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Swiss prosecutor Del Ponte appointed as head of war crimes tribunal

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously appointed Switzerland's Federal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte as the new head of the U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

This content was published on August 11, 1999 - 14:04

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously appointed Switzerland's Federal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte as the new head of the U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The council backed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recommendation that Del Ponte replace Louise Arbour, who is joining Canada's Supreme Court. Del Ponte will take up her new post on September 15.

After meeting the 52-year-old prosecutor at U.N. headquarters last Thursday, Annan said, “I have been looking for a strong and fearless person. I think Del Ponte is a very capable prosecutor whose professionalism can bee seen from her work in her home country."

At a formal meeting Wednesday -- which lasted about two minutes -- all 15 council members raised their hands when Namibia's U.N. Ambassador Martin Andjaba, the current council president, asked for a vote on the resolution appointing Del Ponte. No one spoke on the resolution.

In her new job, Del Ponte will inherit a court that has issued 65 public indictments and has more than two dozen people in custody for alleged ethnic atrocities in the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

Many leading figures indicted by the court remain at large, including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four of his top aides and wartime Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic.

Del Ponte will also head the tribunal investigating the Rwandan mass killings in 1994, when at least half a million people were systematically slaughtered.

Del Ponte's official title is prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

Under the statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, the prosecutor of the Yugoslav tribunal also serves as prosecutor of the Rwanda tribunal.


From staff and wire reports.

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