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All Indicted Persons must be surrendered to and judged by the International Tribunal

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 8 March 2001

All Indicted Persons must be surrendered to and judged by the International Tribunal

It appears some misunderstandings have arisen following media reports on statements attributed to the Deputy Prosecutor, Graham Blewitt, which were made during a meeting at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on 7 March.

To clarify any misunderstandings, it must be stated that there is no change in the policy of the Prosecutor’s Office regarding the trial of Slobodan Milosevic and other accused persons indicted by this Tribunal. The Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor are in total agreement and insist on the primacy of the ICTY. All those indicted by the ICTY must be surrendered to the Tribunal.

Secondly, following the surrender of the indicted person to the Tribunal, other issues and possibilities could be considered and discussed, including the possibility of holding part of a trial before this Tribunal in Belgrade, or elsewhere. Such a possibility is consistent with the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Rule 4). This question has been raised in the past as one method of allowing the citizens of the former Yugoslavia greater access to the proceedings being conducted before the Tribunal.

Other possibilities that could be considered following the surrender of indicted accused to the Tribunal include the timing and the possibility of allowing a particular accused to stand trial before a local court pending the start of a trial before the Tribunal. It is important, however, to recognize that decisions regarding such matters rest with the President of the Tribunal, and may depend on, among other things, security considerations and the availability of sufficient resources to hold trials away from the seat of the Tribunal in The Hague.

With regard to Slobodan Milosevic and the four co-accused charged in respect of alleged crimes in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999, the Prosecutor is ready to proceed to trial in that case. Furthermore, new indictments charging Milosevic with his responsibility for alleged war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia will be issued by the Prosecutor in the future.

Finally, it is important to repeat once again that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must fulfil its international legal obligations towards the ICTY, including the surrender of all persons indicted by the Tribunal.