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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 23rd Sep 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

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

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 23.09.2004

Time: 12.00 p.m.

Registry and Chambers:


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

Good afternoon,

Yesterday, Trial Chamber III issued its ‘Reasons
for Decision on Assignment of Defence Counsel
’ in the Milosevic
case, which you will have seen posted on our website. This contains
a detailed procedural history of the issue of self-representation,
a summary of the submissions of the parties on the issue, including
Mr. Milosevic’s, and the Judges’ assessment of them, a detailed
discussion of the Trial Chamber’s competency to assign defence counsel,
an overview of the health condition Mr. Milosevic, and the Trial
Chamber’s conclusions. If you have not yet seen a copy, you can
pick one up at the end of this briefing.

I also draw your attention to an ‘Order Granting
Extension of Time to File Appeal’
, in which President Meron
orders that the assigned counsel’s appeal brief is due 7 days from
the filing of the Trial Chamber’s written decision, in other words,
seven days from yesterday.

I would also like to note a document that we made
available yesterday, namely, the President’s ‘Preliminary Order
in Response to the Prosecutor’s Request Under Rule 11 bis
’ of
the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. This follows a motion filed
by the Prosecutor requesting that a Trial Chamber transfer the case
against Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic
to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial in the War
Crimes Chamber of the State Court.

Noting and quoting from a letter to President Meron
from Ambassador Bernard Fassier, the Senior Deputy High Representative
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which Ambassador Fassier says, among
other things, that, ‘there will be no possibility to provide
before the planned date of January 2005 trials that meet the standards
of international due process
’, and that, ‘any premature referral
to BiH before January could even undermine the current efforts

to create a judicial system capable of conducting war crimes trials,
and ‘strongly’ recommending that ‘no referral of cases
be made prior to [January 2005]
", the President gives the
Prosecutor ‘the opportunity to clarify the following issues,
as well as any others that she deems important in light of the foregoing

-In light of Ambassador Fassier’s recent letter,
what evidence supports the proposition that "Bosnia and Herzegovina
would provide all necessary legal and technical conditions for fair

-In light of Ambassador Fassier’s recent letter,
to what extent is Bosnia-Herzegovina capable of referring Defendants’
cases to a competent court "forthwith"?’

The President indicated a supplementary motion
on this issue would be accepted ‘any time until 1 October 2004’.

You will have seen from the press release and biographies
that we sent out that two new ad litem Judges were sworn
in on Tuesday. Judges Hans Henrik Brydensholt (Denmark) and Albin
Eser (Germany) will sit alongside Judge Agius in Trial Chamber II
on the trial of Naser Oric, which is due to commence on 6 October
at 9 a.m. The pre-trial conference will be held next Tuesday, 28
September at 2.30 p.m.

Yesterday, we received a Scheduling Order in The
Prosecutor v. Milutinovic, Ojdanic and Sainovic
, in which Judge
Robinson ordered that hearings be held on 1, 2 and 3 December 2004,
on an application ‘for Orders to NATO and States for Production
of Information’
, filed by counsel for General Ojdanic on 15
November 2002. A copy of that Scheduling Order will be available
to those interested after this.

I would also like to clarify some reporting in
the Croatian media last week which carried a letter alleged to have
been sent by Mr. Mladen Markac from the Detention Unit describing,
among other things, his conditions of detention. We spoke to Mr.
Markac and to his defence counsel earlier in the week and they have
categorically denied that Mr. Markac ever wrote any such letter
and have distanced themselves from the allegations contained in
it. Indeed, they stated that they were both perfectly happy with
the conditions of detention.

On behalf of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme:

This weekend, ICTY Chambers and OTP representatives will take part
in the first session of the second leg of the training seminar for
Croatian Judges and Prosecutors involved in war crimes cases. This
session will be held in Opatija on Friday and Saturday, 24 and 25

The seminar was organised at the initiative of the Croatian Ministry
of Justice and supported by ICTY Outreach, in accordance with the
Tribunal's mandate to assist in strengthening the capacity of local
judiciaries to handle war crimes cases. This is the fourth of six
training sessions to be held over six months. The remaining two
sessions will be held in October, in Trogir, Croatia.

At this session, the participants will examine the definitions
of crimes under international and local laws, forms of criminal
responsibility and association, targeting, investigation, charging
decisions and methods of proof in war crimes trials, among other

The aim of the entire seminar is to compare the Croatian legal
system to the rules that apply in international law and at the ICTY,
so as to better identify all the relevant issues for conducting
war crimes trials in Croatia, whether those trials are brought before
local courts as a result of local investigations, or on the basis
of information and evidentiary materials provided by the ICTY OTP
to the Croatian State Prosecutors’ Office, or as a result of the
possible transfer of ICTY cases involving intermediary and lower
level accused in accordance with Rule 11 bis of the Tribunal’s
Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

The first leg of the training seminar involving a different group
of participants was held from May to July.

In terms of the court schedule, a reminder that
there will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Stanisic
and Simatovic
this afternoon in Courtroom I, starting at 3 p.m.

In addition to the Krajisnik trial, which is due
to continue throughout next week, the closing arguments in The
Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic
will be heard from Wednesday,
29 September 2004.

A list of the most recent court documents will
be available to you after this.

Finally, I understand that the ADC will give a
briefing after this.

also the latest ADC-ICTY press briefing.

Office of the Prosecution:

Florence Hartmann for the Office of the Prosecutor
stated that the Prosecutor would be in Belgrade on 1 October 2004
for an international conference organized by the Belgrade Humanitarian
Law Center entitled ‘Dealing With the Past in ex-Yugoslavia: Post
Conflict Strategies for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation’. On Monday,
4 October 2004, the Prosecutor would be meeting in Belgrade with
the relevant officials of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro and
of the Serbian government. Hartmann noted that the Prosecutor was
not in Saint Raphael, France, in September or at any other date.


Asked what the Prosecutor’s opinion was on the
Cermak and Markac provisional release going before the Appeal’s
Chamber, Hartmann said she did not want to comment on issues that
were ongoing and that it was up to the Judges to decide.

Asked what the Prosecutor’s response was concerning
the President’s Preliminary Order related to the Prosecutor’s request
to transfer of the Meakic et al case to the State Court of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Hartmann said that the Prosecutor would respond
in detail in due course.

She added that there was a lot of confusion in
Bosnia on the transfer of cases from The Hague. As of 1 October
2004, the Bosnia and Herzegovina State Court would take over the
screening of Rules of the Road cases, an expertise that was until
now under the jurisdiction of the ICTY OTP. These were cases that
were initiated in Bosnia and were not Hague cases. Some of the would
probably be tried by the BiH State Court’s Special Chamber for War
Crimes. Others would be transferred to entity or district courts
within Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Asked if some of these cases were connected with
camps, Hartmann said that she would not speak further about the
cases except that the cases were initiated by the local prosecutors
and all information should be given by the body that initiated the

Asked if the President and the Prosecutor were
meeting with the Croatian Minister of Justice next week, Landale
replied that he could not confirm this information and would get
back to the journalist on any possible meeting between President
Meron and the Justice Minister.