Appointment of Latvian judge boosts ranks on UN tribunal for the Balkan wars

Appointment of Latvian judge boosts ranks on UN tribunal for the Balkan wars

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A Latvian judge was today sworn in before the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s so that the court can handle more of its remaining workload.

The appointment of Uldis Kinis to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia brings the total number of ad litem (or temporary) and reserve judges serving on the ICTY to 16, the maximum amount approved last month by the Security Council.

Judge Kinis, 54, will join Judge Alphons Orie (presiding) and Judge Elisabeth Gwaunza, another ad litem judge, on the trial bench sitting on the so-called Gotovina and others case.

The trial of Ante Gotovina and two other Croatian generals, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, who face a series of war crimes charges related to the events of a 1995 offensive in Croatia, is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

As well as the ad litem judges appointed to specific trials, the ICTY has 16 permanent judges who are elected by the General Assembly. The ad litem judges are chosen by the UN Secretary-General – at the request of the Tribunal’s President – from a pool of 27 selected by the Assembly.

Last month the Security Council approved a temporary increase in the number of ad litem ICTY judges from a maximum of 12 to a maximum of 16 during this year so that the Tribunal can better meet its Council-imposed target of trying all defendants by the end of 2008.