The Security council delegates stress need to complete proceedings for atrocities committed in Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia





Delegates today called on a United Nations war crime court to complete the remaining judicial proceedings for atrocities committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, as the Security Council heard briefings from top officials of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

« International criminal justice concerns us all, because justice is in the service of peace, and peace must be maintained on a daily basis, » said Carmel Agius, President of the Mechanism, which was established in 2010 to carry out the remaining essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia after their respective closures.

Since taking office in January, he said that he had sought the efficient and timely conclusion of the judicial proceedings at both the Arusha and The Hague branches of the Mechanism, enhancement of inter-branch coordination and harmonization of practices and procedures and creation of a working environment that encourages high staff morale and performance.

Serge Brammertz, the Mechanism’s Prosecutor, said the Appeals Chamber affirmed on 20 March the conviction of Radovan Karadžić, granted the Office’s appeal and entered a sentence of life imprisonment. « He has now been held accountable by an international court for his crimes, » he said, describing the case as a powerful example of the way that justice can prevail when the international community remains determined.

He said his Office has credible intelligence on the whereabouts of several of the remaining eight fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has approached several Member States for their cooperation. However, several factors are having a negative impact on the Office’s work, he said, explaining that the challenges faced by his Office are in part symptomatic of a lack of capacity in terms of inter-State cooperation in criminal matters.

It also appears that some countries do not give priority to cooperating with the Office in bringing genocide fugitives to justice, he said, adding that only on 16 July did South Africa confirm that it is committed to cooperating in the case of a fugitive located on its territory.

Turning to national prosecutions, he said much remains to be done to achieve more justice for more victims, with Rwandan authorities still searching for more than 500 fugitives and thousands of cases awaiting processing in the former Yugoslavia. The Mechanism’s national counterparts need more support, assistance and advice to implement their national war crimes strategies, he said, adding that regional cooperation is another area where strengthened engagement can have an impact.

In the ensuing debate, Germany’s representative joined other delegations in voicing support for the Mechanism’s efforts to locate the eight Rwandan fugitives and called on States where those persons might now be living to step up efforts by their law enforcement authorities to arrest and surrender them. It is unlawful, as well as an unacceptable obstruction of justice, for Member States to refrain from cooperating with the Mechanism, he said, welcoming South Africa’s remarks and emphasizing that Council members must lead by example.

The United States offers $5 million for information that leads to the arrest of the eight fugitives, its delegate said, emphasizing that the burden to hold those responsible to account should not fall on victims, but on States. Her delegation welcomes South Africa’s stated intention to cooperate but wishes to see action. The Mechanism is a trailblazer and can transfer its experiences to national judicial authorities as the responsibility for accountability increasingly lies with them, she added.

The speaker from the Russian Federation, however, described the Mechanism as « in a state of permanent breach » of resolution 1966 (2010), recalling that 20 years ago, air forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, targeting homes, bridges and schools. Rather than investigate those crimes, it devised a myth about Belgrade being single-handedly responsible for the war in the Balkans, punishing Serbs while providing cover for others. That torch was taken up by the Residual Mechanism, with sentences accompanied by aggressive media campaigns, he said, referring to the Karadžić and Mladić cases.

The Minister for Justice of Serbia said that certain assertions in the latest progress report of the Mechanism Prosecutor to the Council are unfounded, including that « regional judicial cooperation in war crimes matters is not satisfactory ». On the contrary, compared to the previous reporting period, « that cooperation is much more extensive today », she said.

Regarding the initiative of her country to have its nationals serve their Tribunal sentences in Serbia, she said that reintegration, after their release, would be difficult if they serve their sentences in faraway countries, reiterating a call for the Secretary-General to have the Mechanism review its existing practices on this matter.

Croatia’s delegate expressed regret that the Appeals Chamber did not establish the responsibility of Mr. Karadžić for genocide elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the appeals process, his involvement in a comprehensive joint criminal exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be linked to the political and military leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Slobodan Milošević, she said.

The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina underscored the importance of consistent cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. « More justice means more trust and stability within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region of the Western Balkans, » he said.

Rwanda’s delegate described the Mechanism’s performance as poor, expressing hope for improvement and more meaningful cooperation going forward while calling on Member States hosting genocide fugitives to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor.

Also speaking today were representatives of Peru, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Kuwait, Belgium, United Kingdom, China, Dominican Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

Briefings

CARMEL AGIUS, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), which was established in 2010 to carry out the remaining essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia after their respective closures, said that his first months as the President have not been easy, running an institution spread out on two continents, with judges and staff coming from numerous legal systems and diverse backgrounds, working in different time zones to conclude cases in two distinct conflicts. He said he seeks the efficient and timely conclusion of the judicial proceedings at both the Arusha and The Hague branches of the Mechanism. He also seeks to enhance inter-branch coordination and harmonization of practices and procedures and do his utmost to foster a working environment that encourages high staff morale and performance.

In The Hague, the Mechanism continued to work vigorously towards concluding its residual judicial workload, he said. The appeal judgement in the Radovan Karadžić case was delivered on 20 March 2019, representing a milestone for the Mechanism in the conclusion of one of its most significant cases. The Ratko Mladić case remains on track for conclusion by the end of 2020. Solid progress is being made in the retrial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović. In Arusha, the Augustin Ngirabatware review proceedings are currently expected to be heard in September. These are the most visible aspects of the Mechanism’s mandate, followed closely by the countries most affected, namely Rwanda and those in the region of the former Yugoslavia, as well as other United Nations Member States and other stakeholders. Less attention is paid to the Mechanism’s additional statutory functions, including protection of victims and witnesses, monitoring of cases referred to national jurisdictions, and preserving the Mechanism’s archives, as well as those of the Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia.

Justice does not end with the delivery of a judgement, he continued, referring to post-conviction matters, such as supervising the enforcement of sentences and determining where a convicted person will serve his or her sentence, or whether he or she should be transferred to continue a sentence elsewhere. The Mechanism is bound to strictly observe its duty to safeguard the rights of all its detainees. The Mechanism continues to rely on the support of Member States and other key stakeholders. One of the challenges the Mechanism faces is the fate of the nine acquitted and released persons that remain in Arusha. These persons should be free to start a new life, having served their sentences or never been convicted in the first place. While the Mechanism is doing all it can to find a long-term solution, Member States also share that responsibility. « It is of course a double pleasure for me to appear before the Security Council on the occasion of the Day of International Criminal Justice, a day celebrating the achievements of international criminal courts and tribunals in delivering justice and holding to account those responsible for violations of international law, » he said. « International criminal justice concerns us all, because justice is in the service of peace, and peace must be maintained on a daily basis, » he added, appealing for help from Council members.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, said The Hague branch of his Office has made important progress towards finalizing the proceedings transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Among other developments, the Appeals Chamber affirmed on 20 March the conviction of Mr. Karadžić, granted the Office’s appeal and entered a sentence of life imprisonment. « He has now been held accountable by an international court for his crimes, » he said, describing the case as a powerful example of the way that justice can prevail when the international community remains determined. Regarding the appeal in the Mladić case, he said the Office has completed the preparation of written arguments and litigated several other matters, including motions for additional reference. At the Arusha branch, intense pretrial preparation and litigation are under way after a judge ordered that the Turinabo et al. contempt case be conducted by the Mechanism. Concurrently, his Office is also litigating related review proceedings in the Ngirabatware case.

He said his Office has credible intelligence on the whereabouts of several of the remaining eight fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has approached several Member States for their cooperation. However, several factors are having a negative impact on the Office’s work, he said, explaining that the challenges faced by his Office are in part symptomatic of a lack of capacity in terms of inter-State cooperation in criminal matters. It also appears that some countries do not give priority to cooperating with the Office in bringing genocide fugitives to justice, he said, adding that only on 16 July did South Africa confirm by note verbale that it is committed to cooperating in the case of a fugitive located on its territory. Recalling that 2019 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, he said that some fugitives remain a threat to international peace and security by promoting conflict and exploitation.

Turning to national prosecutions, he said much remains to be done to achieve more justice for more victims, with Rwandan authorities still searching for more than 500 fugitives and thousands of cases awaiting processing in the former Yugoslavia. The Mechanism’s national counterparts need more support, assistance and advice to implement their national war crimes strategies, he said, adding that regional cooperation is another area where strengthened engagement can have an impact. The international community has an important role to play in responding to requests from national prosecutors for strengthened assistance.

The denial of crimes and the glorification of war criminals remains an issue, he continued. In Rwanda, efforts to minimize the scale of death and destruction or to distract attention from the facts of the genocide are unacceptable. In the former Yugoslavia, the situation has worsened, with a Government minister calling the Srebrenica genocide false and a member of Parliament congratulating Mr. Mladić for that atrocity, describing it as a brilliant military operation. « The consequence is clear: denial and glorification are destabilizing the [Western Balkans] region and preventing reconciliation, » he said, calling for urgent political leadership and for the international community to speak out on the issue.

He concluded by reiterating that his Office is generating credible intelligence on the whereabouts of multiple fugitives, but that it is not receiving the cooperation required to secure arrests. « We call upon all Member States to adhere to their international obligations and provide full cooperation to our efforts, » he said.

Statements

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), Council President for July, speaking in his national capacity, noted that today marks the Day of International Criminal Justice, highlighting the significance of fighting against impunity for atrocity crimes. He reaffirmed the need for access to justice to achieve peace. Noting the work of the Mechanism, he welcomed the priorities set out by the President and Prosecutor, as well as the performance of their judicial proceedings. Highlighting the initiatives of some African and European countries to have convicts serve their sentences in their respective nations, he cautioned that some of those released show no remorse, calling on Council members to remain united and support the Mechanism.

TIEMOKO MORIKO (Côte d’Ivoire) expressed his delegation’s commitment to supporting the Mechanism, including the court’s work to guaranteeing an early release of convicts in cases where conditions apply. Hailing a range of capacity-building activities, he said such cooperation is vital. He, however, noted regret over a lack of such cooperation in the former Yugoslavia. He urged the Mechanism to achieve optimal efficiency and implement recommendations by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

FABRICE FIZE (France) welcomed the conclusion of the Karadžić case as a milestone in the fight against impunity, expressing hope that this serves as a foundation for reconciliation. He also expressed hope that the date for the Mladić case be set, encouraging the Mechanism to uphold timetables for all judicial proceedings. Noting that eight fugitives are at large, he called on the concerned States to provide cooperation to apprehend them. For its part, his Government will enhance support for the Rwandan cases for those prosecuted in France. Expressing regret about a setback in judicial cooperation in the former Yugoslavia, he urged the countries in the region to fight impunity. Echoing concerns expressed by some delegations about denial by those released of crimes committed, he said genocide denial is a criminal offense in France and early release must be carried out with clear conditions. The Mechanism’s work must be cohesive.

MUHSIN SYIHAB (Indonesia) said the 225 decisions and orders issued by the Mechanism during the reporting period represents an impressive output, given its strained budget and lean operations. He encouraged the Mechanism to pursue its capacity-building programmes for national jurisdictions, adding, however, that it must not lose sight of its mandate to conclude its remaining cases in a timely and effective manner. On fugitives, he emphasized that the Mechanism is counting on the Council’s support and on the political will of Member States, and urged Member States to ensure that justice is swiftly delivered.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said her delegation agrees with the positive assessment of the Mechanism’s functioning during the reporting period and looks forward to more achievements. She called on all States to cooperate fully with the Mechanism, in line with relevant Council resolutions, and render as soon as possible all necessary assistance, in particular with regard to the location, arrest and surrender of indicted fugitives and the relocation of acquitted and released individuals. She encouraged Member States to agree on a budget for the Mechanism commensurate with its needs.

MATHIAS LICHARZ (Germany) voiced support for the Mechanism’s efforts to locate the eight Rwandan fugitives and called on States where those persons might now be living to step up efforts by their law enforcement authorities to arrest and surrender them. It is unlawful, as well as an unacceptable obstruction of justice, for Member States to refrain from cooperating with the Mechanism, he said, welcoming South Africa’s remarks and emphasizing that Council members must lead by example. He warned that a growing tolerance for nationalist views could lead to the emergence of safe havens, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. Recalling that Germany is accepting four convicts from the United Nations detention unit in The Hague, he encouraged other Member States to accept the transfer of International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicts into their penal systems.

GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation) said the Mechanism is « in a state of permanent breach » of resolution 1966 (2010), operating with a rare degree of dynamism that runs counter to the Council’s instructions. While some delegations are noting that today is the World Day for International Justice, the Russian Federation sees no cause for jubilation, he said, recalling that 20 years ago, air forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, targeting homes, bridges and schools. Rather than investigate those crimes, it devised a myth about Belgrade being single-handedly responsible for the war in the Balkans, punishing Serbs while providing cover for others. That torch was taken up by the Residual Mechanism, with sentences accompanied by aggressive media campaigns, he said, referring to the Karadžić and Mladić cases. He added that the Russian Federation is troubled about the health of Mr. Mladić and unable to confirm that he is getting quality care in the Mechanism’s penitentiary facilities. Recalling that the Mechanism is a subsidiary body of the Council, he said his country anticipates improvements, but for the time being it will not contribute funding to its operation. He requested the Prosecutor to explain to his speechwriter that references to Kosovo be understood in the context of resolution 1244 (1999).

XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa), emphasizing that his country takes its international obligations seriously, noted that it has been contacted by the Prosecutor to request assistance. South Africa has communicated that request to the competent domestic authority and it is actively engaging on the matter internally. It is also communicating with the Office of the Prosecutor in that regard. He went on to commend the Prosecutor and his Office for its capacity-building activities, including training in the areas of investigation and prosecutorial techniques.

ABDULAZIZ A. M. A. ALAJMI (Kuwait) welcomed the efforts of the President to improve the function of the Mechanism, including the promotion of cooperation between branches. It is important for the General Assembly to approve the proposed budget without revision and reduction, so that the Mechanism can complete the remaining work by 2020. Welcoming the conclusion of the Karadžić case, his delegation looks forward to final sentences in other cases. Noting that the Mechanism will downsize, reduced expenditure should not affect its work. Arresting and prosecuting eight fugitives is the responsibility of not just the Mechanism but also of Member States, urging them to grant access to information about their whereabouts.

EMILY PIERCE (United States) welcomed the stated priorities of the President, including the efficient and timely conclusion of the judicial proceedings, enhancement of inter-branch coordination and harmonization of practices and procedures, as well as fostering of a working environment that encourages high staff morale and performance. Her delegation also welcomes the President’s efforts to address sexual harassment. Welcoming the ruling on the Karadžić case, she said the genocide in Srebrenica was the largest mass killing in Europe since the Second World War, expressing concern that convicts continue to be glorified. Those who deny truth deny common humanity for neighbouring countries. The burden to hold those responsible to account should not be on victims, but on States. The United States offers $5 million for information that leads to the arrest of the eight fugitives. Her delegation welcomes South Africa’s stated intention to cooperate, but action has yet to be seen. The Mechanism is a trailblazer and can transfer its experiences to national judicial authorities as the responsibility for accountability increasingly lies with them.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), welcoming the conclusion of the proceedings on the Karadžić case, stressed the importance of judicial cooperation not just among all States concerned but with the Mechanism. Eight fugitives remain at large. They must be located and prosecuted, he said, urging South Africa to translate its commitment into action. Expressing regret over a breakdown in regional judicial cooperation in the Balkans, he urged the reversal of this trend. The Mechanism’s work is not just to complete judicial proceedings, but also assist national jurisdictions.

SUSAN JANE DICKSON (United Kingdom), noting that the Mechanism is operating under a revised budget, said Council members need to remind themselves of the breadth of its functions and the need to balance cost savings with effectiveness. The United Kingdom is committed to supporting the Mechanism and it calls on others to do so financially, logistically and politically. Noting the number of Rwandan fugitives still at large, she called on all States to cooperate in their transfer to the Mechanism. She welcomed the outcome of the Karadžić appeal, saying it sends a strong message of accountability for those responsible for atrocities. However, limited cooperation between countries of the former Yugoslavia continues to thwart justice for many victims. She expressed hope that Council members will support the Mechanism’s zero-tolerance approach to genocide denial.

LIU YANG (China) said the Mechanism should make headway on outstanding cases in a pragmatic manner, based on estimated timelines. Taking note of the President’s main priorities, he underscored the Office of the Prosecutor’s ongoing efforts to apprehend fugitives indicted by the Rwanda Tribunal. China hopes the Mechanism will continue to implement the recommendations of OIOS, he added. The Mechanism is a small, temporary and efficient structure and it should keep acting in line with Council resolutions.

JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) welcomed the Mechanism’s efforts to protect and support its approximately 3,150 witnesses, as well as the timely and valid priorities of its new President, which emphasizes the harmonization of working methods and processes to increase productivity and consistency. Underscoring the special commitment of Council members to cooperate with the Mechanism, he said there is no doubt that the proper allocation of funding is essential for its success. He called on the international community to demonstrate solidarity and support the identification, investigation and arrest of persons sought by the Mechanism.

AMPARO MELE COLIFA (Equatorial Guinea) said the Mechanism’s budgetary challenges are the outcome of financial constraints approved by the General Assembly in 2018. Welcoming the President’s efforts to improve cooperation between the Mechanism’s two branches, she said a unified management criterion would have a positive effect. Equatorial Guinea does not disagree with the Mechanism’s efforts on gender parity, but they must not take attention away from its mandate or its budget. She called on Member States to extend as much assistance as possible to the Mechanism, as per resolution 2422 (2018), and reaffirmed her country’s firm commitment to strengthening the rule of law and the promotion of justice.

NELA KUBUROVIĆ, Minister for Justice of Serbia, said that certain assertions in the latest progress report of the Mechanism Prosecutor to the Council, are unfounded. The position regarding the European Union policy of conditionality described in paragraph 29 aspires to shape the political context of Serbia’s cooperation with the bloc, while legal arguments are replaced with political ones. The Mechanism is perceived as a tool for exercising political pressure. Neither the Prosecutor nor the Mechanism are entrusted with such a mandate. Serbia has had successful, widely acclaimed cooperation with the Mechanism, having enabled it free access to all evidence, documents, archives and witnesses. Serbia’s cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of legal assistance is at a high level. Noting that progress has been achieved from the previous reporting period, she expressed hope that her country’s cooperation with Croatia will also improve. Therefore, it is difficult to subscribe to the report’s assessment in paragraph 81 that « regional judicial cooperation in war crimes matters is not satisfactory ». On the contrary, compared to the previous reporting period, « that cooperation is much more extensive today », she said.

The contention in paragraph 83 that « it is of significant concern that as of the present, no senior or mid-level official has been held accountable… for the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 civilians in Kosovo in March and April 1999. » The allegations are wrong. « These narratives have been churned out by propaganda mills to vindicate the 78-day bombing of my country exactly 20 years ago, » she said, adding that the brutalization took place without any reason and was carried out without the Council’s decision. No one seems to be held to account or found guilty for this act, while the highest-ranking Serbian officials have been sentenced by the Tribunal for offences committed in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in defence of their country. Regarding the initiative of her country to have its nationals serve their Tribunal sentences in Serbia, she said that reintegration, after their release, would be difficult if they serve their sentences in faraway countries, reiterating a call for the Secretary-General to have the Mechanism review its existing practices on this matter.

ZDRAVKA BUŠIĆ (Croatia) welcomed the life sentence given by the Mechanism’s Appeals Chamber to Mr. Karadžić, stating that his personal responsibility for some of the worst crimes committed after the Second World War, such as the Srebrenica genocide, will give some satisfaction to victims and families. Croatia regrets, however, that the Appeals Chamber did not establish his responsibility for genocide elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the appeals process, his involvement in a comprehensive joint criminal exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be linked to the political and military leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Slobodan Milošević. She encouraged the Mechanism to maximize its efforts with regard to the appeal case against Mr. Mladić and the trial case against Mr. Stanišić and Mr. Simatović.

Regarding the contempt of court case of Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta, she said Serbia must cooperate fully with the Mechanism and implement its rulings in full. Repeated challenges by Serbia of judgements by the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Mechanism, a recent Serb Radical Party rally in Hrkovci, a symbol of the suffering of Croats in Vojvodina, and Belgrade’s unwillingness to prosecute those most responsible for crimes raise questions about the sincerity of the court’s intention to deal with the wartime past. Emphasizing that full cooperation with the Mechanism is among the criteria for Western Balkan countries hoping to join the European Union, she said Croatia is not overly satisfied with the lack of significant progress by the bilateral joint commissions established with Serbia on war crimes. Belgrade also shows no readiness to open archives that would help the search for persons still missing from the war, she said.

VALENTINE RUGWABIZA (Rwanda) said the Mechanism’s « appalling » legacy over the past eight years includes the early release of eight genocide convicts, reduced sentences after appeal for 23 individuals convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, and the release or acquittal of nine convicts who now live comfortable lives in Arusha at the expense of Member States. Eight persons indicted for crimes against Tutsis during the genocide meanwhile remain at large. Elaborating, she said that with three exceptions, no applications for early release were notified to her Government, survivors and other stakeholders. Moreover, the grounds for approving early release were withheld. None of the convicted who were granted early release have expressed even a shred of remorse, as required by the rules of procedure. « They are unrepentant extremist ideologues who were in key positions prior to and during the genocide, » she said, adding that they were granted early release on the basis of good behaviour such as gardening and regularly attending Mass. Rwanda expects the President of the Mechanism to implement resolution 2422 (2018) in spirit and letter and to attach clear conditions to early release, thus making it costly for those to promote genocide in future.

Regarding the eight indicted fugitives, she echoed the Office of the Prosecutor’s call for all Member States to adhere to their international legal obligations and assist in locating and apprehending them. She thanked those Member States that have transferred or prosecuted genocide suspects and urged others, including Council members, to do likewise. She called in particular for the arrest or trial of five individuals living freely in the United Kingdom, four in France and one in South Africa. On the nine individuals released or acquitted who are living in Arusha, she noted that their expenses are paid through Member States’ assessed contributions to the Mechanism’s budget. It is ironic that some Member States find it difficult to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor to bring indicted individuals to book, yet consider it normal that their taxpayers are funding generous living allowances for those who have been acquitted, sometimes for more than a decade. Describing the Mechanism’s performance as poor, she said Rwanda expects to see an improvement and more meaningful cooperation going forward and called on Member States hosting genocide fugitives to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor.

SVEN ALKALAJ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said a successful conclusion of the Mechanism’s mandate within a reasonable time frame is crucial for justice and reconciliation in his country and the region. Prosecuting war crimes — regardless of the nationality or religion of the perpetrators or victims — is essential for long-term regional stability. Bosnia and Herzegovina appreciates the support of the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in strengthening judicial institutions that are processing war crimes. Consistent cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia, in accordance with the principles of international justice and the rule of law, is crucial, he said, adding that his country will keep working to strengthen its judicial system. « More justice means more trust and stability within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region of the Western Balkans, » he said.