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Goldstone Replacement Says Dayton 

Parties Responsible for Compliance
Canadian Judge Downplays NATO's
Role in War Crimes Prosecution

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 (Reuters)—Canadian Judge Louis Arbour indicated on Monday that the main responsibility for capturing suspected war criminals belonged to the Balkan parties rather than NATO-led troops in Bosnia.

Arbour, who will be chief prosecutor for U.N. international criminal tribunals on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda next October, was asked repeatedly about the hesitancy of the NATO-led Intervention Force (IFOR) in allowing key indicted figures to move around the country with ease.

She told a news conference that "the primary responsibility for compliance rests with parties to the agreement" that ended the war in the Balkans late last year. But she said "lots of things" will have happened by the time she assumes her post on October 1 and by which time the "complexion of the enterprise will be different."

Arbour, a member of the Ontario Court of Appeals, replaces Judge Richard Goldstone, who plans to return to South Africa's high court. His departure was a cause for concern because the tribunals have only recently begun to function. She said failure by the court to function would be a disaster for the international community. "It cannot be allowed not to live up to its promise," she said.

The Hague-based tribunal had indicted dozens of Serbs along with some Croats and Muslims suspected of committing war crimes during more than three years of conflict. Only a handful are in custody and problems have been severe in getting suspects detained by local police or the NATO-led Intervention Force.

Arbour said the tribunal, the first international body for the prosecution of war crimes since the trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo after the Second World War, was the most importance chapter "ever written in the history of criminal law and international humanitarian law." She said it recognised that "crimes are committed by people, not abstract entities, like nationalities."

"The victims," she said, "are also not abstract although they are often perceived as such when their numbers accumulate by the thousands." She also said the rules of evidence and procedures of the tribunal were a "model of fairness to defendants. There are many governments who would do well to enact a set of (similar) rules," she said.

Arbour is currently on leave from the court to wind up her work as head of a commission probing a riot squad's activities at a women's prison.

Additional resources
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
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