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Weekly Press Briefing - 21 March 2012

Date:  21.03.2012
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Martin Petrov, Chief of the Immediate Office of the Registrar, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

Closing arguments in the case of Vojislav Šešelj concluded yesterday and the Trial Chamber has now retired for deliberations. During the course of the trial the Prosecution presented 71 witnesses and 10 Chamber witnesses were called. More than 1000 exhibits were tendered into evidence. The date and time of the Judgement Hearing will be announced in due course.

Last Wednesday, the Trial Chamber granted the Prosecution’s motion for leave to amend the first amended indictment in the case of Goran Hadžić and ordered that the new indictment be filed by tomorrow. A copy of the amended indictment will be posted on our website once it has been filed.

In the contempt of court case of Jelena Rašić, last Friday the Prosecution filed its appeal brief against the Judgement, a copy of which is available online. The Defence submitted its notice of appeal this Monday, 19 March. In accordance with the Tribunal’s rules, the Defence has 15 days from the filing of the notice of its appeal to submit its appeal brief. Rašić, former case manager on the Defence team of Milan Lukić, was sentenced on 7 February 2012 to 12 months’ imprisonment for contempt of the Tribunal for having knowingly and wilfully interfered with the administration of justice by procuring a false witness statement from Zuhdija Tabaković from Višegrad in exchange for €1,000 in cash.

Turning to the courtroom schedule:

A Status Conference will be held in the case of Ratko Mladić on Thursday, 29 March at 9:00 in Courtroom III.

Proceedings in the trials of Radovan Karadžić as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

In the Karadžić trial, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Thomas Parsons, Director of Forensic Science of the International Commission on Missing Persons.

In the Stanišić and Simatović trial, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of David Browne, a forensic document examiner who is an expert witness for the Stanišič Defence. Please note that a housekeeping session has been scheduled for next Wednesday, 28 March at 9:00 in Courtroom II.

I would like to finish with a short update on the activities of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme:

Today, Outreach launched a series of university lectures in Croatia as part of its region-wide project to reach out to university students across the former Yugoslavia. A total of four lectures will be held this week at the Political Science Faculty and the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb and at the Law Faculty of Split University. This follows a similar series of lectures which were held last week in four universities across the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The project will be rolled out in the coming months to universities across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.

Yesterday, Outreach welcomed a group of 12 students from the universities of Belgrade, Niš and Novid Sad on a two-day study visit to the Tribunal. As part of their visit, the students are meeting with the Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Judge Christoph Flϋgge, Judge Stefan Trechsel and other senior staff members from the Registry, the Office of the Prosecutor and Defence to learn about the Tribunal’s work, its achievements and jurisprudence. The visit was set up in cooperation with Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Serbia.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

A journalist asked whether it was correct that Vojislav Šešelj had called no Defence witnesses. Petrov confirmed that this was the case.

A journalist asked whether Judge Howard Morrison, recently sworn-in as a judge at the International Criminal Court, would continue to sit on the Karadžić bench. Petrov confirmed that Judge Morrison would continue his work on the Karadžić case until the case was completed and would not take up any judicial work at the ICC during this period.

Asked about current estimates for the duration of the Karadžić trial, Kontić confirmed that the Prosecution case should finish by the end of April according to current estimates. Asked whether that would constitute a record, Kontić said that he believed that the Prosecution had completed other cases in less time. Petrov reiterated the Tribunal’s commitment to completing outstanding trials as expeditiously as possible. 

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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