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Speech by his Excellency, Judge Claude Jorda, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, to the UN Security council.

Press Release PRESIDENT

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 21 November 2000

Speech by his Excellency, Judge Claude Jorda, President of the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, to the UN Security council.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and Members of the Security Council,

It is a very great honour for me to be able to address you on the state of the Tribunal for the second time in less than five months. I wish to express my profound gratitude to you for all the interest you have shown in the work we are accomplishing in The Hague.

In my view, the presence at my side of Judge Pillay, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Prosecutor Del Ponte is imbued with symbolism and especially important. For the first time ever, we, the representatives of the International Criminal Tribunals established more than 50 years after Nuremberg, stand all three together before you to report on our work. Our respective presentations should provide you with an overview of the two Tribunals’ judicial activities which, need I repeat, cannot be divorced from the penal policy of the Prosecutor.

Yesterday I presented the annual report of the Tribunal to all the members of the General Assembly. Today I would like to emphasise two points from the report which seem to me to be especially relevant. If we wish to accomplish our mission within a short time and ensure that the reform undertaken last June with your assistance comes to full fruition, we must take other, internal initiatives as well. Like my predecessors, I will also underscore the importance of the co-operation of all States to the fulfilment of our mandate.

1. Reforms of the operations and structures of the Tribunal

Last June, my colleagues and I presented to you a draft reform of the operations and structures of the Tribunal. We held the view that were no changes to be made, we could not hope to fulfil our mandate before the year 2016 (not including the time taken for appeals), that is, in over 15 years time. We drew your attention to the fact that this state of affairs could well compromise the accomplishment of our mission which, need I remind you, is a temporary one and must make possible a lasting return to peace in the Balkans. We also highlighted the risk that the fundamental right of the accused to be tried without undue delay might be jeopardised, a risk already proven by the amount of time the accused currently spend on remand. Lastly, we stressed the financial cost to the United Nations of such a situation and, more fundamentally, we noted the dangers that it represents to the credibility of international justice – a credibility which, may I remind you, it is more than necessary to ensure at this juncture when States are due to ratify the treaty instituting the future International Criminal Court.

In order to remedy the situation – that is to say, so as to fulfil our mandate by the year 2007 rather than 2016 – we proposed to you a solution which is both pragmatic and flexible, since it can then be adapted to the future needs of the Tribunal, especially to those dictated by the arrests and indictments to come. The solution also has the advantage of being less costly in the long term. As you know, it consists of creating a pool of ad litem judges from the Member States who would be called to rule upon specific cases when so required.

Furthermore, along with this measure, we also suggested that the pre-trial phase be accelerated, more responsibility for which would lie with qualified legal officers thus enabling the judges to devote all their time to actually trying the cases. We are already striving to implement this second measure.

During my address to you last June, I made clear my wish that the reforms be undertaken rapidly and suggested that the Tribunal co-operate closely to this end. I am particularly grateful to you for having set up so swiftly a working group to examine our proposals and for having received the representatives of the Tribunal. The group has met several times and it already appears that a consensus is possible. It goes without saying that should this reform be fully implemented by 2001, our work would then be greatly facilitated.

Nonetheless, as I underscored yesterday before the General Assembly, my colleagues and I are aware that these solutions will not be fully effective unless other, this time internal, reforms are carried out as well - reforms which, it should be understood, will not require you to activate any additional resources. As such, we are moving in the following new directions. Firstly, we must amend the rules for administering and presenting evidence so as to make them more effective and then bolster the judge’s powers of control over the conduct of the proceedings for the purposes of expediting the accused’s trials with, of course, due regard for the demands of fairness but also mindful of the need to avoid all stonewalling tactics. In a few weeks from now, I will also propose to my colleagues, the Registrar and the Prosecutor, new measures enabling the three organs of the Tribunal to set in concert their longer-term judicial priorities and to co-operate more closely in meeting them within as short a time as possible.

So as to be fully effective, all the reforms suppose that every organ of the Tribunal, and especially the Registry and Administration, will strive to implement them in a co-ordinated manner whilst ever mindful of the need to manage our resources better, that is, in the sole interest of justice. I know you to be convinced of the need for these reforms.

I now come to my second point.

2. Co-operation of States in the arrest of the accused and gathering of evidence.

The Tribunal’s situation has greatly improved as regards arrests and the transfer of evidence. Of the 65 accused, 38 are now in detention in The Hague. Thirteen of them were apprehended over the course of this last year. A significant quantity of documents was also handed over to the Tribunal.

This progress is first the result of the enhanced co-operation of all the Member States which, via the International Organisations, and more specifically SFOR and KFOR, are co-operating more closely in the accomplishment of our mandate. It also stems from the increased co-operation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina and, more recently, the Republic of Croatia. As you know, the Tribunal does not have a police force in order to enforce its decisions and as such must be able to rely on the unwavering support of the States of the International Community.

The political upheavals which the Balkans have recently witnessed are, in this respect, cause for new hope. The advent of democratic forces in Croatia demonstrates the resolve of the Croatian people to put the difficult times they have endured behind them. Likewise, the return of democracy to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the State’s reintegration into the Community of Nations attest to the Yugoslav people’s determination to break with the recent years of war.

These are major events from which we all take satisfaction and which now make it possible for us to hope that the Balkan States will fully respect their international commitments and co-operate more closely in the accomplishment of our mission.

Yet, let us not forget that the highest-ranking political and military officials remain at large. It is precisely these accused, military and political leaders, who must first and foremost be tried by an International Tribunal which is the guarantor of the peace and security of mankind, for it is principally they who are seriously endangering the international public order of which we are the guardians.

I therefore appeal to the Security Council to use all its influence over the Member States, and more especially the Successor States of the former Yugoslavia, so that they arrest and bring before the Tribunal the accused in their territory. It is imperative to act rapidly since nationalism in its most virulent form is still alive and could yet well compromise the demanding and sometimes painful exercise of justice, failing which there can be no deep-rooted and lasting peace in the Balkans.

As my predecessors before me, I will not hesitate to inform of you of all serious failures by whichever State concerned to meet the obligation to co-operate with the Tribunal. Nor will I neglect to notify you of all the measures which States implement to remedy such failure to co-operate.

I am extremely grateful for the support you have tirelessly lent us and thank you warmly for your attention.



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