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War Crime Tribunals Demand Cooperation for Arrests

UN War Crimes Tribunals Demand More Cooperation from States to Arrest Fugitives

New York, Dec 15 2005 7:00PM

The apparent momentum earlier this year to bring two of the most notorious fugitives from the Balkan wars of the 1990s before the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has ebbed, and there is no serious attempt now to seize them, the court’s Chief Prosecutor told the Security Council today.

The Council also heard that a lack of cooperation from key Member States is hampering the efforts of both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to finish their work on schedule.

ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte told the Council’s six-monthly meeting to monitor the tribunals’ progress on their “completion strategies” that she had hoped in June that one or both of Radovan Karadžic and Ratko Mladic, who have been indicted on genocide charges, would by now be in the court’s custody in The Hague.

Ms. Del Ponte said Serbia & Montenegro had led her to be “cautiously optimistic” that Mr. Mladic at least would be transferred in time for July’s 10th anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica.

“This did not happen… As far as I know, there is no reliable or credible information on either of these two accused, and I am not aware of any credible attempt to locate and apprehend them,” she said.

Ms. Del Ponte urged the international community to raise the pressure on the authorities in Serbia & Montenegro and the Republika Srpska section of Bosnia & Herzegovina to bring Mr. Karadžic and Mr. Mladic to justice. The Bosnian Serb leaders have been indicted on numerous war crimes charges.

In a separate address to the Council, ICTY President Judge Fausto Pocar said that unless Mr. Karadžic and Mr. Mladic are arrested soon, it is unlikely that the tribunal will be able to finish its work before the end of 2009.

The completion strategy for the two UN tribunals calls for them to complete all trials at the first instance by 2008, and to wind up all their work, including appeals, by the end of 2010.

Meanwhile, the ICTR Chief Prosecutor Hassan B. Jallow told the Council that 19 indictees of that court remain at large, with many continuing “to hide in accessible areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”

Mr. Jallow also called on the Kenyan Government to locate, arrest and hand over another fugitive, Felicien Kabuga, a businessman indicted for his role in the creation and management of a “hate” radio station and for helping to fund and arm the interahamwe militias during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
He said ICTY intelligence indicates that Mr. Kabuga still lives in Kenya, despite the country’s promise of full cooperation. Previous attempts to seize him “appear to have been compromised by leakages.”

Warning that “impunity for perpetrators of mass atrocities is no viable option,” ICTR President Judge Erik Møse stressed that Member State cooperation is essential.

Judge Møse also said the tribunal has stepped up its work pace to ensure it meets the completion strategy, with some judges sitting in double shifts and hearing two trials each day.


ENDS

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