New York, 18. lipnja 2013.
Stalni predstavnik Republike Hrvatske pri Ujedinjenim narodima veleposlanik Ranko Vilović održao je govor
Stalni predstavnik Republike Hrvatske pri Ujedinjenim narodima veleposlanik Ranko Vilović održao je govor tijekom rasprave Vijeća sigurnosti UN-a o periodičnom izvješću predsjednika Međunarodnog kaznenog suda za bivšu Jugoslaviju i Međunarodnog kaznenog suda za Ruandu, koje uključuje i izvješća glavnih tužitelja navedenih sudova.
H.E. Ambassador Ranko Vilović
at the Security Council Debate on the Reports on Completion Strategy of the ICTY and ICTR
12 June 2013
Mr. President, honorable Presidents of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Ruanda, Judges Meron and Joensen, distinguished Prosecutors Brammertz and Jallow, esteemed colleagues,
We appreciate the Presidents of the Tribunals, and their Prosecutors, comprehensive reports on the work of the Tribunals in the reporting period, the status of the cases before them, as well as measures undertaken in the implementation of the Completion Strategy.
Recently marked twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the ICTY certainly represents an appropriate opportunity for a more comprehensive assessment and stock-taking of the past activities, lessons learned and overall Tribunals’ achievements. In that context, we thank you, Mr. President, for allowing broader membership to take part in this debate, although not in a form of an open debate.
It is well known fact that Croatia advocated for the establishment of the ICTY from the very beginning. We wholeheartedly supported strong determination of the international community to finally, and once and for all, put an end to the culture of impunity that had for so long accompanied wars and armed conflicts. The establishment of the Tribunals was a clear indication that a new era has arrived – an era in which it was not important any more how high-ranking or influential perpetrators of grave breaches of international humanitarian law are, but what their record is. It is not too ambitious to say that precisely the establishment of the Tribunals whose work we are discussing today forever changed the landscape of international criminal justice and introduced a whole new system with the International Criminal Court at the head.
With high hopes and expectations at the time of its creation, Croatia also strongly supported the main purpose of the ICTY – prosecution and punishment of individuals most responsible for the acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as delivering justice for the victims of those crimes. Equally so, Croatia supported the Tribunal’s more global functions aimed at restoration and maintenance of peace and stability in the region, as well as promotion of justice and reconciliation. Those are, Mr. President, goals and hopes that we’ve supported and nourished at the time of the Tribunals’ establishment twenty years ago, and that we support and nourish even more - today.
Croatia welcomes the results achieved by the ICTY to date, and, in particular, the fact that all those indicted by the Tribunal have been arrested and transferred to its custody. It is encouraging to know that a number of high level perpetrators of the most heinous crimes in our region have met their destiny in the Hague chambers and now cope with it in the prisons around the world.
At the same time, Mr. President, it is only fair to say that the road towards noble and ambitious goals that the Tribunal has set for itself was neither straightforward nor easy. Being a pioneer in the interpretation and application of international humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law, the Tribunal unavoidably encountered a number of substantial and procedural questions, answer to which was not always unvarnished or immediate. In that context, let me simply mention here often criticized very long judicial processes, which in some cases, seriously undermine its own purpose. Although late justice, Mr. President, is certainly better then no justice at all, such delays interfered with the rightful expectations of the victims, but equally so, with the rights of the accused to the fair and swift trial. Furthermore, often modifications of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure certainly did not contribute to legal security, nor clarity or simplicity of the procedure.
Finally, Mr. President, according to the Article 7 of its Statute, the main task of the Tribunal is to establish individual responsibility of the accused. However, introducing new and untested concepts as criteria for determining such responsibility, artificially applied to this legal field and significantly altering the traditional command responsibility concept - but also introducing those new concepts only in the later stage of the Tribunal’s proceedings - resulted, in our opinion, in weakening of the Tribunal’s authenticity and led the Tribunal to delve into political and historical assessments and interpretations, with a doubtful success.
In that context, and as we stated in our previous interventions, let me add that Croatia follows with particular attention the new jurisprudence emerging from the Tribunals’ work and its potential to shape future criteria for, inter alia, the lawful use of force and waging legitimate military action, including general responsibility of military and political leaders. No doubt that ensuing legal interpretations of this jurisprudence will have serious impact on any future conduct of hostilities, as well as noble efforts aimed at preserving or fostering international peace and security.
Let me now turn to the ICTY’s President and Prosecutor report that we have in front of us today. We are pleased to note that in his report Prosecutor Brammertz has, once again, recognized Croatia’s full and unequivocal cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor and stressed that, and I quote, “the Office of the Prosecutor continues to rely on Croatia’s cooperation to efficiently complete trials and appeals”. We will indeed continue to cooperate as recorded and render our full support to the Tribunal.
It is also a pleasure to inform you, Mr. President, that Prosecutor Brammertz, and may I now say – traditionally, visited Croatia between 22 and 24 May for the annual conference of prosecutors from the former Yugoslavia held in Brijuni, where they continued their discussions on the issues of mutual relevance.
Croatia is aware that cooperation of the states in the region remains crucial for successful accomplishment of the Tribunals’ mandate and, in that context, stands ready to lead by example. At the same time, enhanced regional cooperation in the area of war crimes and related issues represent one of the important legacies of the Tribunals. We are ready to continue mutual cooperation in this important area according to the generally accepted principles of international criminal law and with the full respect of relevant national jurisdictions and competences.
Finally, Mr. President, let me conclude by saying that my country, although not always necessarily pleased with all the procedures, rulings or decisions of the ICTY, at all times cooperated with the Tribunal to the best of its abilities, fully respected its decisions and never challenged them outside the stipulated procedure. And, Mr. President, that is exactly what we are going to do until the final fulfillment of the ICTY’s mandate or that of the Residual Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals.
Thank you Mr. President.