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contribution 3 - DAHINDEN Martin

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Thank you very much, Mr. Director.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends, on 8th November 1994, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution for the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Today, 15 years on, Switzerland is very honoured to host this reflection forum.

Switzerland has been deeply involved in the involvement of international criminal justice, both at the level of transitory institutions, such as the ad hoc Tribunals, as well as for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Switzerland is also very active in the general area of coping with the past. It addresses the fight against impunity from a holistic standpoint, while relying on the Joinet principles against impunity adopted by the Human Rights Council in 1997.

These principles remind us that in this domain, rights and duties exist, the rights of victims with the corresponding duties of the states, in the area of the right to be informed, the right to justice, the right to compensation and the guarantees of non‑repetition.

This symposium ties in squarely with what Joinet calls the right to justice and the duty to impart justice, rights and duties that are intimately interwoven in a broader global process, which in some people’s opinion should be involved in what is known as reconciliation. Others hope for a situation where there will be guarantees of non‑repetition or even a new societal contract which would lay the foundation of a society that is respectful of human rights and the rule of law.

The words used do not matter. What matters here is to agree that the ad hoc Tribunal exists in a specific context and that the expectations placed on it exceeds, rightly or wrongly, its sole mission of imparting justice.

Symbolically, the mission of the ICTR, if one were to rely on the greatly divergent expectations, is to impart justice and to contribute to reconciliation. Is that really the case, or is it some mission impossible which should be disowned? All of that has to be discussed.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this context, I have raised a number of questions that I would like to share with you. First of all, how has the ICTR fulfilled the expectations of victims and their families, and how has it addressed their painful questions? The persons responsible for the crimes tried by the ICTR, have they understood the gravity of their unbearable barbarity and the human degradation in which they were involved? How has the ICTR given full meaning to the expression "due process of law" or through its work? What sanctions can make sense in the face of such crimes? And has the system that led to this barbarity been sufficiently identified and exposed? What compensation policies have been set up? What impact has this Tribunal made in the area of the right to information, to knowledge? What knowledge has it contributed in calming down the minds of Rwandans? And what will happen to the records of the Tribunal?

The issue of the responsibility and legacy of the institution is equally fundamental. Can justice be fair and relevant when it has to adjudicate on an event of such magnitude? Or is it necessarily imperfect, fragmentary or even partial? What about the legacy of such an initiative, what impact would the Tribunal leave for future generations? Will it help to strengthen the resolve that genocide never again will happen? What will happen to those who go unpunished? What will be the contribution of the ICTR to look at the situations and the rule of law in Rwanda?

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends, it is estimated that the ICTR has cost about
$1.4 billion from its creation to the end of 2009. The issue of finances also, in my opinion, is part of the assessment you have to make about the efficiency and relevance or the functioning of this institution. And beyond the financial aspect, there are issues related to budgetary allotment which also offer avenues for reflection that should be further explored. The distribution of budgetary heads, in fact, will give us an idea of the priorities of such a Tribunal. For instance, what is the proportion of the budget allotted to the Prosecution, to the Defence, to the protection of witnesses or to the communication activities?

Lastly, I would like to raise the issue of the institutional challenges related to the setting up of such a structure. The ICTR was set up by a resolution of the Security Council. What should be done to get such a Tribunal up and running without wasting too much time? How do oversights and evaluation organs operate in such an institution? How does judicial independence play out in such a context? What is the responsibility of the international community in that context? What are the challenges raised by the dependence of such an institution on cooperation with states, the states involved?

Ladies and gentlemen, the list is endless, so if I were to express a wish, it would be to hope that the analysis that you will make in the next three days will help to highlight the responses and solutions that the ICTR has been able to provide to all these questions all through its existence.

Ladies and gentlemen, 15 years have passed since the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The campaign against the culture of impunity should continue beyond the close down of the Tribunal. Switzerland, as a custodian of the Geneva Conventions and its additional protocols and also by virtue of its time‑honoured humanitarian tradition in the area of the promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law is very interested in this area.

We consider it essential to make the most of the lessons learned from the experience of the ICTR so as to foster the growth and development of international criminal justice and the fight against impunity. Therefore, we are hoping that all these lessons could be forwarded to the various organs involved in the management of international criminal tribunals. We will not be participating in the discussions. The discussions will be an exclusive preserve. We will listen to you with keen attention.

Allow me, by way of conclusion, to wish that the proceedings of these three days will be full of lessons and that at the end of your proceedings, you will be able to share your assessment and the lessons learned for all those who believe that justice cannot be disassociated from peace. I wish you a rich and fruitful week.

Thank you for your kind attention.