News in Brief 21 December 2017

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UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Headquarters in The Hague. Photo: ICTY

UN tribunal for former Yugoslavia "pioneer" for international justice

A tribunal set up to try cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia has been described by the UN chief as "a pioneer" for international criminal justice.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, made the comment at a ceremony in The Hague to mark the closure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, or ICTY.

The Tribunal was established in 1993 and sentenced 90 individuals for their crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Mr. Guterres praised the work of the ICTY.

"The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has been a pioneer in creating the contemporary architecture of international criminal justice. The Tribunal has pushed international expectations of accountability beyond what was anticipated in '93, transforming how we speak about and address situations in which serious international crimes are committed."

Lives of over 220,000 children in danger in eastern Ukraine, warns UNICEF

Hundreds of thousands of children in eastern Ukraine are at risk due to landmines and unexploded ordnance that litter the region, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned.

One child, on average, has been injured or killed as a result of the conflict, every week this year along eastern Ukraine's contact line.

The contact line is a 500-kilometre strip of land dividing Government and non-government controlled areas, where fighting is most severe.

The vast majority of children have fallen victim to landmines, explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordnance.

Many more have been left with lifelong disabilities.

Giovanna Barberis, the head of UNICEF programmes in the country, said that it is "unacceptable that places where children could safely play less than four years ago are now riddled with deadly explosives".

She called on all parties to the conflict to immediately end the use of deadly weapons and to allow mine clearance activities and recovery efforts.

Lifesaving medical aid arrives in Yemeni capital Sana'a

More than 70 tons of emergency medical supplies arrived in Yemen's capital Sana'a on Thursday, amid intensifying fighting, the UN health agency, WHO, has said.

The country has been in the grip of conflict since 2015 and supplies to treat the sick and injured are running dangerously low.

Millions across Yemen lack adequate access to health care and the situation has become worse due to a cholera outbreak in many parts of the country.

At the same time, the humanitarian response has been complicated by a blockade of key ports and transit points by the Saudi-led coalition in support of Government forces fighting Houthi rebels.

Earlier this week 26 tons of emergency health kits reached the country, bringing the total this year to 1,500 tons of essential medical supplies.

But it may not be enough, according to Dr. Nevio Zagaria, the head of WHO operations in Yemen.

In a statement, he said that "tremendous efforts" had been made to prevent the collapse of Yemen's health system, but millions still remain in dire need of critical health services.

Yemeni health care workers must also contend with exacting conditions, and more than 30,000 have not received their salaries in over a year.

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration: 3'12"

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