2004 Statement


H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa

Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations

On Agenda Items 50 And 51: Report Of The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (ICTR) And Report Of the International Criminal Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

15 NOVEMBER 2004

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank both President Theodor Meron and President Eric Mose for presenting their annual reports to the General Assembly. Japan appreciates their efforts to implement the completion strategies for both tribunals, and hopes that they will strengthen those efforts. The fact that we have now received the eleventh annual report of the ICTY and the ninth annual report of the ICTR indicates very clearly that many years have passed since the establishment of the two tribunals. A prolonged judicial process does not necessarily contribute to better justice, and this is why, we believe, the Security Council endorsed the completion strategies. The Presidents of both tribunals should make their utmost efforts to ensure that this goal is met, and to complete the first phase of the completion strategy, the investigation work, by the end of this year.

Mr. President,

Allow me to make a few comments on the work of the ICTY.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Judge Richard May this past July. We commend his contribution to the work of the tribunal, and in particular his able leadership in his capacity as presiding judge of the Milosevic trial.

Regarding the speed of the work of the ICTY Chambers, we acknowledge the fact that the Tribunal's three Trial Chambers ran six trials simultaneously throughout the year covered by the report. We hope the Trial Chambers will continue its work in this manner in order to maintain and further enhance the efficiency of the Court.

Needless to say, the continuity of the work of the ICTY is very important. In this regard, we hope that the Permanent Judges to be elected at the elections on Thursday, 18 November in the General Assembly will heed to the importance of this continuity and also promote the completion strategies by making plans on the schedule of the trials well in advance of the commencement of their terms on 17 November 2005. In a similar light, we also hope that the terms of the ad litem Judges would be examined with the aim of maintaining the continuity of the work of the ICTY.

The ICTY has been established to bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. As such, Japan fully shares the concern expressed by the Prosecutor that Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina are yet to be arrested. It is therefore essential that the countries concerned cooperate and provide support not only in the process of arresting these fugitives but also by providing other necessary means for obtaining access to witnesses, archives and other crucial evidence. Such cooperation is required in order to avoid waste of time in fulfilling the mandate of the ICTY.

Mr. President,

Next, let me turn to the work of the ICTR.

First, we have been impressed by the fact that the Ndindabahizi trial, which began on 1 September 2003, was completed in less than one year, with judgment being rendered on 15 July 2004. We were likewise pleased to note that in the Muhimana trial, which commenced on 29 March 2004, 19 prosecution witnesses were heard in a period of 20 trial days. These results confirm that the efficiency of the trials has been enhanced.

Second, my government welcomes the commencement of work by Mr. Jallow, the Prosecutor of the ICTR, whose position was established by Security Council Resolution 1503 (2003). We commend the fact that Mr. Jallow has communicated with the Rwanda government on a regular basis and is conducting more in-depth discussion with the Rwanda government on the transfer of cases to Rwanda. It is especially commendable that he has made efforts to get the local people more involved in the judicial process, which enables them to achieve justice while maintaining ownership. Japan hopes that the cooperation and dialogue between the ICTR and the Rwanda government will be further strengthened.

Mr. President,

As the final point, let me reiterate one lesson that we have learned from the ICTY and the ICTR. The Member States cannot fund the expenses for the pursuit of justice unlimitedly. The Secretary-General pointed this out in his report on the rule of law and transitional justice, and the importance of this lesson was also underscored by many of the Member States participating in the open debate at the Security Council on 6 October. The Secretary-General stated in his report that, "The stark differential between cost and number of cases processed does raise important questions. . . . In addressing these cost-related issues, high priority should be given to consideration of the need to provide for an effective system for delivery of justice."

Although we do note from the presentations by the Presidents of both tribunals that efforts have been made to address this issue, the current gap between cost and the number of cases processed is still inappropriate. We believe that the operation and cost of the tribunals should be phased down in accordance with the completion strategies. With these concerns in mind, Japan strongly hopes that the ICTY and the ICTR will continue to maximize their efforts to conduct fair trials in an efficient and effective manner under the leadership of their Presidents, in order to fulfill their commitments to the completion strategies endorsed by the Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.