Accessed: 16 May 2000

Kosovo genocide trial suspended

MAY 15 -- A genocide trial due to start today at the District Court of Gnjilane in Kosovo has been postponed after the defence lawyers failed to attend, according to a UN spokeswoman in Pristina.

The trial of Milos Jokic, who has been charged with genocide under the Yugoslav Criminal Code Article 141, was postponed until 20 June. The United Nations Mission Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would monitor the trial, which is open to the media and the public, Susan Manuel said today at a press briefing.

Responding to questions from journalists, Ms Manuel said that it was possible that the defence would ask for a deferral to a war crimes court, which has not yet been set up, but is expected to be functioning by July or August. She said that in the absence of any other court, the district court currently had jurisdiction.

Asked why the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) could not take over the case, Ms Manuel explained that the ICTY had shown no interest in the case, and was very supportive of the establishment of the war crimes court because many of the cases are not grave enough or of significant enough status for the ICTY, and that it "has its hands full" with the indictments already issued on Kosovo.

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 15/05/2000
ęS D Stein

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