Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the UN Security Council Debate on the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Baki İlkin 04.06.2009
I would like to thank the Presidents and Prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) for the introduction of the reports.

Turkey acknowledges the progress made by both Tribunals in the implementation of the Completion Strategy. We commend the strong commitment by the judges, prosecutors and entire staff of ICTY and ICTR to meet the timelines set by the Security Council.

However, it is clear that neither of the Tribunals is able to meet the target dates envisaged in the Completion Strategy. We thus encourage the Tribunals to continue their efforts to expedite the proceedings, without prejudice to the principle of fair trial.

On the other hand, we should bear in mind that speedy realization of the Completion Strategy does not solely rely on the work carried out by the ICTY and ICTR. In particular, additional measures need to be taken by the Security Council so as to match the judicial capacity of the Tribunals with current circumstances. Turkey is ready to support every step in this direction.

Cooperation is another essential element of the successful completion of the Tribunal's work. Despite certain progress, we regretfully noted that the number of fugitives remains unchanged since the last biannual reports of the Tribunals. In this regard, we wish to appeal to all states to fully cooperate with the Tribunals, particularly in the pursuit and arrest of the fugitives. All those responsible for the violations of international humanitarian law in the territories of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda must be brought to justice.

Finally, referral of cases to national jurisdictions also plays an important role in the fulfillment of the Tribunals' mandates. Here too, we would like to appeal to the international community to provide support, where necessary, in order to strengthen the capacity of national institutions of the concerned countries.

In conclusion, the Tribunals have so far made important contributions to international criminal justice. However, as we are now approaching their closure date, much needs to be done regarding legacy and residual issues. In this regard, we expect the Informal Working Group on the International Tribunals to resolve the remaining outstanding issues in the coming months.

Once again, I would like to thank all the officials of the Tribunals for their dedicated work and efforts to end impunity.