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Prime Minister of The Netherlands visits Tribunal

PRESS Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 25 February 2015

Prime Minister of The Netherlands visits Tribunal

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
with ICTY President Theodor Meron

Today, the Prime Minister of The Netherlands, Mr. Mark Rutte, visited the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Prime Minister held meetings with the Tribunal’s President Theodor Meron, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Registrar John Hocking, Judges and staff.

During the Prime Minister’s visit, he met with the Tribunal’s President and Vice-President to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the transition of the institution to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. The Prime Minister also took part in a Roundtable discussion with the Tribunal’s Judges to consider topics ranging from the ICTY’s contribution to the adjudication of gender-based crimes to The Hague as the City of Peace and Justice.

Speaking about the visit, President Meron said: “The Tribunal is honoured to welcome Prime Minister Rutte. Today I took the opportunity to express to him my deepest gratitude to the Netherlands, our Host State, for their steadfast commitment to the fight against impunity and their invaluable and ongoing assistance in ensuring the smooth operation of the ICTY and helping in the transition to the Mechanism”.

Prosecutor Brammertz met with Prime Minister Rutte to discuss the final work of the Office of the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor thanked the Netherlands for its essential role in generating cooperation with the ICTY and promoting the rule of law in the Western Balkans, saying, “In European and international fora, the Netherlands' unwavering support to the Office of the Prosecutor's mandate was crucial to securing the arrest of all our fugitives and the evidence needed to bring war criminals to justice.”

Commenting on the visit the Registrar said: “The Prime Minister experienced one day in the life of the Tribunal: he trod the same path to the courtroom as our 5,000 witnesses, consulted exhibits preserved in our archives, and was briefed on the rights of our accused in the defence rooms. To me, this visit wonderfully symbolises the two decades of cooperation of the Netherlands’ Government with the ICTY and its support to the growing operations of the Mechanism in The Hague.”

During his visit, Prime Minister Rutte was also introduced to various Tribunal staff members.

Representatives of the Tribunal welcome the continued interest of the Host State Government in its work, and are grateful for its continued support.

This visit has continued the tradition of high level visitors from the Host State to the Tribunal including the former Queen, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix, in 2004, and His Majesty King Willem-Alexander in 2013.