NEW YORK, JUNE 7 – “The fight against impunity is a common objective and it does not finish with the closing of the ad hoc tribunals accountability”, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi told today a Security Council meeting on the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).
Today ICTY President Carmel Agius addressed the United Nations Security Council, delivering his penultimate progress report on the Tribunal’s completion strategy in the lead up to its closure on 31 December 2017. Agius tressed that the ICTY remains on track to complete its mandate by the end of this year and has made considerable progress towards completing the final trial and appeal proceedings. Both the Mladić trial and the Prlić et al. appeal are on schedule, with judgements in both cases expected to be delivered by end of November 2017, as previously announced.
However, President Agius emphasised that there are still significant obstacles requiring the urgent attention of the Security Council. One such challenge is the pending contempt case of Jojić et al., in which the Republic of Serbia has failed to comply with its duties under the Tribunal’s Statute by refusing to execute arrest warrants of the accused that were issued almost two and a half years ago. The President recalled that he had formally referred Serbia’s non-compliance to the Council in a letter dated 1 March 2017, stating that “The Republic of Serbia is in violation of its international obligations every day that these arrest warrants and orders for transfer are not executed. The Security Council has the capacity to tackle this issue, and it is imperative that it takes decisive action.”
In his capacity as Vice President of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC, The Italian Ambassador pointed out to “the primary responsibility of states to ensure that justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is done in accordance with international standards”. The international community must provide necessary assistance and be ready to step in when domestic jurisdiction are unable or unwilling to do justice, he said, adding that “cooperation is an essential element”of the functioning of international criminal tribunals. “These organs are giants without arms and legs. States must assist the tribunals by lending them their enforcement powers”, Cardi said, noting that “lack of cooperation is still an issue of concern at ICTY and MICT, not a positive signal”, and that the fight against impunity is a common objective “and it does not finish with the closing of the ad hoc tribunals”.
As a final point, the Ambassador called upon the Council to assume full ownership of the work done by these subsidiary organs. “Accountability must become part of the United Nations’ broader prevention strategy”, he said, noting that “there is virtually no situation of which the Council is seized that does not require attention for accountability”: from Syria to Yemen, from Iraq to South Sudan, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Central African Republic. (@OnuItalia)