UN Security Council debate on 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 Meron and Raschid Khan, distinguished Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallow, esteemed colleagues, Allow me at the outset to congratulate you, Mr. President, on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month and express our confidence that under your able guidance the Council will successfully undertake its many duties and responsibilities during this final month of what has been an astonishing year in many respects. At the same time, let me extend my appreciation to Presidents Robinson and Rachid Khan, as well as Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallow, for their detailed reports on the work of the Tribunals and on the progress and challenges in implementation of their Completion Strategy. Furthermore, we thank judge Patrick Robinson for his distinguished service as President of the ICTY and welcome judge Theodor Meron as its new President. Knowing Judge Meron for a long time, we express full confidence in his ability to successfully master many challenging tasks ahead of him. Mr. President, Croatia strongly supports efforts by the Tribunals' to undertake all measures within their power to expedite proceedings in the implementation of the previously elaborated strategy for finalization of their work and their transformation to Residual Mechanisms. At the same time, this transformation must not in any way affect the Tribunals' mandate or due process standards on which their procedure is based. Croatia closely follows the possible emergence of new jurisprudence founded on the Tribunal's judgments, as well as the lively academic debate of its possible effects and consequences on future criteria for the legitimate use of force in preserving international peace and security. In this respect, we would like to stress the importance of a thorough analysis of this complex matter. As troop contributing nation to UN and NATO led operations, we care and pay close attention to any possible new jurisprudence which could jeopardize the ability of waging legitimate and effective military actions aimed at preserving or fostering international security. Croatia also welcomes the fact that in this reporting period Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadžic, indicted for the worst atrocities committed in Europe after World War II, have been brought to justice. This represents a great achievement, not only for the Tribunal, but also for the international justice in general. It is a pronounced testimony that impunity for grave breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law will not be tolerated. Mr. President, The fact that the European Parliament on December 1 accepted Croatia's request to become an EU member, subsequent decision of the European Council to welcome Croatia to the EU, as well as upcoming signature of the Accession Treaty by the Republic of Croatia, ultimately testify of Croatia's readiness and ability to fully and unconditionally fulfill all of its international obligations and commitments. In that context, Croatia continues its unwavering cooperation with the Tribunal which has been confirmed by the report that we have in front of us today. With regards to the OTP's request for missing documents, let me stress that Croatia fully complies with the Trial Chamber's decision on this matter. We are pleased that Prosecutor Brammertz has recognized good cooperation of Croatia regarding the remaining cases before the ICTY by saying that „Croatia has given timely and adequate responses and provided access to witnesses and evidence as required.” We also count on the cooperation of all relevant UN bodies in the search for the sought documentation, in line with the testimony given by UN military observers in The Hague (In Trial IT-06-90-A/Exhibit P-204, pages 6-7). Croatia is deeply committed to the process of reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia, and firmly believes that the prosecution of all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law is a necessary precondition to achieving that goal. However, such prosecutions cannot come at the expense of the historical facts. Subversion of the facts only leads to further division, further tension, and the creation of additional grievances. With regards to Prosecutor's Brammertz oral assessment in which he claims, and I quote, that “State officials at the highest level in Croatia continue to glorify, and I repeat - glorify, illegal war time conduct and question the impartiality of the ICTY's judgements”, Croatia entirely refuses these qualifications as unfounded and unacceptable. At the same time, expert opinion on the issue should be freely expressed and by no means interpreted as questioning of the ICTY's judgements. Croatia therefore fully supports regional cooperation in the area of war crimes. We are confident that this cooperation should be carried out on well-established principles of international criminal law and in full observance of respective national jurisdictions and competences. Equally so, the cooperation should be based on full compliance with the basic principles of legitimate procedure, as well as implementation of internationally recognized methods for collection of evidence. Finally, Mr. President, let me conclude by stressing that my country has thoroughly developed its cooperation with the Tribunal in all vital areas, and we are determined to continue this cooperation until fulfillment of the Tribunal's mandate. Thank you, Mr. President.