Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
National statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), 11 December 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
And thank you as well Judge Meron and Prosecutor Brammertz for your comprehensive updates this morning.
Sweden welcomes the developments and progress made by the Mechanism since the last briefing and the extension of the mandate in June. We are pleased to see that the Mechanism has been working on implementing the recommendations that were presented in the evaluation report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services earlier this year.
We particularly welcome the implementation of the recommendation regarding gender related matters. It is important that the Registry is now reviewing how the policies related to the support and protection of victims and witnesses can better reflect gender-sensitive and gender-appropriate approaches. We also reiterate our satisfaction with the achieved gender parity among the professional staff. It is evident that the Mechanism has done its share in assuring gender parity, however we, the member states, have failed in doing our part. The continued lack of gender parity among the judges of the mechanism is disappointing, and we regret the absence of female candidates in the upcoming election of judges. Let us do better ahead of possible future elections.
The strained budgetary situation also remains a concern, not least because it risks contributing to loss of institutional memory, as highlighted in the report. We note that the biennial budget approved by the General Assembly in July did not even amount to half of the budget proposed by the Mechanism. To avoid any delays in the implementation of the mandate and assure sufficient quality of the work conducted, the Mechanism must be given the required resources. We note in the report that it remains unclear on how long the function for the protection of victims and witnesses would need to remain operational and we again stress how important this work is.
To achieve results, cooperation with the Mechanism remains of utmost importance. Sweden is one of the countries which has received convicted individuals for their enforcement of sentences. We reiterate our call on member states to assist the Mechanism in the arrest of the fugitives that remain at large.
We welcome the continued efforts made to promote communication and cooperation between the Mechanism and the governments of Rwanda and the States of the former Yugoslavia. The continued challenges in the reconciliation process on the Western Balkans, as noted in the Prosecutor’s report, are concerning. The Mechanism must continue to address this situation in the communication with the States of the former Yugoslavia.
During our two years on this Council, Sweden has followed the work of the Mechanism very closely. As this is our last meeting on this topic before leaving the Council, let me just briefly share some reflections.
Over these past two years we have not only worked on the extension of the mandate of the Mechanism, but have also witnessed the closure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was indeed a historic event. The ICTY, as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, represented concrete advancements of the international criminal justice system. We cannot overestimate the role that these and other international criminal tribunals have played in the fight against impunity for the most horrendous crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
At the same time, during our time on this Council, we have also witnessed an international criminal justice system under increased pressure. Considering the hostile rhetoric against the international courts and tribunals, one could wonder if accomplishments such as the establishment of the tribunals on former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s, the creation of the ICC in the beginning of the 2000s and the establishment of the residual mechanism eight years ago, would have been achievable today. As regretful as this situation is, what it also tells us, is that the courts and tribunals are having a real impact.
The courts and the tribunals were not established to serve or depend on any one country’s interests. They were set up to serve justice for victims and assure accountability for perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humanity. For this reason, it is only natural that they are uncomfortable for those who violate international law.
In this light we want to once again commend the staff of the Mechanism for their high ethics and morale, their independence and their unwavering commitment to justice. Since this is also your last briefing to this Council, Judge Meron, we would especially like to thank you for all your contributions to the international justice system throughout your career, including as President of both the ICTY and the Mechanism. And your presence here and your personal words serves as an important reminder of our joint commitment and responsibility to ensure the ‘never again’.
Finally, Mr. President,
Sweden’s commitment to an international rules-based order and justice system remains unwavering. The principles of seeking justice for victims and ensuring accountability for perpetrators will be cornerstones of our international engagement also in the future. As part of this engagement, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals can count on our continued support.
I thank you.