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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 12th Oct 2003

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing 10 December 2003

note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
a summary.

Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 10.12.2003

Time: 12.20 p.m.


Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following opening statement:


Following a letter from
the Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro to the Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber
I dated 8 December in which the Ambassador explained the position of Serbia
and Montenegro in respect of its failure to transfer General Pavle Strugar to
The Hague within the time limits set by the Trial Chamber, the Senior Legal
Officer of Trial Chamber I responded on 9 December. In his letter, the Senior
Legal Officer reiterated that the clear obligations under Article 29 of the
Tribunal’s Statute meant that General Strugar should be transferred to The Hague
without further delay. He stated that the Government of Montenegro had given
specific guarantees in a letter dated 23 November 2001 and that those guarantees
had to be honored by Serbia and Montenegro. The Senior Legal Officer further
stated that:

"It is not for
the Trial Chamber to interfere with domestic legislation. The Trial Chamber
emphasizes, however, that domestic legislation should not obstruct the compliance
with any obligation under the international law, whether resulting from the
Statute or from guarantees specifically given in the context of the provisional
release of an accused.

By failing to ensure
the return of General Strugar at the place and time determined by the Trial
Chamber, the Government of Serbia and Montenegro failed to fulfill its obligations.
The fact that the delay is due to domestic judicial procedures does not alter
the matter. It should be recalled that the Government of Serbia and Montenegro
has known of the duty to produce General Strugar for trial since 27 November

The order of the Trial
Chamber for the immediate return of General Strugar stands.

You all should have
seen our press advisory yesterday announcing that the start of the Strugar trial
has been postponed until further notice.

With regard to recent
media reports in Belgrade repeating serious allegations made by Vojislav Seselj
against the Registrar and others in the Tribunal, I would like to bring to your
attention once again Trial Chamber II’s response in a Decision rendered on 18
November of this year.

In the Decision, the Trial
Chamber stated that "the Accused has not provided so much as a scintilla
of evidence to support his very grave allegations, nor does he suggest that
he is in possession of such evidence.
" The Trial Chamber found that,
in their opinion, "the Accused’s behaviour amounts to a serious abuse
of the opportunity afforded to him to have access to a public forum at this
", and they cautioned the Accused "that the Chamber
takes a very poor view of his conduct in this matter and that any future attempts
to hijack public proceedings for the purpose of directing unsubstantiated accusations
against staff members or other persons associated with this Tribunal is more
than likely to meet with sanctions

I have also noted reports
in the media that allege that the Tribunal is denying members of the Serbian
Radical Party permission to visit Mr. Seselj in the Detention Unit. This is
not the case. The SRS has been asked to follow the usual procedures with regard
to requesting visits, in other words, to identify two representatives from the
SRS who intend to visit and to give the standard guarantees that they will respect
the Rules governing visits at the DU.

With regard to General
Clark’s testimony next week in the Milosevic trial, we will be putting out an
advisory later in the week detailing the arrangements for the media to view
his testimony.

With regard to the court
schedule and in addition to the ongoing trials

In chronological order:

You will have seen that
the Appeals Hearing in The Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaskic has commenced
and will be held this week until 11 December and then from 15 to 17 December.

In The Prosecutor v.
Dragan Obrenovic
, the Sentencing Judgement will be rendered this afternoon,
commencing at 3 p.m. in Courtroom III.

The Pre-Trial Conference
in The Prosecutor v. Sefer Halilovic will be held on 15 December at 3

There will be a status conference
in The Prosecutor v. Mitar Rasevic on 18 December at 12.30 p.m.

In The Prosecutor v.
Dragan Nikolic
, the Sentencing Judgement will be rendered on 18 December
at 2 p.m.

There will be a status conference
in The Prosecutor v. Milomir Stakic on 18 December at 2.30 p.m.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman
for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked what Serbia
and Montenegro’s comment was on the reason for General Strugar not returning
to the ICTY, Landale replied that Serbia and Montenegro had cited health reasons
and had indicated that they were initiating procedures for his extradition to
the Tribunal.

Landale stated that this
was troubling to the Tribunal on two fronts. First of all, the Tribunal did
not use the term extradition between countries and the ICTY -- the term was
‘transfers’. But more significantly, he was on provisional release, therefore
it required an order from the Trial Chamber requiring his return and that was
all. It did not require initiating procedures to transfer the accused, the type
of procedures that were seen when an accused had been at large, was apprehended
and was then going to be transferred.

Asked if there was a confirmation
that Strugar would return to the Detention Unit on Friday, Landale replied that
the Tribunal was waiting to see. There had been statements yesterday evening
that indicated the possibility of an imminent transfer or travel by General
Strugar to the Tribunal. Landale stated that time was passing and that there
had already been a delay, which was unfortunate and frustrating to the Tribunal.
He stated that the sooner he was transferred the better for the Tribunal.

Asked if the Serbian Radical
Party had asked the UN to issue a visa rather than the Dutch authorities in
order to visit Sesejl, Landale replied that the UN did not issue visas and that
he was not aware of this specific point. He stated that he did note in the media
statements saying the Tribunal had refused them permission to visit Sesejl and
that this was connected to the ‘unmasking of a money laundering enterprise’
by the Registrar and others. Landale stressed that these were ridiculous allegations
and were without any merit whatsoever. The allegations of wrong doing by the
Registrar and others had been investigated by the Trial Chamber. Landale added
that the Tribunal took allegations of this sort extremely seriously, and that
they were found to be unsubstantiated.

In terms of refusing visits,
Landale said that this was not the case as they had been told that they needed
to apply for visits the same way as any other individual wishing to visit someone
in the Detention Unit. The reason for this was to identify representatives of
their larger group who could visit in a manageable way, given restrictions on
space, and to provide guarantees that they would respect the rules.

Asked if they had refused
to give guarantees or had wanted to bring in the entire group, Landale replied
that they had suggested a rather large group, and the Tribunal had said that
realistically there must be orderly management of the Detention Unit. The Tribunal
was quite prepared to allow access to certain representatives, but that they
must identify those representatives.

Asked what was meant by
a rather large group, Landale said that he did not know specifically, but that
he knew it was too large to be accommodated at the Detention Unit.

Asked if two representatives
needed to be identified, Landale confirmed and stated that these two representatives
could discuss whatever they wanted to discuss with Mr. Sesejl. Landale added
that the Tribunal did insist that they give guarantees to respect the rules.
Landale pointed out that there had been problems in the past with the SRS (Serbian
Radical Party) not adhering to the rules governing visits to the Detentions
Unit, and that this time the Tribunal wanted to ensure that they did.

Asked how exactly the SRS
had not adhered to the rules, Landale answered it was an issue of some time
ago regarding not respecting the rule of talking to the media about the visit.
Landale added that he believed it was not only that reason, but also what they
had said to the media that was not in line with the reality of what had taken
place on their visit.

A journalist referred to
the legal arguments in the morning session of the Milosevic trial about the
impermissibility of intercepts. In order to explain this discussion to the general
public, the journalist suggested it might be helpful to explain what the intercepts
were all about. The journalist asked if elaboration could be given on the contents
of the intercepts.

Both Hartmann
and Landale replied that they would look into the issue for the journalists
and get back to them.

Briefing Documents:

Please find below the list of documents were made available
to the media this week.

Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaskic

08 December 2003
"Decision On Subject Matter Of Testimony Of Witnesses On Appeal And Prosecution’s
Request For Re-Consideration Of Scheduling Order For Evidentiary Hearing"

Prosecutor v.
Slobodan Milosevic:

03 December 2003
"Prosecution Submission Of Expert Statements Pursuant To Rule 94bis".

04 December 2003
"Addendum To Prosecution Submission Of Expert Statement Of Dr. Ton Zwaan".

Prosecutor v.
Sefer Halilovic:

03 December 2003
"Motion For Access-Presidency Records".

04 December 2003
"Decision On Defence Motions For Access".

Prosecutor v.
Momcilo Krajisnik:

04 December 2003
"Submission Of Prosecution’s Second Revised List Of Witnesses".

Prosecutor v.
Milutinovic, Sainovic and Ojdanic

04 December 2003
"Decision On Prosecution Motion For Joinder".

05 December 2003
"Prosecution’s Response To Ojdanic’s Third Application For Provisional

Prosecutor v.
Vojislav Seselj

18 November 2003
"Decision On Certain Allegations Made In Motion Number 23".

Prosecutor v.
Pavle Strugar:

05 December 2003
"Decision Rejecting The Motion For Certification To Appeal The ‘Decision
And Order Relating To Accused’s Pavle Strugar Request For Postponement’ And
"Order To The Government Of Serbia And Montenegro To Ensure Mr. Pavle Strugar’s
Immediate Return To The Netherlands".

09 December 2003
Senior Legal
Officer of Trial Chamber I Response To Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro

Prosecutor v.
Naser Oric:

05 December 2003
"Prosecution’s Submission Pursuant To Rule 65ter(E)".

Prosecutor v.
Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura:

03 December 2003
"Joint Prosecution-Defence Statement Agreement Of Facts".