note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
8 November 2000
Spokesman for Registry and Chambers made the following statement:
in the Todorovic case, following the Trial Chamber’s decision on the motion
for Judicial Assistance to be provided by SFOR and others dated 18 October 2000,
we have received 10 replies.
notified the Trial Chamber that it has not been possible to identify information
relevant to the decision. Eight states and NATO filed requests for review. Germany,
Norway, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK have filed written arguments.
France, Italy and NATO have sought an extension of two weeks to file further
remind you that the Prosecutor filed an appeal or alternatively an application
for leave to appeal on 25 October 2000.
addition, we have received the Prosecutor’s pre-trial brief in the Naletilic
and Martinovic case, and the Defence’s pre-trial brief for Damir Dosen.
these documents will be available to you following the briefing.
we have copies of the Appeals Chamber Judgement for Furundzija in French.
OF THE PROSECUTOR
Graham Blewitt Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia made no statement.
for information on the opening of an office in Belgrade, Blewitt replied
that, apart from the statements from President Kostunica that he was prepared
to allow the re-opening of an office in Belgrade, there was nothing new.
Staff were ready to go and Blewitt believed that it would be necessary for
the Registrar’s staff to go to Belgrade and locate suitable premises for
the offices as the former premises were not suitable for continuing activities
in Belgrade. He added that at this stage a premises had not been located.
added that the OTP still had not had a response about a meeting with President
Kostunica. Despite fairly negative comments being made about future cooperation
with the Tribunal from President Kostunica, the OTP was nevertheless encouraged
that they were on the agenda and that it was just a question of priorities.
He added that the Prosecutor was looking forward to the opportunity of discussing
with the new President and his administration aspects of cooperation with
the Tribunal. Blewitt anticipated that not much was likely to happen before
the December elections. Blewitt concluded by saying that as soon as an office
was made available the OTP had the staff ready to send there.
about the possibility of Yugoslav investigators being engaged to work with
OTP investigators, Blewitt replied that similar suggestions had been made
in the past and it had indeed occurred, for example with Croatian investigators.
Blewitt added that he saw no reason why this could not happen in Serbia
and as a question of basic principle that there was no objection to utilising
the services of local authorities to assist in OTP work. Blewitt added that
it would be assessed on a case by case basis.
about possible visits to the region, Blewitt replied that, as far as visits
to the former Yugoslavia, certainly the visit to Belgrade was a priority.
In addition, following the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina visits would
be arranged to meet with the newly-elected governments in both Republika
Srpska and the Federation. Blewitt added that the Prosecutor still had a
number of commitments to the Rwanda Tribunal and she would be returning
to Africa at the end of this month or early next month. It was also difficult
to plan visits over late December/early January and it might well be that
these visits might not take place until mid-January. He added that there
were no current plans to visit Croatia.
if any new indictments could be expected in the near future, Blewitt answered
that he could only repeat what had been said on earlier occasions - that
the Prosecutor did anticipate some new indictments at the end of this year
or early next year.
there were any developments with cooperation between the Tribunal and Republika
Srpska, Blewitt replied that the Republika Srpska had shown no willingness
to apprehend or surrender persons who were indicted and who were still in
the Republika Srpska. However, Blewitt added that on most other fronts the
OTP were very happy with the cooperation, it was being granted access to
witnesses at very high levels, documents were being provided and the liaison
office located in The Hague was working diligently.
Croatia’s cooperation, Blewitt said he believed that Croatia was striving
hard to comply with requests made for documentation, but there were still
several outstanding documents relating to Kordic. Blewitt reminded journalists
that the Kordic trial was in its final stages and for relevant documents
to be tendered during the course of the trial it was essential for them
to be supplied. Given that hiccup, Blewitt said that in terms of cooperation
Croatia could do more. But added that on all other fronts Croatia was fully
relation to this position, whether they were willing to reverse the report
on Croatia’s non-compliance, Blewitt replied that it was not a matter for
him to comment upon. Blewitt added that documents were known to exist, but
as there had been no explanation as to why they were not being provided,
then the Tribunal could not be satisfied, particularly given the urgency
of the situation concerning the Kordic and Blaskic cases. He added that
the last thing they wanted further down the track was that the Appeals Chamber
grant a re-trial because certain documents were not available to the Trial
Chamber and that was what OTP were trying avoid.
the comments made by British parliamentarian, Mr. Martin Bell in the House
of Commons on the question of Blaskic, Blewitt replied that it was a totally
unwarranted interference with the Tribunal. He added, that it is the Appeals
Chamber that had to consider what the evidence in the Blaskic Trial amounted
to and no parliament in the world had the jurisdiction to order or request
anything of this nature.
the reported quote by Blewitt that discussed an indictment of Tudjman and
if it had been taken out of context, Blewitt replied that he had not seen
the report and could not comment if his comments had been taken out of context.
However, he added that in forthcoming indictments against other accused,
it was clear that President Tudjman’s involvement in the crimes would be
incorporated into the counts and that this would have been enough to indict
him, had he still been alive. Blewitt emphasised that this information had
not come from Croatia but was based on the totality of the evidence that
had been gathered by the Prosecutors office. Blewitt added that this issue
was causing real controversy in Croatia and he did not want to add fuel
to the fire, however when the trials take place and when the evidence is
called, then history will be recorded in the Trial Chambers of this Tribunal.