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Weekly Press Briefing - 9 November 2011

Date:  09.11.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

In the appeals case of Momčilo Perišić, the Accused yesterday filed his notice of appeal against the Trial Chamber judgement which was rendered on 6 September 2011. Perišić, a former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, was sentenced to 27 years of imprisonment after being found guilty of aiding and abetting murders, inhumane acts, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, and attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. He was also found guilty of failing to punish his subordinates for their crimes of murder, attacks on civilians and injuring and wounding civilians during the rocket attacks on Zagreb on 2 and 3 May 1995. Perišić was unanimously acquitted of charges of aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity in Srebrenica and of command responsibility in relation to crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. It was the first judgement handed down by the Tribunal in a case against an official of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Last Friday, Vojislav Šešelj declined to enter a plea for the second time in the third contempt of the Tribunal case being conducted against him. The Accused claimed that the Registrar’s decision to monitor his communications with his legal associates had left him without legal assistance. The Registrar’s decision followed his finding that reasonable grounds existed to believe that Šešelj abused the unmonitored communication means available to him for contacts with his legal associates to facilitate the disclosure of confidential information on his website in violation of judicial orders. In relation to the Accused’s claims, I will reiterate that Šeselj is able to continue communicating with his recognised legal advisors through visits, telephone calls, and written correspondence, but such communications will be monitored. This decision was taken in accordance with the Tribunal’s Rules of Detention and is also consistent with international standards. The Registrar will review this decision after a period of 30 days. Šešelj has the right to appeal the decision to the Tribunal’s President. Finally, in relation to the Accused’s third contempt of court case, the Accused has ten days from the date of the further initial appearance to enter a plea. A scheduling order has yet to be filed to this effect.

Turning now to scheduling issues:

The trials of Radovan Karadžić, Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin as well as that of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Ed Vulliamy, a journalist with the British daily The Guardian who was a reporter during the war in the former Yugoslavia.

In the Stanišić and Župljanin trial, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of a protected witness who worked in Republika Srpska’s State Security Service during the relevant period of the indictment.
In the Stanišić and Simatović trial, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of witness Vlado Dragičević, a former official of the Serbian State Security Service and close associate of Jovica Stanišić, who is testifying with regards to all counts of the indictment. Also relating to this case, a hearing will take place on 21 November at 15:00 in Courtroom III under Rule 54bis of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence. This rule relates to orders directed to States for the production of documents. This hearing follows a request submitted to the Trial Chamber by the Defence of Jovica Stanišic on 25 October 2011 and the Defence of Franko Simatović on 30 May 2011 for a binding order pursuant to this rule to Serbia to produce documents. According to the Defence of both Accused, Serbia failed to provide them with a number of requested documents. Representatives of the Serbian Government have been invited to attend this hearing where the Chamber will hear oral submissions from the parties and Serbia with regard to the requests submitted by the defence teams.
Also with regard to the trial of Stanišić & Simatović, the Stanišić Defence has five witnesses remaining, two of which should be called after the start of Franko Simatović’s Defence. Simatović’s Defence has been directed to be ready to call its first witness later this month. A housekeeping session has been provisionally scheduled for Thursday, 24 November 2011, during which the further scheduling of the case will be discussed.

Tomorrow, a Status Conference will be held in the case of Goran Hadžić at 15:00 in Courtroom III.

Also tomorrow, a Further Initial Appearance will be held in the case of Ratko Mladić at 16:00 in Courtroom I to enable the Accused to enter a plea to the amended third indictment, which added crimes committed in the village of Bišina in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in July 1995. The Further Initial Appearance will be followed by a Status Conference.

Finally, Next Tuesday and Wednesday, 15-16 November, the Tribunal is convening a two-day conference on ‘The Global Legacy of the ICTY’. Leading academics, international judges and practitioners, state representatives, UN officials and members of civil society will be brought together to explore the impact of the Tribunal’s work on international humanitarian law and international criminal procedure, as well as the potential of its jurisprudence to shape the future of global justice and the advancement of human rights. All working sessions of the conference will be open to the press. Journalists wishing to attend should accredit via the ICTY website.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor's Immediate Office, made no statement.


Asked whether the Prosecution will be appealing the Judgement in the case of Momčilo Perišić, Kontić responded that, after careful consideration of the Trial Chamber’s Judgment, the Prosecution has decided not to file a Notice of Appeal against the Judgment. The Prosecution has carefully scrutinised the Trial Chamber's Judgement.  Taking into consideration the high standard of review on appeal under the ICTY Statute, particularly when it comes to factual findings at trial, the Prosecution has decided not to appeal. Kontić added that as the Defence have filed a Notice of Appeal, the Prosecution will await the filing of the Defence Brief and will respond at that time.

Asked to confirm whether the team of Serbian doctors will be coming to visit Ratko Mladić as reported yesterday in a Sarajevo daily, Nerma Jelačić first stressed that every Accused, including Ratko Mladić, has the right to request a visit by a specialist of his own choice. Such requests are approved by the Tribunal in accordance with the Rules of Detention and have been approved on many other occasions previously. She added that the Registry has been communicating with the Accused, the Defence and the Government in question for quite some time now, making clear its readiness to facilitate this visit, and to approve it in accordance with the Rules. The days at which the visit will take place have been determined. Jelačić added that, as usual, she cannot discuss the details of of the visit, nor what the results of the examination will be, but confirmed that the team of Serbian doctors should be coming to the Tribunal’s Detention Unit some time next week. Jelačić emphasised that this would not be the first time that a specialist or a doctor has been to the Detention Unit to examine an Accused before this Tribunal, and neither is this the first time that doctors from the former Yugoslavia are examining an Accused from the Tribunal’s Detention Unit.
Turning to the questions received as part of the Interactive Press Briefing, “Ask the Tribunal”, Nerma Jelačić responded to the following question:

Asked for an update as to when the Tribunal is expected to wind down its work, Jelačić said that the Tribunal is still guiding its work in accordance with the last Completion Strategy Report provided by the President to the UN Security Council last summer. The next report will be made later this year, and the Tribunal is taking all necessary measures to complete its remaining work pertaining to the first instance trials by no later than end of December 2014. Jelačić added that all the cases for which appeals will not be filed before July 2013 will be dealt with by the Residual Mechanism, which will start functioning as of next year for the ICTR, and as of 2013 for ICTY.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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