Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 3:39 pm, 10th September 2018

In all honesty, it would be comforting, both to the House and to the hon. Lady, for me to say what the process will be and that it will be swift and so on, but I do not believe I can say that. Look how long it has taken for there to be accountability for serious crimes at Srebrenica. It depends on the gathering of evidence, and it depends on the willingness of authorities to take part and the willingness of the agencies to bring forward those within their own communities who might have been responsible.

We looked at the Burma fact-finding mission last week, and it is a scar on the world community that it can attribute blame, that it can demonstrate what has happened but that the processes of accountability are incredibly slow. We have done all we can at present to give people the tools they need to collect evidence. The United Kingdom has worked hard to explain to people how they can collect evidence and keep it safe to record crimes, but, ultimately, an accountability mechanism is still needed to bring that forward.

All I was able to say at the United Nations last year, when we moved the resolution on the creation of the accountability mechanism, was that the wheels of justice may grind slow but they grind exceeding small, and they get there. I wish I could say how much quicker it will be, but that tends to be the truth.