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Weekly Press Briefing - 15 September 2010

Date: 15.9.2010
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Christian Chartier, Acting Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

I will immediately turn to key decisions made by the Tribunal’s Trial Chambers this week:

Last Friday, the Trial Chamber denied Ramush Haradinaj’s and Lahi Brahimaj’s requests for provisional release out of concern for safety of the witnesses.

In respect to Haradinaj, the Trial Chamber accepted the Defence’s position that there was no risk of the Accused personally intimidating witnesses. Yet, the Chamber found that witness intimidation remained prevalent in Kosovo recalling the unprecendented atmosphere of widespread and serious witness intimidation surrounding the trial. The Chamber was mindful that a decision to grant Haradinaj provisional release would draw additional media attention to the proceedings, which would add to the already threatening atmosphere for witnesses. It found that the publicity following such a decision may encourage the Accused’s supporters to engage in acts of intimidation.

With regards to Laji Brahimaj, the Chamber was not satisfied that the Accused, if released, would not pose a danger to the victims, witnesses or other persons. The Chamber recalled the failure to secure the testimony of Shefqet Kabashi and another protected witness which resulted in a miscarriage of justice and the order for a partial retrial.

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Trial Chamber decided on Monday to grant Karadžić’s request for suspension of proceedings for a short period to enable him to review a large amount of material recently disclosed to him by the Prosecution. Proceedings are expected to adjourn this afternoon after the completion of the testimony of the current witness Francis Roy Thomas. The trial is expected to reconvene on Monday 27 September at 9.00 in courtrrom I.

Hearings in the case of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, Zdravko Tolimir, Momčilo Perišić as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


A journalist asked if there were any new developments in the contempt case for Carla Del Ponte and if there were any other contempt cases related to the Šešelj case. Chartier explained that there was no contempt case as this was for the amicus curiae to conclude whether or not there were grounds to undertake contempt proceedings, and that this investigation did not concern the former Prosecutor or her Trial Attorneys: he recalled that the decision issued by the Chamber was regarding OTP investigators. Chartier reiterated that Del Ponte’s name was mentioned in the title of the decision, only in the title, and that it was a technical matter. Chartier also said that he was not aware of any other proceedings connected to what could be called the OTP case.

Regarding the Šešelj case proper, Chartier said that he was not aware of any additional contempt proceedings. Chartier stated that it did not mean that there were not any, only that he was not aware of any. So far, in the two cases for contept, both against Šešelj, the decision to proceed for contempt of court was issued by the Chambers after some time, and the contempt investigation was kept confidential until then.
Asked if the amicus curiae to investigate the OTP case has been appointed, Chartier answered that the amicus curiae had not been appointed at this time as obviously, it was a careful decision. Chartier said that names have been submitted and that the Chamber’s decision remains under consideration.

Final statement by departing Senior Information Officier, Christian Chartier:

As I said last week, today’s briefing is my last one at the ICTY.

It is a coincidence, which I owe to Nerma’s absence, but it is a welcome one: I am able to finish my 16-year long run at the ICTY in the same shoes I wore at the very beginning: as the Tribunal’s spokesperson.

My first briefing, in the summer of 1994, was about the start of the construction of our Detention Unit. Today, the priority is to complete the trials and to empty the Detention Unit.
This is to say that an incredible number of developments have taken place between 1994 and 2010! And you know those as well as I do since most of you have also been around since the early years of the ICTY. Like in a successful marriage, we have grown old together!
Together, we have walked a long road! A road with ups and downs; with dark portions and bright turns; and with so many milestones! Let me just say that it has been an immense pleasure to walk this road with you. I must say that I was in a luxurious position which I can best sum up as follows: “Any question calls for two answers: the correct one; and mine.” I hope that you found that, most of time, my answers to your questions were the correct ones.
If they were not the ones you wanted or expected, please know that, at all times,
my answers were inspired not only by a genuine loyalty to an institution I have served
with pride, but that they were also inspired by a profound respect for you and your work. Your work has been mine too, in the past. I thus know that reporting is the nicest job in the world but one that also comes with a lot of responsibility. Thanks to you, and to your reports, regardless of how fairly critical they sometimes were, the ICTY has established its relevancy, not the least in the former Yugoslavia. 
To finish, let me give you the soundbite I have been dreaming to give until the last minute
before this last briefing started. I would have loved to be able to say something like "Mladic and Hadzic have arrived, I go out". Unfortunately, that is not the case. I regret it very much but I remain hopeful that, soon, someone sitting in this chair will break the news that the ICTY fugitives are being transferred to face justice.
On that day, I shall be back in The Hague, as a friend of the court and as a friend of the press. May that day come soon because in the meantime, I’ll miss you very much.