Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 6 News List

UN tribunals weigh how to store boxes of evidence, videos

AP , THE HAGUE

A panel of experts led by a former war crimes prosecutor on Tuesday began discussing where and how to store millions of pages of evidence and thousands of hours of courtroom video in the archives of UN courts prosecuting atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Both tribunals are under pressure from the UN Security Council to wrap up their work by 2010. They have begun looking at how best to preserve their archives and make them accessible to victims and survivors of the wars whose horrors led to the tribunals' establishment.

The panel's work "is crucial for the preservation of the legacy of the two tribunals and for the victims, as well as for the future for international criminal justice," said its leader, Richard Goldstone, a former prosecutor at both the Yugoslav and Rwandan courts.

"The tribunals' archives are a unique and invaluable resource for the peoples of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations and the international community," the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said in a statement.

The archives not only can be a resource for future prosecutions, they establish a record "as well as contribute to peace and reconciliation in the regions," it said.

The Yugoslav tribunal has indicted 161 people and completed cases against 108 of them. In Rwanda, 27 cases have been completed out of more than 80, while 35 are either being tried or awaiting appeal decisions.

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