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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 28th Apr 1998

ICTY Press Briefing - 28 April 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

28 April 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Christian Chartier, Head of Public Information was again acting as Press Spokesman.
He made the following announcements:

In the Tadic case,
the contempt proceedings will adjourn this evening. However, the proceedings
are not completed and will resume later for the witnesses of Mr. Vujin to be
heard. A scheduling order will be issued in due time by the Appeals Chamber.

In the Kordic
and Cerkez case, the trial will adjourn tomorrow at 12.30 instead of 1 p.m.
as initially scheduled.

He went on by
saying that "As some of you know from discussions we have had over the
past year, it has been a long-standing intention to have two spokespersons at
the ICTY. Justice Arbour has now appointed a spokesperson for the OTP. He is
with us today, his name is Paul Risley, and I am very pleased to ask Justice
Arbour to introduce him to you".



Justice Louise
Arbour, Chief Prosecutor said how pleased she was to announce the appointment
of Mr Paul Risley. He joins the ICTY from Washington on the baisis of extensive
experience in media relations, as well as a year with UNPROFOR in Croatia in
1994. She went on to say that Paul Risley will be giving the weekly press briefings
but she assured that both Mr Blewitt and herself would continue to be receptive,
and responding, to press interest. Justice Arbour said that the Office of the
Prosecutor (OTP) has a constant level of media interest and that needs adequate
response on the part of the OTP. She then announced that Paul Risley will be
travelling to Albania by the weekend to give a presence in the field.

Justice Arbour
also announced that she is travelling to Washington tonight for meetings tomorrow
with US government representatives. Although her schedule is not yet fixed she
hopes to see the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State. On Friday
she will be in New York for meetings at UNHQ.

Mr Paul Risley
said he was looking forward to meeting the members of the press and gave out
his direct telephone number.



Asked about
the ‘leak’ enquiry that Justice Arbour announced a few weeks ago,
she replied that there was nothing to report as yet but that the enquiry was
still ongoing.

Asked what
was on the agenda for the meeting with the US officials, Justice Arbour replied
that she would raise the same issues that she raised in Germany and the UK
regarding access to information. She also said that the Tribunal had a long
relationship with the US but now there was an urgent need for ‘usable
court products’. Justice Arbour was also going to press the agenda of
arrests in Bosnia, pointing out that this possibility could send a positive
deterrent message to Kosovo. She also said she may raise the issue of further
possible financial support.

Asked if an
international force did go into Kosovo would the Prosecutor request that they
arrest indicted people, Justice Arbour replied yes and that the OTP were currently
examining this question and were using previous experience to develop explicit
terms for when the region was reopened under any circumstances.

Asked about
a meeting Justice Arbour had with the Dutch Defence Minister, what were the
issues raised and were there any results, Justice Arbour answered that she
raised similar issues to those she raised in Germany and the UK, of access
to information. Otherwise she could not comment further on the nature of their

Asked about
the political support received by the Tribunal and about whether Mr Milosevic
had been indicted, Justice Arbour answered that indictments could be under
seal and were never commented on nor would any ongoing investigations. However
on the question of political support there now seemed to be an appearance
of willingness to give the Prosecutor access to such things as by-products
of military intelligence efforts, she said. These sources were usually very
closed and the Prosecutor had had limited access to this kind of information
previously. There had been a change in general policies in many countries
in order to persuade intelligence communities to share some of their information,
she said.

Asked about
an interview Mr Blewitt gave in which he was quoted as saying said that the
OTP were hearing consistent accounts of war crimes and rape, did this mean
the Tribunal had identified usable evidence, Justice Arbour replied that she
had investigators in the field and they had collected witness statements.
She went on to say that she now felt confident that there was a crime base
to be addressed. Field access would still be required to verify witness accounts
although even without they had enough for indictments. But the OTP needs to
identify the perpetrators, to put names on the crimes. She added that what
they needed was evidence of command and control in order to go higher up the
command structure.

Asked whether
the OTP had evidence of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and whether indictments
could be expected soon. Justice Arbour replied that the term ‘ethnic
cleansing’ meant nothing in law and covered many activities. She went
on to say that they had collected much information but needed to turn it into
usable evidence with names and eyewitnesses, which would take some time. It
was important not to move too quickly and to get the bigger picture, she said.
It might be possible to indict a single person on a single count now but this
was not the aim of the Tribunal although this did not mean that the Tribunal
would stand idle. If there was enough evidence of a serious crime at a high
enough command level then they would go ahead, she said. On the issue of time
frames, Justice Arbour said that although they were anxious to move quickly
she could not give a time frame and in any case any new indictments might
be sealed.

Asked whether
Justice Arbour was concerned that the West would negotiate with Milosevic
to the detriment of the Tribunal, Justice Arbour replied that this did not
concern her directly. At the moment she was seizing the moment and if anything
the Tribunal did caused political difficulties then that was of little interest.
However when it came to arrests, the Tribunal had very little control and
she said she was adamant that if indictments were brought in light of Kosovo
then she would expect them to be prosecuted. Political environments did have
an impact in this respect.

Asked whether
it was true that Dayton nation signatories prevented the Prosecutor from indicting
Mr Milosevic, Justice Arbour replied that it was not true that anyone asked
her to refrain from indicting Mr Milosevic, and any such suggestion would
have been poorly received she said. But, she went on to say, if anyone held
evidence and did not hand it over then they might be in a position to prevent
an indictment. Access to information is a powerful tool she said.

Asked whether
access to sources was better now, Justice Arbour answered that some information
providers were happy to take the credit whilst others were reluctant. She
added that it was inappropriate to single out anyone who had not already announce
their cooperation as Germany and the UK had.