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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 28th Feb 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 28 February 2001

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

Weekly Press Briefing

28 February 2001

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

President of the Tribunal, Judge Claude Jorda, returned from New York over the
weekend, where he had been attending meetings with various officials at the
UN Headquarters. Among others, he met with the Chair of the General Assembly’s
Budget Committee to discuss the terms and conditions of service of the ad
judges, as well as the resources that will be required to support

Jorda also met a number of the permanent representatives in light of the upcoming
election of the permanent judges, and, while avoiding trying to influence them
in anyway, he raised the theme of continuity, which is of the utmost importance
to the Tribunal as we embark on this ad litem reform programme.

on that issue, I can confirm to you that the date for the election of the permanent
judges has been set for 14 March 2001. We would hope to hear the results of
that election within a day or so.

regard to comments attributed to the Russian Foreign Minister last week to the
effect that it was time to consider shutting down the Tribunal, President Jorda
is of the view that this is a statutory and jurisdictional issue, which falls
in the exclusive purview of the Security Council.

fact, this issue was addressed by the Security Council in its Resolution 1329
adopted on 30 November 2000, in which it requested the Secretary-General to
submit proposals with respect to the return of peace in the Balkans and a possible
end date for the temporal jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

a Report filed on Friday 23 February, the Secretary-General concluded that it
was not possible to determine that peace and security had been re-established
in the Balkans and that accordingly, it was premature to fix the end of the
temporal jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

any event, President Jorda is of the view that it is somewhat paradoxical to
consider shutting down the Tribunal at a time when it is working better than
ever and issuing a number of very important judgements.

would also be somewhat paradoxical to consider shutting down the Tribunal at
a time when the Security Council and the international community have just approved
the provision of significant additional resources to the Tribunal -- in the
form of ad litem judges and additional staff -- to allow it to complete
its mission.

the President agrees with the Russian Foreign Minister that it is of the utmost
importance for the Tribunal to complete its mission as quickly as possible and
that all reforms put forward by the President and the Judges over the past year
were aimed at achieving this.

this reason, the President is of the view that any attempt to delay the work
of the Tribunal, or any delay in the arrest of those indictees still at large
-- which would lead to the same result -- is counter productive.

have copies of the Secretary-General’s report for you after this briefing.

to give you a read out on the visit by the Swiss parliamentary delegation at
the end of last week, I can tell you that they had a very successful and friendly
meeting with the Registrar, Hans Holthuis, and the Vice-President of the Tribunal,
Judge Florence Mumba. At the meeting, the Registrar described the structure
of the Registry and the tasks assigned to it, as well as stressing the importance
of enforcement of sentences agreements and the issue of the protection of witnesses.
The delegation, which was headed by Peter Hess, the President of the Swiss Lower
Chamber, and Francoise Saudan, President of the Swiss Upper Chamber, were thanked
for all their support and for helping the ICTY to solidify international law.

terms of court documents:

23 February 2001, Trial Chamber III (Judges May (Presiding), Bennouna and Robinson)
issued its decision on the prosecution motion for joinder of the Krajisnik case
to the Plavsic case, filed on 23 January 2001.

the motion and ordering that the prosecution submit a consolidated indictment
within 14 days of this decision, the Trial Chamber considered that Krajisnik
and Plavsic are "accused of identical crimes committed in the course
of the same transaction within the same time frame and in the same locations
and that "a joint trial would accelerate the trial of one accused, Biljana
Plavsic, without prejudice to her or to the rights of the other accused, avoid
duplication of evidence, minimize hardship caused to other witnesses in travelling
to the seat of the International Tribunal in order to testify, and is generally
in the interests of judicial economy

26 February, in the Todorovic case, Trial Chamber II granted motions of the
Prosecution to withdraw counts 2 to 27 in the indictment and of the Defence
to withdraw all motions pending before the Trial Chamber with regard to the
circumstances of Todorovic’s arrest. Copies will be available after this.

in the Todorovic case, on 27 February, the Trial Chamber granted the Defence’s
motion for a medical examination of the accused with regard to filing a notice
of a special defence of "diminished responsibility". Following the
examination, expert reports have to be filed by 3 April 2001 and the Defence
shall at the same time file its notice of special defence of "diminished

the Trial Chamber ordered that the list of witnesses to be called at the sentencing
hearing shall now be filed by the parties by 17 April 2001. The previous date
specified by the Trial Chamber had been 1 March 2001.


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

Prosecutor met with US Secretary of State, Colin Powell yesterday morning in
Brussels. In the afternoon she left for Sweden. Today she is in Stockholm, where
she is meeting with Anna Lindh, the Minister of Foreign Affaires, the Deputy
State Prosecutor and Secretary of Justice, among others. She will be back in
The Hague this evening.

will also repeat the OTP comment on the arrest of Rade Markovic, the former
Chief of Security in Serbia. He is under investigation by the OTP, who will
be sending a request to Belgrade to interrogate him.


Asked whether,
during her talks with Colin Powell, the Prosecutor discussed her dissatisfaction
with NATO’s will to make arrests, Hartmann replied that she did not have many
details to give about this ‘first contact’ with the new US Administration.
The Prosecutor was satisfied with the meeting, during which the issue of Yugoslavia’s
cooperation was one of the points discussed, she added.

The question
of arrests was also discussed. Florence Hartmann confirmed that it was true
that the Prosecutor had said to the press that she was not satisfied with
the fact that since June 2000 NATO had not made any arrests. It was necessary
to have arrests as soon as possible. There were too many fugitives in the
region, she concluded.

Asked for the
reaction of the OTP to the Russian Foreign Minister’s initiative to close
the Tribunal and whether the OTP feared that certain investigations would
not be completed if the initiative went ahead, Hartmann replied that the Security
Council and the international community supported the ongoing work of the

The Secretary-General
of the United Nations said clearly in a statement made in New York that
the Tribunal must continue with its work. There was no reason to close the

She added,
however, that if fugitives were not arrested and if the international community
was satisfied with people indicted by The Hague for crimes against humanity
merely being sentenced for tax frauds by their own country, and if the aspirations
of the international community for justice in the former Yugoslavia was
satisfied only with that type of justice, then maybe the idea of the Russian
Minister was not so bad. The Prosecutor would not accept a Tribunal that
was prevented from fulfilling its mandate.

If everyone
was satisfied that the Tribunal was not in a position to try people indicted
including high ranking people, then maybe it was better to shut the Tribunal,
she concluded.

Asked whether
there were any appeals planned in the Kordic and Cerkez case, Landale replied
that no Notices of Appeal had yet been filed. All parties had 15 days after
the Judgement in which to file these, he added.

Asked whether
the Prosecution planned to appeal, Hartmann replied that the OTP was studying
the 300 page Judgement and would then take a decision before the 15 days were