PRESIDENTS OF YUGOSLAVIA, RWANDA TRIBUNALS REPORT
Progress Seen in Indictments, Judgements; Some Adjustments,
NEW YORK, 26 November 2001 (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning considered the reports of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Introducing the report on the activities of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 from 1 August 2000 through 31 July 2001, Judge Claude Jorda, President of the Tribunal, said that during the past 12 months, the Trial Chambers had pronounced six judgments on 17 accused and issued many decisions. In the Appeals Chamber, the judges had issued 30 decisions and three judgements for seven accused. With the gradual adoption of reform, the Tribunal’s judicial activity had increased, making it possible for the Tribunal to double its trial capacity and complete first instance proceedings in 2007.
He said it must not be forgotten that several accused –- high ranking political and military leaders –- remained at large. Some of them resided with impunity in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while others had taken refuge in the Republika Srpska. To have the courts of States of the former Yugoslavia conduct trials in some cases would lighten the Tribunal’s workload. The international community must ensure that with "relocation" of cases, war criminals did not enjoy impunity, and that trials were not trials only in name.
The representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia said the Tribunal’s report reflected a changed political environment in the region, particularly in his country where democratic transformation had created a new basis of cooperation with the Tribunal. Serious efforts were being made to fulfill obligations concretely.
He said that, since the arrival of KFOR, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led implementation force in Kosovo, and the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK), many crimes had been committed against non-Albanians, particularly against Serbs. Bringing to justice the perpetrators of those crimes would help resolve the complex problems still outstanding in the area.
Judge Navanethem Pillary, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994, introduced the report on the Tribunal’s activities between 1 August, 2000 and 31 July, 2001. She said seven trials involving seventeen accused persons were currently in progress.
As to why the number of judgements by the Tribunal was low –- just eight in four years –- she said the prosecutor’s strategy had focused on suspects who were alleged to have been in the highest positions of leadership and authority in Rwanda in 1994. Trials of those who were the alleged architects of killings were far more complicated because command responsibility had to be established and a far greater range of facts was at issue. There was broad consensus among the judges that the delays experienced by both Tribunals needed to be addressed, and that there was a need for greater control over the presentation of evidence by the parties.
The Minister of Justice of Rwanda said countries should not protect perpetrators of genocide. Victims and survivors of genocide must be compensated, and they should also have a bigger role in the Tribunal. To speed the resolution of the post-genocide period, the "gachacha" system of traditional justice had been suggested to complement the Tribunal’s efforts. That system, based on the traditional method of conflict resolution in Rwanda, had been quietly inaugurated in October and would have a component for the reintegration of people into society.
The representatives of Norway, Malaysia, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina also spoke.
In other matters, the Assembly decided to defer to its next session the question of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas.
In action taken without a vote, the Assembly made a number of appointments, on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), to the Committee on Contributions, to the Investments Committee, to the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and to the United Nations Board of Auditors.
The Assembly observed one minute of silence to pay tribute to the memory of the late king of Malaysia, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, who died on 21 November. Condolences were expressed by representatives of the regional groups of Member States. The representative of Malaysia responded.
The Assembly meets again at 3 p.m. today to consider strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance.
The General Assembly met this morning to consider the report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the question of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. The Assembly was also to make appointments for the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the Committee on Contributions, the Board of Auditors and the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), and to confirm appointments for the Investments Committee.
Report of International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia
A note by the Secretary-General conveys the eighth annual report of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 (document A/56/532-S/2001/865). Covering the one-year period ending this past 31 July, the report states that the Tribunal focused during that time on implementing reforms for operations that the judges had proposed in May.
The report says the Tribunal increased its judicial activity at an unprecedented rate during the period. The highlight of the year was Security Council action to create a group of 27 ad litem judges, or those to be called upon in specific cases. The Council also created two additional seats on the Appeals Chamber to be filled by judges from the International Tribunal for Rwanda. That external support was reinforced by reforms in three specific areas encompassing pre-trial activity, judges’ powers at trial and Tribunal organization.
According to the report, the Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber for both International Tribunals spearheaded the reform. Externally, he undertook intensive diplomatic activity including liaison with the Security Council and the organization of two diplomatic information seminars. Internally, he created a working group on reform and redefined the Tribunal’s policy concerning the creation of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in the Balkans. Internal reforms included measures to enhance cohesion between Tribunal organs so as to enable the Bureau to focus on judicial matters.
The report details those and other events to note that six new judges would be joining the Tribunal in November. Trial Chambers had been involved in 17 cases during the year while the Appeals Chamber had dealt with 24 interlocutory appeals and 19 appeals on the merits. Three trial judgements and three appeals judgements had been rendered. Once the Office of the Prosecutor completed mass grave exhumations in Kosovo, seven trials were prosecuted, nine cases moved up to the pre-trial stage, five investigations moved to the indictment stage and six post-judgement appeals were activated. A simultaneous reorganization of the Office and its reopening in Belgrade had ultimately led to the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic, a former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to the Tribunal.
The report states that the General Assembly approved a net amount of $96,443,900 for the Tribunal during the current calendar year, plus an additional $4,899,400 to cover the costs of six ad litem judges beginning work in September. In July this year, the Tribunal had presented its budget estimates for 2002–2003. If the Tribunal were to double its judgement capacity and complete its mission by the year 2008, additional resources must be considered as an immediate priority.
Summarizing the findings, the report says the reforms provide the Tribunal with the resources to try all the accused being arrested by States, which are now more cooperative than ever. In the longer term, the reforms will help maintain peace and stability in the region, which will require the reconstruction of national identities. For that reason, the Tribunal is encouraging domestic courts and extrajudicial mechanisms of reconciliation to pick up the Tribunal’s work at the national level even as the Tribunal streamlines its rules of procedure and evidence. The arrest of Slobodan Milosevic augured well for future cooperation as a symbolic first moment in history, when a State arrested a former Head to be tried by an international tribunal.
Those hopes must not mask the fact that high-ranking figures who had been accused were still at large, the report warns. By their high offices and the gravity of their acts, those accused had destabilized international public law and order and they were answerable to an international tribunal, the guarantor of human peace and security. However, even if the Tribunal tried those high-ranking officials, it would still have a limited scope of action in that it could not try all those implicated during a five-year period, nor hear all the witnesses. It was also not for the Tribunal to analyze the causes of the war or to perform the work of memory for reconstructing a national identify. That was why the Tribunal was aiming to have its work picked up by domestic courts and by civil society initiatives designed to re-establish the civic bond. Toward that end, a truth and reconciliation commission in Bosnia and Herzegovina should complement the Tribunal’s work.
Finally, annexes of the report contain tables of relevant information. Annex one lists the 30 indictments handed down by the Tribunal to a total of 69 indicted persons. Annex two gives the particulars of 40 persons detained at the United Nations Detention Unit, three of whom had been arrested, 19 detained by international forces, 12 had voluntarily surrendered, five had been transferred by States and one was released for the duration of the appeals process. Annex three lists the 26 persons indicted by the Tribunal yet remaining at large.
Report of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The Assembly had before it a Note by the Secretary-General (document A/56/351-S/2001/863 and Corr.1) conveying the Report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994.
The note says the work of the Tribunal has accelerated and its output multiplied. Six trials involving 15 accused were in progress during the period, with all three Trial Chambers actively engaged. The Trial Chambers have also ruled on a large volume of pre-trial and interlocutory motions. The Tribunal had 48 accused in custody, who are either currently being tried or are awaiting trial.
It is estimated that 136 new accused will be appearing before the Tribunal by 2005. If these projections materialize, the Tribunal’s workload will drastically increase, and it will not be able to complete these trials in a reasonable time, while respecting the rights of the accused. Also, the cases of these suspects are expected to be factually and legally complex, which could result in lengthy trials.
The President, Judges and Registrar agreed that the number of Tribunal judges should be increased, and the President submitted a proposal in that regard to the Secretary-General, to be forwarded to the Security Council for consideration. An amendment of the Tribunal’s Statute was proposed, so that a pool of 18 temporary (ad litem) judges could be created, with a maximum of 9 judges at the seat of the Tribunal at any one time. Some of the temporary judges would form additional sections within the existing Trial Chambers to hear outstanding cases and attend to pre-trial and interlocutory matters. They could also substitute for judges unable to continue sitting in part-heard cases.
Besides its judicial work, the Tribunal is active in the process of reconciliation in Rwanda, by carrying out various outreach programmes. One of these distributes information to Rwandans about the Tribunal’s role as it relates to the events of 1994 that led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. Several other initiatives are being considered, which will give Rwandans a chance to take part in the process and witness the perpetrators of atrocities being held accountable. These initiatives will continue to heal and reconcile the Rwandan nation.
Question of Falkland Islands/Malvinas
The item has been on the Assembly’s Agenda since 1982. From its forty-sixth to its fifty-fifth sessions, the Assembly decided at each session to defer consideration and to include it in the provisional agenda of its subsequent session.
Appointments to Fill Vacancies in Subsidiary Organs and Other Appointments
For the ACABQ, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) recommended in its report to the Assembly (document A/56/625), the appointment of Rajat Saha (India), Ms Sun Minqin (China) and Juichi Takahara (Japan) from the Group of Asian States; Ms Nazareth A. Incera (Costa Rica) from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and Michiel W.H. Chrom (Netherlands) and Nicholas A. Thorne (United Kingdom) from the Group of Western European and Other States. They would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January, 2002.
In its report (document A/56/626), the Fifth Committee recommended for the Committee on Contributions the appointment for a three-year term of office, beginning on 1 January 2002, of Omar Kadiri (Morocco) and Hassan Mohammed Hassan (Nigeria) from the Group of African States; Bernardo Greiver (Uruguay) and Eduardo Iglesias (Argentina) from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and Henry Siegfried Fox (Australia) and Eduardo Manuel da Fonseca Fernandes Ramos (Portugal) from the Group of Western European and Other States.
The Fifth Committee also recommended (document A/56/627) the appointment of the Chairman of the Commission of Audit of the Philippines to the United Nations Board of Auditors for a six-year term, beginning on 1 July 2002.
The Committee, in its report (document A/56/628), recommended for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2002 that Emmanuel N. Omaboe of Ghana (African States); and Yves Oltramare of Switzerland and Jurgen Reimnitz of Germany (Western European and Other States) be reappointed to the Investments Committee.
In its report on appointments to the ICSC (document A/56/629), the Fifth Committee recommended the appointment of Minoru Endo (Japan) for the Group of Asian States; Joao Augusto de Medicis (Brazil) for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and Mario Bettati (France), Alexis Stephanou (Greece) and Lucretia Myers (United States) for the Group of Western European and Other States.
Tribute to Late King of Malaysia
The Assembly observed a moment of silence and paid tribute to the memory of the late king of Malaysia, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, who died on 21 November in Kuala Lumpur.
SEMAKULA KIWANUKA (Uganda), for the African States, said the king had been a modern ruler who had broken with tradition and set aside protocol to reach out to the masses. He was renowned for his championing of school children, particularly in the rural areas.
FAYSALL MEKDAD (Syria), for the Asian and Pacific States, said the late king’s qualities had made him universally admired as a ruler who put aside tradition to be close to his people.
ISTVAN POSTA (Hungary) spoke for the Eastern European States, noting the late king’s deep concern for his people.
THORSTEINN INGOLFFSON (Iceland), on behalf of the Western European and Other States, acknowledged the king’s influence in lifting the socio-economic welfare of his people.
FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay), speaking for the Latin American and Caribbean States, said the king had been a modest and generous person who had been open to all people.
PETER MARSH (United States), speaking for the host country, expressed respect for the great and admired leader the king had been.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) thanked the Assembly. He said warmth was the most remarkable of the king’s many great qualities, whether he was in the company of statesmen or simple peasants. The king had been able to relate to people in all walks of life and he had not allowed himself to be trapped in pomp and ceremony. He had often dispensed with protocol to reach out to the people, making the transition from tradition to modernity that had enabled his people to follow suit.
Introduction of Report on Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia
Judge CLAUDE JORDA, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said the number of people who had been arrested or voluntarily surrendered had increased considerably over the past year, with 50 accused now in detention in The Hague. Over the past 12 months, the Trial Chambers had pronounced six judgements on 17 accused and issued many decisions. In the Appeals Chamber, the judges had issued 30 decisions and three judgements for seven accused.
He said he was concerned that many high-ranking figures, alleged to have seriously breached international law, remained at large. There was also a need to adapt the Tribunal’s mission to the recent political upheavals, both on the former Yugoslavia, and on the international scene after the tragic events of 11 September, which made the fight against terrorism a new priority for the international community. He noted some encouraging improvements in the cooperation of Member States with the Tribunal, citing as an example the arrest and transfer to The Hague last June of Slobodan Milosevic.
With the gradual adoption of reform, the Tribunal’s judicial activity had increased, he said. The first six temporary (ad litem) judges called to serve at the International Tribunal in early September 2001 had immediately begun to hear three new trials. As of January 2002, three more temporary judges would serve at the Tribunal, bringing the total number of temporary judges to nine. Accordingly, the Trial Chambers would be holding six simultaneous trials daily.
Some of those who had been accused -– high-ranking political and military leaders -– remained at large residing with impunity in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Others had taken refuge in the Republika Srpska, even though its authorities had claimed they wished to cooperate with the Tribunal. Should those individuals not be arrested in the near future, it would be impossible to achieve the Tribunal’s mission within the intended time frame. Furthermore, the States of the former Yugoslavia were now claiming the legitimate right to try criminals in their own territory.
On the "relocation" of some cases -– that is, to have the courts of States of the former Yugoslavia conduct trials –- would, he said lighten the Tribunal’s workload and also make the trials more transparent to the local population. The international community would be responsible for ensuring those courts had the resources to accomplish their mission with absolute independence and impartiality, and with due regard for international humanitarian law and human rights.
It must ensure that with the gradual "relocation" of cases, war criminals did not enjoy impunity, and that trials were not trials only in name. The international community would need to participate more actively and promptly in reconstructing the judicial systems of the countries created out of the former Yugoslavia.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said no one should gamble on impunity for acts of genocide, other crimes against humanity or serious war crimes. It was regrettable that the rate of arrests by the stabilization force in Bosnia had dropped significantly, in light of the still high number of accused at large. State cooperation in the arrest of the accused remained a crucial factor in the operation of the Tribunal. He applauded the decision of Yugoslav authorities to meet international obligations.
It was critical to the success of the Tribunal that the region’s population was informed about its work and understood its significance. He said he welcomed the expanded activities and continuous developments of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme. Supporting the proposal to make that programme part of the main Tribunal budget for the period 2002-2003, he said he encouraged all States to support bringing the judicial process closer to the public; actively promoting increased insight might be an important contribution to long-term peace and reconciliation in the area.
However, the Tribunal alone could not carry out all the work required to restore and maintain the peace in the former Yugoslavia. It could try only those who bore the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed during a conflict that lasted more than five years. In order to reconstruct a national identity in the region, it was essential that the domestic courts try the "subordinates who carried out the orders". At the same time, sufficient flexibility should be allowed to ensure that no perpetrator could gamble on impunity based on the provisional nature of the Tribunal.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said he was gratified that the International Tribunal had developed into a fully functioning institution, rendering judgements and setting important precedents of international criminal and humanitarian law. Also, the reform process of the Tribunal was well under way in all of its three organs. With 22 judges at its disposal, the Tribunal would be able to hear more cases, which would facilitate the expeditious implementation of its mandate.
Malaysia hoped the reform process would address deficiencies in the system that, up until now, had not been able to apprehend the major indicted war criminals that were still at large, particularly Radovan Kradzic and Ratko Mladic. The zealousness with which the major Powers were pursuing terrorist suspects in Afghanistan should be matched by efforts to apprehend those indicted war criminals in the Balkans. Their continued freedom and impunity would contribute to the climate of insecurity, and limit refugee returns, particularly in minority areas.
He said the detention of Slobodan Milosevic was another major achievement in the work of the Tribunal. He hoped that would mark the beginning of a new chapter of cooperation between the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Tribunal. He said he remained seriously concerned that 26 publicly-indicted accused were still at large, and thought to be hiding mostly in the Republika Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
EVERT MARECHAL (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that without any doubt, the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1993 had marked a significant step forward in international criminal law and had opened up an entirely new field of United Nations action. While expectations had been high, enormous practical and political difficulties had stood in the way and some observers at the time had done little to hide their skepticism regarding the Tribunal's chances of success. Today, thanks to the unremitting efforts of its staff and the support of the international community, the Tribunal was fully operational and had become a key factor in the pacification and stabilization of the Balkans region.
The arrest and subsequent transfer to The Hague of former president Milosevic had marked a major development in this area. They also bespoke a spectacular advance in international law: the fact that a former head of State would, for the first time, be judged by an international court was an eloquent reminder that there could be no impunity, even at the highest level of power, for those responsible for serious crimes against international humanitarian law. By thus meeting its international obligations, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had itself opted for total reintegration in the international community.
The European Union was confident that such cooperation would continue to be exercised. The Montenegrin authorities should add their weight to those efforts. He congratulated Croatia on the new spirit of cooperation which it had espoused, and urged that country to step up cooperation even further. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, he continued to be concerned over the situation in the Republika Srpska. Despite the progress achieved, actual results had yet to emerge, particularly with regard to the arrest of accused persons known to be hiding in the Republika Srpska. It should also be remembered that the Tribunal's task was to judge only those supremely responsible for the crimes committed on former Yugoslav soil. Crimes committed at a lower level would be increasingly matters for national courts to judge.
DEJAN SAHOVIC (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) said the current report of the Tribunal reflected a changed political environment in the region, particularly in his country where democratic transformation had created a new basis of cooperation with the Tribunal. Serious efforts were being made to fulfil obligations concretely. Among other steps, the Prosecutor’s Office had been reopened in Belgrade, Tribunal investigators were participating in mass-grave exhumations, the Federal Republic had transferred its own indicted citizens to The Hague, and legislation was being enacted to facilitate cooperation with the Tribunal. Overcoming a few problems with the Tribunal would facilitate cooperation even more.
The first hindrance, he said, was the legal uncertainty created by the fact that the Rules of Procedure had been changed 20 times and that the indictments were sealed, the latter practice also violating the transparency of proceedings. In addition, the Tribunal’s statute should be amended to compensate those found not to be guilty after indictment. Those who voluntarily surrendered should be eligible for bail while undergoing the trial process. Further, the Tribunal was investigating crimes committed in Kosovo and Metohija prior to 10 June 1999. However, many crimes had been committed against non-Albanians since the arrival of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led implementation force in Kosovo (KFOR) and the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) on that date, particularly against Serbs. Bringing to justice the perpetrators of those crimes would help resolve the complex problems still outstanding in the area.
All perpetrators of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia should be punished, he declared. That was the only way to re-establish confidence, achieve reconciliation and bring stability to the region. In that regard, it was exceptionally important to entrust national courts with the majority of cases under the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, a step that would fully accord with the region’s democratic changes.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said that the apprehension and trial of Milosevic, after all these years, justified the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It demonstrated that nobody was above the law, and beyond the reach of international criminal justice. Furthermore, by extending the charges against Milosevic to crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Prosecutor had finally addressed the root causes of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. He said it was somewhat disappointing even though the indictment against Milosevic charged him with the extermination of the non-Serbian population in Croatia on the basis of their nationality, the Prosecutor had stopped short of qualifying this as a crime of genocide.
He said the Croatian Government approved of Milosevic’s indictment for Bosnia including charges for genocide perpetrated against Bosnian Croats and Muslims. It hoped that, during the process, Milosevic’s indictment for crimes committed in Croatia would be extended to include genocide as well.
He said that encouraging as were recent developments, they must not make people forget that some of the major military leaders and high-ranking officials responsible for war and related crimes were still at large; it was important that Milosevic’s accomplices also be indicted and apprehended.
He said the establishment of the International Tribunal was a major step in the process of development of international criminal jurisdiction. However, it necessarily remained selective and the establishment of the permanent international Criminal Court would represent another major breakthrough. It would overcome both the deficiencies inherent to "victor’s justice", and in selective and retroactive ad hoc adjudication.
MIRZA KUSLJUGIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the fact that a large number of individuals who had been named in public indictments remained at large was an obstruction to the return process, inter-ethnic reconciliation and implementation of the Dayton peace agreement. There were still places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the eastern so-called "black spots", where the return figures were very low. Analysis showed that those areas were known as safe havens for indicted war criminals, alleged to have committed violations of international humanitarian law from 1992 to 1995, which included mass murder, ethnic cleansing and mass rape.
An integrated regional approach, as well as the prosecution of indicted war criminals, could improve the refugee return process, he continued. All States of the region should improve cooperation on the exchange of information and coordination of police activities. Such close regional cooperation was necessary, not only for anti-terrorist, anti-criminal and anti-corruption activities, but for organized and systematic action against war criminals who, like terrorists, were symbols of the use of violence to achieve political goals.
They provoked the possibility of new conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and presented a source of continued instability in the region. He said war criminals and war profiteers also symbolized a war economy, based on crime and corruption. Their natural environment was a weak State, rule of power, poverty and corrupt administration. That was why indicted war criminals who remained at large seriously undermined the implementation of institutional, political and economic reforms, which were necessary to generate self-sustainable economic growth and begin the process of integration with the rest of Europe.
Introduction of Report of Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Judge NAVANETHEM PILLAY, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, told the Assembly that since her last report there had been a significant increase in the number of trials. Seven trials involving seventeen accused persons were presently in progress, she said. All three Trial Chambers were engaged in simultaneous trials on a twin or multi-track system, with two of the Trial Chambers each conducting two trials and the third Trial holding three trials. This was the result of the judicial pre-trial decisions, and measures taken in the previous years. The impact of the preparatory work in the ongoing trials could now be seen. She added that three of the trials were joint trials of three to six accused, and by virtue of the complexities and magnitude would probably take a long time to reach finality. Nevertheless, one could expect judgements in the cases of a large number of accused during 2002-2003.
She said the question had been asked by many why the output of judgements was so low -– a single judgement this year, and just eight in four years since trials started in 1997. The fact was that only one case had been ready for trial in autumn 1999. Other cases that were ready for trial by both prosecutor and defence in 2000 were the ones ongoing now. There were difficulties in the face of expeditious trials, and in the efforts towards reducing delays and increasing efficiency. It was important to recall that judicial proceedings at the international level were far more complicated than judicial proceedings at the national level.
She said the prosecutor’s strategy, from the outset, focused on those suspects who were alleged to have been in the highest positions of leadership and authority, and those who were alleged to have taken the most prominent roles in the events in Rwanda in 1994. Those who had been indicted, some currently standing trial, included the former Prime Minister of Rwanda, government ministers, high-ranking military officers, senior media personnel, prominent businessmen and public figures. Trials of accused who were alleged to have been the architects of killings were far more complicated because command responsibility had to be established, and a far greater range of facts at issue.
She said other factors contributing to lengthy and protracted trials were the voluminous documents which needed to be disclosed to the parties; the translation of these documents; the large number of witnesses that were normally called to testify; the interpretation of testimonies from Kinyarwanda to French and to English; the ongoing investigations by the prosecution and the defence; and the availability of witnesses and Defence Counsel. Furthermore, witnesses for both the prosecution and the defence were located in Rwanda and other countries all over the world and had to be persuaded to volunteer as witnesses.
There was broad consensus among the judges that the delays experienced by both Tribunals needed to be addressed, and that there was a need for greater control over the presentation of evidence by the parties, and over the number of witnesses, the length of their testimony and the duplication of evidence. Reform in those areas had already had an effect, and helped to account for the present significant acceleration of trial activities.
EVERT MARECHAL (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, said that in judgement after judgement, the Criminal Tribunal hammered home the message that monstrous crimes against humanitarian international law and crimes of genocide would not go unpunished. The Tribunal’s initial difficulties had led to long delays in procedures, undermining not only the right of the accused to a trial within a reasonable period, but also the legitimate desire of Rwanda and the international community to see justice done. That in the period under consideration only one judgment was delivered at first instance was clearly insufficient.
He said the European Union had high hopes for the New Registrar and the new Director of Administration and hoped that concrete improvements would continue to be made during the coming year. He invited the Tribunal to set up a coordinating council and a management committee, as the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had done. He said he welcomed the efforts under way to rationalize legal assistance for those of the accused who were destitute, and supported the Prosecutor’s efforts to reorganize her department. Her planned investigation programme for the next few years appeared to be particularly ambitious. He was concerned that such a programme might increase the Tribunal’s burden to such an extent that it could not complete those trials before 2023.
The cooperation of States with the Tribunal had generally been excellent, particularly in Africa, he said. The European Union appreciated the fact that three countries already had concluded an agreement with the Tribunal on enforcement of sentences; he hoped that others would follow suit. The Tribunal’s programme of information was absolutely vital if the objective of national reconciliation pursued by the Tribunal was to succeed.
YAHAYA ABDUL JABAR (Malaysia) said reforms undertaken by the International Criminal Tribunal had accelerated its work and improved its procedures but the Tribunal would face great difficulty handling its future workload, which would increase drastically in light of the Prosecutor’s intention to prosecute 136 new suspects by 2005. That would mean 45 new trials. He believed that creating a pool of temporary (ad litem) judges would enhance the judicial productivity of the Tribunal.
He said he commended the decision to streamline the procedure for filing written submissions to the Appeals Chamber, and to regulate the size and format of pleadings filed. That was intended to ensure that appeals, especially interlocutory appeals, would not impede ongoing trials. However, he was concerned that the Appeals Chamber had to send its decisions and other documents to Arusha for translation, and that it also had several staffing issues. He hoped those would be resolved as soon as possible, so that the Chamber could cope with its increasing workload.
He said the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda did not have any of the enforceable investigative powers normally available to authorities in criminal investigations under national jurisdictions. As such, the Prosecutor had to rely on the assistance, cooperation and goodwill of national authorities. That was often overlooked by critics of the Tribunal, who claimed that investigations by the Prosecutor were conducted too slowly. The nature of the crimes, the volume of evidence, the status of the accused and the type of trial were among many issues that contributed to the complexity of investigations.
JEAN DE DIEU MUCYO, Minister of Justice (Rwanda), said the judicial system in his country had suffered grievously. In addition to the justice workers who had been the victims of genocide, many Rwandans had fled overseas in the period afterwards. The justice system had been decimated and it was now being rebuilt.
While it was true that the Rwanda Tribunal had not handed down enough verdicts to date, progress was being made. Of particular help, he said, was the assistance of countries arresting those who had fled but who were to be tried. Countries should not protect perpetrators of genocide. Victims and survivors of genocide, on the other hand, must be compensated, they should have a bigger role in the Tribunal.
Among the improvements in the Tribunal, he said, was access to prisoners in Arusha. Also, the detained were receiving better treatment. Overall, however, those involved in the Tribunal should undergo better screening. The Tribunal was also too far flung and its operations should be consolidated. While 6,000 people had been tried, many thousands remained awaiting trial. To speed the resolution of the post-genocide period, the "gachacha" system of traditional justice had been suggested to complement the Tribunal’s efforts.
The system was based on the traditional method of conflict resolution in Rwanda, he said. Witnesses told their story and participated in the trial. The system had been quietly inaugurated in October. There would be a public information campaign about it and judges would be educated to using the system in tandem with the Tribunal. It would have a component for the reintegration of people into society.
He said outsiders should understand that Rwanda could not face the post-genocide period alone. There were programmes for recovery but they were not enough. One lesson that had been learned from Rwanda’s experience was that people should never again be massacred while others kept silent. The capacities of the Tribunal must be reinforced, just as they had been for the former Yugoslavia.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said that so far the Trial Chamber had handed down judgments against nine individuals, with eight convictions and one acquittal. These verdicts represented important contributions to international jurisprudence with regard to the prosecution of the most serious international crimes. Furthermore, a number of decisions had settled procedural issues of principle relevant to the daily conduct of trials, which could be expected to lead to a more efficient running of trials in the future. As of today, there were 53 persons detained by the Tribunal in Arusha, eight of whom were arrested in the course of 2001 in various African and European countries. He added that the prosecutor intended to prosecute 136 new suspects by 2005.
The success of the Tribunal, he said would to a large degree be judged by the manner in which the investigation, prosecution and proceedings were managed. It was therefore imperative that the Tribunal carry out those tasks in an efficient manner, so that detainees not be subject to undue delays in the completion of their trials. The Tribunal’s reputation and contribution to national reconciliation, and the people of Rwanda’s understanding of and confidence in the work of the Tribunal, were important. In this respect the proactive profile of the Outreach Programme was an essential complement to the main public information activities of the Tribunal.
He said Norway had previously expressed concern about the administrative difficulties that the Tribunal had been confronted with. It had noted efforts to improve working conditions in Arusha and Kigali. The judges had progressively improved their trial procedures to speed up cases. He was confident this streamlining of internal court management procedures had in no way jeopardized the rights of parties to a fair trial. However, in his view, no added efficiency of any significance could be achieved merely through administrative improvements; Norway was actively studying the proposal recently submitted to the Security
Council from the President of the Tribunal, to create a pool of temporary (ad litem) judges to assist the Tribunal to help with the remaining workload.
Moving on to appointments based on recommendations of the Fifth Committee (Budgetary and Administrative), the Assembly appointed six persons to be members of the ACABQ for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2002. Those persons were Michiel Crom (Netherlands), Nazareth Incera (Costa Rica), Rajat Saha (India), Juichi Takahara (Japan) and Nicholas Thorne (United Kingdom).
The Assembly next appointed six persons to be members of the Committee on Contributions for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2002. Those were Henry Siegfried Fox (Australia), Bernardo Greiver (Uruguay), Hassan Mohammed Hassan (Nigeria), Eduardo Iglesias (Argentina), Omar Kadiri (Morocco) and Eduardo Manuel de Fonseca Fernandes Ramos (Portugal).
As a member of the Board of Auditors for a six-year term beginning 1 July 2002, the Assembly appointed the Chairman of the Commission of Audit of the Philippines.
Next, the Assembly confirmed the Secretary-General’s appointment of three persons to be members of the Investments Committee for three-year terms beginning 1 January 2002. Those were Emmanuel Noi Omaboe (Ghana), Yves Oltramare (Switzerland) and Jurgen Reimnitz (Germany).
And finally, the Assembly appointed five persons as members of the ICSC for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2002. They were Minoru Endo (Japan), Joao Augusto de Medicis (Brazil), Mario Bettati (France), Lucretia Myers (United States) and Alexis Stephanou (Greece).
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