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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 00:18 GMT
Bosnia gets war crimes court
Slobodan Milosevic
The former Yugoslav president is being tried in The Hague
The international community has pledged $18m towards the creation of a special war crimes court in Bosnia to lighten the load of the UN tribunal in The Hague.

The funds were raised during a meeting at the tribunal of 30 donor countries including the United States, Canada and the European Union.

The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague says the new court - to be based in Sarajevo - is being seen as a major step in Bosnia's post-war reconstruction.

The pledge came as prosecutors at the tribunal asked for a 15-20-year prison sentence for a Bosnian Serb officer who admitted participating in the murder of more than 7,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

Colonel Dragan Obrenovic, 40, the chief of staff of a brigade which operated in town at the time of the massacre, was appearing for the final day of his sentencing hearing.

He pleaded guilty in May to charges of persecution, but avoided a charge of genocide by agreeing to testify against two senior officers.

He will be sentenced when the other officers' trials are completed.

Internationally-run

The new court is being regarded as an essential element in the restoration of justice for victims of the Bosnian war and their families.

More than 200,000 people died and two million were forced out of their homes in the war.

The court is scheduled to open late next year.

It will come under the authority of the Bosnian justice department but will be run by a panel of international judges and prosecutors for five years.

Initially, the court will take over around 15 lower-level cases from The Hague tribunal, which will carry on with trials of higher-level suspects.

The Hague is aiming to complete all its cases on the former Yugoslavia by 2010.

Democratic institutions are gradually being re-established as Bosnia returns to peace.

But our correspondent says local courts still face serious difficulties - including a lack of co-operation between the two parts of Bosnia - the Bosnian Serb republic and the Muslim-Croat federation.




SEE ALSO:
Bosnia camp guard jailed
28 Oct 03  |  Europe
Bosnia's war legacy
03 Apr 02  |  Crossing Continents
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
01 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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