that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
Date: 14 June 2000
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Jim Landale, Spokesman
for Registry and Chambers made the following statement:
Jorda is due to travel to New York in the coming days, where he will address
the Preparatory Commission of the ICC on Monday. Then later on Monday and on
Tuesday, he will meet with the permanent missions of the Security Council and
address the Security Council on Wednesday. In these meetings and before the
Security Council, he will introduce his report on proposals for the future operation
of the Tribunal, which was submitted to the Secretary-General on 12 May and
has also been transmitted to the General Assembly.
Prosecution case-in-chief in the Foca trial finished yesterday and so the hearings
scheduled for the rest of the week have been cancelled. The Defence case-in-chief
will commence on 3 July with the testimony of Dragoljub Kunarac.
9 June, a scheduling order in the Dosen and Kolundzija case was filed by Trial
Chamber III, which gives a tentative date for the beginning of the trial as
Monday 6 November 2000.
on 7 June, Trial Chamber III ordered that Miroslav Tadic, Simo Zaric and Milan
Simic need not attend in person a hearing on a Defence Motion for Judicial Assistance
filed by Stevan Todorovic’s defence, which is due to take place on Friday 23
June 2000. As you know, Tadic, Zaric and Simic have all been granted provisional
the Krstic trial will resume this coming Monday, 19 June.
OF THE PROSECUTOR
Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made the following
Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutor will visit the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia (FYROM), Kosovo, Croatia and Montenegro next week. At each stop
it is expected that the Prosecutor will meet with relevant government and international
in Kosovo, the Prosecutor will visit several exhumation sites where OTP forensic
teams are currently operating. It is anticipated that reporters will be able
to join her at those sites.
we have three OTP forensic teams operating in Kosovo, as well as an Austrian
team. Two teams, one from the United Kingdom and one from Germany, are attached
to the UNMIK Police and receive assignments from the ICTY. We also have gratis
personnel from Canada and Sweden. We expect additional teams and personnel to
arrive from other nations during the course of this season.
forensic teams continue to exhume bodies of victims of the violence that took
place during the period of conflict from January through June of 1999. Of approximately
440 gravesites reported to us since April of this year, ICTY forensic teams
have completed work on 92 sites, exhuming hundreds of bodies. We expect the
number of known gravesites to increase through the year.
investigators continue their work of gathering evidence to prove the existing
indictments of Slobodan Milosevic and four senior officials of his government
as well as to consider the expansion of those indictments to include additional
charges and or additional persons.
Blewitt, the Deputy Prosecutor, made no statement.
whether international organisations were obliged to cooperate with the Tribunal,
Blewitt replied that in terms of the obligations to cooperate, the member
states making up organisations like NATO and SFOR, had individual national
obligations to cooperate.
obligations were imposed as the consequence of the Security Council resolution,
he added. In relation to the OTP’s dealings with NATO, quite often they
were bilateral dealings with the individual member states. In a situation
where a member state had information or material that the OTP required,
requests would quite often be addressed to that nation and of course there
was a binding obligation.
went on to say that generally speaking, NATO as an organisation cooperated
with the OTP because they realised that the interests of the Tribunal were
paramount to the restoration of long-term peace in the Balkans. The Tribunal
was a key element to that process and for NATO not to cooperate with the
Tribunal was effectively contrary to its own mandate. The OTP had never
had to analyse NATO’s legal obligation because there had always been a willingness
to cooperate, he concluded.
for further information on the OTP visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(FRY), in particular Podgorica, Blewitt replied that the visit to Podgorica
was the continuation of the OTP’s relationship with the Montenegrin Government
in order to pursue the OTP’s investigative needs. He added that the OTP had
difficulty operating in Serbia and one way to reach Serb witnesses and victims
was through Montenegro. Part of the purpose of the visit would be to cement
the good relations that already existed in that regard.
added that the Prosecutor visited the region once or twice a year and this
visit was nothing more than her biannual visit to the region. It was being
kept relatively shorter than previous visits due to the Prosecutor’s commitments
in Africa. There was no special purpose to this visit that followed an invitation
from the Montenegrin authorities.
how it was possible for the Prosecutor to enter the FRY without a visa, Blewitt
replied that he could not comment on this issue.
why Dubrovnik was so significant for a visit, Blewitt replied that Dubrovnik
was significant because the OTP was investigating the siege of Dubrovnik which
took place during the early part of the war in Croatia. In the OTP’s conversations
with the Croatian authorities they were very anxious for the OTP to investigate
incidents like that so there was some political significance in the Prosecutor’s
willingness to travel to Dubrovnik to demonstrate that the OTP was actively
engaged in investigating the early incidents of the war where Croats were
the victims, he concluded.
whether there were any substantial outcomes from the meeting last week with
Croatian Justice Minister Ivanisevic, Blewitt replied that as already indicated
there were a number of obstacles in the access to certain documents being
held by the Croatians. He added that the meeting was aimed at overcoming some
of those obstacles. He felt that progress had been made in reference to documents
that had been sought since 1996, documents that were very sensitive to the
Croatian authorities. Until satisfaction was received on that point the OTP
could not make the positive statement that Croatia was fully cooperative with
them. The Croatian authorities were anxious to remove that obstacle.
for clarification of the figures of mass graves to be investigated in Kosovo,
Risley replied that the 300 figure was developed at the end of last year when
the OTP was under the assumption that there were 300 sites to clear this year.
Since December of last year, an additional 140 sites had been reported to
the OTP investigators in Kosovo. Prior to exhumation the investigators visited
the sites to confirm that there were bodies. The OTP now believed there to
be 440 separate gravesites, some quite small, some quite large. Of those,
the investigators had now completed work at 92, leaving 340 or so to complete
through the summer. More sites would probably be reported to the OTP. He added
that an additional site had been discovered near Mitrovica. The investigators
were surprised that a year later they were still coming across sites that
appeared to contain the bodies of those killed during the violence, he concluded.
whether the 140 were additional to last year’s figures, Risley replied that
they were. Seventy sites were completed last year out of roughly 200 sites;
therefore this was an addition to that.
whether the OTP faced any difficulty when investigating the KLA, Blewitt replied
that every investigation had its difficulties. The OTP had indicated that
there was such an investigation ongoing and one of the difficulties faced
was gaining access to the Serb and Romany victims, many of whom were in Serbia.
Beyond that there was nothing further to comment.
for a comprehensive figure of this year and last year’s death tolls, Risley
replied that last year’s was 2,108 and that this year there were simply hundreds
of bodies. He added that the number would change.
whether exhumations were continuing in Srebrenica, Blewitt replied that then
were not at the moment. Exhumations were proceeding in the Prijedor area and
priority had been given to those. He concluded that there would be some exhumations
relating to Srebrenica that the team in Bosnia would undertake during the
course of this summer.
whether the President’s report to the Security Council had been made public,
Landale replied that it had not and that at this stage it had been circulated
to the Secretary- General and others in New York. It could be made public
sometime next week, he added.