note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
Date: 17 January 2001
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Christian Chartier, Chief of the Public Information Services, made the following
hearing on the Defence motion to modify the conditions of detention of Biljana
Plavsic resumed at 10 a.m. today. This hearing, which began last Thursday in
closed session, also continued in closed session.
is now finished and the President is considering his decision. The Decision
will be issued in writing before the end of the week.
would like to clarify a matter raised by some of you last week. The question
was whether Mr. Krstan Simic can appear on behalf of Plavsic since he is also
assigned to the accused Miroslav Kvocka.
Thursday, 11 January, the Registrar issued a Decision temporarily assigning
Mr. Simic upon the request of Biljana Plavsic. In this Decision, the Registrar
considered Article 16 (E) of the Directive on the Assignment of Defence Counsel:
"No counsel shall be assigned to more than one suspect or accused at a
time, unless an assignment to more than one suspect or accused would neither
cause prejudice to the defence of either accused, nor a potential conflict of
interest". The Registrar considered that no prejudice was caused to the
defence of either accused and that at this time a conflict of interest did not
appear to exist between the two accused. He thus assigned Mr. Simic as Counsel
for Biljana Plavsic from 10 January until 24 January, without prejudice to the
right of the accused to request permanent assignment of counsel.
court proceedings matters:
trial of Radislav Krstic could not resume last Monday as previously
scheduled. Trial Chamber I, presided over by Judge Rodrigues, adjourned
the trial in light of a Defence Motion based upon a medical report stating
that the accused was not fit to appear in court. According to the report,
the accused’s health has deteriorated, he is experiencing pain and he required
surgery. The Trial Chamber’s Order instructs the Registry to take all appropriate
measures to facilitate a speedy resumption of the trial, and orders that
a medical report on the psychological or physical state of health of the
accused be submitted at least every seven days.
the case The Prosecutor against Momcilo Krajisnik, the status conference
that was due to take place on Thursday 18 January has been postponed until
Thursday 25 January at 10 a.m. This follows a Defence motion, not opposed
by the Prosecution, based on the medical condition of the Defence Counsel.
other status conferences will take place on Friday: at 9.15 a.m. in the
case The Prosecutor against Mitar Vasiljevic and at 10 a.m. in the
case The Prosecutor against Kvocka and others.
at 10 o’clock on Friday, the fully constituted Trial Chamber III will hold
a hearing on Todorovic’s guilty plea. In order to enter this plea, the Trial
Chamber has to be satisfied that the plea was made "voluntarily",
was "informed", was "not equivocal" and that there is
"a sufficient factual basis for the crime and the accused’s participation
trial of Milorad Krnojelac, which reconvened this week, will continue
next week. Also scheduled for next week is the resumption of the trial of
Miroslav Kvocka, Mladen Radic, Milojica Kos, Zoran Zigic and Dragoljub Prcac.
And a pre-trial conference is scheduled on Tuesday afternoon in the case
The Prosecutor against Stanislav Galic.
a more institutional note, the Security Counsel is now considering the nominees
proposed by Member States to be elected as permanent Judges serving at the ICTY
for the period 2001-2005. The Security Council is to prepare a short-list of
candidates for election by the General Assembly. It is expected that this election
will take place early March.
States have also been invited to nominate candidates for the election of two
additional Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Once elected and sworn-in, these two Judges will replace the two ICTR Judges
called upon to join The Hague as Judges of the Appeals Chambers for the ICTY
and for the ICTR. We expect the Appeals Chamber, to be comprised of seven Judges
as provided for in Resolution 1329, to be fully constituted in late May, early
finally, Member States will be invited early next month to nominate candidates
for election as one of the 27 ad litem Judges. It is expected that this election
will take place in June.
the end of this briefing, a number of important documents will be made available
Directive on the assignment of Defence counsel, as revised on 15 December
2000 (French and English)
amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, adopted by the Judges
during the Plenary held on 13 December 2000 (English and French)
updated Status of on-going cases prepared by the Public Information Services.
documents are already available on the ICTY’s internet page
OFFICE OF THE
Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor made the following
was in Zagreb on Monday. She will have a working visit to Belgrade next week.
Asked for clarification
on reports made last week that the Government of Croatia had stated that the
Tudjman tapes would not be made public and whether they differentiated between
the public and the Tribunal, Florence Hartmann replied that the Prosecutor
had raised this issue with the Government of Croatia. She added that the Prosecutor
received confirmation during the meeting in Zagreb on Monday that the decision
from Croatia not to make the tapes public did not effect its international
obligations to the ICTY. She added that the OTP would receive the tapes or
the archives requested. Everything was clarified and cooperation was back
on track, she concluded.
the Prosecutor would meet with President Kostunica during her visit to Belgrade
next week, Florence Hartmann replied that the visit to Belgrade was a working
visit. She added that after the elections in Yugoslavia, the new authorities
had expressed their wish to cooperate with the ICTY. She went on to say that
the priority of this visit was to establish cooperation from Yugoslavia. The
Prosecutor would have a number of meetings with Ministers and members of the
Federal Government and would also meet with the next Prime Minister of Serbia.
She added that
the Prosecutor was willing to meet with Mr. Kostunica as a dialogue was necessary.
There was great interest in the ICTY in Yugoslavia and a lot of questions
about the ICTY to be answered. The Prosecutor hoped for direct dialogue with
President Kostunica in order to answer all of his questions.
still anticipated a possible meeting with Mr. Kostunica, however, it was not
a priority. She would be happy to have this meeting and there was a possibility
because the visit would last three days,. If not, hopefully next time.
Asked for clarification
of an article yesterday which stated that the Prosecutor was willing to hand
over sealed indictments to President Kostunica, Florence Hartmann replied
that the Prosecutor would give requests or indictments to the Yugoslav authorities.
She would do this even if she did not meet with Mr. Kostunica.
One of the cooperation
issues between Yugoslavia and the ICTY was the arrest and transfer of all
fugitives. The Prosecutor would remind them of their obligations to arrest
and transfer indictees on the public list. She would also deliver warrants
relating to the sealed indictments.
added that the Prosecutor would not give the sealed indictments, but warrants
for indictees the ICTY knew were living in the territories of FRY. She concluded
that this was being done as a sign of confidence and a way of supporting a
quick start to cooperation from Yugoslavia.
Asked why the
OTP, for the first time, was showing this trust in Yugoslavia when Yugoslavia
had never expressed even verbally that they would arrest people indicted by
the Tribunal, Florence Hartmann replied that it was not the first time this
had been done with some local authorities, there was also the Lukic case.
repeated that this was nothing new. What was new at the time of the Lukic
case was that this information was made public. He added that the philosophy
behind sealed indictments was that they were issued by the Prosecutor and
confirmed by a Judge but not made known to the public at large or to the media.
He went on to say that this did not mean that these indictments were just
sheets of paper placed in a safe. These indictments or related warrants were
transmitted to those authorities the Prosecutor believed could act upon them,
be it SFOR forces, or national authorities. He concluded that there was no
point to sealed indictments if were not forwarded to at least one authority
to act upon.
Asked why the
indictments were being given to authorities who were not even willing to cooperate
on public indictments, Florence Hartmann replied that the Tribunal wanted
the arrest of all fugitives even those on sealed indictments. If nobody knew
about them there was no chance to arrest them. The OTP had to receive cooperation
from the people who could realise the arrests. In this case the Tribunal was
giving the Yugoslav authorities the same chance as that given in the Lukic
case to the government in Banja Luka. The OTP would then see if the promise
of cooperation from Yugoslavia would produce concrete results, she concluded.
Asked for more
information concerning Krstic’s surgery, Christian Chartier replied that he
was not authorised to comment on a private medical report. He confirmed that
the accused required some medical assistance, however, the nature of it, the
extent of it and the timing of it was not to be disclosed. It was a private
matter, he concluded.
Asked for further
clarification of an interview with the Prosecutor last weekend in which she
was reported to have said that there would be a study or investigation made
into the use of depleted Uranium ammunitions, Florence Hartmann replied that
the position of the Prosecutor was that depleted uranium was not a forbidden
weapon. It was not forbidden by any International law or convention and was
not under the mandate of the Tribunal.
If the investigations
going on in some countries disclosed certain elements that the OTP did not
have before that showed that there had been a violation of an article or some
international convention under the OTP mandate, then the OTP would have to
reconsider its position and if it was under the OTPs mandate it could open