Remarks by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Security Council VTC meeting on the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, June 8, 2020

08.06.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Germany continues to fully support the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals both politically and financially. We believe this work is extremely important and we were as happy as you all were concerning the arrest of Félicien Kabuga. This was very well done. Congratulations, (Chief Prosecutor) Serge Brammertz, to you and,  your team. Thanks to France for the cooperation. Also, I think it is very good to hear that you used innovative measures. This leads me also to the remark that some others have made regarding the reform process with regard to the Residual Mechanism and its functioning. We fully support that. I would like to underline what my colleague from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic said with regard to gender balance: it is very important that this is regarded.

Now, picking up on what the briefers have said. First, I would like to highlight the developments in the Western Balkans. I find it very worrying that we continue to see the glorification of war criminals, the denial of the genocide, and incendiary rhetoric. The politicians carry a lot of responsibility there and, as my UK colleague just said, in these circumstances, reconciliation is very difficult. Politicians have to assume responsibility. They must not undermine the rule of law. My UK colleague and others reminded us of the crimes, the horrible crimes committed in Srebrenica. In this respect, I only hope that when the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the death of a thousand people will take place, that this happens in a very dignified way.

Again, picking up on earlier speakers, I would like to highlight the remark made by our Tunisian colleague with regard to Rwanda that early warning signs were ignored. This brings me again to the task of our body. We have to look at conflict prevention and have to look early on developments like this and bring it to the attention of the Council. We have to act on this.

I would like to thank my colleague from South Africa for what he has said with regard to the arrest warrant, with regard to fugitives in his country. Thank you very much for underlining the full commitment of your government. We are looking forward to further reports on this.

As members of the Security Council, we carry a particular responsibility, we must be role models for others when it comes to implementing Security Council resolutions and with regard to implement what the Residual Mechanism and other courts want from us. We also ask for cooperation with the court to accept ICTY convicts and have them in go into a national penal and penitentiary systems.

As I said at the beginning: for us, the court, the Residual Mechanism, and other international courts are extremely important. It is important because of accountability is key for two reasons: we owe it to the victims, but at the same time it is so important for conflict prevention – that those people who commit crimes and for the rest of their lives have to look over their shoulder because they are afraid that they are going to be arrested. This is key and all crises in all conflict and many of them are on the agenda of this Council. 

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