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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 4th Sep 2003

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: 09.04.2003

Time: 12:10


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

First, as you should have
seen from our press release yesterday evening, on 7 April 2003, Judge Carmel
Agius confirmed an Indictment against Dusko Jovanovic, the Director of a media
company publishing the Montenegrin newspaper DAN, for contempt of court, pursuant
to Rule 77 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Judge Agius noted in the
Decision that "according to the Indictment, Dusko Jovanovic is alleged
to have disclosed to the general public the identity of a protected witness
in the case Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic in knowing violation of an order
of a Trial Chamber, constituting contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77
(A)(ii) of the Rules
". He also considered that "according to
the material supporting the Indictment, witness K32 has received death threats
since his identity was made public

Judge Agius ordered that
"the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro shall serve the Indictment
on Dusko Jovanovic following the practice of the Tribunal
" and that
"the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro serving the Indictment shall
inform Dusko Jovanovic of his legal obligation to surrender himself into the
jurisdiction of the Tribunal and to be present in The Hague for the purpose
of the contempt proceedings against him on a date to be fixed by a Trial Chamber
and to be communicated to him in due course. Dusko Jovanovic shall further be
informed that in case of his failure to appear for the proceedings, a Trial
Chamber will order his arrest and have him transferred to The Hague according
to Rules 47(H) and 55 of the Rules

The full text of the
Indictment, the Decision on Review of Indictment and the press release will
be available after this for those who do not already have copies.

Second today I
would just like to clear up some misunderstandings that have arisen with regard
to the service of the Bobetko Indictment in Croatia. There seems to be an expectation
that Judge Agius will soon rule as to whether or not the Indictment has been
served. That is not the case. As stated in the Order of 19 March, Judge Agius
directed the authorities of the Republic of Croatia to serve the Indictment
upon either the Accused himself or counsel of his choosing. They were then directed
to "inform the Accused or counsel of his own choice of the suspension
of the warrants of arrest and orders for surrender, issued by this Tribunal
on 17 and 20 September, which suspension is being ordered to be effective immediately
upon service of the said Indictment upon the Accused or counsel of his own choice
In other words, once the Croatian authorities, in their own view, have served
the Indictment, it is then up to them to inform the Accused or his lawyer of
the suspension of the warrants of arrest and orders of transfer. We have now
received confirmation from the Croatian authorities of service of the Indictment.
Judge Agius is not required to rule on the service of Indictment. The Indictment,
of course, still stands.

Next, you all will have
seen the Judgement rendered yesterday in The Prosecutor v. Mucic, Delic and
by the Appeals Chamber. We have additional copies of the Judgement
for those of you who did not pick up one yesterday and the Judgement, the summary
read out by the President of the Tribunal, Judge Theodor Meron, and the related
press release are all available on the Tribunal’s website.

With regard
to other developments related to on-going proceedings:

The trials
continue as scheduled in the Milosevic and Simic et al cases. Closing arguments
in the Stakic case will between Friday 11 April and Thursday 17 April in courtroom
II. The Brdjanin case will resume on Monday 14 April in Courtroom III between
2.15 p.m. and 7 p.m.
On Monday 14
April, there will be a motion hearing in The Prosecutor v. Milutinovic
et al
in Courtroom I starting at 2.30 p.m.

Among the decisions and
orders issued by the Chambers since the last briefing, the following are brought
to your attention:

On 8 April,
the Appeals Chamber (Judge Pocar, presiding, Judges Jorda, Shahabuddeen, Guney
and Gunawardana) issued a "Decision" in the Prosecutor
v. Blagojevic, Jokic and Nikolic.
This followed from appeals that arose
from Trial Chamber II’s "Decision on Joint Defence Motions for Reconsideration
of Trial Chamber’s Decision to Review all Discovery Materials Provided to
the Accused by the Prosecution
", dated 21 January 2003. The full
text will be available after this.
On 4 April,
in The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic Trial Chamber III (Judge May,
presiding, Judges Robinson and Kwon) issued its "Decision on Prosecution
Request for Reconsideration of the Trial Chamber’s Decision Concerning a Humanitarian
Organisation or For Certification of Appeal Against the Decision
On the same
day and again in the Milosevic case, we received the "Reasons for
Decision on the Prosecution Motion Concerning Assignment of Counsel
The Trial Chamber found that "in the present circumstances, the Accused
has the right to defend himself in person, and therefore denies the Prosecution’s
Motion to impose Defence Counsel on the Accused
". The full text of
the document will be available after this.
Again on 4
April in the Milosevic case, we received the "Amici Curiae Request
for Directions Upon the Manner of Their Future Engagement in the Trial and
Procedural Directions Under Rule 98 Bis (A)
On 4 April
in The Prosecutor v. Meakic, Gruban, Fustar, Banovic and Knezevic we
received Decisions from Trial Chamber III (Judge May, presiding, Judges Robinson
and Kwon) on Gruban, Fustar, Banovic and Knezevic’s Preliminary Motions on
the Form of the Indictment. All four Motions were denied.
On 8 April,
in The Prosecutor v. Zdravko Mucic, we received "Zdravko Mucic’s
Request for Early Release
" addressed to the President of the Tribunal,
Judge Meron.

Copies of all the documents
I have mentioned are available to you on request.

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswomen
for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


A journalist made reference to Rule 61 hearings which took place in the
Tribunal some years ago on crimes committed in Stupni Do and pointed out that
an ICTY indictee, Ivica Rajic, had now been arrested in Croatia for some domestic
matters. The journalist wondered whether any steps were underway to have the
indictee transferred to The Hague and if so whether Zagreb had made any response.
In answer, Landale pointed out that the Tribunal was obviously pleased that
Ivica Rajic had finally been apprehended after all these years and that it was
hoped that he would be transferred at the earliest opportunity. Hartmann added
that Rajic had been arrested in response to the international arrest warrant
issued by the ICTY and that she was not aware of any pending local case which
he had to answer.

Questioned as to when Rajic
would be transferred to the ICTY, Hartmann made it clear that Rajic should be
transferred at the earliest opportunity. She pointed out that Croatia had a
law on transfers to The Hague which set out certain steps which had to be taken
by the local authorities before transfer could take place. She added that this
was the case with all indictees arrested in Croatia and normally took a number
of days. The process was underway.

Asked to clarify whether
the Croatian authorities had informed the ICTY that the Indictment against General
Bobetko had been served, Landale responded in the positive. This triggered with
immediate effect the suspension of the arrest warrant and the orders for transfer.

Asked to comment on arrests
over the weekend of the alleged perpetrators of the Ovcara massacre in Vukovar
and whether this effectively negated the ICTY’s indictments against Sljivancanin
and the other accused in this case, Hartmann pointed out that the ICTY was not
in a position to investigate all crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia or
to bring indictments against all perpetrators in the chain. The fact that the
Tribunal indicted certain individuals in the chain of command did not stop the
local authorities from investigating and arresting other individuals for the
same crime. In this particular instance, the ICTY had indicted high level individuals
involved in planning and ordering the crime, whereas the authorities in Croatia
had clearly arrested the direct perpetrators. The Tribunal had been informed
by Belgrade that some individuals linked to the Ovcara massacre had been arrested
but Belgrade did not need to make a formal request to the ICTY to conduct war
crimes investigations. She added that the ICTY had primacy over violations of
international law and that local authorities would normally inform the Tribunal
of any arrests they had made to see whether the Tribunal would exert its primacy
over a particular case. Such communication was to avoid a local authority going
through the whole process of investigation of a crime over which the ICTY wanted
to exert its primacy. The ICTY was always pleased to hear that local authorities
were investigating such crimes as were complementary to its mandate. The fact
that a local court had opened a case against the direct perpetrators of a crime
did not negate the responsibility of individuals higher up the chain of command
for that crime. A local case did not affect a case at the ICTY and vica versa.
She concluded that the fact that local authorities were looking into the crimes
committed in Vukovar was encouraging for the eventual arrest and transfer of
the ICTY indictees for those crimes.

Landale added that the Tribunal
welcomed the fact that there were investigations being undertaken by domestic
judiciaries looking into war crimes issues. He said that it was very important
and the Tribunal supported it and encouraged it. However, it detracted in no
way from the ICTY’s own outstanding indictments, some of which had been in existence
for far too many years. He added that the ICTY urged and pressed the local authorities
to locate and transfer Mr. Sljivancanin and Mr. Radic, the ICTY indictees in
the Vukovar case, at the earliest opportunity. That did not have any effect
on any investigations that they might be undertaking and which the ICTY was
fully supportive of, he reiterated.

Asked to confirm that this
was the first case in which a journalist had been indicted at the Tribunal,
Landale replied that it was.

Asked whether an indictment
was the only solution to deal with the Dusko Jovanovic case, or whether there
were no other measures which could have been taken, such as a fine or a warning,
Landale pointed out that Jovanovic had been charged with serious contempt of
the Tribunal, violating protective measures on a protected witness in an extremely
serious case. Protective measures were put in place for very important reasons
when there was a real threat to the security of someone who had come to testify
at this Tribunal. Those protective measures had to be upheld, they had to be
seen to be upheld and where there were violations, the people responsible could
be called to account. It was therefore, a very important step taken by Judge

In relation to this, a journalist
pointed out that there had been other cases of journalists, knowingly or unknowingly,
passing on confidential information from the courtrooms but that none of these
had been indicted but simply warned. In answer to this, Landale pointed that
Rule 77 existed in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. It was up to a Judge
following communications from the Prosecution to decide whether there was enough
substance to a case to sustain confirmation of an indictment. In this case it
was decided that there was.

In response to the question
as to whether there were any other journalists under investigation by the Tribunal,
Landale answered that, as was always the case, he had no comment on any potential
or possible ongoing investigations.

In answer to a request for
information as to when the trial against Mr. Jovanovic would begin and which
Trial Chamber would conduct it, Landale answered that this was yet to be decided.
He added that the date would be set by a Trial Chamber and this would be passed
on to the media in due course. At present he did not know when this would be.

A journalist asked when
the Prosecution would end its case against Milosevic and whether it felt it
had been able to deal sufficiently with the Bosnian part of the Indictment in
particular, Hartmann answered that the OTP was still waiting for an answer from
the Trial Chamber on the issue of extended time to present its case as compensation
for trial days lost due to the illness of the accused. The Trial Chamber had
not yet rendered its decision, she added, but would do so before 16 May 2003.

Landale added that as soon
as it was known how much extra time might be granted to the OTP, this would
be passed on to the media.

Pressed by the journalist
to say whether she thought that the OTP had had enough time to present its case,
Hartmann stated that the case for an extension of time had been very succinctly
made in court by Geoffrey Nice and that she could not add anything to that.
The Trial Chamber had granted the OTP permission to present a certain number
of witnesses in this case and it would not be possible to hear them all in the
time established by the Trial Chamber at the beginning of the proceedings.

Landale added that the Trial
Chamber’s decision would balance a proper opportunity for the OTP to present
its case, the interests of justice in not having a case that extended over too
long a period, and the interests of the accused. Hartmann made it clear that
the OTP would respect any decision made by the Trial Chamber.

In answer as to why confirmation
of the Indictment against Mr. Jovanovic was made only this month when the Indictment
itself was signed by the Prosecutor in October 2002 and all supporting material
was made available at the same time, Landale answered that there was no particular
time line specified in the Rules regarding how long a Judge could consider an
Indictment, its contents and any supporting material to it.