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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Yingfan, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, On the Work of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia And the International Tribunal for Rwanda

2000-11-21 00:00

At the 4229th Meeting of the Security Council on 21 November 2000

Mr. President,

May I begin by thanking President Jorda of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), President Pillay of the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Prosecutor of the International Tribunals, Ms. Del Ponte for their briefings. Their reports provide us with a useful basis for our annual review of their work.

Mr. President,

As international criminal justice institutions established by the Security Council, the Tribunals' independence and impartiality are of paramount importance. In creating the ad hoc Tribunals, the Council has two goals. On the one hand, they are to conduct fair trials of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. They are to render justice to victims of the crimes in question while helping prevent perpetration of similar atrocities in future. On the other hand, they are to facilitate peace and reconciliation in the regions concerned. Security Council Resolutions 808, 827, 955, 1165 and 1166 all emphasize on the contribution of the work of the ad hoc Tribunals to the national reconciliation process in the regions and countries concerned and to the restoration of peace and security in regions. In carrying out their work, the ad hoc Tribunals should bear in mind the above-mentioned dual functions and fully implement them in a just manner.

Important progress has been made in many aspects of the Tribunals' work. Meanwhile, we have also found considerable inadequacies in the operation of the Tribunals. We have serious reservations about the ICTY Prosecutor's conclusion that there are no basis for opening an investigation into any allegations of crimes of serious violations of international humanitarian law during NATO's bombings of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Mr. President,

In principle, we support the ICTY's proposals for reform by taking effective measures to speed up its proceedings with the view to fulfilling its mandate within a reasonable time-frame. We do not think that a mere increase in its trial capacity would be sufficient to achieve such a goal. In view of the major political changes in the former Yugoslavia, we believe that the Council should determine in an opportune fashion the ending date for the Tribunal's temporal jurisdiction. In this regard, we support the views expressed by the Russian representative. In addition, the Tribunal should also further consider some other measures to reduce its caseload. For instance, where conditions permit, to transfer certain cases involving crimes by lower-level persons to national courts of the countries of former Yugoslavia and even to explore the possibility of resorting to some kind of truth and reconciliation process. In our opinion, all these issues should be seriously discussed within the framework of the Council's informal working group on ad hoc Tribunals.

Before concluding, Mr. President, we have noted in paragraph 350 of the ICTY's seventh report the Tribunal's optimism about the completion of its mission (at least its trial mission) by 2007. We are ready to actively consider the measures needed for meeting this time-bound target.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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