(As delivered)


15 DECEMBER 2005

Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to thank the Presidents of both tribunals, Judge Fausto Pocar and Judge Erik Mose, as well as the Prosecutors of the tribunals, Ms. Carla del Ponte and Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow, for their reports to the Security Council.

Japan notes with satisfaction that both tribunals have been making efforts to achieve justice through the two avenues: efficient conduct of their trial activities and the improvement of their management capacity. We appreciate that the tribunals have worked to accomplish the transfer of mid- to low-level accused to the domestic courts. We believe that the closer involvement of local authorities and population will contribute to the process of reconciliation among the people and to establishment of the rule of law.

We have also taken note with appreciation of the efforts made by neighboring States and by the ICTY for the arrest of Ante Gotovina on 7 December. We call for their continued efforts to apprehend the key remaining fugitives, especially Radovan Karad?i? and Ratko Mladi?, as well as realize the arrest and transfer of Felicien Kabuga to the ICTR.

In his report to the Council, Judge Pocar has indicated that despite their efforts, trials may not end by the end of 2009 and may continue beyond that date, if the remaining fugitives are not apprehended within the coming months. While we understand the concerns that prompt such an observation, we feel it necessary also to express our concern about the possibility of further extension of ICTY's mandate beyond the date envisaged in its Completion Strategy.

We raise this concern now because although there are still five years left until we reach the final deadline set by the Completion Strategies, we do believe it is not too soon to flag it. In this connection, our view is that, first, both the ICTY and ICTR should be strongly encouraged to make all efforts to complete their activities in accordance with their Completion Strategies by the final deadline, that is to say, by the end of 2010, as endorsed by the Council. To this end, all measures necessary and appropriate should be explored, including the transfer of ongoing trials to the domestic courts.

Secondly, if the activities of the tribunals should continue beyond the deadline in the Completion Strategies, it is our view that we should consider the possibility that the necessary funding for the tribunals beyond the deadline should be met by voluntary contributions by States directly concerned and by States especially interested.

We say this, not out of lack of commitment on the part of my country to the cause of justice and to ending impunity. On the contrary, our long-term, substantial support to ICTY and ICTR is clear. Our more recent, major support and active role in the establishment of Khmer Rouge trial in Democratic Kampuchea is another testimony of our deep commitment in this regard.

However, we would find it very difficult to justify our support to the activities of ICTY and ICTR, being funded out of the regular budget, if it were to begin to look like support for what seems like an almost indefinite period. Achieving justice requires not only the will of the international community but also the resolution on the part of the States concerned. Today, we have the ICC, and we have special courts in Sierra Leone and in Cambodia, all funded by contributions from countries directly concerned and with special interest in the matter. This reflects not only the budgetary consideration but also the importance of the active involvement of the relevant States in bringing about justice. In these circumstances, it would be difficult for us to justify the continued funding of ICTY and ICTR beyond the completion point of 2010, should it become necessary, other than through voluntary contributions.

Mr. President,

From a long-term point of view, the process of achieving justice and ending impunity will require, and benefit from, a parallel cooperative effort, in addition to international criminal tribunals, that will promote and sustain the rule of law and the mechanism of fair trials at the community and national level. According to the reports of the tribunals, the ICTY has developed a cooperative relationship with neighboring States and regional institutions, and the ICTR has worked on capacity-building in relevant States in techniques for arrest of fugitives and fair trials through workshops for the benefit of justice officials. These are commendable efforts. Ten years have now passed since the establishment of both tribunals, and we believe that their achievements in these cooperative efforts be firmly transferred, where appropriate, to the local and state level practices to meet international standards.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, we would like to express once again our trust that that both tribunals will work to ensure the strict implementation of their Completion Strategies. We are confident that both tribunals will take all necessary measures to achieve this objective over the next five years, while at the same time making their utmost efforts for capacity-building in the relevant States, in order to ensure fair trials which meet international standards.

Thank you.

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