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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 17th Nov 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 17 November 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 17 November 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

As you should
all know by now, yesterday during the 21st meeting of the Plenary,
Judge Claude Jorda was chosen to be the new President of the Tribunal, succeeding
Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald. Judge Florence Mumba was chosen as Vice President.

Today, at 09.30
a.m., Judge Patricia Wald was sworn in as a Judge of the Tribunal to serve the
remainder of Judge McDonald’s term.

The Plenary continues
today under the chairmanship of President Jorda and with Judge Wald instead
of Judge McDonald. On the agenda are the composition of the Trial Chambers and
the assignment of cases. The Plenary is due to finish this afternoon and we
do plan to send out a press release on all of the developments once we have

At an open status
conference on 15 November it was announced that the Kunarac and Kovac trial
is scheduled to commence on 1 February 2000 at 10.00 a.m. (The 1 February is
a Tuesday.)

Also, in the same
case, on 12 November, the Prosecution submitted an expert witness statement
under Rule 94 bis. This concerns the testimony of Dr. Craig Rath, who the Prosecution
intends to call as an expert witness.

Also, a scheduling
order in the contempt allegations in the ‘Simic and Others’ case has
been issued, scheduling further hearings in the afternoons of the week commencing
Monday 29 November 1999, starting at 2.30pm on Monday and Tuesday, to be continued
on Wednesday and Thursday if needed.

Finally, on 12
November, Stevan Todorovic filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus against
the Commanding Officer of the Detention Unit. This is the first time that such
a petition has been filed at the Tribunal. I will leave you to read the entire
document in your own time, however the issues raised again centre around Todorovic’s
assertion that he was "kidnapped" in the FRY by "unknown assailants"
and transported to Bosnia where he was handed over to SFOR.

The definition
of habeas corpus given by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and
as quoted in the Barayagwiza Appeals Judgement is:

"A judicial
remedy designed to protect personal freedom or physical integrity against arbitrary
decisions by means of a judicial decree ordering the appropriate authorities
to bring the detained person before a judge so that the lawfulness of the detention
may be determined and, if appropriate, the release of the detainee be ordered."



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made the following

The Prosecutor
will travel to Rwanda and to the site of the Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania
this weekend. She will return to The Hague in approximately two weeks. This
will be her first visit to Rwanda and to the Tribunal in Arusha.

The Prosecutor
welcomes the appointment of Judge Claude Jorda as the new President of the Tribunal
and of Judge Florence Mumba as Vice President.

The Deputy Prosecutor,
Graham Blewitt, will be available at 2p.m. this afternoon to provide an update
on the OTP, the Prosecutor’s activities and recent trips to New York and
to the region of the former Yugoslavia.



Asked whether
there were any developments regarding relations between the OTP and Rwandan
Government and whether the Prosecutor would receive an official welcome from
the Government during her visit to Rwanda, Risley replied that it was the
intention of the Prosecutor to travel to Rwanda as part of her trip. He added
that the OTP office was situated in Kigali and whether or not she would receive
an official welcome from the Rwandan government was of less importance than
making the trip and meeting the individuals within her office. He concluded
that the OTP was working to resolve the apparent conflict and he was very
confident that there would be a resolution to that matter.

Asked for the
names of all the indictees on the Kunarac indictment, Landale replied that
in addition to Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac was also on the indictment.
He added that the indictment dealt with allegations concerning the town of
Foca in south-eastern Republika Srpska and with the issue of rape. If copies
of the latest indictment were required, they would be provided.

Asked about
the exclusive interview reported to have taken place between a Bulgarian daily
and a Bulgarian national due to be a witness in the Krstic case and who from
the Tribunal would interview this man, Risley replied that those were operational
matters and no response could be given.

Asked for an
update on the Krstic case, Landale confirmed that Krstic was arrested in December
last year, but added that no scheduling order for the commencement of the
trial had yet been received.

Asked whether
he expected the trial to commence before the end of the year, Landale, replied
that he could not say until an order had been received.

Asked about
a report that stated that an OTP team had been refused entry to Croatia, Risley
replied that those reports in Hina were fairly inaccurate. He added that there
was no actual team who were refused entry. The OTP had an office in Zagreb
with investigators who had not been constrained in any way. He confirmed that
the OTP were in receipt of a letter from Justice Minister Separovic that indicated
a refusal on the part of the Government of Croatia to provide security pending
a request of an investigation by the OTP to look into possible war crimes
within Croatia.

He added that
it was a matter of due course that the OTP asked for security from the host
government regardless of where the investigations were carried out. The
Prosecutor viewed the letter as an attempt by Croatia to unilaterally limit
the ability of the Tribunal to investigate crimes of war and to place undue
conditions on the jurisdiction of the Tribunal within Croatia.

The OTP refused
to accept such conditions. The Tribunal as a matter of policy would chose
the time and place for their investigations within the region of the former
Yugoslavia. Further news on that pending investigation under consideration
in Croatia would be given in due course.