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Travelling Tribunals Muted For Former Yugoslavia

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, eager to improve "accessibility", exploring idea of "visiting courts" for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
By IWPR
Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is exploring the possibility of "holding portions of trials in the countries of the former Yugoslavia", OTP spokesman Paul Risley has confirmed.

Del Ponte launched the idea in Arusha, Tanzania when she revealed that the idea of holding some ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) trials in Rwanda was mentioned in talks with officials from that country.

The issue was first raised late last year by Tribunal judges at a plenary meeting. In an effort to "improve the visibility" of the Tribunal within the former Yugoslavia, the court - judges, accused, prosecution, defence and other necessary courtroom staff - would move to a specific location to hear witnesses and then return to the Hague.

Risley acknowledged the idea presented difficulties, "it would be expensive, security considerations would be very important and it would cause logistical difficulties."

Del Ponte, however, is very keen that the Tribunal be "as open and accessible to the public as possible" and therefore thinks it is an idea worth exploring.

The Tribunal judges, however, would have the final say on whether the idea is implemented.

Court locations in Bosnia-Herzegovina are the main consideration at the moment, according to Risley, because most of the upcoming trials concern events in that country. He did not, however, exclude the possibility that travelling tribunals could visit Croatia, and even Serbia - one day.