interested states and organisations. Furthermore, we call upon other successor states of the former Yugoslavia to process war crimes committed by their own citizens. Mr. President, 6. An additional reason why Croatia supported the work of the Tribunal was its contribution towards building sound foundations for post-war and future cooperation in the region. An independent outside judicial body, that recognises and sanctions individual responsibility for specific war crimes, reduces the danger of mutual arbitrary accusations and retributions of whole nations and peoples in the region. The recent verdict in the case of the retired Croatian generals was met with criticism by Croatia’s neighbour Serbia. While we fully cooperated with the Tribunal, the final verdict was reached by the Tribunal alone. Since the Tribunal was established by the Security Council of the United Nations, we feel that any grievances regarding the decisions of the Tribunal should be addressed by the founding body rather than by Croatia. 7. Croatia is deeply committed to the continuation of the process of reconciliation between the successor states to the former Yugoslavia, fully supporting regional cooperation in the area of war crimes. We are confident that this cooperation should be conducted pursuant to well-established principles of international criminal law, one of which is the principle of double jeopardy, and in full observance of respective national jurisdictions and competences. In this context, we would like to remind that in March 2012 Croatia presented Serbia with a draft bilateral agreement on prosecution and punishment of war crimes. Croatia firmly believes that this type of proposed cooperation presents the best approach for solving war crimes issues as opposed to the practice of one country claiming jurisdiction for war crimes that were not committed on its own territory or by its own citizens. However, we regret to inform that we have not received any response from the Serbian side to date. Mr. President, 8. To conclude, in all the years that the Tribunal has operated, there were instances in which the Republic of Croatia was unsatisfied, but it always cooperated with the Prosecutor and the Tribunal. Regardless of the public perception of the Tribunal’s decisions, we always fully respected them. Finally, Mr. President, although the ICTY Office is set to be closed, my country is determined to continue cooperating until the very fulfilment of the Tribunal’s mandate. Croatia would also like to reiterate its commitment to the prosecution of war crimes. Thank you, Mr. President