American lawyers barred from defending Yugoslav war crimes suspects.
The United States has barred American lawyers from representing war crimes suspects at the U.N. tribunal for Yugoslavia, a court document said Wednesday.
An executive order is aimed a cutting off support to about 200 people and organizations in the former Yugoslavia blacklisted by the U.S. government. It outlaws providing goods, services and funds to those people.
In Washington, Treasury Department spokesman Taylor Griffin said that the list of banned activities includes providing legal services to people on the blacklist. However, Griffin said lawyers could apply for permission from the government to represent Balkan war crimes suspects.
The list, published on a U.S. government Web site, includes all the suspects in proceedings at the Yugoslav tribunal, including former President Slobodan Milosevic and his entire family.
About 20 American lawyers are defending suspects at the Yugoslav tribunal, which was established in 1993 to prosecute those to blame for war crimes during Yugoslavia's violent breakup in the 1990s.
American lawyers defending Bosnian Croat Gen. Tihomir Blaskic in an appeal at the U.N. court requested permission but were denied and asked to be removed.
When the lawyers wrote to the Treasury asking if their defense of Blaskic could go ahead, the Treasury wrote back that doing so would amount to ''a prohibited exportation of legal services.''
''As a result of the executive order, counsel cannot continue to provide services to (the) appellant,'' said the document published Wednesday and signed by Russell Hayman of Latham & Watkins, the firm defending Blaskic. ''Continuing to provide legal services in this matter may expose counsel to criminal prosecution under United States law.''
[Source: Associated Press, The Hague, Netherlands, June 18, 2003]
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