UN Security Council Debate on ICTY/ICTR

Stalni predstavnik RH pri Ujedinjenim narodima, veleposlanik Ranko Vilovic, održao je govor na javnoj raspravi Vijeca sigurnosti UN-a o Medunarodnim kaznenim sudovima za bivšu Jugoslaviju i Ruandu.

Mr. President, Allow me to begin by welcoming Presidents Byron and Robinson, as well as Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallow. Since their establishment the two Tribunals have made a profound impact in denying impunity for serious crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, which continue to haunt our collective conscience. We recognize their vital contribution to the fight against impunity, advancing the rule of law and paving the way for reconciliation and cooperation by providing justice and dignity to victims and by individualizing criminal accountability. Croatia has been a staunch supporter of the ICTY's mandate since its inception. The Croatian Government is firm in its commitment to continue to provide its full and unequivocal support to the Tribunal's efforts to combat impunity by prosecuting those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. Mr. President, We look forward to the day when the Tribunals can close their doors and transition to a Residual Mechanism, but not before securing that those most responsible for the crimes committed face justice. We thus welcome the recent arrest of high-level fugitives indicted by the ICTR and hope to see an early beginning of their respective trials. We regret that the arrest of the remaining high-level fugitives still remains elusive for the ICTY, thus further complicating the projected exit-strategy. Croatia firmly believes that the mandate of the ICTY cannot be declared complete without bringing to justice the two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadžic, indicted for the most atrocious crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia, namely the massacres committed in Srebrenica and in Vukovar. More than a year ago another high-profile fugitive was arrested – Radovan Karadžic. We regret to note his case will enter the trial phase only next spring, despite the fact that more than a dozen years have passed since his indictment. We also regret to see the dismay the trial delays have caused to victims and their families. We hope that a protracted trial will not repeat the scenario of the Miloševic trial, whose death made it impossible for a sentence which would clearly outline the role of those most responsible for the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia. Locating and arresting high-profile fugitives must remain a priority, not just for the Tribunals but for the international community as well. Mr. President, In facilitating the arrest of all suspects in the past, in a framework of close cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor, and in accordance with our Constitutional Law on Cooperation with the ICTY, Croatia has established a solid and credible record of support to the fulfillment of the Tribunal's goals. In the same spirit, Croatia is continuing now its full cooperation with regard to the request regarding missing documents sough by the Office of the Prosecutor. This is particularly important in light of the hearing scheduled for 16 December by the Trial Chamber, which is to assess this issue. In this sense, let me express our appreciation for the Prosecutor's assessment indicating Croatia's determination in pursuing further this path of full cooperation and the leadership shown by Prime Minister Kosor in this respect. While the administrative investigation has shown that the Republic of Croatia is not in possession of the requested documents, the establishment of a Task Force (and the new findings mentioned by the Prosecutor) clearly indicates the Prime Minister's determination in not only complying with the Court's orders, but also going further in our pursuit to retrieve or fully disclose the fate of documents which are the exclusive ownership of the Republic of Croatia. In pursuing this path, we look forward to developing even further our cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor in this final push, with the aim of securing our common goal of serving justice, peace, reconciliation and, based on these values, a future of prosperity in South East Europe. Mr. President, Croatia appreciates the considerable efforts that the Tribunals are investing in expediting the timely completion of their work. We take note of the anticipated dates for the closure of the Tribunals, which will slip well into the next decade. While we share the concerns expressed about lengthy trials, we also recognize the need to be realistic. The early closure of the two Tribunals is a legitimate objective, but not at the expense of fair trial guarantees. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, for the past two years Croatia has been participating in the extensive deliberations of the Informal Working Group, currently under the chairmanship of Austria, whose efforts we greatly appreciate. Setting up a Residual Mechanism that will continue the essential functions of the Tribunals after their closure remains a pressing need. The credibility of such a mechanism will inevitably reflect on the legacy that the Tribunals are leaving behind. This is an issue of most direct relevance for the countries under the Tribunals' jurisdiction. My country hopes that the Council will be able to define timely solutions along the lines recently presented by the Chairman of the Informal Working Group and adopt the necessary decisions. We hope that our participation has helped the process by factoring in the experience of a county directly affected by the Tribunal's jurisdiction.