Select Committee on Foreign Affairs First Special Report



SESSION 1998-99

Recommendation 9

  We recommend that assistance continue to be provided to enable the work of the International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague and in Arusha to be carried out as swiftly and effectively as possible. While acknowledging the operational difficulties, we are deeply concerned that individuals indicted for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia remain at large. We urge that the Government with its international partners redoubles its efforts to bring those concerned to justice. (Paragraph 99)

  29.  The Government strongly supports the work of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and continues to take a robust approach to the detention of war crimes suspects. Since March this year, a further three indictees have been arrested by SFOR troops in Bosnia, including one by UK SFOR troops. This brings the total of SFOR detentions to 21, of which UK SFOR troops were involved in 12. This summer the UK has again provided British Scenes of Crime Teams to help ICTY gather evidence of atrocities in Kosovo. The Government continues to supply ICTY with substantial amounts of information, including intelligence material, to assist in the successful prosecution of those responsible for war crimes. This is in addition to the other significant voluntary assistance we provide to the Tribunal.

Recommendation 22

  We recommend that the Government uses its best endeavours to encourage the development of courts similar to the European Court of Human Rights in other regions of the world. (Paragraph 119)

  30.  The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) adopted a protocol to establish an African Court of Human and People's Rights at the OAU summit at Ouagadougou in 1998. So far 35 OAU member states have signed the protocol and four have ratified it. Fifteen instruments of ratification must be deposited with the OAU for the protocol to come into force. Only after this has happened can the OAU decide on operational questions such as the location of the court and the election of judges. We strongly support the establishment of this regional court, which would uphold the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples's Rights. We stand ready to provide appropriate support to the Court once the protocol establishing it comes into force, and we are exploring with the OAU Secretariat ways in which we can encourage wider ratification of the Protocol. In the meantime, the FCO's Human Rights Project Fund is supporting a project with the NGO Article 19 to work with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights to promote freedom of expression. (The African Commission is the body which presently has prime responsibility for supervising the implementation of the African Charter.)

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