Switzerland would like to thank President Gatti Santana and Prosecutor Brammertz for their detailed presentations. We also welcome the participation in this meeting of the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Rwanda and Serbia.
Thirty years ago, the Security Council took the decision to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Ten years ago, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals began its work in The Hague.
This double anniversary reminds us of the importance of international justice in the fight against impunity, and of the Residual Mechanism in particular.
With this conviction in mind, I would like to highlight four points:
Firstly, Switzerland commends the efforts made by the Mechanism to successfully carry out its mandate. We welcome the fact that the Stanišić and Simatović case has been brought to a successful conclusion. Switzerland joins the Secretary-General in recognising the dedication of the judges and staff involved in this case. We also welcome the continuing efforts in the Kabuga case and commend the close collaboration between the Mechanism and the local authorities. This contributes to establish the principle of complementarity and national ownership of post-conflict accountability. Given the Mechanism's downsizing and budgetary constraints, these various achievements are all the more impressive. It is essential that the Mechanism enjoys our full support until its work is completed.
Secondly, we recall that all States are obliged to cooperate with the Mechanism, including in the arrest and surrender of fugitives. We therefore welcome the recent arrest of Mr Kayishema with the support of South Africa. On the other hand, the situation of the eight persons acquitted or released who have been resettled in Niger remains worrying, despite the considerable work of the Mechanism. We encourage States to respect all agreements concluded with the IRMCT, and to step up their efforts to enforce sentences.
Thirdly, the work of the Mechanism is essential to prevent the commission of new atrocities. Accountability is a crucial element in turning the page on past conflicts and building a sustainable peace based on reconciliation and cooperation. That is why we are deeply concerned by the hate speech, glorification of war criminals, historical revisionism and disinformation spreading in the Western Balkans and elsewhere. This jeopardises the reconciliation process and peaceful, multi-ethnic coexistence. In this respect, we welcome the efforts made by the Mechanism to help the affected communities to better understand the facts of the crimes committed, and to recognise their suffering.
Finally, we stress the importance of guaranteeing the protection of witnesses and victims, while planning for the future of the Mechanism and ensuring the continuity of its action. In this respect, Switzerland takes note of the Mechanism's meticulous preparations for the future of its operations. We also welcome the efforts made to preserve the archives and premises, and to digitise the Arusha archives, thus guaranteeing the right to the truth for victims and their families.
There is no doubt about the Mechanism's important contribution to transitional justice, and consequently to the promotion of sustainable peace. On the occasion of this symbolic double anniversary for international criminal justice, let us demonstrate the same commitment to peace and to the fight against impunity that inspired our predecessors.
I thank you.