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Weekly Press Briefing - 02 February 2011

Date: 2.02.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Nerma Jelačić, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

Yesterday, the President of the Tribunal issued a decision denying Ivica Rajić’s request for early release from a prison in Spain, where he has been serving his sentence since 13 April 2007. The President based his decision on the very high gravity of Rajić’s crimes, and his view that the time he has served in detention does not militate in favour of his release. The President indicated that Rajić has not yet served two-thirds of his sentence, which he will have done on approximately 5 April 2011.

Rajić, a unit commander of the Bosnian Croat Army, was indicted on 23 August 1995, arrested in Croatia on 5 April 2003 and transferred to the Tribunal on 24 June 2003. On 26 October 2005, Rajić pleaded guilty to four counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and on 8 May 2006 was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. Rajić was found guilty of having led an attack in October 1993 on the central Bosnian village of Stupni Do which resulted in the murder of around 30 Bosnian Muslim men, women, elderly persons and children. Rajić also commanded forces that attacked and looted the town of Vareš, detaining about 250 Bosnian Muslim men, abusing their families and other inhabitants, and sexually assaulting the women.

Regarding the courtroom schedule, I would like to flag up two key upcoming dates:

The Judgement in the case of Vlastimir Đorđević will be rendered on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 at 14:15 in Courtroom I. Đorđević, a former senior Serbian police official, is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999. The trial began on 27 January 2009 and concluded with closing arguments which were held on 13 and 14 July 2010.

The pre-trial conference in the contempt of court case of Vojislav Šešelj will be held on Tuesday, 22 February at 9:00 am and will be immediately followed by the trial. Šešelj is accused of having disclosed information on 11 protected witnesses, including their names, occupations and places of residence, in a book he authored. This is the second time Šešelj faces charges of contempt for disclosing information on protected witnesses. On 19 May 2010, the Appeals Chamber affirmed his sentence of 15 months’ of imprisonment for disclosing the name and other personal details of protected witnesses in another book he authored.

Onto the schedule for this week and next:

In the contempt of court case of Jelena Rasić, a Status Conference will be held this Friday at 10:00 am in Courtroom I. Rasić, former case manager of Milan Lukić’s Defence team, is charged with five counts of contempt of court for bribing witnesses into making false statements. She indicated that she will not be present at the Status Conference.

Closing arguments in the trial of Prlić and others will be heard from this coming Monday onwards. The Prosecution will first present its closing arguments, which will then be followed by those of each defense teams.

In the case of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, the Prosecution rested its case yesterday. The Prosecution called a total of 125 witnesses within 243 hearing days. The Defence is expected to inform the Chamber whether it intends to file 98bis submissions by the end of today. Should the Defence decide to do so, a rule 98bis hearing will be scheduled to hear submissions of both parties upon which the Trial Chamber may enter a judgement of acquittal on any count should it find that there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction.

Hearings in the trial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, Radovan Karadžić, Zdravko Tolimir, continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, member of the Prosecutor’s Immediate Office, made the following statement:

Yesterday, the Prosecutor, Mr. Brammertz, had a working meeting at the Tribunal with Mr. Zsolt Németh, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Hungary, and members of his delegation. They discussed matters related to the cooperation of States with the Office of the Prosecutor, and in particular, the current level of cooperation of Serbia and Croatia. Hungary is currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.


Asked to confirm the Prosecutor’s visit to Belgrade, Frederick Swinnen responded that the visit of the Prosecutor to Belgrade is going to take place in the second half of February. The full schedule of the visit has yet to be confirmed.  Swinnen added that this visit can be considered as a “technical” visit. The purpose is to meet with authorities to discuss operational aspects of the cooperation, in particular efforts to apprehend the fugitives. Swinnen added that the Prosecutor may return later to Belgrade prior to submitting his report to the Security Council.
Asked whether the Prosecutor is going to meet with political representatives, Swinnen explained the Prosecutor will meet with the officials who are in charge of co-operation with the Tribunal. This will include Minister Ljajić, the President of the National Council for Cooperation with the ICTY. There may also be a meeting with the President. Swinnen reiterated that the date and full programme have not been confirmed yet, but that journalists will be informed accordingly as soon as it has been confirmed.

Asked whether she was aware of an alleged criminal complaint filed by Vojislav Šešelj to the Tribunal’s President against the former Head of the Detention Unit, Tim McFadden and what the Tribunal’s response might be. Nerma Jelačić responded that the accused submitted a filing but said she was unable to confirm its contents until it has been received in an official language of the Tribunal and filed publicly. She added that even if such a motion was made it would be up to the President of the Tribunal to rule on its merit.