|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 19 March 1997
President Mary Robinson of the Republic of Ireland demonstrates her
commitment to human rights by visiting the International Tribunal.
Today, Wednesday 19 March 1997, the President of the Republic of Ireland, Mrs. Mary Robinson, paid the first-ever visit by a Head of State to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
President Robinson was accompanied by the Irish Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr John Swift, and senior officials of the Irish Presidency.
She met the Tribunal's Registrar, Mrs. Dorothee de Sampayo, had a discussion with the Prosecutor, Justice Louise Arbour, and held an exchange of views with the President, Judge Antonio Cassese, joined by Judges Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Elisabeth Odio Benito, Sir Ninian Stephen, Fouad Riad and Saad Saood Jan.
President Robinson's visit testifies to the strong support given to the Tribunal by the Republic of Ireland, which has paid its contribution to the United Nations general budget and which has, from the outset, been one of the twenty contributors (about US$122,000) to the Trust Funds established to support the ICTY's work by extra-budgetary means.
Moreover, by visiting the Tribunal, President Robinson, who was a Professor of Law and a Civil Rights lawyer prior to being elected President, wished to demonstrate most clearly her personal attachment to Human Rights issues.
In their meeting with President Robinson, President Cassese and the other Judges emphasised the two-fold contribution of the ICTY to human rights. The Tribunal was established by the Security Council to vindicate the human rights of thousands of victims of appalling crimes in the former Yugoslavia. By the same token, as the first truly international criminal tribunal ever, the ICTY is and must be exemplary in its observance of international standards relating to the rights of the accused as well as those of prosecution and defence witnesses.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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