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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 28th Jan 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 28 January 2004

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

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 28.01.2004

Time: 12:20


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

Good afternoon,

You should all have just seen that Trial Chamber I rendered its Decision on the Joint Motion for consideration of a Plea Agreement between Milan Babic and the Office of the Prosecutor a few minutes ago. The Trial Chamber said that it accepted the guilty plea entered yesterday in court by Milan Babic on Count one of the Indictment, namely persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds as a crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber added that the crime of persecutions was committed within the objectives of the Joint Criminal Enterprise, of which Milan Babic was a co-perpetrator.

The Trial Chamber provisionally announced that the sentencing hearing would be held on 1 and 2 April, 2004. We expect a scheduling order confirming those dates in due course.

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

A reminder that the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik will commence this Tuesday, 3 January, at 2.15 p.m. in Courtroom I.

The Sentencing Hearing in The Prosecutor v. Miroslav Deronjic will continue this afternoon at 2.15 p.m. in Courtroom III.

Finally, there will be a further appearance in The Prosecutor
v. Ivica Rajic
tomorrow, 29 January, between 3 and 4.30 p.m.
in Courtroom I.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswomen for the Office of the Prosecutor made no statement.


Asked for clarification on the situation regarding Milan Babic and whether he had been indicted by the ICTY prior to testifying at the Tribunal, Hartmann replied that Babic was a suspect when he testified and that he was aware of the fact that he was a suspect. This was not something that could be hidden from people the OTP had contact with, especially at a stage when a person, in this case Babic, had been asked to be a witness. Babic was a suspect and he testified knowing that he would probably be indicted, she concluded.

Asked whether there had been any talk of a plea agreement prior to him testifying, Hartmann replied that there had been no discussions regarding plea agreements when Babic testified. She reiterated, however, that he knew he was a suspect and that he had his lawyer assisting him when he testified.

A journalist stated that there had been conflicting public statements by the OTP over the past days regarding the reasons why Radovan Karadzic had not been arrested. Asked what the official position of the OTP was and whether the OTP believed there was the political will to arrest Karadzic, Hartmann replied that the OTP had an official position but that within the OTP there were people who had their own personal opinions on this issue, which was the case with Graham Blewitt when he gave his interview a few days ago. The official position of the OTP was that it believed that SFOR was working on the arrest of fugitives, Karadzic being one of them. The OTP believed that he would be arrested this year. The Prosecutor underlined the fact that she knew that it was difficult because Karadzic was an experienced fugitive who had worked out all of the mechanisms needed to escape arrest. The Prosecutor was very confident that he would be arrested this year, she reiterated.

The journalist went on to say that a couple of years ago, when the issue of Karadzic’s arrest was discussed, it was said that any arrest attempt would "make too many victims" because he had the financial means to provide close protection for himself. Asked if this was still the case or whether the OTP was confident that the measures that the High Representative had taken to curtail the financial support to Karadzic’s network had had some effect, Hartmann replied that the position of the OTP was now very optimistic and that earlier it had been a lack of will that had stopped Karadzic’s arrest from taking place. Now she believed this situation was no longer valid and that the will was there. For this reason she expected a successful arrest.

She went on to say that the recent operation signaled that it was going in this direction. There were also other elements involved, including the pressure put on the Republika Srpska to start contributing. The OTP felt previously that the authorities of the Republika Srpska were protecting Karadzic and informing him of searches. The fact that the police of the Republika Srpska were involved at one stage with the operation two weeks ago was perhaps a good sign.

She added that she would also like to underline the fact that the new criminal code in Bosnia demanded very high sentences for anyone involved in the protection of war crimes fugitives, whether indicted by the local War Crimes Chamber or by the ICTY. There was a clear effort being made to arrest him. The Prosecutor was convinced of this because she knew that the Tribunal could not close its doors without having tried both Karadzic and Mladic. This reflected the decision of the international community through the Security Council that the doors of the Tribunal should close within the deadline of Security Council resolution 1503. For Karadzic to be tried in The Hague, as was the mandate and the purpose of the Tribunal since it was established, then Karadzic and Mladic had to be brought to The Hague this year. Otherwise the Tribunal would not be in a position to finish the trial within the time limits set. It would be an important trial, covering a long period of time.

Asked whether he could give any more details as to the whereabouts of Milan Babic, Landale replied that he was in the custody of the Tribunal, but that he was not willing to comment further than that.

Asked for information regarding what financial resources Karadzic had to pay for his protection, Hartmann replied that the OTP did not conduct arrest operations and therefore it was not up to the OTP to collect the full financial information regarding fugitives needed to conduct arrest operations, however, it had some knowledge of these issues, but that this question should be put to those people dealing with that. The issue of the financial network supporting the fugitive was addressed by the High Representative and she thought this was a question that should be addressed to him.

Briefing Documents:

Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic:

22 January 2004 "Prosecution’s second Application Under Rule 89(F) To Receive The Evidence-In-Chief Of Witness Carl Bildt In Written Form".

23 January 2004 "Decision On Prosecution Application Under Rule 89 (F) To Receive The Evidence-In-Chief Of Witness Diego Arria In Wriiten Form".

23 January 2004 "Decision On Prosecution Motion For The Testimony Via Video-Conference Link Of General Ferenc Vegh".

23 January 2004 "Order On Timetable For The Motion For Judgment Of Acquittal".

23 January 2004 "Order On Prosecution Motion For The Admission Of Transcripts Pursuant To Rule 92bis(D) and The Statement Of Witness B-1804 Pusuant To Rule 89(F)".

23 January 2004 "Order On Prosecution Motion For The Admission Of A Statement Of B-235 Pusuant To Rule 89 (F) And For Certain Protective Measures".

26 January 2004 "Decision On Prosecution Submission Of Addendum To The Expert Report Of Philip Coo".

Prosecutor v. Pavle Strugar:

22 January 2004 "Decision On The Defence Objection To The Prosecution’s Opening Statement Concerning Admissibility Of Evidence".

Prosecutor v. Radoslav Brdjanin:

23 January 2004 "Defence Submission Of Expert Report".

26 January 2004 "Order Concerning The Treatment Of Confidential Material".

26 January 2004 "Decision On Motion By Amicus Curiae Prosecutor For Extension Of Time To Disclose Record Of Interview Of Respondent".

27 January 2004 "Position Of Amicus Curiae Prosecutor Regarding Disclosure Of Confidential Filings To Office Of The Prosecutor And Counsel For Radislav Brdjanin".

Prosecutor v. Mile Mrksic,Miroslav Radic,Veselin Sljivancanin:

23 January 2004 "Decision On The Form Of Consolidated Amended Indictment And On Prosecution Application To Amend".

26 January 2004 "Corrigendum To Decision On Form Of Consolidated Amended Indictment And On Prosecution Application To Amend".

26 January 2004 "Comments Of The Accused Miroslav Radic’s Defence To The Registry Comments On Radic’s Defence Request For Review Of The Registrar’s Decision Of 07 October 2003, Filed 12 January 2004".

Prosecutor v. Momcilo Krajisnik:

26 January 2004 "Prosecution’s Filing Of Statement Of Andras
Reidlmayer And Motion For Admission Of Evidence Pusuant To Rule
92 bis".