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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 5th Jan 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 5 January 2001

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 5 January 2001

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Christian Chartier, Head of Public Information Services, made the following

Good morning everyone,

… and happy
new year to all, that is to say a newsworthy year to which I shall step in as
Spokesman for Registry and Chambers until early February, when Jim Landale returns
from leave.

I first would
like to update you on a number of institutional developments that have taken
place since the last regular briefing, on 13 December:

Firstly, the new
Registrar, Mr. Hans Holthuis, has been sworn-in and has taken up his office.
Mr. Holthuis still has a number of on-going engagements related to his previous
position at the Dutch Ministry of Justice. However, he is at the Tribunal as
often as he can be in order to become quickly acquainted with his new working
environment, staff and duties. Mr. Holthuis is expected to be at the Tribunal
on a daily basis as of the beginning of February.

As a reminder,
the Judges held a one-day Plenary meeting on 13 December. They then approved
the establishment of two new bodies: a Coordination Council and a Management

The Coordination
Council is composed of the President, the Prosecutor and the Registrar. They
will meet once a month in order to discuss the coordination between the three
organs comprising the Tribunal.

The Management
Committee is composed of the President, the Vice-president, one further Judge,
the Registrar, his Deputy and the Chief of Administration. They will meet twice
a month to discuss matters pertaining to the on-going administrative management
of the Tribunal, at the exception of those matters relating to the Office of
the Prosecutor.

Finally, on 23
December, the General Assembly approved the ICTY budget for the year 2001. The
ICTY net regular budget for this year will amount to 96,443,900 US $, including
the establishment of 64 new posts.

The total number
of regular budget posts is now 914 (an increase of 7%) and the breakdown of
the budget is as follows:

- Registry: 64,518,500
(+ 3 %)

- Office of the Prosecutor: 28,642,900 (- 7 %)

- Chambers: 3,282,500 (+ 23 %)

This budget does
NOT include the costs related to the ad-litem Judges, for which a specific budget
will be approved in the coming week.

On behalf of
the Outreach Program
, I am pleased to announce that it has prepared and
just released a CD-ROM containing many key and basic ICTY documents in BCS:
all indictments made public and all judgements issued to date, together with
a host of other translated material including the Statute, the Rules of Procedure
and Evidence, Directive on the assignment of Defence Counsel and Regulations
on Detention matters. Copies of this CD are available to those interested, and
additional copies can be obtained from our colleagues in the Outreach program.
I would also like to remind you of the generous provision of support from Norway
to the Outreach, as indicated in a press release issued last Tuesday.

Turning to
court proceedings, I would like to review with you the legal filings of the
past two weeks and to look at what you can expect in the weeks to come:

In the Sikirica,
Kolundzija and Dosen case
: the Prosecutor filed a Second Amended Indictment
on 3 January. This was done pursuant to a Decision issued by the Trial Chamber
on 21 December 2000 following a Defence Motion for clarification. Copies of
this amended indictment are available in English, the translations into French
and BCS are expected soon.

In the Simic
and others case, and more specifically with regard to Defendant Todorovic:

following the guilty plea entered by the accused on 13 December 2000, the Appeals
Chamber issued an Order on 18 December canceling the hearing fixed for 10 Janaury
2001 and inviting the parties, NATO and the States who had applied for a review
of the Trial Chamber’s Decision of 18 October to submit briefs as to the
effect of the guilty plea on the continuance of the appeals proceedings.

So far, the Prosecutor
and seven States have indeed filed briefs, all submitting that the guilty-plea
by Todorovic should result in the discontinuation of the appeals proceedings,
if the guilty-plea is accepted by the Trial Chamber.

The said Trial
Chamber will hold a hearing on the guilty plea on Friday 19 January at 10 a.m.
so that it may satisfy itself that the plea was made voluntarily, was informed,
was not equivocal and that there is a sufficient factual basis for the crime
and the accused’s participation in it.

Before this Todorovic
hearing, others will take place in other cases, as follows:

- on 12 January,
a pre-defence conference in the case Kvocka and others

- on 15 January, the trial of Milorad Krnojelac will resume

- also to resume on 15 January, the trial of Radislav Krstic, with evidence
in rebuttal by the Prosecutor.

And finally, I
would like to give you a quick overview of the Judgements being considered by
the Chambers and expected in the months to come:

- the Appeals
Chamber Judgement in the case Celebici

- the Judgement by Trial Chamber II in the Foca case (Kunarac, Kovac and Vukovic)

- the Judgement by Trial Chamber III in the case of Kordic and Cerkez.

A detailed overview
of the status of all on-going cases before this Tribunal has been prepared for
you and I shall be happy to make it available at the end of the briefing.



Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made the
following statement:

Firstly, I would
like to wish you a Happy New Year. Secondly I would like to say that the Prosecutor
is still on holiday. She is expected back in the office on Monday 8 January



Asked for a
reaction to the statement made by Yugoslavia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Goran Svilanovic, that Yugoslavia could be prepared to put Milosevic on trial
in Belgrade in cooperation with the Tribunal, Florence Hartmann replied that
Yugoslavia as a member of the United Nations had to comply with all requests
and warrants of the Tribunal and had to cooperate with the Tribunal, not the
other way round.

She added
that, as far as she was aware, the Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia proposed
an international component to a trial that would take place in Serbia. She
went on to say, however, that the indictment was clear: Milosevic and the
other fugitives now living in Serbia were indicted for crimes requiring
international justice. It was an obligation of every UN Member State to
comply with the Tribunal’s orders and to transfer those fugitives to
The Hague.

Florence Hartmann
added that the Prosecutor insisted on the fact that high-ranking officials
such as Milosevic or Karadzic or Mladic must be tried in The Hague since
other lower ranking people like Dusko Tadic had been and were being tried

A major factor
to bear in mind was that the conflict in the ex Yugoslavia was not just
in one country but in a number of states. It would be impossible to imagine
victims from another state testifying in Belgrade, she said.

The Tribunal
could not be transferred to Belgrade as Belgrade was not a neutral place
and victims would not come to testify. The problem was not that they could
not get visas to go there but, due to trauma and psychological reasons some
of them would refuse to testify there. It was not possible to have a fair
trial there in the same way that it was not possible to have a fair trial
for these high ranking persons in other cities such as Zagreb, Pale or Sarajevo,

She went on
to say that the Prosecutor, was also aware of the importance of the impact
on the local opinion in Serbia and she was prepared to discuss the idea
of possible hearings in Belgrade so that the people could follow the proceedings
of the trial. What the Minister suggested now, that local courts try Milosevic
under the monitoring of the ICTY in Belgrade was not possible. He must be
transferred to The Hague to face trial, this was non-negotiable, she concluded.

Florence Hartmann
added that the Prosecutor was still expecting to go to Belgrade and to meet
with the President of Yugoslavia. She did not know yet when the appointment
would be made.

Chartier added that the President’s stance was very clear: Milosevic
and others were indicted by this Tribunal and the only place where they
should face justice was this Tribunal, which was its ‘raison d’etre’.
The Tribunal’s position could not be clearer.

Asked whether
this meant that the Tribunal completely rejected the proposals, Christian
Chartier replied that this was not a term the Tribunal liked to use. He added
that the Tribunal was a specific legal body set up to do a very specific job,
which included passing judgement on persons higher up in the chain of command.

Asked if there
was any more news on the Prosecutor’s visit to Belgrade and whether she
would still go if no meeting were arranged with the President, Florence Harmann
replied that she would hopefully have further information about the visit
next week. She added that just before Christmas the Prosecutor had suggested
a date for an appointment in January, but had not yet received a response.

Asked whether
it was possible that Biljana Plavsic would visit the Tribunal as a witness
or an accused, Florence Hartmann replied that she had no comment to make about
Biljana Plavsic or any one else. She could not give any information about
the work of the OTP and the people they had met or were due to meet.

Asked whether
this meant that she did not deny that Plavsic would come to the Tribunal,
Florence Hartmann replied that she did not know. She added that she could
not deny it because she did not know whether she would come or not.

Asked if someone
like Ms. Plavsic wanted to come to the Tribunal there would be any publicity
involved, Christian Chartier replied that he believed that when a person like
the one mentioned in the question was about to board a plane it was not going
to go unnoticed.

Asked what
the procedure was for a person under a sealed indictment to come voluntarily
to The Hague, Christian Chartier replied that he would try to find out the
technical answers to this speculative question.

Asked whether
this had ever happened, Christian Chartier replied that it had not, but added
that whatever happened the Tribunal was always ready.

Asked whether,
in the case of indicted persons handing themselves in to the Tribunal, they
could be granted immunity for specific interviews, Christian Chartier replied
that he found it hard to believe that someone indicted by the Tribunal could
receive a "safe conduct". It seemed impossible, but he would check,
he added.

Asked whether,
as suggested in an article, it would be possible to house detainees outside
the Scheveningen prison, Christian Chartier replied that he was very keen
not to feed the speculation or to give substance to unsubstantiated rumours
and press reports. But in order to help, he reminded the press that they should
look at the Blaskic case. In 1996, following his surrender, this accused filed
a request for specific detention conditions. This request was then granted
and for a limited period of time, General Blaskic was detained elsewhere.
Article 65 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence provided for exceptional
detention conditions.

Asked whether
the Tribunal financed this, Christian Chartier replied that the Tribunal did
not since it offered "free accommodation" in the Detention unit.

Asked whether
the Prosecutor had been in touch with anyone from the new US administration
and whether she was planning to visit there, Florence Hartmann replied that
she had not but that she was planning to visit in the near future.

Asked whether
the Prosecutor would still visit Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Zagreb, even if she
could not visit Belgrade, Florence Hartmann replied that the Prosecutor was
planning to visit the whole region in January. She went on to say that she
did not know how this would be organised at the moment. Following the November
2000 elections the Prosecutor would like to visit Bosnia and there was also
the need to go to Zagreb in order to deal with the problems between the Tribunal
and Croatian Authorities. She indicated that at this moment she was not able
to confirm that the whole visit would take place in January. She would be
more precise next week.