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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 11th Oct 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 22 October 2003

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 22.10.2003

Time: 12:20


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

Good afternoon,

With regard to
the court schedule and in addition to the ongoing trials:

A reminder that
the sentencing hearing in the Mrdja case, will be held this afternoon in Courtroom
I starting at 2.15 p.m. The hearing will continue tomorrow in Courtroom III
starting at 2.15 p.m.

There will be
a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin this
afternoon starting at 2.15 p.m. in Courtroom I.

Tomorrow 23 October
in The Prosecutor v. Limaj, Bala and Musliu there will be a status conference
in Courtroom I commencing at 3 p.m.

In The Prosecutor
v. Momir Nikolic,
Trial Chamber I has ordered that the sentencing hearing
be held on 27 and 28 October, from 3 to 6.30 p.m. in Courtroom I.

In The Prosecutor
v. Dragan Obrenovic,
Trial Chamber I has ordered that the sentencing hearing
be held on 29 and 30 October, from 3 to 6.30 p.m. in Courtroom I.

In The Prosecutor
v. Predrag Banovic
, the Sentencing Judgement will be rendered on 28 October
2003 in Courtroom III commencing at 3 p.m.

On 17 October
in The Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj, we received an Order from Trial
Chamber II scheduling a status conference for Wednesday 29 October 2003, commencing
at 3 p.m. in Courtroom III.

On 20 October
in the same case, the Accused filed his "Motion no. 21".

On 20 October
in The Prosecutor v. Ranko Cesic, Judge Orie issued a "Scheduling
Order for Submission of Pre-Sentencing Briefs and Sentencing Hearing
in which he ordered as follows:

Prosecution and Defence shall, by Wednesday 12 November 2003, file all submissions
and provide statements of any witnesses they might call in relations to
the sentencing hearing; and

The sentencing
hearing be held on 27 November 2003 at 3.00 pm and continuing on 28 November
2003 at 3.00 pm

On 17 October
in The Prosecutor v. Sefer Halilovic, Trial Chamber III issued its "Order
Regarding the Start Date of the Trial
", in which the Trial Chamber
ordered that the trial commence on 19 January 2004.

In The Prosecutor
v. Miroslav Deronjic
, Trial Chamber II has ordered that the sentencing hearing
be held on 27 to 30 January 2004.

In terms of other
court documents:

On 15 October,
in The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic, we received the "Prosecution’s
Motion for Leave to Add Witness Michel Riviere".
The amici curiae filed
their reply to this on 17 October. On 20 October, Trial Chamber III granted
the Motion and ordered that Michel Riviere may be added to the Prosecution witness

In the same case
on 17 October, President Meron issued his "Order Assigning Judges to
a Case Before the Appeals Chamber
". President Meron ordered that in
considering the "Interlocutory Appeal by the Amici Curiae Against the
Trial Chamber Order Concerning the Presentation and Preparation of the Defence
Case Dated 17 September 2003
", filed on 1 October, the Appeals Chamber
shall be composed of Judges Meron (presiding), Pocar, Shahabuddeen, Schomburg
and Weinberg de Roca.

Again on 17 October
in the Milosevic case, Trial Chamber III ordered that during the testimony of
Lord Owen on 3 and 4 November 2003:

"the Witness
may make a brief statement if he so chooses at the commencement of his testimony;
the Prosecution
shall then be entitled to cross-examine the Witness for a period of two hours;
the Accused,
on conclusion of the Prosecution’s questioning, shall be entitled to cross-examine
the Witness for a period of three hours;
the amici curiae
shall thereafter be entitled to cross examine the Witness for a period of
30 minutes; and
the Trial Chamber
may ask questions of the Witness as and when appropriate".

On 20 October in this case, Trial Chamber III issued its "Decision
on Defence Motion Filed by the Defence of Franko Simatovic (IT-03-69-PT) For
Access to Transcripts and Documents
". This is a detailed Decision and
I refer you to the text of document.

On the same day in this case we received the "Prosecution’s
Submission of the Expert Reports of Helge Brunborg Pursuant to Rule 94 bis and
Motion for the Admission of Transcripts Pursuant to Rule 92 bis (D)

On 21 October in the Milosevic case, from the Appeals Chamber
we received the "Dissenting Opinion of Judge David Hunt on Admissibility
of Evidence in Chief in the Form of Written Statements

On 21 October in The Prosecutor v. Mitar Vasiljevic, the
Appeals Chamber (Judges Meron, presiding, Shahabuddeen, Guney, Schomburg and
Weinberg de Roca) issued its "Decision on Application for Admission
of Additional Evidence
", in which it dismissed the Defence Motion.

On 13 October in The Prosecutor v. Naletilic and Martinovic,
we received the "Consolidated Reply Brief of the Prosecution"
and the "Book of Authorities For the Consolidated Reply Brief of the

On 15 October in The Prosecutor v. Darko Mrdja, we received
the "Prosecution’s List of Sentencing Witnesses".

On 16 October in The Prosecutor v. Mitar Rasevic, the
President of the Tribunal, Judge Meron, rendered his "Decision on Assignment
of Defence Counsel
". For further details I refer you to the text of
the Decision.

On 16 October in The Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic,
we received the "Prosecution’s Motion for Leave to Ask Leading Questions
of Adverse Witnesses if Necessary

On 17 October in The Prosecutor v. Sefer Halilovic on the same
day, we received the "Prosecution’s Response to Defence ‘Request for
Withdrawal From the Case

On 17 October in The Prosecutor v. Hadzihasanovic and Kubura,
we received from Trial Chamber II an Order appointing Judge Antonetti as
the pre-trial Judge in this case.

On 17 October in The Prosecutor v. Kvocka, Radic, Zigic
and Prcac
, we received the "Request for Separation of Miroslav Kvocka’s
Appeal Procedure

On 20 October in this case, the "Prosecution’s Response
to Defence Motion for Identification of Suspects and Other Categories Among
its Proposed Witnesses
" was filed.

Finally, we have copies of the Tribunal’s latest Annual
Report as presented by President Meron to the General Assembly on 10 October
in New York.

All the documents I’ve mentioned are available from us on request.

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the
Prosecutor, made the following statement:

I would like to inform you about the Prosecutor’s upcoming
visit to the Balkans. Tomorrow, Thursday 23 October 2003, she will go to Pristina,
where she will first meet with the Commander of KFOR and then with representatives
of UNMIK. On Friday 24 October 2003, she will be in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.
In the morning in Sarajevo she will meet with the EU Police Mission Commissioner
and with the leadership of SFOR and OHR. In the afternoon in Banja Luka she
will meet with the RS leadership, namely President Cavic and the Prime Minister.


A journalist stated that today the Foreign Minister of Serbia
and Montenegro reiterated that should General Mladic be arrested, the field
for negotiations with the Hague Tribunal would open regarding the latest unsealed
Indictment against Pavkovic and others. Asked for a comment on this, Hartmann
replied that her answer remained the same as that which she had given yesterday
regarding speculation and statements following the disclosure of the Indictment
against Pavkovic and others.

There was no field for negotiation regarding legal documents
including Indictments issued by the ICTY and arrest warrants relating to those
Indictments, she said. They had to be acted upon according to the law. This
was the case for anyone indicted by the ICTY.

Mladic was one on the list of 21 current ICTY fugitives. He
was famous. He was indicted for genocide in 1995. The names of Radovan Karadzic
and Ante Gotovina were also regularly mentioned in documents. If those documents
were read carefully, as Security Council resolution 1503 dated August 28 stated,
there was always the need and obligation to arrest all fugitives, not only those
regularly named.

Landale added, as he had said yesterday, that there was a binding
legal obligation on the authorities in Belgrade and the authorities across the
former Yugoslavia to cooperate with the Tribunal, with its warrants of arrest
and orders to transfer in good time, people indicted by the Tribunal. That was
what the Tribunal expected to happen.

Asked what the background was for three state officials from
Serbia to talk about possible negotiations, Hartmann replied that it was difficult
to answer on their behalf. They should answer this question themselves. The
feeling of the OTP was that it was their political hope, but the OTP was dealing
with very precise rules and the Tribunal was not in a position to deal with
political issues or political requests.

The mandate of the Tribunal was very clear and the guidelines
of resolution 1503 were also very clear. Until the end of its investigative
programme in 2004, (the first deadline established by resolution 1503, directly
related to OTP matters) the OTP would continue to deal with all ongoing investigations
related to high level people who could not and should not be tried locally.
The four new accused were in fact described in the report of the Prosecutor
presented before the Security Council as 1 of the 13 ongoing investigations.
They were too high level to be dealt with by a local jurisdiction, she added.

On the issue of crimes committed in Kosovo by Serbian forces
there were many opportunities for the local jurisdiction in Serbia to initiate
cases. The OTP now had the latest figures regarding the number of bodies exhumed
in Serbia following the discovery in 2001 of mass graves in Batajnica and two
other places in Serbia. 827 bodies were exhumed, there were therefore opportunities
on this basis to initiate investigations and criminal cases which had not been
the case until now. The only legal step that had been taken in Serbia was to
lead the exhumations, but not, as yet, to initiate criminal cases.

Asked to comment on other ‘secret promises’ supposedly made
by the Prosecutor to Serb officials, for example that there would be no more
Indictments filed regarding command responsibility and another one apparently
made to Minister Batic that the Prosecutor promised in March 2001 that she would
shortly be bringing charges against Izetbegovic for crimes committed in Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Hartmann replied that there was a certain amount of confusion
concerning command responsibility on the part of local authorities, including,
for example in the case of Sljivancanin.

Public and government opinion in the region was that if the
Tribunal indicted someone of high level, (the kind of accused the Tribunal dealt
with) it was done just because of their position, whether within the army or
political body. This was not the case, she added. There was no question of deals.
The Tribunal did not issue Indictments on the basis of command responsibility
alone. Any high level person indicted, whether they held a high position in
the army or in the government, was indicted because they had command responsibility
but also individual direct responsibility.

The OTP clarified these issues because local authorities in
the region were afraid. On certain occasions the local press had stated, for
example, that the OTP was going to indict 100 high level Serbs. There are other
examples relating to Croats. The OTP clarified that it would not indict everyone
who was in a position during the 10 years the Tribunal was dealing with, but
those who had command responsibility and also had direct individual responsibility.
This was the case with this Indictment, she concluded.

The journalist stated that perhaps it was not clarified well
enough because the authorities appeared to have the wrong impression. Hartmann
replied that this was not fair to say. The OTP had clarified the situation but
the authorities, it seemed, still wanted the Tribunal to stop all of its Indictments.
She added that this was because they did not wish to fulfill all of the obligations
they had towards the Tribunal. It was a comfortable statement to make to say
that the Tribunal should not indict anyone from their region. A government who
said this for their own accused was not using the same statement towards the
accused of the other side. It was because they wanted to see less high level
Serbs indicted. The same would be said if similar statements were made by another
government. They did not want their own people to be indicted.

She added to answer the second part of the question that Izetbegovic
was one of the suspects under investigation as part of the current investigations,
but the fact that he had died meant that all legal proceedings against him were

Asked to confirm that up until he died he was under investigation,
Hartmann replied that this was the case.

Asked whether the Prosecutor ever made promises during her
meetings as Batic had allegedly claimed, Hartmann replied that it was difficult
to fight against this representation of the situation. The OTP did not indict
because of political requirements. It conducted investigations which were opened
only if it had enough elements to do so. These investigations were conducted
until their end if there was enough evidence to bring an Indictment. This was
the only criteria the OTP worked on. There was no negotiation. The problem was
that the governments in the region expected the Tribunal, as representatives
of the international community, to negotiate in the same way as governments
or national organisations could to come to certain agreements. They were not
happy that they could not negotiate with the Tribunal. This was why, sometimes
when the Tribunal helped them by telling them what it was doing and what they
had to expect in order to be prepared to do it, they still expected the OTP
to accommodate them. When the Tribunal refused then there was a break in communication
because they expected the Tribunal to negotiate. The Tribunal refused because
it was not entitled to break the law, it was not entitled to negotiate.

The relationship was sometimes affected by that. This was what
happened on 3 October when the Prosecutor took the Indictment to Belgrade. The
Authorities there attempted to negotiate, the OTP could not. As a result, (as
the Prosecutor told the Foreign Minister of the European Union in Luxemburg)
a apparent operation to arrest an accused was stopped because they did not get
what they wanted with regards to the Indictment served to them.

Asked what they were trying to negotiate, Hartmann replied
that they did not want the Indictment.

Asked for more information concerning the Izetbegovic investigation,
Hartmann replied that she could say nothing because the case would not be brought
and he was not in a position to defend himself. Nothing else could be said,
she concluded.

A journalist stated that Florence had said that three of the
four accused on the new Indictment were believed to be in Serbia. Asked whether
the OTP knew about the whereabouts of the fourth, Djordjovic, Hartmann replied
that the four arrest warrants related to the Indictment were served to the authorities
in Belgrade, to the President of the National Council for Cooperation, Mr. Svilanovic.
The OTP had read the press statements claiming that one of the accused Djordjovic
was apparently no longer in Serbia. The OTP expected, as well as the prompt
arrest of the other three accused, that if this was the case the authorities
would according to their obligations towards the Statute, inform the Tribunal
about the fact that Djordjovic was not in Serbia and where he could possibly
be, she concluded.

Asked whether the fact that the OTP had stopped its investigation
into Izetbegovic, this reduced the number of ongoing investigations to 12. Hartmann
replied that the Prosecutor in the report given to the Security Council on October
9 gave a number of 13 investigations involving about 30 suspects. She added
that she could not give details about the number of suspects on each of the
investigations. The media knew some of the main issues of the investigations
but she could not provide them with more details.

Asked for a chronology of the process involving giving the
Indictment to the Serbian authorities, Hartmann replied that the Prosecutor
took the Indictment to Belgrade on October 3, 2003. It had been confirmed on
the afternoon of October 2, 2003. The Prosecutor served the sealed Indictment
to the authorities, which was a common way to do it. They were informed of the
confidentiality of the document. The document was kept under seal. The prosecution
requested the unsealing of the Indictment because it was disclosed in the Belgrade
media. This did not cause any problems for the OTP, within the framework of
the Rules, it was in a position to accommodate the authorities in keeping the
Indictment sealed in order to make the arrest and transfer more comfortable.
Sealing an Indictment could be a matter to be discussed with the authorities
depending of the level of danger, or their will, but it did not change anything.
A sealed Indictment was a valid Indictment. The date of the arrest warrant was
not when it was disclosed to the public, it was when it was served to the authorities.
They had failed until now to arrest them.

The OTP had asked them to arrest them. The decision was made
to seal the Indictment to make it more convenient for them, they then took the
contrary step of disclosing it to the press. After this the OTP had no more
grounds to keep it sealed. The OTP was not willing to keep it sealed for long,
because an Indictment should be sealed to assist the authority to act upon it,
not to postpone action upon it.

Asked whether the Prosecution were investigating any other
Serbs for Kosovo, Hartmann replied that she could not comment.

Asked when the Izetbegovic investigation had begun and how
close the OTP were to filing an Indictment, Hartmann replied that she could
not comment.

Asked whether anything could be done to speed up the process
for giving witness statements to the media following the Milosevic case, as
it was now very difficult to follow proceedings, Landale replied that the Press
Office was trying to put a system in place which would allow the media to get
the statements in good time, but it also had to protect any redactions and any
protected information, and this was the problem. He added that there had been
cases of a redaction being made to information within a statement during the
course of the trial which then had to be reflected in the statements which were
given out. That meant a process afterwards of them going through the statements
to make sure that they were not being given out. The Press Office was making
it a preoccupation to try to get a system to get the statements to the press
as quickly as possible.

The journalist added that receiving a statement the day after
the witness had testified was worthless for journalist reporting on cases daily.
Landale replied that he understood the journalists’ frustration. He added that
the Press Office spend a great deal of time trying to get the statements to
the press as quickly as possible. They were not sitting on desks gathering dust.
The Press Office was pushing people as much as it could to get the statements
to the media. If it could find a more streamlined, more effective way of doing
this, it would do it. The journalists’ frustration had been noted, he concluded.

Asked for a comment on Prosper’s statement concerning the four
generals and Mladic which seemed to be contrary to the position of the Tribunal,
Hartmann replied that the OTP’s position had been clearly established and the
UN Security Council resolution pointed out that they all had to be handed over
to the Tribunal and that they would all be tried in The Hague.

There were some possibilities of transfers to local jurisdictions
but those figures were suggested in the programme of the Prosecutor before the
Security Council and they related to certain Indictments issued by the ICTY
which could be, if a War Crime Chamber at the Bosnia State Court could be established,
could be transferred under Rule 11 bis, to this court. There was no case
for transfer to Serbia and the only cases that could be transferred to Serbia
were related to investigations the OTP had stopped in the course of the Completion
Strategy which were with a certain amount of evidence, but which had to be completed
by the local authorities and the Indictment should be issued in Belgrade by
the local jurisdiction. Some of those had already been given, she said. It was
ready to do this, there was already some good evidence and it was just a matter
of completing the investigation. There have been no cases raised before the
ICTY to be transferred to Serbia, she repeated.

Landale added that the Completion Strategy and resolution 1503
of 28 August envisaged the possibility of transferal of some mid and lower level
cases to courts in the former Yugoslavia. That was a decision for the Judges
to take according to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and it was one that
they would only take it they were satisfied at some stage in the future that
a referral to a court would mean a fair and transparent trial with the necessary
guarantees in place to protect witnesses and to ensure the rights of the accused.
This was clearly stated in the various speeches to the Security Council on 10
October of this year. There was no real ambiguity about it, he added.

Ask what the relationship was like between Belgrade and the
Tribunal following what had occurred over the last 48 hours, Landale replied
that on behalf of the Tribunal the situation was not satisfactory, so the Tribunal
was in a state of expectation and hope that it would see improvement, specifically
on the transfer of General Mladic if he was in Serbia and Montenegro, and further
cooperation in all other areas. That applied, of course, not just for Serbia
and Montenegro, but for the other states in the former Yugoslavia as well.

Hartmann added that there were pending issues. The level of
cooperation was highlighted in the report of the Prosecutor to the Security
Council. There were problems and the OTP expected Belgrade to improve on them.
The only way to solve them was to act upon all the pending requests of the Tribunal.

The OTP would see tomorrow, as it was expecting the transfer
of Kovacevic, one of the accused who was recently arrested, Hartmann added.

Landale added that it was not just about what the expectations
of the Tribunal were, it was the expectations of the international community
through the Security Council is stated in the latest Security Council resolution.
It was laid out there in black and white, he concluded.