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UN war crimes courts call for aid in arresting fugitives

[JURIST] In a plenary session of the UN General Assembly [official website] Monday, judges from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive] urged UN member states to work closely with the international courts to arrest suspects. ICTR President Erik Mose [official profile] and ICTY President Fausto Pocar [official profile] presented annual reports [press release] on the progress each tribunal has made in the prosecution of war criminals and investigation of atrocities in the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the Balkan wars. Mose stressed that "it is essential that member states assist and cooperate in the arrest and transfer of accused who remain at large." Pocar said the "capacity of the Tribunal to complete its mandate in accordance with Completion Strategy target dates hinges significantly upon the cooperation of all States now, specifically those in the region, in apprehending these fugitives to stand trial."

The ICTR report [PDF text] said judgments have been rendered or trials are underway for 56 suspects, and that the ICTR is on schedule to complete its cases [press release] by the end of 2008. The tribunal is still seeking 18 suspects, including Felicien Kabuga [ICTR case materials], who is charged with genocide. The ICTY report [PDF text] expressed concern over the inability to capture war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile]. Pocar called [press release] "upon all Member States to assist us in our commitment to seeing that work through to the end, which includes the trials of our six remaining high-level accused and in particular, Mladic and Karadzic." AP has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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