Last week’s four-count indictment against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four of his top deputies bears the mark of the prosecutor who brought the case – Louise Arbour, a skilled and cautious lawyer more interested in securing convictions than in making new law.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia still faces a daunting number of obstacles, many of which are beyond its control, before it can actually put Milosevic on trial in The Hague. But in the arsenal of available provisions, Arbour chose charges that are among the most straightforward to prove – three crimes against humanity and one violation of the laws or customs of war. She avoided the temptation to pile on more sensational charges, like genocide, that would have been problematic in court.

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