note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Date: 26 July 2000
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers made the following statement:
on 25 July, Trial Chamber II, refused Radoslav Brdanin’s application for provisional
release which he filed on 28 April on which a motion hearing was held last week.
The Trial Chamber was not satisfied by Brdanin that, if released, he would appear
for his trial. The Trial Chamber ruled that, "Brdanin has reason enough
for not wanting to appear. Again, common experience suggests that any person
in his position, even if he is innocent, is likely to take advantage of the
refuge which Republika Srpska presently provides to other high-level indicted
persons". Copies of that decision will be available after this.
Minister of Justice from the Republika Srpska (RS), Mr. Cedo Vrzina, is planning
to visit the Tribunal on Friday and is expected to meet with the President,
Judge Claude Jorda, the Registrar, Ms. Dorothee De Sampayo, and the Deputy Prosecutor,
Mr. Graham Blewitt. Talks are expected to focus on general issues of cooperation
between the RS and the Tribunal. He is also due to visit the Detention Unit.
Mayor of The Hague paid a working visit to the Tribunal yesterday, which included
a courtesy call to the President, to familiarize himself with the court.
the status conferences on 14 June and 4 July in the ‘Kvocka and Others trial’,
Trial Chamber I issued an order on 21 July authorizing the defence of Zoran
Zigic to pursue a defence of alibi and to call three potential alibi witnesses
listed in the motion of 26 June.
the Todorovic case, we received on 25 July a Notice to the Trial Chamber as
to the specific relief sought on the motion for Judicial Assistance. This follows
the motion hearing most of you would have heard yesterday. Copies of this will
be available after this briefing.
briefly, the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme now has offices in Sarajevo, as well
as the office in Banja Luka that was established earlier in the year.
far as the schedule for next week is concerned the Defence case-in-chief in
the Kordic and Cerkez trial is due to continue in Courtroom I.
just to let you all know that next week’s will be the last briefing before the
summer court recess. Weekly press briefings will resume on Wednesday 30 August.
the Deputy Prosecutor, made no statement.
about the Deputy Prosecutor’s visit to Croatia, the Deputy Prosecutor replied
that he did visit the area last Thursday 20 July, which was, from his point
of a view, a routine visit. The discussions focused on the remaining areas
where the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) felt that Croatia was not in full
compliance with its obligations to cooperate and he was exploring ways to
overcome these difficulties. The Deputy Prosecutor added that he was convinced
that the Government of Croatia was totally committed to full compliance
with obligations to the Tribunal. He added that he was looking forward to
the remaining areas, which relate to access of documents, being resolved
in the near future.
these documents were, the Deputy Prosecutor stated that he could not go
into specific details. However, there had been a number of instances when
the Tribunal had asked for documents from Croatia over the last few years
and they related to current trials and other investigations which the Prosecutor
was undertaking. The requests for documents were specific, they had been
identified in the request to Croatia and the Tribunal was anxious to get
copies of these documents at the earliest opportunity, he said .
he had not received the documents before, the Deputy Prosecutor replied
that he did not want to go into any detail about the difficulties confronting
the government but that there were a number of reasons causing delays (and
he emphasised that these were delays rather than obstacles). In conclusion,
the purpose of his visit was to try to move this issue along as time was
moving on and the OTP was anxious to see this issue resolved, he stated.
Deputy Prosecutor was then asked about reports in the Croatian press regarding
the possible indictment of Croatian generals and whether this information
had come from Tribunal sources. The Deputy Prosecutor replied that you would
need to ask the newspaper about their sources. He added that he had no idea
where the reports had come from and certainly he hoped it was not coming from
the Tribunal or the Prosecutor’s Office. He then added that the Tribunal had
made no secret that they were investigating a number of incidents which occurred
on Croatian soil and which involved Croatian perpetrators. However, where
these stories had come from, he could not say. Asked if he was sure that the
stories were not coming from his office, he replied that he hoped they were
the RS minister of Justice’s proposed visit, the Deputy Prosecutor replied
that this was an initiative from RS who had asked if the Prosecutor would
be in a position to meet with the new Minister. The Prosecutor was currently
on leave, and that being the case, the Deputy prosecutor would meet with
the Minister. The Deputy Prosecutor added that he did not know what is on
the agenda, as he had not been appraised of it. However, he would certainly
press the issue of full cooperation with the Tribunal on the part of RS
and primarily the area of the apprehension of the remaining fugitives, which
remained for the Tribunal the biggest issue with RS. He added, they had
not surrended any of the accused to the Tribunal. The Deputy Prosecutor
added, that as stated by Mr. Landale earlier, one of the reasons that the
Trial Chamber refused to grant Brdanin’s application for provisional release
was on the basis that RS remained a safe haven.
comment on the Todorovic case and the potential threat to future arrests
made by SFOR, the Deputy Prosecutor commented that he could not make too
many comments on this case as it was sub judicea and the Chamber
was soon to make a decision on it. He added that the decision, whatever
it might be, was an important one for the Tribunal and the OTP had already
made submissions to the Chamber and it was for the Chamber to accept or
reject them. The whole question of SFOR’s cooperation in the apprehension
of fugitives in Bosnia was an issue that was going to be impacted by this
decision. The OTP, we did not want to see anything occur which was going
to change SFOR’s willingness to bring indicted accused before this Tribunal,
Deputy Prosecutor was then asked about the reports with regards to the Prosecutor
investigating the finances of Mr. Milosevic, of her to visit to Cyprus at
the end of the year, and whether it was common practice to give this information
out so far in advance. The Deputy Prosecutor replied that he had heard about
the reports but had not seen them and would thus limit his comments to his
understanding of the situation.
Prosecutor had written to a number of countries proposing a visit and this
was part of her overall mission to visit all the neighbouring countries of
the former Yugoslavia, and whilst she had already been to a number of countries
she had not been to all of them. Within the past few weeks, letters had been
sent to a number of countries including Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania
and Romania proposing dates for the Prosecutor’s visit. The letter suggesting
the visit merely proposed a range of dates and was not about a confidential
visit for the Prosecutor to discuss the freezing of Milosevic’s assets, as
the report suggested.
added that there was no secret to the fact that part of the Prosecutor’s mission
was to ensure cooperation of all of these countries and that cooperation extended
to taking proactive steps to identify any indicted accused that might be within
their territory and to take action in that regard. Cooperation also extended
to identifying any assets of any accused, including those of President Milosevic,
that might be held in those countries. This was part of the Prosecutor’s strategy
to ensure that the world was an ever shrinking place for President Milosevic
and the other indictees. The Prosecutor wanted to ensure that they got the
message, they are prisoners in their own country and she wants to do this
publicly so that the message could be sent properly.
Deputy Prosecutor added, with some surprise, that these reports in the Cyprus
press seemed to be taking on some additional element. In conclusion, he emphasised
that this mission was not a secret and it was part of a strategy the OTP had
been following for several months.