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10 OCTOBER 2005

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Presidents of the tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron and Judge Eric Møse, for presenting their annual reports to the General Assembly.

Japan appreciates that the Prosecutors of the two tribunals completed their investigative work at the end of 2004 and submitted the indictments of senior indictees in accordance with their Completion Strategies. We strongly hope that both the ICTY and the ICTR will continue their utmost efforts for the efficient and effective conduct of their trial activities and the improvement of their management capacity, in order to ensure the completion of all trials by the end of 2010.

Mr. President,

Allow me to make a few comments on the work of the ICTY.

First of all, we welcome the election of the 27 ad litem judges by the General Assembly on 24 August this year, and look forward to their contribution, in cooperation with the 16 permanent judges elected last autumn and to be appointed on 17 November, to bringing about justice in the region of the former Yugoslavia and achieving the Completion Strategy of the ICTY.

Japan notes that Radovan Stankovic has been transferred from the ICTY to the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which represents the first transfer of an ICTY accused to the domestic courts. It is a remarkable step towards the establishment of the rule of law in the region that mid- to low-level accused are going to be tried in a national jurisdiction. We hope that the judicial capacity of states in the region will be strengthened and that the transfer of mid- to low-level defendants to domestic courts will be further enhanced, ensuring that international standards of due process and the rights of defendants are observed.

These achievements notwithstanding, Japan remains concerned that those who are responsible for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina, are yet to be arrested. Japan would like to reiterate that the full commitment of neighboring states is essential for the arrest and extradition of those fugitives.

Mr. President,

Next, let me turn to the work of the ICTR.

Japan requests that the ICTR continue its efforts to conduct trials in as effective a manner as possible, in order to realize the prospect included in its annual report that the first phase of the trials will be completed by 2008, and then finish implementing the entire completion strategy.

As is stated in the ICTR's annual report, it is evidence of the progress made in bringing about justice and the end of impunity that guilt and innocence have been determined with respect to alleged former leaders, who probably would not have been brought before a court but for the establishment of the ICTR. We note with appreciation that the transfer of cases to the domestic courts is proceeding satisfactorily, as demonstrated by the fact that the Prosecutor had transferred the files of 15 suspects to Rwanda by 30 June 2005. In this regard, we reiterate our call for the further cooperation of neighboring states.

Mr. President,

Taking into account the intentions of both of the tribunals to complete the first phase of trials by the end of 2008 in accordance with their Completion Strategies, it is high time to give further consideration to the future schedules, that is, the precise scheduling of appeal cases. Better coordination and scheduling well in advance between the two tribunals will be required to avoid placing too heavy a burden on the Appeal Chambers of the tribunal.

We call for the utmost cooperation and efforts on the part of all staff of the tribunals, neighboring states and the international community, in order to fulfill a great purpose, namely, bringing to justice all those responsible for the serious violations of international humanitarian law that were committed in the two regions.

Finally, let me say again that Japan carefully examines the regular reports of the ICTY and the ICTR to the Security Council and to the General Assembly on their efforts and the progress being made towards the fulfillment of their Completion Strategies.

Thank you.

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