At the invitation of Mr. René van der Linden, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte delivered an address before the Assembly today.
In her speech, the Prosecutor expressed her appreciation for the work conducted by the Committee for Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and its rapporteur Mr. Tony Lloyd, as well as the comprehensive report he has prepared on the "Prosecution of Offences within the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia", which was the subject of today's
discussion at the Assembly. The report clearly identified the main issues in the work of the Office in the Prosecutor (OTP).
Carla Del Ponte continued by directly addressing some the most relevant points - cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor, the transfer of cases and investigation files to domestic authorities of the former Yugoslavia as well as issues of regional cooperation.
The Prosecutor said that the cooperation of Serbia , Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the OTP has generally improved. Regarding Serbia , specifically, the Prosecutor elaborated on the recent positive developments and the demonstrated commitment to provide all necessary assistance to locate and arrest fugitives. She concluded by stating that the Security Council, the
European Union and other organisations and their member States can provide strong incentives for States from the former Yugoslavia to finally fully cooperate with the Tribunal and that she trusts that these organisations and States, in particular the European Union, will continue to take a principled and consistent position on this matter in consultation with the Prosecutor's
In respect of the transfer of files and cases and regional cooperation, the Prosecutor outlined the progress made, the need for continued monitoring of local war crimes trials and the crucial role played by the OSCE in this respect. She also stated that there is a great need for enhanced cooperation in criminal matters between States of the former Yugoslavia as an essential
step towards further reconciliation and rebuilding trust and justice in the region. Prosecutor Del Ponte also warned that the fact that some very important issues in that respect, such as the extradition of nationals and the transfer of proceedings between States concerned, have not been resolved yet can lead to an 'impunity gap' which would deny any hope of justice to
She concluded her address by saying that both the Council of Europe and the ICTY stand for noble causes and added the following: "The success of the International Tribunal will contribute to a stable, united, reconciled Europe , through a shared commitment to common values. This is the Europe its peoples deserve. It is time for the International Tribunal to finally complete
its work and let the wounds of the past, finally, heal ."
The full text of the Prosecutor's speech can be found at: