Thank you, Mr President.
I would like to thank the President Agius, and Prosecutor Brammertz for their briefings to us today.
We are impressed that the Mechanism has continued to function so well despite the difficulties imposed on it by COVID-19. Lockdowns have prevented travel, social distancing has required different ways of working, including as regards the Courtroom.
It is also appropriate to express our condolences on the passing of Judge Kam, and we pay tribute to his contribution to international Justice.
We are impressed that the Mechansim has nonetheless been able to progress its work and now we see cases coming to conclusion, with three important judgments scheduled to be handed down this month. Through its tireless work the Mechanism continues to show that impunity is not and will not be allowed to prevail.
We continue to welcome the IRMCT’s work to hold perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda to account and remain committed to supporting the Mechanism. Building on successes to date, we are grateful for the Mechanism’s continued efforts to progress the case of Félicien Kabuga and ensure the remaining suspected genocidaires face justice. In particular, we would appreciate an update and progress on the case of we note that Protais Mpiranya remains at large and encourage all relevant states to cooperate in his arrest.
We commend the Mechanism for making progress in the trials. In fact today, in one of its final judgments focused on the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism upheld the conviction of Ratko Mladić. His attempts to outrun and evade justice have failed due to the Mechanism’s tenacity. We hope this decision offers some respite to survivors and the families of his victims.
We are proud to be supporting the Mechanism by agreeing to the transfer of Radovan Karadžić to serve his life sentence in a British jail. He is one of the few people in the world to have been found guilty of genocide. He, along with Ratko Mladić, was responsible for the massacre of men, women and children at the Srebrenica genocide and helped prosecute the siege of Sarajevo with its remorseless attacks on civilians.
International justice can only be achieved through international collaboration. We call on all Member States to assist the Mechanism. We have a collective responsibility to seek justice for victims. Under resolution 1966 of this Council, there is a clear obligation on all States to cooperate with the Mechanism.
However, regional judicial cooperation in the Western Balkans continues to remain inadequate, which has direct implications for achieving justice for victims. The Mechanism’s referral of Serbia to this Council for a third time, for the failure to arrest and transfer Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta is serious, and follows years of requests, considerations and discussion. We urge Serbia to comply with the Mechanism’s order.
We also call upon States to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor in its efforts to track the remaining fugitives from justice.
Glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide continue. This is unacceptable and increases the suffering of the victims. Reconciliation is difficult. We must accept and acknowledge the truth of the past to move forwards. Glorifying the perpetrators and instigators of these heinous acts takes us further away from reconciliation and hinders the achievement of a positive future. The UK will continue to condemn denial and glorification in all its forms and calls on all Member States to do so.
As you have seen through our actions, the UK remains committed to the Mechanism and we reaffirm our willingness to assist it wherever possible in fulfilling its mandate and implementing its vision of being a small, temporary and effective organisation.
Thank you, Mr President.