Sahel and Lake Chad Basin: more needs to be done, more quickly [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 16 December 2019
I, too, would like to start by thanking President Agius and Prosecutor Brammertz for their presentation of the fifteenth report of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. I wish to assure them of my delegation’s full support as the Mechanism’s first biennium as an autonomous institution draws to a close.France welcomes the significant efforts made to close the cases currently under way by the end of 2020. With regard to The Hague branch, France takes note of the preparations for a hearing in the Mladić appeal, which we hope will be announced soon. France also welcomes the progress of the work in trial proceedings for the Stanišić and Simatović case.
With regard to the Arusha branch, we welcome the revised judgment handed down by the Appeals Chamber in September and take note of the possible joinder of the two cases of false testimony and contempt.Furthermore, we welcome the changes in the practice followed by the President to decide on requests for early release by taking into account all aspects related to the rehabilitation of the prisoner in question and the points of view of all stakeholders. We note the prospect of updating the Practice Direction on the Procedure for the Determination of Applications for Pardon, Commutation of Sentence and Early Release of Persons Convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Mechanism, and we continue to encourage the Mechanism to adopt a conditional early-release regime as well, in accordance with resolution 2422 (2018). We believe that such a regime will usefully enhance international jurisprudence.
With regard to cooperation, France would like to point out that every State is required to cooperate with the Mechanism in the search for, arrest and transfer of the eight fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and to execute the issued arrest warrants. We regret that some States are not doing everything they can to comply with that obligation. France has been fully cooperating in that effort by responding every year to the Mechanism’s multiple requests for mutual assistance in criminal matters. With regard to the cases that the ICTR has transferred to the French judicial authorities, the period since the last briefing (see S/PV.8416) has been marked by the conclusion of the Munyeshyaka case by the judgment issued on 30 October by the Court of Cassation, France’s highest court, which upheld its dismissal.
France reaffirms its full commitment to bringing the Bucyibaruta case to a conclusion. We hope that a trial date for that case will announced in the near future.As President Agius underscored, the work of the Mechanism is not limited to judicial activities. The protection of the more than 3,000 witnesses is extremely important, and we welcome the efforts of the Kigali and Sarajevo branches in that regard. We also welcome the projects that have been carried out with the European Union since the beginning of the year with the aim of raising awareness in the communities affected and among the younger generations in the countries of the former Yugoslavia with regard the Criminal Tribunal’s legacy and the Mechanism’s ongoing work. Such efforts to preserve memory are particularly essential in the context of recent controversies arising from acts committed during the conflicts of the 1990s in the Western Balkans and especially in Kosovo in 1999.
We urge all leaders involved to refrain from statements denying the established facts and the crimes committed. Denials of genocide and the glorification of war criminals convicted by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the ICTR and subsequently the Mechanism, following impartial and independent proceedings, are unacceptable. The national justice systems that are seized of these matters must also be able to carry out their work with complete impartiality and independence.In order to carry out all these activities on two continents and complete its proceedings before the end of next year, the Mechanism must be able to count on adequate financial resources. It also has to continue sharing resources between the two divisions, as exemplified by the establishment of a shared archival database. That is crucial if it is to function effectively and consistently, which will continue in a truly residual fashion after 2020. The Security Council’s review of the work of the Office of Internal Oversight Services will provide an occasion to discuss these matters once again.