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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 1st Sep 1999

ICTY Press Briefing (revised) - 1 September 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing : Revised Version

Date: 1 September 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

The only thing
that I have today is a motion for leave to file an amended indictment joining
Dragoljub Kunarac and Radomir Kovac's cases together, which was submitted on
30 August 1999. Copies are available to those who want them.



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made no announcements.



Asked whether
the Prosecutor had reviewed the documents submitted by the Croatian Government
and whether any of these documents related to ‘Operations Flash and Storm’,
Paul Risley replied that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) had no new announcements
regarding reviewed documents other than those already discussed in previous

Asked about
the President’s refusal to refer to the Security Council the issue of
the consolidated list of documents from the Croatian authorities, Risley replied
that the OTP concurred that the matter could be dealt with through the courts.

Asked what
procedures would be put into place concerning this matter, Risley replied
that no announcement had been made on this subject. Jim Landale added that
the process referred to was the issuing of a binding order.

Asked whether
a request had been submitted during General Talic’s initial appearance
for a dual Trial, Landale stated that a request for joinder had been made
and that a motion was due in a few days.

Asked for his
opinion concerning the fact that Croatia had stated that the Tribunal was
acting ‘politically’ in its exertion of pressure on the Croatian
Government, Risley replied that, from his understanding, a HINA report stated
that last Monday the Croatian National Security Council had met and unanimously
agreed to fully cooperate with the Tribunal.

Asked whether
this had happened before or after the statement made by the Deputy Prosecutor,
Graham Blewitt was published in Croatia, Risley replied that it had been done
before that.

Asked whether
the practice of confirming that a person was on or was not a sealed indictment,
as previously in the cases of Plavsic, Arkan, and now in the case of Tudjman
was a new practice, Risley replied that it was not a new practice. However,
the OTP had the ability to provide specific information with regard to specific
individuals as the Deputy Prosecutor, had done. He added that the Deputy Prosecutor’s
comment had been fairly limited and simply said that at this time there was
not a sealed indictment against President Tudjman.

Asked about
a briefing a month ago in which Graham Blewitt stated that the Prosecutor
was ready to propose to Croatia that the question of jurisdiction regarding
‘Operation Storm’ be brought before the trial chamber as was done
in the case of Serbia regarding Kosovo, Risley replied that an announcement
on that matter would be provided in coming days.

Asked what
the Tribunal policy was on those indicted or not indicted and whether certificates
existed saying that persons were not on the public lists and if they did,
what the purpose of these certificates were, Risley replied that the Deputy
Prosecutor’s words were exceptional and that there was no practice or
policy making public the existence or non-existence of sealed indictments.
It was an issue dealt with on case by case basis, he added.

Asked to confirm
whether the Deputy Prosecutor had told the Croatian Ambassador that Tudjman
was not on a sealed indictment, Risley replied he was not familiar with such
reports. However, two nights ago the Deputy Prosecutor had said directly to
a reporter that Tudjman was not under a sealed indictment presently.

Asked about
the alleged leak of a list of Bosnian Serbs on sealed indictments, Risley
replied that it did not appear that any information from the Tribunal had
been inappropriately revealed and based on the successful arrest of General
Talic, the OTP felt confident that the process of using sealed indictments
remained successful.

Asked if the
authorities in the Republika Srpska were ready to cooperate with the Prosecutor’s
proposal to share information concerning sealed indictments, Risley confirmed
that the Prosecutor Justice Louise Arbour, had made this proposal in July
during her trip to the former Yugoslavia, however, she concluded that the
authorities within the Republika Srpska were not prepared to cooperate with
the Tribunal and had not even provided information for the apprehension of
any of the individuals under sealed indictment. He added that there were 20
outstanding publicly indicted individuals believed to be within the Republika
Srpska and that these authorities could indicate their cooperation by compelling
their surrender first if they truly desired to meet the criteria set out in
order to allow for the exchange of confidential information from the Tribunal.

Asked to explain
the fact that Talic was arrested in Vienna when SFOR had been issued with
his warrant for arrest since 14 March, Risley replied that the decision of
when to arrest someone was for SFOR or other cooperating bodies to make, based
on security and risk factors to their own people. The Tribunal had no criticism
of SFOR’s performance and level of cooperation as SFOR had arrested three
people in the last 90 days. Although arrest warrants were dated on a particular
day, it was up to the OTP to decide when to share specific arrest warrants
with specific parties, so while the Talic indictment might have been dated
March 14, it was the decision of the OTP as to when to divulge this information
to other parties, he said.

Asked about
Justice Arbour’s comment that there was in fact no list of sealed indictments,
Risley replied that the method of providing information to cooperating parties
was not in the form of a list, per se, but rather information on particular
people provided solely and separately. Other parties could produce their own
lists as certain journalists had done. The use of the term ‘list’
was inappropriate when describing the confidential methods of providing information
to cooperating parties, he added.

Asked if any
progress had been made regarding a Tribunal investigation in the case of the
New York Times receiving information inappropriately concerning Operation
Storm, Risley replied that he would seek an update on this matter.