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

The Hague, 18 June 2007

Mr. President, Excellencies,

Eight years ago, when I was appointed Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia , we were living in a different world, in which international justice and the Tribunal had a long way to go. Who would have thought, at that time, that we would see the arrest of a former head of State? Since then, international justice and the International Tribunal have made considerable progress. Indeed, in the course of my two mandates as Prosecutor, we have secured the arrest of 91 individuals.

In mid-September my mandate as Prosecutor of the International Tribunal will end. It is therefore the last time I address the Security Council in this capacity. I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and my thanks for the support that you have provided to the Tribunal, to international justice, and to myself.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

You will have received my written assessment on the Completion Strategy. I will now highlight a few points set out in the report and address recent developments which have occurred since the issuance of the written report.

We have gone a long way towards achieving the goals set for the International Tribunal, namely the prosecution of the most senior leaders responsible for the most serious crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia after 1991. Over these years, I undertook investigations of crimes committed in conflicts in Croatia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia . During my terms, as I indicated earlier, 91 accused were transferred to The Hague , while, at this date, four remain at large. 59 persons were convicted in first instance - including as recently as last week. A number of these cases are still on appeal. Moreover, the Appeals Chamber has confirmed the convictions of 37 persons. Currently, we are conducting six first instance trials with 25 accused and awaiting judgements for three other accused. Only 11 accused are still at the pre-trial stage. In addition, there are five appeals pending involving 11 accused.

While trials and appeals are progressing and nearing completion, there is a sense that an important degree of justice will have been brought to the victims of the conflicts that raged throughout the region. However, many victims will feel that this was not enough. They will be right. There are numerous mid- and lower-level perpetrators that could not be tried in The Hague because of the International Tribunal's Completion Strategy. I have been working intensely with authorities in Belgrade , Sarajevo , Zagreb and Skopje to transfer knowledge and evidence we possess pertaining to hundreds of other suspects. Although we have seen some progress in domestic prosecutions, I advise the international community to remain vigilant. The temptation of the respective governments to interfere in these processes is still very present. A thorough monitoring of all domestic war crimes proceedings remains imperative. The OSCE has proven to be the best suited institution to carry out this important function. I therefore call upon you to provide your full backing to this regional organization. Since the question whether the OSCE should continue to monitor trials in Croatia is being debated, I wish to re-affirm the importance of the monitoring process carried out by the OSCE and recommend that it pursue this activity in Zagreb.

The fact that four persons remain at large, in particular, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, is a permanent stain on our work. We believe that these fugitives are currently in Serbia or within Serbia 's reach. I should inform you, however, that my Office has no information of Mr. Radovan Karadžić's current whereabouts. It is troubling that Radovan Karadzic has disappeared from the radar screens of the relevant services, and it seems that no one is actively searching for him. I am, however, convinced that relevant States in the region have the means to locate and arrest him.

In the past few weeks, we have observed general progress in Serbia 's level of cooperation with the International Tribunal. I was in Belgrade , upon the invitation of President Boris Tadić, to discuss and assess Serbia 's cooperation with the International Tribunal. During my stay, I met with senior political leaders and government officials, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. I also had meetings at the operational level to discuss in detail plans to locate and arrest fugitives. During the visit, the authorities, at various levels, expressed a clear commitment to provide all necessary assistance to locate and arrest the remaining fugitives. New structures have been put in place, aimed at centralizing all activities to apprehend fugitives. Thus, for instance, shortly after the new government was formed, a National Security Council, which is chaired by the President, has been established, and which will be the central organ dealing with fugitives issues. The National Security Council has already convened and in its first meeting has re-affirmed that its priority is to co-operate with the International Tribunal by arresting fugitives. Moreover, on 31 May, thanks to the cooperation between Serbia and the Republika Srpska, Zdravko Tolimir was arrested and transferred to The Hague . Following this arrest, just over this past weekend, Serbia worked directly with us to locate Vlastimir Djordjević, in Montenegro . Montenegrin authorities subsequently arrested him and transferred him to The Hague , where he is now in the custody of the Tribunal. These arrests demonstrate Serbia 's commitment to fully cooperate with my Office. I should also point out that Serbia has in the past weeks responded to most of the pending Requests for Assistance, and my Office is at this moment studying the materials received. The backlog of outstanding and partially responded Requests since March this year was reduced from over 250 to less than 50. This illustrates recent positive developments in Serbia 's level of cooperation with my Office. Over the coming weeks, my Office will closely scrutinize Serbia 's level of assistance, as I still demand its full cooperation, which includes full access to documents and the arrest and transfer of the fugitives to The Hague , in particular Ratko Mladić.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I would like to emphasize, once more, as I have done in my previous reports to this Council, that the continuing impunity enjoyed by Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić gravely undermines all efforts to bring justice to the victims. This impunity also seriously affects the credibility of the International Tribunal, which was mandated to prosecute those most responsible for the most serious violations committed in the former Yugoslavia . As the Council is considering pending regional issues and, in p articular, the future status of Kosovo, I hope that any such decision and the timing thereof will not undermine ongoing efforts to arrest and locate fugitives.

In December 2005, during my appearance before this Council, I explained the reasons why Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić were still at large. At times, I could sense that our work was hampered because the political convenience of the moment was interfering with the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the International Tribunal's mandate. The International Tribunal has had to rely on political bodies, States, or even military alliances to obtain access to key evidence. Unfortunately, cooperation was not always forthcoming and we were not always successful in securing this crucial evidence. States and organizations present on the ground have, at times, been hesitant to openly assist the International Tribunal. While in certain cases, accused were arrested and surrendered immediately, in other cases, fears of alleged political and security instability permitted these indictees to remain free. Indeed, the international community missed clear opportunities in 1995-1998 to arrest Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić. Today, as the clock is ticking, we need this international assistance, more than ever. As experience shows, this Council, the European Union, other regional organizations and States, can provide strong incentives for States from the former Yugoslavia to finally fully cooperate with the International Tribunal. The completion strategy in itself is a strong encouragement for some to do nothing and wait until the International Tribunal closes its doors. I trust that necessary action will be undertaken to prevent this tactic from succeeding.

As to the other states in the region, Croatia 's level of cooperation has been generally satisfactory. Recently, my Office has, together with Croatian authorities, been able to solve certain problems encountered during the preparation of the trial against Ante Gotovina and his co-accused. I am hopeful that the commitment of the Croatian Government to resolve effectively any issues emerging in this cooperation during the pre-trial and trial phases will be unequivocally affirmed in the future. Bosnia and Herzegovina 's level of cooperation with my office has progressed over the past months and is now also at a generally satisfactory level. There are clear indications that progress was made and that co-ordination between the State and entity levels in targeting the fugitives' support network is improving. I also welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina 's and in particular the Republika Srpska's important role in facilitating the arrest and transfer of Zdravko Tolimir to The Hague recently. Finally, I am appreciative of the role played by Montenegrin authorities in the arrest and transfer of Vlastimir Djordjević. In both the Tolimir and Djordjević cases, the arrests are a concrete result of increased cooperation at the regional level between the various State authorities.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

Despite the difficulties, I believe we have nonetheless achieved an important degree of justice, as the figures of convicted high-level individuals show. Only 11 cases remain at pre-trial stage and these are expected to commence some time within the next year, while four persons remain at large.

The International Tribunal is often criticized because it is apparently too slow or inefficient. However, over the past four years, there has been a great quantitative and qualitative leap forward in our judicial work. The management of pre-trial processes has greatly improved. Some of the International Tribunal's judges are taking a more active stance, which I certainly welcome. More written evidence is admitted and more adjudicated facts are accepted. The prosecution, being the engine of any trial, is making continuous efforts to make proceedings as effective and efficient as possible while preserving the rights of the victims and the defense.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I have taken the liberty to focus on some of the issues that, in my view, deserve to be addressed so as to enhance the credibility and efficiency of international judicial processes. Please, do not misunderstand me. The International Tribunal has made impressive achievements. All the judges, prosecutors, registrars and staff members who have been working for the International Tribunal since 1993 deserve credit for its successes. There are only a few more years to go. To build upon what has been achieved thus far, it is essential that continuity be ensured at the helm of the Office of the Prosecutor. My successor should be immediately operational to further foster the efficiency of the trial work and continue to track remaining fugitives. Of course, I hope that, given the recent arrests and Serbia 's commitment, we will soon see the end of this fugitive issue.

I now turn to you, as members of this Council, because it is to the Security Council that the international community, the public and the victims will turn to take the necessary measures to redress justice. They will turn to you to call for the arrest of Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić. I trust that the Council will take the action that is required and will give us the support needed to successfully carry out our mandate.

Mr. President,

I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the commitment of your country in support of international justice. I would like to salute the leading role that Belgium plays in this regard. I particularly appreciated the active role of your country in supporting the Tribunal throughout its existence, as well as the courageous stand it took towards us. Please allow me to also thank your Minister of Foreign Affairs for his support and trust in the work we are conducting.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I would like to conclude by appealing to the Council to pursue the fight against impunity, by using its power to ensure the smooth functioning of international criminal justice. I appeal to the Council to continue supporting the International Tribunal and my successor so they can fulfill the mission you have assigned to them.

Finally, on a personal level, I wish to express my sincere gratitude for your support and the trust that you gave me during my mandates as Prosecutor.

Thank you.