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UN war crimes tribunals call for cooperation in catching fugitives

[JURIST] Senior UN officials from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official websites] Monday urged [press release] countries to cooperate in the capture of numerous fugitives who remain at large. Carla Del Ponte, top prosecutor for the ICTY, said that many senior leaders responsible for the most serious crimes committed during the Balkan wars in 1991 have been prosecuted, but others still remain at large [speech transcript; press release], including Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile]. Hassan Jallow, prosecutor for the ICTR, also stepped up the pressure to bring to justice war crimes fugitive Felicien Kabuga [Trial Watch profile], who is thought to be in Kenya. Jallow called for the Kenyan government to arrest Kabuga and hand him over to the tribunal.

Officials from both tribunals have put pressure on countries in the past [JURIST report] to assist in the arrest and transfer of war crimes fugitives. Serbia [JURIST news archive] especially has come under increased international pressure from the European Union and the United States to prosecute war criminals and arrest war crimes fugitives. Last month, Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website] announced the creation of the National Security Council, a special body headed by the president that will coordinate police and military security resources to hunt for suspected war criminals. Monday's requests come as the UN Security Council discusses winding down the two tribunals. The ICTR is expected to finish its work by 2009, and the ICTY by 2010. The UN News Service has more.

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