Britain to send lawyers to support Kosovo Justice

LONDON, Mar 15, 2000 -- (Reuters) British judges and prosecutors will start work in Kosovo next month to help revive the province's justice system, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said on Tuesday.

Cook said 40 British lawyers had said they were ready to work in Kosovo after the U.N. administrator there, Bernard Kouchner, passed a regulation providing for international judges and prosecutors to support the local judiciary.

"I would expect shortly to see at least a dozen, perhaps more, of the British legal profession, working to help bring justice to Kosovo," Cook told a news conference.

"The first should arrive before the end of next month."

Cook said British officials were also being sent out to Kosovo to head the U.N. customs service there and to take the position of deputy head of the trade and industry section in the province's joint interim administration.

"This further commitment demonstrates our resolve to help Kosovo towards efficient government and a reformed economy," Cook said. Sixty more British police were being sent out to Kosovo, he said, adding to 60 already out there.

International aid organisations have criticised Western governments for dragging their feet on aid and support for Kosovo, accusing them of spending just a shadow of the sum they forked out on last year's military campaign to oust Serb forces from the province.

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