Statement by DPR Gert Auväärt at UN Security Council meeting on the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

I thank Judge Carmel Agius, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) and Prosecutor Serge Brammertz for the detailed progress reports submitted to the Council, and for the informative briefings today.

We express our condolences for the passing in February of Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso, who had served with distinction as a Judge of the Mehcanism since 2012.

We commend the work of the Mechanism and positively note the continuation of its judicial activities despite pandemic-related constraints. We especially note the expected delivery of three judgments during the month of June, including the judgment in the appeal case of Prosecutor v. Mladić pronounced today, upholding the judgment of life imprisonment for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and laws or customs of war. We also note the ongoing pre-trial phase of the recently captured Félicien Kabuga, in line with an amended indictment.

We thank the President of the Mechanism for the efforts to secure the relocation of the nine acquitted and released persons currently residing in Arusha, Tanzania. We call on all stakeholders to step up cooperation to facilitate this resettlement in a safe and speedy manner.

We welcome the efforts of the Mechanism for assistance provided to national jurisdictions prosecuting international crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. We note that the progress in national justice initiatives has been slower in recent years and call on States to increase their efforts in this regard.

Estonia is deeply concerned about the ongoing denial of the genocides in the situations under the jurisdictions of the Mechanism. This must stop.

Estonia remains concerned about the challenges that the Office of the Prosecutor of the Mechanism continues to face in relation to cooperation with national authorities in apprehending the remaining fugitives. We strongly urge States, especially the African States where fugitives are suspected of being at large, to intensify their cooperation with the Mechanism in order to arrest and surrender all of the remaining fugitives.

Finally, the Security Council has received a communication from the President of the mechanism on non-compliance by Serbia to fulfil the arrest warrants for Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta. The Security Council resolution 1966(2010) clearly stipulates that all States shall cooperate fully with the Mechanism in accordance with the resolution and the Statute of the Mechanism annexed to the resolution. It also clarifies that all States shall take any measure necessary under their domestic law to implement the provisions of the resolution and the Statute.

Estonia condemns the ongoing disregard by Serbia of its obligations under the international law to comply with the Mehcanism’s orders. We strongly urge Serbia to fulfil its obligation to comply with the latest warrants by the Mechanism from May 2019 to arrest, detain and transfer to the custody of the Mechanism the accused.

We further refer to reported delays in responses from Serbia to requests for assistance from the Office of the Prosecutor in relation to court-ordered investigations, and call on Serbia to resolve the backlog of responding to the Office, and to cooperate in a timely manner.

I conclude by extending our gratitude to the president and prosecutor of the Mechanism and their staff for the outstanding work. We recall that international criminal justice and fight against impunity relies on collective effort. The international community and this Council have to put the victims and survivors first. We need to make sure that rule of law prevails and that there is full accountability for the atrocities committed.