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UN Splits Duties of Special War Crimes Tribunal Prosecutor Del Ponte - 2003-08-28

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution Thursday to remove Carla Del Ponte as prosecutor of the Rwanda war crimes tribunal.

Former Swiss attorney general Carla Del Ponte has served as special prosecutor for the two international courts for four years.

Thursday's resolution to split the posts comes just weeks before her term is set to expire.

Under the resolution, Ms. Del Ponte will be re-appointed as chief prosecutor of the Balkan war crimes tribunal, which is based in The Hague, but she will no longer serve as prosecutor for the Rwanda genocide court, based in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Council action follows Secretary General Kofi Annan's recommendation last month that the council divide the responsibilities to improve the effectiveness of the two courts.

The Rwandan tribunal is investigating the 1994 genocide in which nearly one million predominantly minority Tutsis were massacred by the majority Hutu population.

Ms. Del Ponte says the Tutsi-dominated government lobbied to have her removed because of her intention to look into reprisal killings by the Tutsi army that left about 30,000 Hutus dead.

Both courts are expected to wrap up their investigations next year. The Secretary General has yet to name a new chief prosecutor for Rwanda war crimes court.