Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the IRMCT
Statement08 June 2021
Thank you Mr President and I want to thank President Carmel Agius and Prosecutor Serge Brammertz for their comprehensive briefings this afternoon.
I would also like to offer my sincere condolences on the passing of Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam. Judge Kam’s death is a loss for international criminal justice, and I want to acknowledge his dedicated service to both the International Tribunal for Rwanda and to the Mechanism.
Though it is over a quarter of a century since the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, victims, survivors and their families deserve nothing less than justice. We see the continued relevance of the Mechanism’s mandate as clear. It is equally clear that the leadership and staff of the Mechanism share a dedication to this work.
This is evident in the considerable progress that has been made over the past year in spite of very trying circumstances, with the efficient conclusion of outstanding cases including the three cases reaching their final stages in this month alone.
I must also mark the issue of today’s landmark judgment by the Mechanism’s Appeal Chamber, which dismissed the appeal of Mr Ratko Mladic and reaffirmed his life sentence for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war. It is our sincere hope that this judgment can bring some closure to the survivors and victims of his crimes.
Last year, the Council reiterated its call to States to intensify cooperation with and to provide all necessary assistance to achieve the arrest and surrender of all remaining fugitives indicted by the ICTY and the ICTR.
Cooperation is sine qua non for the Mechanism to carry out its work, whether in relation to the arrest and surrender of fugitives, the enforcement of sentences or the resettlement of acquitted and released persons. Ireland was therefore pleased to note the many instances of positive cooperation by Member States and regional organisations with the Mechanism as well as the provision of assistance by the Mechanism to national jurisdictions.
Nevertheless, we note with serious concern that the Mechanism continues to encounter obstacles from a number of Member States in connection with the arrest and surrender of fugitives.
In particular, Ireland was deeply concerned by the 11 May notification from the President of the Mechanism detailing Serbia’s non-compliance with the Mechanism in relation to the surrender and arrest of Mr. Jojić and Ms. Radeta.
We strongly urge Serbia to cooperate fully with the Court and comply with its obligations in this matter. We also call on all States to assist the Mechanism in relation to efforts to arrest and surrender the remaining fugitives of the ICTR. Ireland looks forward to working with Council members with the aim of promoting cooperation with the Mechanism.
When the Council established the ICTY and the ICTR, it sought to ensure not only that the perpetrators of these crimes would face justice, but also that the Tribunals would act as a preventative tool against future acts of violence. Ireland recognises the importance of the Mechanism’s efforts, in conjunction with the European Union, to raise awareness of the former ICTY and the Mechanism’s work amongst affected communities and amongst younger generations in the region of the former Yugoslavia.
In this light, we find concerning the Prosecutor’s reports of ongoing attempts to minimise or deny genocide that took place within living memory. Denials of genocide and the glorification of convicted war criminals are unacceptable, they undermine reconciliation and must be challenged and must be condemned.
In closing, as part of our steadfast commitment to international criminal justice, Ireland will continue to support the work of the Mechanism in ensuring that perpetrators of atrocity crimes are held to account. This accountability is a crucial step in achieving and sustaining reconciliation and is crucial also to preventing the recurrence of these atrocities. Though we are grateful to be able to meet in person this afternoon, we look forward to the day when we can welcome you, Mr President and Prosecutor Brammertz, back to the Council Chamber in person.