Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at UNSC briefing regarding the report of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
Good afternoon, Mr.Agius and Mr.Brammertz
We noticed the upbeat mood that you had today when reporting your achievements. You hastened to share the news about conviction of another high-ranking Serb official. The verdict pronounced for Ratko Mladić added to the politicized stance assumed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Now it has also stained the reputation of the Residual Mechanism.
Soon it will be 30 years, almost one third of a century, during which time the biased and cost-intensive Hague machinery of justice has been grinding the fates of those who took part in the war in the Balkans. That war was a tragedy for hundreds of thousand Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and representatives of other ethnicities. That war ruined the once united state of Yugoslavia. That war highlighted how vulnerable the international law is. It demonstrated how the NATO states given total impunity easily cast aside the UN Charter and started a military operation in a third country. Was there any accountability for massive air bombardments against civil infrastructure, i.a. in the city area of Belgrade and other big cities, for having killed and wounded thousands of civilians, including journalists in the Belgrade TV Center and the Chinese Embassy?
The IRMCT has the relevant jurisdiction, but why does it all of a sudden become “deaf and blind” to some particular crimes? Why did it turn a blind eye to blatant crimes of Kosovar Albanians, so that now the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has to handle them?
The ICTY went down in history as a tool of revenge rather than a body of justice.
The Residual Mechanism inherited all negative features of its predecessor.
President Agius recently authorized a decision to transfer former leader of Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadžić to the UK to serve his sentence there. It was done contrary to the requests of Mr. Karadžić and his lawyers, who made a reasonable point that his life and safety would be put at risk in Great Britain. As it is known, there was an incident, when one of former Serb military commanders, Radislav Krstić, was stab-wounded in a British prison. Now the IRMCT leadership and the Government of the UK bear full responsibility for the life and health of R. Karadžić. We will closely monitor the observance of his rights.
The ICTY and the Residual Mechanism have not been instrumental in reconciling the diverse Balkan community. The reason for this is a shortage of fairness in the verdicts issued, bashing one side of the conflict while hushing up the wrongdoings of the others.
Now we are witnessing once again the promotion of the thesis about alleged lack of cooperation of Belgrade with the Residual Mechanism on the “contempt of court" case. I just want to remind everyone that the case itself indirectly is linked to questionable accusations against the Serbian politician, Vojislav Šešelj, who (just imagine it!) spent over 11 years in the “UN jails” of the ICTY while awaiting an acquittal. Wherever you have a lack of justice and coherence, you also have a lack of trust. So what is the solution to the situation? On cases of contempt for court, there is a well-known position that France has adopted on the “Hartmann case”.
Russia attaches great importance to safeguarding the rights of individuals under detention, including the right to medical assistance. In its resolution 2529 (2020) the Security Council specifically adopted a position on this point. Nevertheless, the Residual Mechanism does not deem it practical to report to the Council about how these rights are being ensured.
We didn't find any information on the current health status of Ratko Mladić, including his recovery after the surgery. A full independent examination and certification, including whether he has retained his cognitive function, has still not been conducted. We strongly insist on this kind of examination being carried out.
Last year one more case was added to the files of the Residual Mechanism -- the case against Felicien Kabuga. We will carefully monitor the state of health of the defendant, and we expect the appointment of an independent medical expert who would assess if it is advisable to transfer the defendant to the facilities in Arusha and if he is principally capable to stand trial. And we hope that the Mechanism will complete its work within the set term of the court process and will refrain from artificially dragging out the proceedings.