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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 8th Sep 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing.
It is merely a summary.

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 08.09.2004

Time: 12.00 p.m.

Registry and Chambers:

Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry
and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

There have been some slightly unclear and misleading
reports in the media with regard to Minister Ljajic’s meeting with
President Meron yesterday. In the meeting, there was no discussion
about the possibility of referring some ICTY cases to courts in
Serbia and Montenegro. Indeed, President Meron stated that in the
present climate of non-cooperation it would not be appropriate to
discuss the matter. I would like to note that while encouraging
the transfer of some mid and lower-level cases to national courts,
the Security Council has been clear that cases involving senior
accused must be tried by the Tribunal in The Hague.

Furthermore, contrary to some media reports the
question of Generals Pavkovic, Lazarevic, Lukic and Djodjevic was
not discussed. However, I would like once again to absolutely clear
on this issue: the authorities in Belgrade have to abide by their
legal obligations and transfer the Generals to the ICTY.

In terms of court documents, I would like to draw
your attention to an Order, signed by President Meron yesterday,
appointing a Trial Chamber to determine whether the Ademi and Norac
case should be referred to the courts in Croatia, pursuant to Rule
11 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

In the Order, President Meron appoints Judges Orie,
Kwon and Parker to the Trial Chamber.

This follows the partially confidential "Request
by the Prosecutor Under Rule 11 bis
," in which the Prosecutor
requested that this case be referred to the authorities of Croatia
for trial by an appropriate court of that state, and a motion in
which the Prosecutor applied "to the President for the appointment
of a Trial Chamber
", both filed on 2 September 2004. This, it
should be noted, is the first such request pursuant to Rule 11 bis
from the OTP.

On behalf of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme:

Last week, members of the Tribunal's Registry and
Prosecution attended an intensive four-day seminar on "Crimes of
War and Legal Legacy" in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The seminar addressed
issues and challenges of regional cooperation in prosecuting war
crimes in local courts and was attended by Judges, Prosecutors,
as well as government and NGO representatives from Serbia and Montenegro,
Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Participation in this seminar is part of the ICTY's
efforts to assist regional cooperation in matters of war crimes
prosecution. The Tribunal's representatives were encouraged to see
the high-level of commitment expressed by representatives of the
local judiciaries to process war crimes cases.

With regard to the Milosevic trial, I would like
to note that Albanian interpretation is again being provided.

We also have a list of the most recent court documents
for you.

Finally, I understand that the ADC will give a
briefing after this.

also the latest ADC-ICTY press briefing.

Office of the Prosecution:

Florence Hartmann for the Office of the Prosecutor
introduced David Tolbert as the newly appointed Deputy Prosecutor
effective 30 August 2004.


Asked if there had been further information
on Milosevic appealing against his right to represent himself being
taken away, Landale said that he had not seen anything in writing
and suggested that the assigned defence counsel be contacted.

Asked if there was a public defence witness
list available for the Milosevic trial, Landale answered that that
was a matter for the assigned counsel to deal with, but that he
had not seen any public list. This had also been the case with the
Prosecution’s case-in-chief, namely that it was up to the party
to decide if and when it wanted to disclose the identity of a witness
ahead of that witness’ testimony.

A journalist pointed out that it seemed, according
to the media, that a number of defence witnesses had cancelled their
appearance due to a change in strategy in the courtroom. Asked how
the court would proceed if there were literally no witnesses, Landale
replied that we were nowhere near a situation where there were no
witnesses. He stated, however, that if a witness did not want to
testify, that fact could be brought to the attention of the Judges
by the party calling that witness. It would be up to the Judges
to decide to take any action they deemed appropriate.

Asked whether there were other cases in which
there had been a gap between witnesses, Landale answered that there
had been cases where witnesses had decided that they no longer wanted
to testify or a witness, for whatever reason, perhaps professional
or medical, had not been able to testify on the day they were scheduled,
and that unfortunately, it did occasionally result in the disruption
to the timetable of a trial.

Asked if a disruption had ever caused a suspension
in proceedings, Landale replied that the Trial Chambers did everything
in their powers to avoid such situations and that the witnesses
could be reshuffled in order to fill in the time that was originally
slated for a particular witness. In most cases, there were at least
a few witnesses waiting to testify. There was a capacity for some
flexibility in this and where the Trial Chamber could see that further
down the line there might be difficulty with a particular witness
who had voiced his or her reluctance or refusal to come and testify
under new arrangements, then of course the Trial Chamber could take
the appropriate steps in good time to make sure that the Trial Chamber’s
schedule was not disrupted.

Asked if there had been downtime where there
were no witnesses waiting to testify in a case, Landale stated that
there had been other cases with unfortunate incidents where at very
short notice a witness could not attend for whatever reason and
other witnesses could not step in and give testimony instead of
that witness. This had resulted in a disruption in the timetable
of a trial. He said that it had happened even though it was a rare.

Landale added that in the Milosevic case, the
Trial Chamber was extremely focused on being as efficient with the
time that they had as possible. If Registry or Chambers received
advanced warning of possible problems or disruptions, then steps
would be taken quickly to try to avoid any disruptions.

Asked how many witnesses had refused to come
so far in the Milosevic case, Landale said that he was not aware
of any now through the Registry, but that he would check on that

Asked in the case of a witness refusing to
testify, was there any way that the court could react, Landale said
that would be a matter for the Judges, following a submission from
a party or on their own, to decide whether or not, in the interests
of justice, it was important to hear the testimony of that particular
witness. The Trial Chamber could try to take steps to compel that
witness to testify. They would have to be persuaded that it was
relevant to the case and appropriate to do so. Landale said he wanted
to be careful not to say what the Judges would do in any particular
case, and that it was up to the Trial Chamber to decide.

A journalist referred to a report in the media
that three more indictments were going to be issued and that the
report even mentioned the names which did not fit the description
of a high profile case. Tolbert replied that, in accordance with
the Security Council, all investigations had to be completed by
the end of the year and that it was not appropriate to comment on
any investigations at the moment that were ongoing. Tolbert said
he was aware that there was a lot of speculation in the press and
that at this point they would not have a comment.

Asked if there were certain areas in the region
that were under investigation, Tolbert replied that, generally,
investigations were not discussed in public for obvious reasons.

A journalist commented that Carla del Ponte
had made comments on the investigations. Tolbert stated that he
did not want to be any more specific than she had been on the record.

Asked if there were investigations being conducted
in Macedonia, Hartmann confirmed and said she was aware of the rumours
but that she could not give more details until the end of the investigations
which would be in a few weeks or months, anyhow, before the end
of the year.

Asked why the OTP was never clear on the subject
of Macedonia, Hartmann stated that there was confusion about the
word "case" and that one investigation did not result always in
one indictment or that one indictment did not corresponded to one
person. An investigation referred to a group investigating evidence.
All the information that was for the public was known and anything
left would be published by the end of the year, Hartmann said.

Asked which case was filed first, Meakic et
al. or the Ademi and Norac case under Rule 11bis, Landale
replied that both were filed on the same day but that only one had
resulted in the appointment of a Trial Chamber, while the other
was still with the President.

Asked how proper it was for Defence counsel
and Prosecutors to have contact outside of the courtroom, Landale
said that there were meetings that were taking place all the time
at the Tribunal, where quite properly the parties had to meet. Lawyers
abided by a code of ethics and should be aware where not to step
over the line, in terms of their contacts with opposing parties.
Part of being assigned counsel and a lawyer required them to be
aware of such ethical codes and they would know where not to step
over the line, Landale said.

Tolbert added that there were a number of these
contacts at 65ter meetings and that there were also discussions
between the OTP staff and the Defence. He said that what he thought
the journalist was suggesting was contact of one party with the
court, in legal terms called ex-parte contact, which would,
under certain circumstances be contrary to ethical rules, and thus
be inappropriate. Therefore, when the Prosecution or the Defence
met with the judges on an individual basis outside the presence
of opposing counsel to discuss a specific case or matters arising
in a specific case that was where the concern was, although he noted
that there were a number of circumstances where such contacts are
allowable. In general, it was perfectly appropriate for Prosecutors
and Defence counsel to discuss matters relating to cases, whether
it was in the courtroom or outside.

Asked where the cases that were being referred
under 11bis were being referred to, Hartmann said that the
Prosecution was supporting the idea that the cases should be referred
back to where the crimes were committed.

Asked if this meant that a decision from the
Trial Chamber was expected before the court physically started,
Tolbert said that was certainly a decision for the Trial Chamber
to make not for the Prosecution. He added that the Prosecutor was
mandated by the Security Council to start referring cases under
Rule 11bis and she was doing so and that as we spoke the
steps necessary to put the state court in action were taking place
and that legislation was being adopted soon. It was expected that
the Chambers would examine the situation of the state court in Bosnia
along with the arguments that the Prosecution would advance in order
to make a decision, said Tolbert.

Hartmann added that the guidelines were clearly
stated in the UN Security Council Presidential Statement S/PRST/2004/28
from 4 August 2004 about the importance of the referral of cases
involving lower and intermediate ranked accused to competent national

A journalist pointed out that at the moment
there was no ‘competent national jurisdiction.’ Hartmann said that
the OTP was initiating the procedure and it was up to the Trial
Chamber to decide.

Asked what were the motives of the Prosecution
to do so if there was still not going to be a competent court in
six months time, Hartmann stated that the reason was the Completion
Strategy and a deadline which had been imposed by the Security Council
for 2008.

Tolbert added that the steps were being taken
now and the Prosecutor felt that it was time to put this forward.
If the Trial Chamber decided the court was not ready then the OTP
would hear from the Chamber.

Asked if the OTP was going to be selective on the
transfer of cases, Tolbert said that the Security Council had set
the standard and that it was the responsibility of the Prosecutor
to follow the mandate of the Security Council. That was that mid
and lower level accused would be subject to transfer under Rule
11bis. There was prosecutorial discretion involved and the
Prosecutor must weigh the circumstances of each case against the
standards established by the Security Council. It was the Prosecutor’s
job to decide which cases to ask the Chamber to transfer and Chamber’s
job to make the final decision. These were not easy decisions to
make because the Security Council used the terms ‘lower and intermediate’
and the Prosecutor had to make these judgments, based on that language,
applying the standard.


The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic

25 August 2004 "Amicus Curiae Observations Proprio
On Relevant Issues of International Law."

The Prosecutor v. Mejakic, Gruban, Fustar,
and Knezevic

2 September 2004 "Request By The Prosecutor Under
Rule 11 bis."

The Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj

31 August 2004 "Decision On The Interlocutory Appeal
Concerning Jurisdiction."

The Prosecutor v. Pavle Strugar

30 August 2004 "Prosecution’s Final Trial Brief."

The Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladic

1 September 2004 "Order To The Republika Srpska
For The Production Of Documents."

The Prosecutor v Milan Babic

3 September 2004 "Milan Babic’s Notice Of Appeal."

The Prosecutor v Enver Hadzihasanovic and
Amir Kubura

11 August 2004 "Enver Hadzihasanovic’s Motion For

11 August 2004 "Defence Motion On Behalf Of Amir
Kura For Judgement Of Acquittal Pursuant To Rule 98bis."

11 August 2004 "Requete Aux Fins D’Acquittement
De Enver Hadzihasanovic."

1 September 2004 "Prosecution Response To Defence
Motions For Acquittal Pursuant To Rule 98bis."

The Prosecutor v Momir Nikolic

20 August 2004 "Motion For Judicial Notice."

1 September 2004 "Decision (Motion To Strike Parts
Of Defence Appeal Brief And Evidence Not On Record, Motion To Enlarge
Time, Motion For Leave To File A Rejoinder To The Prosecution’s

The Prosecutor v Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac

2 September 2004 "Request By The Prosecutor Under
Rule 11bis."

7 September 2004 "Order Appointing A Trial Chamber
For The Purposes Of Determing Whether The Indictment Should Be referred
To Another Court Under Rule 11bis."

The Prosecutor v Stanislav Galic

6 September 2004 "Prosecution Response Brief."