NATO Parliamentary Assembly News

NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly News



  • BERLIN, 25 May 2008 – After 15 years, the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yugoslavia (ICTY) still has to com­plete the task assigned to it upon its estab­lish­ment in 1993, before final­ly and com­plete­ly shut­ting down, said Stéphane Bour­gon, a defence lawyer at the ICTY, last Sun­day dur­ing the Spring Ses­sion of the NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly (NATO PA), in Berlin. “The main fugi­tives from the ICTY, Karadz­ic, Mladic, Zupl­janin and Hadz­ic must still be arrest­ed and appear before the Court before it clos­es its doors some time around the year 2010”, insist­ed Mr Bour­gon, address­ing the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in the Com­mit­tee on the Civ­il Dimen­sion of Security. 

    The for­mer mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal lead­ers of the Serbs in Bosnia, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadz­ic, are accused of being the men prin­ci­pal­ly respon­si­ble for the Sre­breni­ca mas­sacre in 1995. Sto­jan Zupl­janin was a Bosn­ian Serb senior police offi­cial dur­ing the war which rav­aged Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. Goran Hadz­ic was a Croa­t­ian Serb leader dur­ing the Ser­bo-Croa­t­ian war from 1991 to 1995. Respond­ing to the Russ­ian par­lia­men­tar­i­an Vladimir Zhiri­novskiy, who dep­re­cat­ed the fact that only Serbs had been indict­ed by the ICTY, Mr Bour­gon said: “It is true that we pros­e­cut­ed a large num­ber of Serbs. Although crimes were per­pe­trat­ed on both sides, we con­cen­trat­ed on those that com­mit­ted the most seri­ous crimes”. The ICTY was set up in 1993 to judge those with the high­est degree of cul­pa­bil­i­ty for the war crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the con­flicts in the for­mer Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It is planned that the ICTY should cease oper­at­ing between 2010 and 2012, even if tri­als are still pend­ing. “The best solu­tion would be for the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil to pro­long the life of the ICTY for a lim­it­ed time and with a lim­it­ed num­ber of judges to avoid the idea that impuni­ty is pos­si­ble,” Mr Bour­gon not­ed. If that route is not tak­en, recourse to the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) remains “a pos­si­bil­i­ty,” even if at present that is not juridi­cal­ly pos­si­ble, he remarked. 

    The speak­er then went on to dis­cuss the suc­cess­es and fail­ures of the ICTY. Every­one now knows that inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal jus­tice is pos­si­ble, he not­ed with sat­is­fac­tion. To back up that idea, he gave some fig­ures: since the cre­ation of the ICTY, 161 per­sons have been indict­ed for seri­ous vio­la­tions of inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law on the ter­ri­to­ry of the for­mer Yugoslavia, 48 of the accused are still under­go­ing tri­al, 113 tri­als have been con­clud­ed, with 9 acquit­tals, 55 per­sons sen­tenced and 19 per­sons hav­ing served their sen­tence. How­ev­er, the ICTY has not suc­ceed­ed in act­ing as a deter­rent against crimes, not­ed Mr Bour­gon with regret, recall­ing that the Court had not suc­ceed­ing in set­ting up an accel­er­at­ed pro­ce­dure. He also list­ed some of the chal­lenges fac­ing inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal jus­tice. First­ly, the courts are under pres­sure own­ing to the exces­sive length of the tri­als. Thus there is a need to give con­sid­er­a­tion to short­en­ing them, with­out there­by sac­ri­fic­ing the rights of all per­sons to have a fair tri­al. It is also nec­es­sary to bol­ster the trust of the mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty in inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal jus­tice. Sol­diers need to be aware that even in wartime, they must observe the rules. If they do not, pros­e­cu­tion will fol­low, said Mr Bour­gon. Final­ly, he took the view that the rev­e­la­tions of the pre­vi­ous pros­e­cu­tor of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yugoslavia (ICTY), Car­la Del Ponte, had come at an “inop­por­tune” moment, as she had just end­ed her term of office. In a book which had come out in April, Ms Del Ponte, now the Swiss ambas­sador to Argenti­na, revealed that she had car­ried out inves­ti­ga­tions into alle­ga­tions of traf­fick­ing in organs tak­en from the corpses of 300 pris­on­ers in the hands of the Koso­vo Lib­er­a­tion Army (KLA) in 2003. 


  • BERLIN, 26 May 2008 – The Afghan Nation­al army (ANA) needs a greater lev­el of help from the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty if it is to be able to ensure the secu­ri­ty of the coun­try, said Gen­er­al Sher Moham­mad Kari­mi, Head of Oper­a­tions at the Afghan Min­istry of Defence last Sun­day, speak­ing at the Spring Ses­sion of the NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly (NATO PA). “Even with the coali­tion troops, Afghan army num­bers remain far short of its strate­gic role (…) We can­not achieve secu­ri­ty with­out addi­tion­al forces,” said Gen­er­al Kari­mi, address­ing the par­tic­i­pants in the NATO PA’s Defence and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee. “Meet­ing our nation­al objec­tive for a larg­er and whol­ly inde­pen­dent army will require addi­tion­al funds from Afghan eco­nom­ic growth or from inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty donors,” he added, draw­ing atten­tion to the inten­tion of his Gov­ern­ment to increase the man­pow­er of the ANA from 70,000 to 80,000 by the end of 2009. 

    In his view, increas­ing the enrol­ment of the ANA will have to go hand-in-hand with a glob­al threat analy­sis and with struc­tur­al improve­ments with­in the army. He also stressed the need for all the forces on the ground to be bet­ter coor­di­nat­ed and to share infor­ma­tion to a greater degree in order to improve the effec­tive­ness of oper­a­tions and reduce casu­al­ty lev­els. Dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion, Gen­er­al Kari­mi also expressed dis­ap­point­ment that a sig­nif­i­cant share of the exter­nal resources pro­vid­ed to Afghanistan were sent direct­ly to loca­tions where projects were under way rather than being pro­vid­ed to the Gov­ern­ment, which was best-placed to decide where aid would be ben­e­fi­cial to recon­struc­tion. “There is poor uti­liza­tion of the devel­op­ment assis­tance funds,” he observed. More­over, the lack of mul­ti-year plan­ning of finan­cial com­mit­ments on the part of the donors meant that it was not pos­si­ble for the Gov­ern­ment to plan for the future. 

    The ANA and NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) – com­pris­ing 49,000 sol­diers – have the task of ensur­ing the secu­ri­ty of 32 mil­lion peo­ple over an area of 647,500 square kilo­me­tres. The objec­tive is to reach a point at which the ANA will be able to car­ry out oper­a­tions inde­pen­dent­ly of the ISAF, whose role will then pro­gres­sive­ly change into one of advice and train­ing. Respond­ing to a ques­tion from the Dutch par­lia­men­tar­i­an Tiny Kox on the out­come of the mil­i­tary cam­paign cur­rent­ly in progress, Gen­er­al Kari­mi said firm­ly: “I have not the least doubt that we will achieve a mil­i­tary vic­to­ry.” The Head of the Del­e­ga­tion from the Afghan House of the Peo­ple, Khalid Pash­toon, asked the speak­er for his views on the estab­lish­ment of a sec­ond mil­i­tary acad­e­my in the south of the coun­try, where the prin­ci­pal lan­guage spo­ken is Pash­to, by con­trast with the north where the lan­guage most used is Dari. “There should indeed be an acad­e­my in Kan­da­har to train mil­i­tary per­son­nel in their own lan­guage. This is a ques­tion to be resolved on the polit­i­cal lev­el,” was Gen­er­al Karimi’s reply. With regard to the fight against nar­cotics, he point­ed out that that task did not fall with­in the remit of the ANA but of the Afghan Nation­al Police. On the oth­er hand, the army will be able to pro­tect the police as it under­takes mis­sions to destroy pop­py crops. A spe­cial­ist bat­tal­ion will be ready to under­take such a mis­sion in Hel­mand province as soon as it has received the nec­es­sary equip­ment, such as assault weapons and vehicles. 

    For his part, Air Mar­shal Christo­pher Moran, Deputy Com­man­der Allied Joint Force Com­mand Brun­ssum, told the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans that NATO need­ed troop rein­force­ments because of the vio­lent insur­rec­tion in the coun­try, and in par­tic­u­lar in the south. “We are short three infantry bat­tal­ions if we are to secure the south,” he stressed. “We also have to reduce nation­al caveats as far as pos­si­ble,” he went on. Sup­port­ing the remarks of Gen­er­al Kari­mi, the Air Mar­shal stat­ed that the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty should sup­ply more funds so that the action under­tak­en could have con­crete results on the ground, but also that the mon­ey should be ini­tial­ly sup­plied to, and pass through, the Afghan Government. 

    Air Mar­shal Moran also announced that the ANA will begin tak­ing con­trol of the Kab­ul region in the com­ing August, the inten­tion being to con­clude this trans­fer of author­i­ty in ear­ly 2009. In his view, in order to devel­op the coun­try, there are still oth­er chal­lenges to be over­come: bet­ter coor­di­na­tion of the orga­ni­za­tions present on the ground (NATO, NGOs, UN), bat­tling drugs and cor­rup­tion, curb­ing the rate of unem­ploy­ment (60%), rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and also the “food bat­tle” (ris­ing prices, poor har­vests). While the Head of the Lithuan­ian Del­e­ga­tion, Rasa Juknevi­ciene, expressed her con­cern with regard to the increase in the num­ber of civil­ians killed dur­ing oper­a­tions, Air Mar­shal Moran insist­ed that NATO was doing its best to avoid this type of error. “The civil­ian vic­tims are pri­mar­i­ly the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the Tal­iban,” he explained. 


  • BERLIN, 25 MAY, For the third time in a row, the ses­sion of the NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly was a forum for dis­cus­sion of the ques­tion of women with­in the armed forces. This lunchtime dis­cus­sion was host­ed by the Cana­di­an Del­e­ga­tion to the NATO PA, this past Sun­day, 25 May, and was attend­ed by some six­ty par­tic­i­pants. Chaired by Sen­a­tor Jane Cordy, the dis­cus­sion had the aim of draw­ing the atten­tion of the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to the need to boost the pres­ence of women on the front lines of peace­keep­ing mis­sions. In the view of Char­lotte Isaks­son, a spe­cial­ist in this issue in the Swedish army, tak­ing gen­der into account is an essen­tial step in the prepara­to­ry phase of any mil­i­tary deploy­ment. Too many oper­a­tions already under way lack an “over­all vision” and the ques­tion of women is still very often neglect­ed in the draw­ing up of oper­a­tional plans. How­ev­er in prac­tice, the speak­er observed that there was a more marked aware­ness in the chains of com­mand of how essen­tial it was to have women in the troops. Women obtain “bet­ter results” not only when talk­ing to women and girls on the ground but also when deal­ing with the nat­ur­al hos­til­i­ty of the local pop­u­la­tions with regard to for­eign armed troops. She cit­ed the repeat­ed calls by Gen­er­al Patrick Nash of Ire­land, Com­man­der of EUFOR Chad-CAR, for more women to be deployed on the ground. In the Con­go as well, where Ms Isaks­son was an advis­er to EUFOR, the offi­cers had come to real­ize the impor­tance of a female pres­ence with­in the armed forces. A large num­ber of train­ing exer­cis­es were orga­nized and the num­ber of female mil­i­tary per­son­nel on the ground increased. 

    The speak­er stressed that, despite the ongo­ing short­falls and thanks to these train­ing exer­cis­es, senior offi­cers have become aware of the impli­ca­tions of this issue and have acquired a bet­ter under­stand­ing of Unit­ed Nations res­o­lu­tion 1325. It will be recalled that this res­o­lu­tion men­tions explic­it­ly the effects of armed con­flicts on women and girls and high­lights the impor­tance of the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in peace processes. 

    Tak­ing a prag­mat­ic approach, Anja Ebnoether, Deputy Direc­tor at the DCAF (Cen­tre for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­trol of Armed Forces, Gene­va) pre­sent­ed a num­ber of doc­u­ments pub­lished by the DCAF, intend­ed to improve under­stand­ing of the gen­der issue and to adapt this con­cept to each post-con­flict sit­u­a­tion. She also described the enor­mous dif­fi­cul­ties encoun­tered in recruit­ing women into the Afghan Nation­al Police and the efforts of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to resolve the prob­lem. She called on the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans present to spare no effort to make their own assem­blies aware of the need to estab­lish poli­cies with­in their country’s army on this issue. Dur­ing the sub­se­quent debate, ref­er­ence was made to the dif­fi­cul­ty of recruit­ing women, while at the same time atten­tion was drawn to the efforts of Hun­gary, France and Spain, whose female enrol­ment num­bers have dou­bled since the begin­ning of the millennium.

The NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly is an inter­par­lia­men­tary orga­ni­za­tion, inde­pen­dent from NATO, which pro­vides a link between NATO and the par­lia­ments of its mem­ber coun­tries. The Assem­bly also brings togeth­er leg­is­la­tors from NATO mem­ber and non-mem­ber coun­tries to con­sid­er secu­ri­ty-relat­ed issues of com­mon inter­est and concern.

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