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Prosecutors urge transfer of international criminals to tribunals

Prosecutors from six world criminal courts released a joint statement [text, PDF] Sunday urging the continued support and cooperation of the international community in aiding special tribunals in the prosecution of international criminals. The Sixth Colloquium of International Prosecutors took place over two days in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and included international prosecutors from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official websites]. Prosecutors addressed the need for cooperation from states in transferring fugitives to the international courts and tribunals before they close and thus lose the ability to prosecute suspects:

[We] STRESS the urgent need to locate, arrest and transfer fugitives to the international criminal courts and tribunals whose closures are fast approaching [and] URGE national authorities to ensure full commitment to the end of impunity and to eliminating safe havens for those suspected or indicted for international crimes [and] RECOGNISE the essential support and cooperation of States in enabling international criminal courts and tribunals to pursue their respective mandates.
The SCSL is the first tribunal scheduled to close its operations following completion of the prosecution of former Liberian president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Taylor is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity [JURIST report] including murder, rape, sexual slavery and acts of terrorism.

This is not the first time a delegation of international criminal prosecutors has come together to urge the support of the international community. In September, current and former international prosecutors signed the fourth Chautauqua Declaration [text, PDF] praising recent advances in international law and urging countries to continue supporting the international courts [JURIST report] in order to maintain the spirit of the Nuremburg Principles [text]. At that time, prosecutors also urged countries to fulfill their obligations under international law by investigating and prosecuting, or transferring to the appropriate international court, suspects who violate international criminal law, including sitting heads of state.

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