Hundreds of war criminals are walking free in the former Yugoslavia because their countries refuse to extradite them, chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said Thursday.
The issue refers to cases involving "direct perpetrators" who were indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia but who will not be tried at the Hague-based court because they do not meet the criteria of "most senior leaders" as prescribed by the UN Security Council, she said.
"My message is simple. All crimes must be punished, all criminals must face justice," Del Ponte said.
"Those who cannot be tried in The Hague because of their lower rank must be tried locally."
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