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Weekly Press Briefing - 20 July 2011

Date: 20.7.2011.
Time: 12:00

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia welcomes the arrest today of Goran Hadžić by the Serbian authorities. Today marks the arrest of the last fugitive remaining at large out of the 161 persons indicted by the Tribunal.

Hadžić has been a fugitive since July 2004 when the indictment charging him with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed in Croatia and Serbia was made public. Arrangements for his transfer into the Tribunal’s custody are under way and he is expected to arrive in The Hague within days.

In relation to the arrest, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated the following:

“I welcome the arrest today of Goran Hadžić the war-time Croatian Serb political leader of the self proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina. Hadžić’s transfer into the Tribunal’s custody is a long awaited development for the victims of the crimes charged against him. It is also an important milestone in the Tribunal’s history. Eighteen years after the Tribunal’s creation, we can now say that no indicted person has successfully evaded the Tribunal’s judicial process. This is a precedent of enduring significance, not only for this Tribunal, but also for international criminal justice more generally.

We recognize the role of the Serbian authorities in apprehending Goran Hadžić, particularly its Action Team in charge of locating and arresting Tribunal fugitives and the National Security Council. We also acknowledge the role played by the Services who carried out the arrest operation. The international community too has played a role in supporting measures to secure Hadžić’s arrest and we express our gratitude for the support we have received.

Goran Hadžić has been apprehended less than two months after the arrest of war-time Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. These combined events mark a long-awaited step forward in Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal.  Serbia has now produced visible evidence that cooperation with the Tribunal is not an empty promise but a genuine commitment and we look forward to Serbia’s assistance with our ongoing work.  In the weeks and months ahead we will continue to ask Serbia –and all states of the former Yugoslavia – to support our cases by providing access to archives documents and witnesses.

As we pause to reflect on the significance of Hadžić’s arrest for the Tribunal, we are mindful that the Tribunal is part of a much broader process for establishing accountability for atrocities committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.  The victims of thousands of other crimes are still waiting for justice. The prosecution of war crimes in national proceedings remains a critical challenge for the region and its people.  The Office of the Prosecutor will continue to use its best efforts to assist the fight against impunity in the former Yugoslavia, by providing national prosecutors with information, evidence and expertise. The international community also has a key role to play in ensuring that national prosecutions can successfully take over the Tribunal’s work in establishing accountability for the atrocities committed.

With Hadžić’s arrest we take solace in the knowledge that the Tribunal can now complete its work.  But to ensure full accountability for the atrocities committed during the war in the former Yugoslavia, we must also redouble our commitment to supporting the remaining national prosecutions.”

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

The Tribunal would like to join the Office of the Prosecutor in welcoming today’s arrest of Goran Hadžić, the last remaining fugitive, of the total of 161 persons indicted by the Tribunal. Hadžić’s arrest indeed marks another milestone in the Tribunal’s history and brings this institution closer to the successful completion of its mandate. His initial appearance will be announced shortly after he has been transferred to the Tribunal’s custody.

Onto separate developments this week:

The Appeals Chamber affirmed Florence Hartmann’s conviction for contempt of court and upheld the imposition of a fine of 7,000 Euros. Hartmann, former Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, was found guilty on 14 September 2009 of disclosing the contents, purported effect, and confidential nature of two Appeals Chamber Decisions from the Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milošević case in a book and an article authored by her in 2007 and 2008, respectively. A full copy of the Appeals Judgement is available online.

Last Friday, the Tribunal’s President, Judge Patrick Robinson, denied Milomir Stakić’s request for sentence remission.  Milomir Stakić, former mayor of Prijedor, was transferred on 12 January 2007 to France where he is currently serving his sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment for his responsibility in exterminating, murdering and persecuting Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in Prijedor in 1992. In denying his request, the President noted the very high gravity of Stakić’s crimes as well as his very limited demonstration of rehabilitation, including the fact that he did not avow the deeds for which he is incarcerated. It is the practice of the Tribunal to consider the eligibility of a convicted person for early release only after he has served two-thirds of his sentence. The President noted that Stakić will have served two-thirds of his sentence on approximately 15 November 2027.

Turning now to the courtroom schedule:

A Status Conference in case of Ratko Mladić has been scheduled for 25 August 2011 at 14:15 in Courtroom 1.

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

In the Karadžić case, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of the Prosecution witness and military expert Reynaud Theunens. This is Theunens’s seventh testimony before the Tribunal. Theunens’ testimony relates to the composition and command structures of the Serb military forces involved in the operations detailed in Karadžić’s indictment.

In the trial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of a protected Defence witness, who is the 6th witness in Stanišić defence case.

In the Tolimir case, Prosecution witness Richard Butler, a military expert, will resume his testimony this afternoon.

Proceedings in the Stanišić and Župljanin case have adjourned and will resume on Monday, 5 September. Goran Mačar was the last witness to be called by Mićo Stanišić’s defence. Proceedings will resume with the start of Stojan Župljanin’s defence case.

Please note that the Tribunal’s three-week long summer recess will start as of next Monday, 25 July. Hearings will resume on Monday, 15 August 2011. Please note that hearings may take place during recess. The media will be notified should this be the case.

The first week back from recess will see the start of the re-trial in the Haradinaj and others case on 18 August 2011.

The next press briefing is scheduled for 17 August 2011.


Asked whether the Tribunal could expect Goran Hadžiċ to be soon transferred to The Hague, Frederik Swinnen responded that the regular procedure with arrests will be followed. He added that there is an ongoing judicial procedure in Serbia and Prosecutor Vukceviċ would make an announcement shortly. Swinnen explained that Hadžiċ now has to go through the local judicial process before he can be transferred.

Asked whether the transfer would take place within the coming 10 days, Swinnen answered that it could take as long as this.

Asked whether there were any updates on the appointment of Ratko Mladiċ’s Lead Counsel, Jelačić responded that there were no results yet that could be made available to the public and added that the Registry continues communicating with the Accused, as well as with his preferred legal representatives and has facilitated further meetings between him and them. Jelačić reiterated that no decision of appointment has been made yet but that once it has been the public will be notified.

Asked whether the ICTY was still working on the remaining five names of the list of seven possible counsels selected by Mladić, Jelačić answered that the media has already been informed that of the seven names that he originally submitted, there are only two he prefers for consideration at this moment. She added that the Registry has continued facilitating meetings between the Accused and the two of them as well as others. The rules and the requirements that need to be met before somebody can be appointed have been explained to the accused. Jelačić emphasised that nobody has been appointed yet and the Registry is doing its best to have the decision made as soon as possible.

Asked about what would happen if the selection procedure is not finalised by 25 August, date of Mladić’s Status Conference, Jelačić responded that she could not speculate as to what would happen. She added that the extended deadline that was given to the Registry, was something that the Registry was looking to meet.

Asked whether Mladiċ would be back in court without counsel on 25 August, Jelačić responded that she would not expect that there will not be further development between now and then. Jelačić reiterated that the Registry is working on finalising this question as soon as practicable but in accordance with the rules that are governing this procedure.

Asked about how the Tribunal would go about calculating the amount of prison days in a situation where a person convicted of contempt refuses to pay an imposed fine and how much 7,000 Euros represent in terms of the number of days spent in prison, Jelačić responded she could not answer such a hypothetical question. Jelačić said that the Registry has been instructed by the judges to communicate with Ms Hartmann and her defence counsel so as to ensure that the payment is made. Jelačić used the opportunity to remind the journalist of previous contempt judgments which were in a form of a fine rather than a prison sentence, the last one being against the Kosovo Albanian journalist Baton Haxhiu which resulted in the payment of the fine.

Asked what happens if someone refuses to pay a fine, Jelačić responded that if the Registry was unable to ensure the payment of the fine, it would inform the Chamber which ordered the payment of the fine. It would be up to the Chamber to decide on what the next instruction should be.

The journalist gave an example from the law of the Former Yugoslavia pursuant to which a person who refused to pay a fine could be sentenced to a certain number of days in prison, Jelačić responded that the Tribunal did not have such a specific provision in its rules.