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UN War Crimes Tribunal: Serbia Non-Cooperation

UN War Crimes Tribunal Reports Serbia And Montenegro's Lack Of Cooperation

"Extremely serious" and persistent failures on the part of Serbia and Montenegro to cooperate with the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are threatening to push the trials of key suspects beyond the target completion date of 2008, the court's President warned today in a letter to the Security Council.

Describing Serbia and Montenegro's level of cooperation with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as practically "non-existent," Judge Theodor Meron said that he was not only concerned that the country was failing to comply with its international obligations, but that its actions are "detrimental to the expectations placed on the Tribunal by its completion strategy and could seriously impinge [its] ability to meet those expectations."

The letter, sent to the President of the Security Council, highlights the particulars of the recent report of the Tribunal's Prosecutor, who identified failures on the part of Serbia and Montenegro to execute arrest warrants issued by the Hague-based Tribunal, or to give any reason why it had done so.

The letter also informs the Council that Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte failed to receive any cooperation in her attempts to secure witness testimonies and documentary evidence, and to grant waivers to enable witnesses to either make statements to the Prosecutor's Office or to testify before the Tribunal.

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