HONG KONG detectives are being sought to join an international team investigating allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. Organised by the United Nations, it will be the most comprehensive war crimes investigation since the Nuremburg Trials after World War II. Last week, a memorandum was circulated to local officers offering them a one-year attachment to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, which is based at the Hague in the Netherlands. It specifies candidates must have at least 10 years' detective experience, extensive knowledge of working with a legal team, and be able to stand up to tough cross-examination in court. Christean Chartier, spokesman for the tribunal, told the Sunday Morning Post there would be about 70 people working in the prosecution office under prosecutor Richard Goldstone. The team will be divided evenly between investigators and lawyers and will work together on cases, which will he heard in a specially-constructed court room. ''The role of the investigators will be to gather evidence to establish the fact that the suspects are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt,'' Mr Chartier said. ''They will go [there] to trace witnesses and try to get the facts and testimonies, and if possible material evidence to implicate the suspects in the crimes.'' Investigators will not have the power to arrest people, but will be authorised to travel to different countries to interview witnesses and suspects. The first war crimes investigation, which includes allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity, is already under way and the first hearing is due to begin by the end of the year. Thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Balkans conflict since 1991 and millions of others have forced to flee their homes. One of the judges, who are all on initial four-year contracts, is senior Chinese official Li Hao-pei. ''He is a legal adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China,'' Mr Chartier said. ''Mr Li is the most experienced judge on the tribunal and speaks nine languages, including Latin.'' The tribunal has been set up under the auspices of the UN and was formerly adopted on February 11 when every member country was invited to send representatives to take part in the investigations. Hong Kong is qualified to send detectives to investigate the war crimes under Britain's membership of the world body.