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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 31 October 2012

Date:  31.10.2012
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Nerma Jelačić, Head of Communications, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

The Appeals Hearing in the trial of Momčilo Perišić was held yesterday. Perišić, a former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment on 6 September 2011 for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The Prosecution did not file an appeal against the sentence whilst the Defence asked that he be acquitted on all grounds. The Defence’s Appeal Brief is available online. The Judgement will be rendered in due course.

Proceedings in the trials of Goran Hadžić, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić continue this week and next as scheduled:

In the trial of Goran Hadžić, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Borivoje Savić, who is the third witness to be called by the Prosecution since the trial started on 16 October. Savić was one of the officials of the Serbian Democratic Party in Croatia.

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, Defence expert witness Derek Allsop is testifying about the “Markale 1” shelling incident in Sarajevo in February 1994. Allsop is a mechanical engineer from the United Kingdom. He is the 10th witness to be called by Karadžić.

Muhamed Kapetanović is currently testifying in Ratko Mladić’s case. His testimony relates to the events in Sarajevo and the injuries he sustained as a nine year old boy following a shelling in 1994. He is the 37th witness to be called by the Prosecution to testify in person.

Before concluding, I would like to bring to your attention a series of legacy conferences that will be held in the course of November in the former Yugoslavia. The first conference will be held in Sarajevo on Tuesday, 6 November; which will be followed by a conference in Zagreb on Thursday, 8 November. The last conference will be held in Belgrade on Thursday, 22 November.

The aim of the conferences is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders from the the former Yugoslavia to meet and discuss the Tribunal’s contribution to transitional justice in the region. The conferences will provide a platform for the wider community to take stock of the Tribunal’s achievements. Participants will be able to share their thoughts on what the Tribunal’s legacy should be and how it should be reinforced.

Journalists are cordially invited to cover the conferences. Further information is available online.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

Asked what the future plans concerning the ICTY archives were, Nerma Jelačić said that the Tribunal had been working actively on the archives issue. She emphasised that it was very important to differentiate between the official archives of the Tribunal and the accessibility of court related material to the public. She explained that the decision of the final location of the archives of the Tribunal lies with the UN Secretary General. She added that, for now, the archives will be in the custody of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, the body that was set up to finish the work of the ICTY and ICTR.

Jelačić further said that, over the last two years, the Tribunal had looked into the possibility of establishing information centres across the former Yugoslavia. These centres would hold copies of the Tribunal’s judicial archives and make them accessible not only to the general public but also to specific and professional bodies interested in the work of the Tribunal. She explained that the Tribunal would continue to work with partner organisations at both international and local levels on this particular issue under the auspices of President Meron. She stressed that the official archives of the Tribunal would remain with the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals until another decision was made by the UN.

Jelačić added that whilst the Tribunal’s Information Centers are primarily concerned with providing access to the archives to those most affected by its work, the citizens of the former Yugoslavia, the ICTY is currently working with a number of other international institutions on providing them access to public records of the archives so that they can be used in future projects.

Frederick Swinnen added that the Office of the Prosecutor was already working closely with national prosecutors who need access to the documents of the Office of the Prosecutor for their ongoing cases. He explained that this is done either through requests coming from the region or through their liaison representatives in The Hague. He emphasised that whilst a decision on the future location of the archives is pending, non confidential Court documents are already available to the public electronically.


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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