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UN Chief Indicates Possibility of Separate Prosecutors for Yugo, Rwanda War Crimes - 2003-07-28


U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the Security Council is considering the appointment of a separate prosecutor for war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Annan made his remarks prior to meeting with chief U.N. prosecutor Carla del Ponte. The Secretary General told reporters that the Security Council is discussing whether to split the responsibilities of the U.N. prosecutor, in charge of both war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. "There is a sense that as we approach the end and both tribunals are being asked to come up with a completion strategy to be able to finish up their work and close on the course, it may be necessary to have two prosecutors to tackle that essential part of their work," he said.

Mr. Annan said only the Security Council can decide whether to appoint a second prosecutor. Ms. del Ponte's four-year appointment comes up for renewal in September. The Rwandan Tutsi-led government has campaigned against Ms. del Ponte and has refused to cooperate with the court.

The tribunal was established to try perpetrators of Rwanda's 1994 genocide. During a three month period, Hutus massacred about 800,000 people, predominantly minority Tutsis. So far, only Hutus have been indicted. But Ms. del Ponte has investigated Tutsi-army reprisals, which may have left some 30,000 people dead. She says the tribunal's mandate is to look into atrocities committed by both sides.

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