note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Chief of Public Information, opened the briefing as follows:
In order for the
Judges to choose successors to President Claude Jorda and to Vice-President
Mohamed Shahabuddeen, an Extraordinary Plenary will convene this Thursday at
5 p.m. We will let you know as quickly as possible the name of the new President
With regard to developments
related to on-going proceedings:
Two reminders: the initial
appearance of Vojislav Seselj will take place today at 1.15 p.m. in Courtroom
I before Judge Schomburg; and the Sentencing Judgement of Biljana Plavsic
will be rendered tomorrow, Thursday 27, at 3 p.m. in Courtroom I.
Conference that has been rescheduled in the case The Prosecutor v. Tihomir
Blaskic, will be held this afternoon at 4.30 p.m., instead of on Friday.
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Mile Mrskic, Pre-trial Judge Agius has scheduled
a Status Conference for Wednesday 5 March, at 10.30 a.m.
testimony in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, Dragan Vasiljkovic has made
a number of statements in media outlets in Belgrade that are likely to create
some confusion. Confusion regarding the circumstances of any testimony is
not justified which is why I would like to stress the following:
testimony was based on two statements that he gave to investigators of the
OTP in August 2001 and February 2003. These statements were signed by the
witness. They were entered as exhibits by the Office of the Prosecutor. We
have copies of these statements for you in English and BCS.
At the time
of his coming to The Hague to testify in court, this witness was dealt with
in the same way as all other witnesses by the Witnesses Section (not the OTP)
which, as you know, is in charge of all witnesses, be they called by the Prosecution
or by the Defence. Dragan Vasiljkovic’s travel and the costs related to his
stay were supported by the Tribunal’s Registry. The actual total amounts to
US$ 3,441.84. This includes the small amount of approximately US$ 1,150 that
the witness received as subsistence allowance for personal costs incurred
during his stay in The Hague as well asfor compensation for lost wages. This
allowance is not a payment. Once again: this allowance is received by all
witnesses appearing before the Tribunal, its amount depends on the length
of the stay and it is calculated on the basis of an official UN scale.
rulings issued by Chambers since the last briefing, the following are brought
to your attention:
Late last week,
in the case The Prosecutor v. Hadzihasanovic and others, a Bench of
the Appeals Chamber (Judge Hunt, Presiding; Judge Güney and Judge Pocar)
declared valid two of the three grounds of appeal filed by the defendants,
collectively or individually, against the Decision of 12 November 2002 dismissing
their joint challenge to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. The grounds of
appeal declared valid concern the challenge by the three accused of the responsibility
of a superior for acts of his subordinates in the course of a conflict which
was not international in character, and the challenge by one accused (Kubura)
of the responsibility of a superior for acts which were committed before he
became the superior of the persons who committed them.
On 19 February,
Trial Chamber III (Judge May, Presiding; Judge Robinson and Judge Kwon) ordered
the Prosecution to reply by Friday 28 February to the Response by Serbia and
Montenegro to the Prosecution’s motion on outstanding requests for assistance
in their case against Slobodan Milosevic.
Also on 19
February, the same Trial Chamber allowed in part the request by Nikola Sainovic
for a review of the Registrar’s Decision (13 September 2002) on the accused’s
participation in the costs of his defence. The Registrar was instructed to
carry out a new assessment of the accused’s ability to remunerate counsel.
and Orders have been issued that we have listed on a separate document, along
with legal filings by parties, in order to save time for the Q & A session.
attention is drawn to the following parties’ filings:
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Naletelic and Martinovic, on 21 February, the
Prosecutor filed Additional Sentencing Submissions, as requested by
Trial Chamber I on 14 February.
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic, on 20 February the Defence filed
its Reply to the Prosecution’s response to the Defence Motion for admission
of additional evidence under Rule 115. To conclude, I would like to
follow-up on two matters raised over the past weeks by two of you:
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic, on 19 February the Amici filed
their observations on objections by the Accused to certain protective measures
I would like to follow-up on two matters raised over the past weeks by two of
two weeks ago, I was asked about possible consequences of the claim in court
by the accused of an alleged deal between the Prosecution and his former Defence
Counsel. I discussed the matter with colleagues who attended the court session.
They told me that the existence of this so-called deal has been denied by
the Prosecution and that any matter pertaining to the relationship between
an accused and his defence counsels should, in the first instance, be raised
by the accused with the Registry.
to our ability to serve as a channel for you to obtain documents related to
and/or issued by the ICTR, I am discussing the matter with ICTR colleagues
and I shall keep you informed of any developments.
Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.
A journalist made
reference to the announced investigation into statements made in the press by
Milosevic witness Dragan Vasiljkovic. The journalist stated that it was understood
by some members of the press that there was talk of contempt of court and he
asked Hartmann to expand on this. In her answer, Hartmann pointed out that Vasiljkovic
had denied making the statement to the OTP signed by him in August 2001, despite
the fact that he had signed each page of said statement. This statement could
be provided to the press in either the original language of English or in BCS
if they required it. OTP has asked for an investigation to look into how this
statement was taken to ensure that it was taken in the proper, manner. She added
that the witness had made no protest at the time that he gave his statement
and signed it. When the witness arrived in The Hague earlier this month he made
no protest about how his statement had been taken.
In a follow up
to this question, the same journalist asked that if it was shown that Vasiljkovic
had lied about how his statement was taken, would the OTP file for contempt
for court. Hartmann stated that she could not answer that question at the present
time. Any such decision would be taken after completion of the investigation.
A journalist inquired
when Limaj would be transferred to The Hague, pointing out that Limaj’s lawyer
had stated that he could be transferred today. Chartier answered this question
by stating that he was not aware of any time-line that could be passed on to
the press. He added that no arrangements for transfer could be made until a
legal authority in Slovenia has made a final determination. Hartmann stated
that this should be done today. If this was the case, then arrangements would
be made for a speedy transfer of the accused to the Tribunal.
The same questioner
asked when the Krajisnik trial was scheduled to begin. Again, Chartier replied
that as yet no date was known though he believed that a status conference a
few weeks ago gave a starting date of March or April this year. Hartmann added
that the starting date of end of February of this year had been postponed some
time ago at the request of both parties.
The next question
was whether Plavsic had arrived in The Netherlands as her plane had been scheduled
to land at 9:00 today. Chartier stated that he had not been made aware of any
developments but was able to confirm that the accused would be in court tomorrow.
In relation to
the statement issued on behalf of Agim Murtezi yesterday, a journalist asked
whether the Tribunal is in the process of establishing his actual identity.
Hartmann stated that she could not give any further details but referred journalists
to the statement issued yesterday, which mentioned that OTP had interviewed
the accused Murtezi. On the basis of collected information, she added, further
inquiries were being conducted. The conclusion to these inquiries would be passed
on to the Chamber at a later stage. Chartier added that the cell phone number
of the accused defence lawyer could be passed on to journalists should they
wish to speak to him personally
The final questioner
asked for further information on Milan Milutinovic’s state of health considering
the state of the accused health when he arrived in The Hague. In answer, Chartier
pointed out that all accused were given a standard medical check when they arrived
at the detention unit and that Milutinovic had also undergone such a check.
In addition, at his own request, Milutinovic underwent a further medical examination
that required the use of sophisticated hospital expertise. This examination
was conducted in due time after his arrival and nothing specific was reported.