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Weekly Press Briefing - 14 September 2011

Date: 14.09.2011
Time: 14:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

I will immediately turn to the courtroom schedule:

Last Wednesday, the Registrar assigned Mr Zoran Živanović as lead counsel to Goran Hadžić for a period of 120 days. During this period, the Registry will examine whether the Accused has sufficient means to remunerate counsel himself. A Status Conference in this case has been scheduled for Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 15:00 in Courtroom III.

Yesterday in the case of Zdravko Tolimir, proceedings were adjourned until further notice. The Prosecution is expected to conclude after the testimony of one remaining witness. The Presiding Judge confirmed orally this week that it is anticipated that the Defence case will begin after the winter recess. A Scheduling Order setting out specific deadlines and dates for the continuation of this case will be issued shortly.

The Judgement in the contempt of court case of Shefqet Kabashi will be rendered this Friday, 16 September at 15:30 in Courtroom I. The Accused pleaded guilty on 26 August 2011 to two counts of Contempt of the Tribunal, for refusing to answer questions as a witness in the first trial of Haradinaj and others in 2007.

In the Vlastimir Đorđević case, a Status Conference will be held next Wednesday, 21 September at 9:30 in Courtroom II.

In the case of Milan and Sredoje Lukić, an Appeals Hearing is currently being held in Courtroom I. The hearing will resume tomorrow at 10:00.

 In the trial of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, the testimony of defence witness Vidosav Kovačević will resume at 14:15 in Courtroom III. Kovačević, a military expert, has been testifying since 5 September about the work of the police during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

Proceedings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will resume tomorrow afternoon at 13:30 in Courtroom I with the testimony of a new protected Prosecution witness, a Bosnian Muslim from Foča who will be testifying about the takeover of the municipality and the crimes committed against the non-Serb civilian population.

Last Thursday, a decision of the Tribunal’s President to grant early release to Ivica Rajić, which was issued confidentially on 22 August 2011, was made public. Rajić was the former commander of the Second Operational Group of the Bosnian Croat Army in Central Bosnia. He pleaded guilty to charges against him and was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment by the Tribunal on 8 May 2006. He was sentenced for commanding, in October 1993, the attack on village of Stupni Do in the Central Bosnia, which resulted in the killing of at least 37 persons, including elderly and children, and the destruction of the village. He was also sentenced for commanding forces that attacked and looted the town of Vareš, detained about 250 Muslim men and treated them inhumanely. On 12 April 2007, Rajić was transferred to Spain to serve the remainder of his sentence. Rajić became eligible for early release in accordance with Spanish law as of 2 April 2011, having served eight years of his 12-year sentence. In reaching his decision, the President took into account that Rajić had served two thirds of his sentence, as well as his good behaviour while serving his sentence, which demonstrated some rehabilitation, and his co-operation with the Prosecution.

Finally, I would like to inform journalists that those interested in covering the Tribunal’s Open Day this coming Sunday will be able to do so, from 11:30 to 12:30, during which they will be allowed to film the welcoming remarks and visitors attending presentations in the Press Briefing Room. Further details will be provided in a separate Press Advisory. The Tribunal’s Open Day will take place as part of the fourth annual ‘International Day’ organised by the Municipality of The Hague and will provide the Tribunal a chance to present its mandate, work and achievements to the citizens of The Hague and to the public at large.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser to the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked how the Prosecutor’s visit to Belgrade went and what his impressions were, Swinnen responded that yesterday’s Press Conference of President Tadić and the Prosecutor reflected the mood and the nature of discussions the Prosecutor had  throughout his working visit. Swinnen said that the main purpose of the mission was to discuss the recent arrests of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić and meet those officials who had worked on these arrests. Swinnen said that the Prosecutor met with President Tadić, Minister Ljajić, Prosecutor Vukčević as well as the operational services who were involved in the arrests. Swinnen said that the chapter of the fugitives is now closed and that the Prosecutor is now looking forward to finding out how the two accused were able to evade justice for so long. Swinnen added that discussions on this matter with the local authorities will be continuing in the weeks to come. The other purpose of the visit was to ascertain that Serbia continues to provide all necessary assistance to ongoing trials, specifically by providing access to documents, archives and witnesses. Swinnen stated that this aspect of the cooperation as it stands today is satisfactory and that it should continue. Swinnen added that the Prosecutor had also addressed the need to effectively support the prosecution of war crimes domestically. The OTP would continue to support this process and provide all necessary assistance to prosecutors in the region. 

A journalist asked whether there were any developments in the investigations into how it was possible for Mladić and Hadžić to evade justice for so long and whether Serbia had provided any information to the Prosecutor. Swinnen responded that they discussed this matter extensively during meetings in Belgrade and confirmed that information had been provided to the OTP. Swinnen added that the Serbian authorities, as confirmed by President Tadić, indicated that they would continue looking into the matter.


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