UN / ICTY

06-Dec-2017 00:03:46
Three weeks before official conclusion of the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) its president Carmel Agius told the Security Council “mission accomplished.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / ICTY
TRT: 3:46
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 6 DECEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY
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1. Wide shot, exterior, UN Headquarters

6 DECEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council in meeting
3. Zoom in, Council’s president gaveling
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Carmel Agius, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
“Despite all the sceptics, the naysayers, the deniers who from the very beginning, embarked on a campaign against the Tribunal and have been at pains to question our legitimacy and integrity, and portray a doomsday scenario, I am proud to appear before this esteemed Council today and say: mission accomplished.”
5. Cutaway, delegates
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Carmel Agius, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
“Could we have done things better? Probably. Could we have been more efficient? In hindsight – I’d say yes. Let me assure you, though, that this was not for lack of trying. Did we have a choice? No. Because, I can assure you, to live with the alternative of doing nothing and giving in to impunity, is to pay a much, much higher price.”
7. Wide shot, Security Council
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
“This Council decided that the Tribunal would close not because our work was done, but because It was convinced that further justice could be achieved by domestic judiciaries, in accordance with international obligations. This was critical because the investigations conducted by my Office identified hundreds of suspects, only a small number of whom we would prosecute as bearing the greatest responsibility. The presumption that national courts would continue the accountability process addressed concerns that the end of the Tribunal’s work would lead to impunity.
9. Wide shot, Security Council
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
“The reality is that there is still no true will within the region to accept the immense wrongdoings of the past and move forward, sadly most of all among the political leadership. Unfortunately, too many listens to war criminals who hide behind claims of collective responsibility. War criminals insist that they are not on trial, but their people. They insist that if they are judged to be guilty, then so is their entire community.”
11. Med shot, delegates
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Kolinda Kitarovic, President of Croatia
“Croatia shares assessments that the ICTY greatly lived up to the expectations of the international community, having played an important role in the fight against the culture of impunity and represented an instrument in ensuring accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”
13. Med shot, delegates
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Nela Kuburovic, Minister for Justice of Serbia
“The Tribunal is receding into history, but its legacy is here to stay. The question, however, continues to linger as to whether it has accomplished its purpose. From our perspective, the statistical account of its decisions strengthens our impression that it has been "selective justice".
The ethnic disparity of accused persons, ICTY judgments and sentences, as well as the violations of the right to trial within reasonable time and the lack of respect for procedural guarantees will also be the legacy of the Tribunal.”
15. Zoom out, end of meeting
STORYLINE
Three weeks before the official conclusion of the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) its president Carmel Agius told the Security Council “mission accomplished.”

Briefing the Council members today (06 Dec) in New York, Aguis said “despite all the skeptics, the naysayers, the deniers who from the very beginning, embarked on a campaign against the Tribunal and have been at pains to question our legitimacy and integrity, and portray a doomsday scenario, I am proud to appear before this esteemed Council today and say: mission accomplished.”

In May 1993, the the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was established by the United Nations in response to mass atrocities then taking place in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reports depicting horrendous crimes, in which thousands of civilians were being killed and wounded, tortured and sexually abused in detention camps and hundreds of thousands expelled from their homes, caused outrage across the world and spurred the UN Security Council to act.

Reflecting on the work of the Tribunal over almost 25 years, the Tribunal’s president said “could we have done things better? Probably. Could we have been more efficient? In hindsight – I’d say yes. Let me assure you, though, that this was not for lack of trying. Did we have a choice? No. Because, I can assure you, to live with the alternative of doing nothing and giving in to impunity, is to pay a much, much higher price.”

Also speaking at the Council, Serge Brammertz, prosecutor for the ICTY warned that the reconciliation is still a significant challenge in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Brammerz said “the reality is that there is still no true will within the region to accept the immense wrongdoings of the past and move forward, sadly most of all among the political leadership. Unfortunately, too many listens to war criminals who hide behind claims of collective responsibility. War criminals insist that they are not on trial, but their people. They insist that if they are judged to be guilty, then so is their entire community.”

Situated in The Hague, the Netherlands, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons. Those charged by the ICTY included heads of state, prime ministers, army chiefs-of-staff, interior ministers and many other high- and mid-level political, military and police leaders from various parties to the Yugoslav conflicts. Its indictments address crimes committed from 1991 to 2001 against members of various ethnic groups in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Croatian president Kolinda Kitarovic said her country “shares assessments that the ICTY greatly lived up to the expectations of the international community, having played an important role in the fight against the culture of impunity and represented an instrument in ensuring accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

The Serbian Justice minister said “from our perspective, the statistical account of its decisions strengthens our impression that it has been selective justice. The ethnic disparity of accused persons, ICTY judgments and sentences, as well as the violations of the right to trial within reasonable time and the lack of respect for procedural guarantees will also be the legacy of the Tribunal.”

While the most significant number of cases heard at the Tribunal have dealt with alleged crimes committed by Serbs and Bosnian Serbs, the Tribunal has investigated and brought charges against persons from different ethnic background. Convictions have been secured against Croats, as well as both Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians for crimes committed against Serbs and others.
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