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Russia urges the closure of two UN war crime tribunals

13:16 05/06/2008
UN, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia proposed that two UN war crimes tribunals be closed down starting from 2009 and their cases passed to national courts, the Russian envoy to the United Nations said.

Vitaly Churkin said the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) should not open new cases next year, while the inquiries still under investigation should be passed over to national courts.

"Fourteen years have passed since the tribunals were established," Churkin said. "Independent courts have been formed in Rwanda and the now independent states of the former Yugoslavia.

"We do not see why those countries should be denied their sovereign right of exercising national justice, furthermore they have signaled their readiness to prosecute ICTFY and ICTR suspects," the diplomat said.

The ICTY, based in The Hague, was set up in 1993 to try war crimes committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991, and is mandated to complete all trials by the end of this year and handle all appeals by 2010.

The tribunal for Rwanda, based in Tanzania's Arusha, is hearing the cases against the alleged masterminds of the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994 in which at least 800,000 people, minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were massacred by Hutu extremists.

The tribunals appealed to the Security Council on Wednesday for continued support in pressuring Serbia and Rwanda to do more to hunt down the most wanted fugitives.

Russia has criticized the tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of demonstrating bias in favor of Kosovo Albanians.

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RIA NovostiRussia urges the closure of two UN war crime tribunals

13:16 05/06/2008 Russia proposed that two UN war crimes tribunals be closed down starting from 2009 and their cases passed to national courts, the Russian envoy to the United Nations said. >>

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