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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Bosnia 'could try war criminals'
Prosecutor Carla del Ponte with the chairman of the joint Bosnian presidency, Beriz Belkic, and other officials
Carla Del Ponte (left) gave few details of suspects

Fifty Bosnian suspects currently under investigation over war crimes allegations could be tried in Bosnia itself, once the country has set up its own court, the chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has suggested.

Carla del Ponte made the remarks during a day of talks with Bosnian leaders and legal experts, but gave few details of suspects whom a Bosnian war crimes court could receive.

She made clear however that these are people who have not yet been arrested, but are on a list of some 108 people whom the tribunal plans to indict.

Her comments helped to clarify the future timetable and likely location of war crimes trials.

Lesser offenders

Some 75 people have been charged so far by theinternational tribunal in The Hague in the six years since the first trial opened.

Court officials have in the past suggested that around 200, mostly top level officials or particularly notorious offenders, might be tried there by the time it finishes work in six or seven years time.

The purpose of a state level war crimes court in Bosnia would be to take over low level and medium level suspects.

The tribunal officials are hoping to reach agreement with the Bosnian authorities on whether the war crimes court would be an independent institution or a division of the already existing court of Bosnia-Hercegovina.


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