Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 02 December 2003
FIRST CONFERENCE BETWEEN HEALTH PROFESSIONALS FROM THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND THE ICTY ON WITNESS WELFARE
Starting on Wednesday 3 December, a ground breaking conference will be held by the ICTY Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS) for the purpose of meeting with health and welfare professionals from Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the physical, emotional and psychological needs of ICTY witnesses.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss how the establishment of health and welfare networks throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina could assist in providing preparation and follow-up services to meet the health needs of witnesses. These services will supplement the services undertaken by VWS while the witnesses are in The Hague.
The first of its kind, this three-day workshop will bring to the ICTY, 24 psychiatrists, medical doctors, psychologists and social workers from both the Federation and Republika Srpska. The professionals invited are currently practicing in the areas where most ICTY witnesses reside.
Similar Conferences will be held in 2004 with experts from the Republic of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the United Nations administered territory of Kosovo. The series of conferences are funded by the European Commission.
During their stay at the ICTY, participants will familiarize themselves with the Tribunal’s work through meetings with representatives from the various organs comprising the ICTY and they will have working meetings with VWS representatives with the view of developing protocols of services to be offered to witnesses.
From 1st January 1998 to the present days, just over 2,330 witnesses have testified before a Trial Chamber of the ICTY. Of this number (approximately); 58% were called by the Office of the Prosecutor, 40% by Defence Counsel, and 2% called by the Trial Chambers themselves, 60% testified openly without any protective measures, 59% were resident in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 19% were female
witnesses, 30% were aged over 51 years, and 6% younger than 30 years.