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Rwanda war crimes tribunal prosecutor's job split

Security Council splits prosecutor's job of two UN war crimes tribunals

A separate prosecutor's post was created today for the United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda after the Security Council decided to split the prosecutorial duties of the two UN courts trying cases stemming from the 1994 Rwanda genocide and the Balkan wars of the 1990s, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan nominating a Gambian jurist to the new position.

The 15-nation Council unanimously adopted a resolution that divided the prosecutor's job - which is currently held by one person, Carla Del Ponte, who has occupied the post since 1999 - saying that it was convinced the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) could both operate "most efficiently and expeditiously" if each had its own lead attorney.

The move was shortly followed by two letters from the Secretary-General to the Council submitting the names of nominees to the new posts. In the first, he asks that Ms. Del Ponte be reappointed to a four-year term beginning on 15 September as Prosecutor of the Yugoslav Tribunal. The second proposes a four-year term for Gambian Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow as the top lawyer of the Rwanda court.

In a letter dated 28 July to the Council, the Secretary General indicated that as the two tribunals move towards implementing their respective completion strategies, it was "essential, in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness" that each have its own prosecutor, able to devote his or her entire attention to the conduct of the outstanding investigations and prosecutions.

He had also informed the Council earlier of his intention to nominate, and thus maintain, Ms. Del Ponte as Prosecutor of the Yugoslav Tribunal. In the interim, the Deputy Prosecutor would assume the duties of the Rwanda court.

The new resolution today outlines the timetable for the completion of the courts' work, and the Council calls on the Tribunals to take all possible measures to complete investigations by the end of 2004, to complete all trial activities by the end of 2008 and to complete all work in 2010.

The Council also called on all countries, especially Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina, to intensify cooperation with and render all necessary assistance to the Yugoslav Tribunal. It called on all at-large indictees to that Court to surrender to it.

The Council issued a similar call regarding the Rwanda court to all States, especially Rwanda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.

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