- Cooperation from States remains critical as the United Nations tribunals set up to try those responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide and atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s enter the final phases of their work, top officials from the courts told the Security Council yesterday.
Speaking for the International Criminal Tribunal, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz noted that 2009 is the last year of full trial activity before the court starts downsizing in 2010.
While presenting challenges for the court in its international schedule, expected to be wraped up this year, he also strategies need to be reinforced for the work to be completed.
“The cooperation of states with my office remains critical to the successful completion of our trials and appeals work,” the Prosecutor told the 15-member body, citing areas such as the provision of documents, access to archives, assurances that witnesses could testify and assistance in locating and arresting fugitives.
Likewise, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) - which aims to finish first-instance trials by the end of 2009 - pressed for greater assistance from the Council in obtaining the cooperation of countries in the region to deliver fugitives to the court, based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Hassan Jallow pointed to Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he said most of the dozen remaining fugitives are known to be residing.
He also outlined the Tribunal’s completion strategy with regards to its judicial work, saying that the transfer of outstanding cases to Rwandan jurisdictions was proceeding smoothly, with Rwanda abolishing the death penalty to comply with international standards.
ICTR President Dennis Byron added that 15 years after the genocide, 13 fugitives remained at large, four of them earmarked for trial as high-level accused.
“For an international community committed to the fight against impunity, letting those indicted for the most serious crimes escape trial is not an acceptable option,” he stressed. The cooperation and assistance of Member States was a cornerstone for successfully completing the Tribunal’s mandate in many aspects, he stressed.
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