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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 30th Jun 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 30 June 1999

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

ICTY Weekly Press

Date: 30
June 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Today, Christian
Chartier, acting Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following announcements:


In the "Aleksovski
case" case: As it was announced last Friday that Trial Chamber I-bis had
rendered its written Judgement in the Aleksovski case and that copies would
become available at a latter stage. Those copies are now available along with
a press release (PR 413-e) outlining the main legal findings in the Judgement
and the attached opinions.

Chartier also
reminded the media organizations attending that following the Judgement issued
at the hearing of 7 May, both the Defence and the Prosecution filed Notices
of appeal against both the Judgement and the Sentence on 17 May and 19 May respectively.

On 11 June, the
following Judges were assigned to the Appeals Chamber to consider the merits
of those appeals: Judges Sahabuddeen, Wang, May, Mumba and Hunt.

As of today, the
Judges are holding their 20th Plenary meeting which will go on until
Friday afternoon. No hearing, unless an emergency occurs, will be held until
the end of the week.


Earlier this week
another important meeting took place, namely a meeting of the Advisory Panel
on all matters related to assignments of Defence Counsels. This Panel consists
of 7 members nominated by the Dutch Bar Association, by the International Bar
Association, by Union Internationale des Avocats and by the President.

Finally, and further
to press release 412 of last Friday, a fifth country has entered an agreement
with the United Nations in order to make experts available to the OTP for the
investigations being conducted in Kosovo. This country is Denmark who agreed
to provide three experts. More agreements are being discussed and we expect
a couple of them to be signed in the course of this week.



Paul Risley, Spokesman
for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), relayed details of his recent two weeks
stay in Pristina. He mentioned that the Office of the Prosecutor has been able
to assess the extent of crimes committed in Kosovo. The Office of the Prosecutor
is now in a position to gather not only very valuable forensic evidence but
also documentation evidence. They are currently securing documentation that
might support the Office of the Prosecutor in proving the already existing indictment
against Milosevic and others but also provide evidence to further indictments
related to Kosovo. He said that various teams are working on different sites
in Kosovo namely: The Canadian, the British, the American, the French and the
Dutch team and that he believed that the German and Danish teams would start
soon. Risley welcomed not only the personnel support the Office of the Prosecutor
has received from various countries but also welcomed the financial and equipment
donations (specific exhumation equipment) they have received from police organizations
all over the world.



Asked about
the Agenda of the Judges Plenary session. Chartier replied that several matters
were on the Agenda. The Judges would meet with the victims and witness Unit
regarding the current working of this Office. Other matters would be the possible
boosting of the legal support for the Chambers, possible amendments to the
Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Judges would discuss the draft Rules
and Procedures of Evidence for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Chartier
added that President Kirk McDonald would attend the next ICC preparatory committee
to be held early July. He also said that both Tribunals (ICTY and ICTR) formally
do not take part in the construction of the ICC. Asked whether the Prosecutor
and Deputy Prosecutor would meet with the Judges he replied that as usual
they would meet with the Judges.

Asked to give
an overview on the situation in Kosovo during his two weeks stay in Pristina,
Risley replied that outside Pristina there were signs of a lot of physical
destruction. Devastated houses which have been burned down which could indicate
an arson campaign and that there were also signs of shell and mortar fires.
He continued to say that new war crimes sites were discovered on a daily basis,
varying from small sites (houses) to bigger sites. He mentioned that it was
not likely that the Tribunal would investigate all sites. The Tribunal would
focus on sites that are related to the existing indictment related to Kosovo
and on sites important to further investigations.

Asked about
evidence existing of systematic destruction committed over the last period,
Risley replied that preliminary investigations indicate that during a short
period of time last week of March and April many crimes were committed in
different places across Kosovo. Currently the Tribunal is securing documentary
evidence that may contain information about the chain of command.

Asked if a
lot of evidence has been destroyed and what kind of information, Risley replied
that indeed investigators had found evidence of stacks of papers burned at
police and administrative stations. He believed that the investigators are
confident, despite all attempts to burn papers, that still a lot of papers
and files exist which might be useful as evidence. He continued to say that
it appears attempts were made to remove bodies from individual gravesites
as has been reported in media reports.

Asked about
the Tribunal’s mandate in Kosovo with regards to continuing armed conflict,
Risley replied that the public indictments of Milosevic and his four associates
indicated that Kosovo was in a state of armed conflict during the first five
months of 1999 (the period of the indictment). Future indictments will give
more information regarding the end of armed conflict in Kosovo. Asked if there
was a time scale for the upcoming indictments he said no and that as Justice
Arbour stated that you should expect other indictments.