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UN Names Judges for Hague Tribunal

October 16, 1998

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The General Assembly named three judges to the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal Friday to hear cases stemming from the Bosnian war and prosecutions expected to arise from fighting in Kosovo.

David Anthony Hunt of Australia, Patrick Lipton Robinson of Jamaica and Mohamed Bennouna of Morocco were chosen from nine candidates after four rounds of secret balloting.

The three will sit on the tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands. The United Nations set up the body in 1993 to punish war crimes committed following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

The chief prosecutor of the tribunal, Louise Arbour, earlier this week reaffirmed the tribunal’s authority to investigate war crimes committed in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanian rebels are fighting for independence from Serbia, the dominant republic of Yugoslavia.

Tens of thousands have been routed from their homes and hundreds have been killed, including about two dozen slain in two reported massacres last month.

Arbour sent a letter to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on Thursday, informing him that she would be going to Kosovo to investigate the alleged crimes.

Since its creation, the court has indicted 56 suspects and has 26 in custody. The vast majority of those still at large are ethnic Serbs living in Bosnia.

The tribunal’s two most notorious suspects, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, remain at large despite international warrants for their arrests on genocide charges.

The Security Council approved the creation of a new trial chamber last May to help deal with an increased caseload that came after NATO arrested several suspects and other accused turned themselves in.

There are currently five trials rotating in and out of the tribunal’s three court rooms.

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