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ICTY prosecutor says tribunal a success despite fugitive war crimes suspects

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] has achieved marked success in bringing international war criminals to justice, chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte [official profile] told a conference on Thursday. Del Ponte, who has served as chief prosecutor for 8 years and is scheduled to step down later this year [JURIST report], said that while six war crimes suspects are still at large, the court has succeeded in putting on trial more than 160 people, including presidents, premiers, and military commanders.

Among those still at large are Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] and his military commander, Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive], who are wanted by the ICTY for alleged crimes committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including organizing the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive]. Both Karadzic and Mladic have been charged and indicted [BBC report] at the ICTY in absentia. Del Ponte, who has repeatedly criticized Serbia's lack of progress [JURIST report] in capturing Karadzic and Mladic, expressed hope at Thursday's conference that Mladic would be brought in front of the court before she leaves. Del Ponte has discouraged [JURIST report] the European Union [official website] from resuming membership talks with Serbia until both are arrested and brought to The Hague. AP has more.

The Hague tribunal [BBC backgrounder], established in 1993 by a the UN Security Council resolution, seeks to try individuals who aided in the commission of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Last March, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] died from heart failure [JURIST report] while his genocide and war crimes trial at the ICTY was in its fifth year. The ICTY is scheduled to finish all trials by 2008 and all appeals by 2010.

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