More than ever, the fight against impunity must be at the heart of the Council’s work [fr]
Debate on the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) and the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - June 8 2016
I thank Presidents Meron and Agius and Prosecutor Brammertz for their respective reports (S/2016/453, annex and S/2016/454, annex) and briefings. France reiterates its thanks and affirms its support to all staff of the Tribunals for the work undertaken in order to successfully complete the judicial proceedings. We are all aware of the importance of everyone mobilizing. It is important to uphold the time frame set forth by the Security Council.
With regard to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, France takes note that at this stage two cases remain in trial for two indictees and two in appeal. The Tribunal has therefore handed down sentences in 151 out of the 161 individuals brought before the ICTY. France attaches the greatest importance to the fact that, in the framework of the completion strategy, the Tribunal continues to serve justice, fully upholding due process, and it should be provided with all necessary cooperation. The ICTY has abided by the rules in the reporting period. France recalls that, pursuant to resolution 2256 (2015), the Security Council requested that the Tribunal conclude its work according to a set time frame, in the light of its closure, by handing over its activities to the Mechanism.
Over the reporting period and in line with resolution 2256 (2015), the Office of Internal Oversight Services carried out an assessment of the methods and work of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and submitted its report (S/26/441) on 1 June. France welcomes the Tribunal’s cooperation in that exercise. The report underscores the high quality work of the Tribunal and its efforts in the completion strategy, in particular in the area of management, as well as necessary improvements made for better efficiency. We also highlight the interest expressed by the Tribunal itself regarding the evaluation exercise, stating that it should be more far-reaching using the necessary means and in a manner suitable for a judicial institution.
The evaluation approach is totally compatible with the idea of the independence of the judiciary and even ensures the sound administration of justice, which is itself an indispensable mark of the credibility of the international criminal justice. In that respect, pursuant to paragraph 11 of resolution 2256 (2015), France expects the Tribunal “to report on the implementation of the OIOS recommendations in its next six-monthly report”. This is particularly the case regarding the implementation of part of a code of conduct and a disciplinary mechanism applying to judges, as well as a centralized information system on staff reductions. France would like to see this approach applied across the board and in a professional manner. In particular, I stress the recommendation of the Office of Internal Oversight Services that the decisions handed down and their proceedings be analysed so as to ensure progress in international criminal justice as a whole and to identify what merits being replicated and what should be done differently in the future. Such an evaluation by practitioners would further enrich the legacy of these jurisdictions.
The ICTY and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) branches of the Residual Mechanism have well begun the transition to ensure that the work of justice continues to run its course. We wish to emphasize the unique opportunity that the Mechanism affords for drawing on the experience of the two Tribunals and, in so doing, combining the best working methods. We recall the provisional nature of the Mechanism’s mandate, which requires the adoption of a tailored management that duly accommodates the diversity of legal systems and balanced equitable geographical representation.
This debate is a time for the Council to welcome the major contribution of the Tribunals in the service of the fight against impunity, of reconciliation and of identifying the work that States must now do to ensure that this work of justice is maintained over time. The States concerned must henceforth continue the construction of the rule of law in which the independence of the judiciary must be fully ensured. The prosecution of criminals considered mid-level should remain a national priority and be the subject of enhanced cooperation and regional assistance.
France maintains its support of the Mechanism, including the arrest of fugitives targeted by arrest warrants issued by the Tribunal. Furthermore, I wish to indicate that the two cases referred to France by the ICTR are being handled with all the necessary diligence and rigor, under the supervision and in constant contact with the ICTR and the Residual Mechanism. In that regard, I recall that France is the only State, alongside Rwanda, that has accepted case transfers.
In conclusion, I thank the Ambassador of Uruguay, Chairman of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, and his entire team, the representatives of the International Tribunals, the Office of Legal Affairs and the Office of Internal Oversight Services for their efforts to implement the transitions pursuant to resolutions 1966 (2010) and 2193 (2014).
More than ever, combating impunity should be at the core of the Council’s actions, as justice is a prerequisite of lasting peace and security.