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UN extends terms of ICTY judges

The UN Security Council on Monday approved a resolution [Resolution 2018 (2012) text] extending the terms of 21 judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor, none opposed and one abstention by the Russian Federation. The terms have been extended until the end of 2013 or the completion of their cases, whichever comes first. In addition to extending the judges' terms, the resolution also asks for a comprehensive plan on the ICTY's completion strategy by April 15 and urges states to cooperate fully with the tribunal. Last week the Security Council also extended the terms of the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website].

Since its establishment in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 people for violations of humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Last week month the ICTY convicted [JURIST report] former Bosnian Serb army commander Zdravko Tolimir [ICTY case materials; BBC profile] of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, sentencing him to life in prison. Earlier this month the ICTY upheld the life sentence of Milan Lukic [JURIST report], a Bosnian Serb commander who was sentenced to life in prison for crimes that include burning more than 100 people alive during the 1992 Bosnian War. In November the tribunal acquitted [JURIST report] former Kosovo Liberation Army commanders Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Laji Brahimaj of war crimes related to abduction and torture of civilians. Also in November the ICTY overturned the convictions [JURIST report] of two Croat generals for crimes against humanity and war crimes against Serb civilians committed during a 1995 military blitz.

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