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Weekly Press Briefing - 9 March 2011

The Press Briefing can be viewed on the
ICTY YouTube channel.

Date: 9.3.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

I will immediately turn to the courtroom schedule for this week and next:

The Rule 98bis hearing in the trial of Vojislav Šešelj started on Monday afternoon with the oral submissions of the Accused, which were followed by those of the Prosecution yesterday. The hearing is expected to conclude this evening. The Chamber will announce in due course the date at which it will render its oral decision on whether to enter a judgement of acquittal on any of the counts the Accused has been charged with. The media will be informed of the date accordingly.

On Thursday, a Status Conference will be held in the appeals case of Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić at 15:00 in Courtroom III.

As to the ongoing cases, in the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of 69th Prosecution witness KDZ-182, a former UNPROFOR member who served in Sarajevo during the war.

In the trial of Zdravko Tolimir, witness Emma Sayer, former UNPROFOR Liaison officer and interpreter is currently testifying. She is the 91st witness to be called by the Prosecution since the start of the trial in February 2010. The Prosecution announced yesterday that it expects to conclude its case before the end of July this year.

To conclude, I would like to bring to your attention the latest activities of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme and recent developments in the War Crimes Justice Project:

The Outreach Programme yesterday welcomed a group of political science students from the University of Belgrade in Serbia. They attended presentations given by the staff of Outreach and the Office of the Prosecutor and attended the Rule 98bis hearing in the trial of Vojislav Šešelj.

As part of the War Crimes Justice Project, last Friday the Tribunal delivered 2,500 pages of transcripts produced in local languages to Bosnian and Croatian legal authorities. The Provision of transcripts in Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian will improve the ability of local legal practitioners' to access and utilise testimony given before the ICTY. Since the launch of the EU-funded Project in September 2010, the Tribunal has delivered 7,000 pages of public transcripts to the authorities in Croatia, Serbia and BiH. More transcripts are expected to be delivered to the region in the coming months. Over 4,000 pages of  transcripts already produced as part of the Project are now available on the Tribunal’s Internet Court Records Database.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, special adviser to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

In response to queries in relation to the recent arrest of Mr. Jovan Divjak in Austria, the OTP would like to state the following.

Mr. Jovan Divjak was never indicted by the ICTY and therefore there has been no judicial adjudication by a Chamber of the Tribunal.

We can confirm that in July 2002 we received a “Rules of the Road” file in relation to the events in Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo on 2 May 1992, which included Mr. Jovan Divjak as one of the suspects.

The Rules of the Road procedure was established under the Rome Agreement of 18 February 1996 which regulated the arrest and indictment of alleged perpetrators of war crimes by the national authorities. Within the Rules of the Road procedure, the Office of the Prosecutor was tasked to provide an independent review of the allegations based on the information provided by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The OTP would make a recommendation as to whether a prima facie case of serious violations of international humanitarian law within the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal existed.

The review by the Office was limited to that material contained in the file when it was sent, and for the purpose of determining whether the evidence was sufficient under international standards to justify the arrest or indictment of a suspect or continued detention of a prisoner. The Rules of the Road scheme ended in October 2004. All Rules of the Road files received from Bosnia and Herzegovina were returned to the State Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Having examined the file related to Mr. Jovan Divjak, the OTP concluded that the information received contained insufficient evidence for the prosecution of war crimes. This information was communicated to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 2003. The OTP did not conduct any further investigation in relation to this case.


A journalist asked Frederick Swinnen to confirm whether the “Rules of the Road” file relating to Jovan Divjak had been received from the State Prosecutor of Bosnia Herzegovina, or from Republika Srpska. Swinnen stated that in 2002 there was no Federal or State Prosecutor in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the file had been received from Republika Srpska. Swinnen reiterated that the recommendation of the OTP on the file was based on information received at that time. The OTP has had no involvement in the recent arrest of Jovan Divjak and therefore is not in a position to comment on the current case and evidence underpinning this arrest.

Further information on the “Rules of the Road” programme can be found via the following link: - http://www.icty.org/sid/96#rules

A journalist asked for an update on proceedings against the key witness Shefqet Kabashi in the case of Haradinaj et al and whether a warrant for his arrest had been issued by the Tribunal to the United States Government. Nerma Jelačić confirmed that the indictment against Kabashi for contempt of court that was raised in 2007 is still valid and will remain so until the Tribunal issues a decision indicating otherwise. It is not the practice of the Tribunal to issue public warrants of arrest, and so it is not possible at this stage to comment on whether or not such a warrant has been issued. As for the information provided by OTP on this issue in recent weeks, it will be up to the Trial Chamber to decide if any further action is needed. In the meantime, no date for the commencement of the retrial of Haradinaj and others has been scheduled as the Chamber is waiting for the Appeals Chamber ruling on the appeals of the Defence regarding the scope of the indictment for the retrial.


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