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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, On the Work of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

2000-06-20 00:00

At the 4161th Meeting of the Security Council on 20 June 2000

Mr. President,

I wish to thank Judge Jorda, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for his report and his briefing. The Chinese Government believes that the independence and impartiality of the ICTY, as an organ of international criminal justice, are extremely important. The Tribunal should not be affected by international politics and other factors; yet it has become a political tool. The authority of the ICTY can be ensured only through its independence and impartiality. Only in this way can the work of the ICTY withstand the test of history.

In this regard, there are many areas of the ICTY that need to be improved, which is one of the problems facing the ICTY. We hope that the ICTY will become a real independent and impartial organ of international justice; it is not one now because it is affected too much by politics. Some representatives just gave examples that I will not repeat. I believe my criticism is constructive. I hope that the ICTY will work towards becoming more independent and impartial.

Of course, we know that the ICTY faces other problems, as was mentioned by Judge Jorda. It faces a lack of trial capacity, which seriously constrains the trial process. In order to ensure the rights of the accused to a speedy and fair trial, it is necessary to consider taking appropriate measures to speed up the trial process. We are very gratified by the assessment report submitted by the Expert Group appointed by the Secretary-General. This report provides a detailed analysis of the operations of the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and includes specific recommendations and measures that warrant our further serious consideration.

In his report and briefing, Judge Jorda made reference to the establishment of the pool of ad litem Judges in order to address unforeseen trial needs. This is a very interesting idea that might be helpful in expediting the trial process. Adding ad litem judges requires amendments to the Statute. It also involves many important legal and technical details and resources. The Security Council cannot make hasty decisions on this. Time is needed by all sides to further study the opinion of the Expert Group and the report submitted by President Jorda on behalf of the judges and the Tribunal in order to find a definitive solution, taking all factors into account. We are willing to consider any measure that will help the Tribunal administer justice and expedite the trial process.

In considering the option of adding ad litem judges, we believe that equitable geographic distribution and balance among the world's major legal systems should be considered. The proper way to select the ad litem judges is by election by the General Assembly. As for the cost of ad litem judges, various options should be seriously considered on the basis of the opinion of the Expert Group. Furthermore, there should be equal opportunity in selecting ad litem judges to participate in trial work.

As for the streamlining of the pre-trial process, we have noted that the Tribunal has been carrying out appropriate amendments and adjustments to its Rules of Procedure and Evidence, in accordance with the opinion of the Expert Group.

However, in carrying out any amendment, the Tribunal should strictly abide by its Statute and the resolutions of the Security Council. As for the pre-trial stages, practical administrative work can be handled by the Trial Chambers' senior legal officers, under strict and clear mandate, while the Trial Chambers closely monitor them in this regard. Efficiency should not be achieved at the expense of the strict conduct of the trial procedure and the fairness of the trial.

In conclusion, please allow me to express my thanks again to Judge Jorda, the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, for his work.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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