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Weekly Press Briefing - 4 April 2011

The Press Briefing can be viewed on the
ICTY YouTube channel

Date: 6.4.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

I will immediately turn to the upcoming courtroom schedule:

In the trial of the two former high ranking Bosnian Serb officials Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, the Defence of Mićo Stanišić will make its Opening Statements on Monday, 11 April, at 9:00 am in Courtoom I and will call its first witness the following day. Stanišić and Župljanin are accused of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and torture of non-Serb civilians in various areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina between April and December 1992. The trial commenced on 14 September 2009.

The Rule 98bis hearing in the trial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, two former chiefs of the Serbian State Security Service, will be held from tomorrow until next Tuesday, 12 April, in Courtroom II. Rule 98 bis of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedures and Evidence provides that accused may file a motion for a judgement of acquittal on one or more offences charged in the indictment after the close of the Prosecutor’s case. After hearing the oral submissions of the parties, the Trial Chamber can enter a judgement of acquittal on any count if it finds that the evidence presented by the Prosecution is insufficient to support a conviction. The Rule 98bis Decision is expected to be rendered on Thursday, 5 May, at a time to be confirmed. The Pre-Defence conference has been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, 14 June. The Defence case will begin the following day.

Hearings in the trial of Zdravko Tolimir continue this week and next as scheduled. The Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Momir Nikolić, former Bosnian Serb army officer sentenced by the ICTY and now serving his sentence in Finland. He is the 98th witness to be called by the Prosecution since the trial started on 26 February 2010.

Finally, I would like to bring to your attention that on Thursday, 14 April, the Tribunal will present the joint project "Supporting the Transfer of Knowledge and Materials of War Crimes Cases from the ICTY to National Jurisdictions” during the twentieth session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. This presentation will be made together with the Tribunal’s partners: UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The War Crimes Justice Project is a 4-million euro regional project funded by the European Union. It is carried out by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) in partnership with the ICTY, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and OSCE field operations. The purpose of the Project is to facilitate the transfer of the Tribunal’s unique institutional knowledge and specialised skills to jurisdictions in the region and to ensure that these jurisdictions have access to the Tribunal’s relevant materials in a useable form. As its mandate draws to a close, this Project forms part of the wider efforts of the Tribunal to assist local jurisdictions in strengthening their capacity to handle war crimes cases.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

Prosecutor Serge Brammertz will be in Sarajevo next week, from Monday 11 April to Wednesday 13 April.

This will be the first of his planned working visits to the former Yugoslavia in preparation of the Office of the Prosecutor’s report to the UN Security Council. The Prosecutor also plans to travel to Belgrade and Zagreb prior to submitting his next report to the Council. He will address the Security Council early June.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prosecutor Brammertz will meet with the Presidency, the judicial authorities as well as representatives of the international community. The Prosecutor will also meet with representatives of the victims.

Asked when the minutes and transcripts of the sessions of the Supreme Defence Council recently made public in the trial of Momčilo Perišić would be made available to the public, and if not, why not, Nerma Jelačić responded that the journalist’s request had been forwarded to the Trial Chamber. Jelačić explained that the practice of the Tribunal is such that each Trial Chamber can decide whether to make exhibits available to members of the public during the trial or after the judgement has been rendered. Jelačić assured the journalist that as soon as she would hear back from the Trial Chamber, she would inform the journalist whether the exhibits will be accessible now or after the judgement.

Asked whether this procedure also applies to the Bosnian Authorities who recently sent a request to receive copies of these exhibits, Jelačić responded that there is a separate rule that governs the cooperation of the Tribunal with other jurisdictions. For example, local courts, prosecutors’ offices or any other judicial institution dealing with war crimes, can apply for access to court material, including exhibits and confidential material for example under Rule 75 H of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence. This is dealt with separately by a trial bench specifically set up to assess such requests.


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