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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2009

Report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, General Assembly

9 October 2009

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

At the outset, Canada, Australia and New Zealand wish to pay tribute to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Their groundbreaking work has made a significant contribution towards promoting accountability for those responsible for committing the most serious international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

By bringing to justice the perpetrators of these crimes, the tribunals have helped to strengthen the rule of law and promoted long-term stability and reconciliation in the Balkans and in Rwanda. Their work very clearly shows that peace and justice can indeed go hand-in-hand. The jurisprudence of both tribunals also forms a significant part of their legacy, one which will be drawn upon for many years to come.

In order for the Tribunals to complete their work it is imperative that all remaining indictees be surrendered, particularly Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, and Félicien Kabuga. States that continue to provide protection to these fugitives from international justice undermine not only our common fight against impunity, but their own commitment to the rule of law.

Mr President,

CANZ appreciates the efforts being made by both Tribunals towards achieving the goals outlined in their respective Completion Strategies. We note as well the recent Security Council resolutions extending the terms of office of the judges of the ICTY and ICTR. CANZ continues to urge both tribunals to identify measures that will enable them to complete their work as efficiently and promptly as possible, including the transfer of cases to national courts where it is appropriate.

With both Tribunals’ working towards the end of their mandates, a vital aspect of concluding the tribunals’ work is how to address the associated “residual issues” of completion, including enforcement of sentences, the preservation and protection of archives, the continuing protection of witnesses, detention issues, and future applications by convicted persons.
CANZ welcomes the important steps that have been already taken by both the ICTR and the ICTY to deal with residual issues.. In fact, residual issues flowing out of the ending of the work of the ICTR/ICTY are the subject of an informal "Arias Formula" discussion that is happening on this very day.

While every situation is different, CANZ believes that lessons learned and solutions found in the ICTR/ICTY context may also be applicable to other tribunals, such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Equally, the work being done in those tribunals on residual issues can help to inform discussions relating to the ICTR/ICTY. We note past and current efforts of exchange between the tribunals. We also encourage further discussion amongst the international community to ensure that the lessons learned and the mechanisms developed in one tribunal be examined for potential application to others. We are also pleased to note that Canada will support a workshop on residual issues to be held here in New York early next year.

Mr President ,

The ICTY and ICTR continue to contribute significantly to the fight against impunity. The successful completion of their work relies on cooperation and support from all states. We call upon states to give practical effect to their commitment to an effective system of international criminal justice. For our part, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will continue to offer the tribunals our full support and cooperation in this closing, but vital, stage of their existence.

Thank you.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:49 NZDT