Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Debate of the United Nations Security Council on ICTY/MICT

(As delivered)

          I would like to thank President Agius, President Meron and Prosecutor Brammertz for their reports and informative and comprehensive briefings. Japan is committed to the fight against impunity and to supporting the international criminal tribunals.  
 
          Japan welcomes the conclusion of the judicial activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) through the delivery of judgments on the Mladic case and the Prlic et al case. Japan hopes that these judgments will help bring justice to the region. We appreciate the efforts of the Tribunal to deliver these judgements in line with the projected timeline despite serious staff attrition. We commend the strong leadership of President Agius. 
 
          After 24 years of work, the ICTY will be closing in a few weeks. Japan wishes to recognize the legacy of the Tribunal and express appreciation to the contribution made by the Tribunal to help victims see justice. The report submitted by the ICTY(S/2017/1001) contained many valuable and practical lessons learned, which this Council could consider going forward.
 
          The most important takeaway lesson that the ICTY teaches us is that delivering justice heavily depends on the cooperation rendered by Member States. This Council, in its Resolution 827(1993) which established the ICTY, decided that all States shall cooperate fully with the Tribunal. Despite the fact that the ICTY required the cooperation from Member States in various areas, such as execution of arrest warrants, access to evidence, or apprehending fugitives, securing the cooperation was always a challenge. In hindsight, this Council might have acted more proactively to address the challenges by discharging its responsibility as an organ that created the ICTY.
 
          Let me now turn to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT). We are very pleased to hear the steady progress in judicial activities. Like the ICTY, full cooperation by the Member States with the Mechanism is required to deliver justice. We would like to call upon all States to cooperate fully with the Mechanism. Additionally, arresting the remaining fugitives is a priority for the Mechanism. We welcome the Prosecutor’s efforts to intensify his actions in this context, and hope this will lead to arrests as soon as possible.
 
          Before closing, let me express Japan’s appreciation to the dedicated work done by the ICTY and its staff in the fight against impunity. The ICTY had a positive impact on the strengthening of the rule of law in the international community. The establishment of the ICTY also helped spur the creation of other international and hybrid tribunals, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is the first-ever permanent international criminal court. We reiterate our strong commitment to the promotion of rule of law and advancing justice in the international community through supporting the work of the tribunals.
 
Thank you.