IN THE NEWS #475 - International Criminal Tribunal/Milosevic

By Nancy Steinbach

This is the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

Officials in Yugoslavia have arrested former President Slobodan Milosevic.They have charged him with stealing government money while he was in office.The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia also wants to try him on international charges of crimes against humanity.

The Yugoslav government has not agreed to send Mr. Milosevic to the U-N war crimes court. Yugoslav officials say he must be tried at home for his crimes. The U-N says the international charges against him are very different from the charges he faces in Yugoslavia. The U-N wants to try him for his part in the Serb campaign against ethnic Albanians.

The United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in Nineteen-Ninety-Three. Its headquarters is at The Hague in the Netherlands. The U-N created the court in an attempt to end the violations of humanitarian law taking place in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal judges crimes that are a concern to the whole world.

Eleven judges established the first rules for the tribunal in Nineteen-Ninety-Four.These rules have been changed several times following the development of new problems or situations. The rules attempt to combine the major systems of law in developed nations. However, the tribunal judges have a larger part to play than in other systems of law. For example, they are permitted to question people in court and may call for more evidence.

The U-N General Assembly now elects fourteen judges to the tribunal.Each serves a four-year term, and can be re-elected. The U-N Security Council chooses the lawyer known as the prosecutor who will try cases for the tribunal. The prosecutor serves a four-year term.

The tribunal tries people accused of crimes connected with the fighting in the Nineteen Nineties in the former Yugoslavia that killed at least two-hundred-thousand people. The crimes include killing, torture and biological experiments. Other crimes are destruction or theft of property and taking civilians as hostages.

The tribunal reaches its judgments by a majority decision. It can send a person to prison. It can also order the return of property that was seized illegally. Prison sentences are served in a nation chosen by the tribunal. The judges choose the nation from a list of those that have agreed to accept convicted prisoners. Court decisions made by the trial judges may be appealed.

Friday, the U-N war crimes tribunal presented an arrest warrant for Mr. Milosevic to Yugoslav officials in Belgrade. Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said he will consider sending him to The Hague, but only after he has been through the Yugoslav judicial system.

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS, was written by Nancy Steinbach.

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