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His Excellency Mr. Otakar Motejl, Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, visits the ICTY.

Press Release · Communiqué de presse

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)


The Hague, 5 March 1999




On Friday 5 March 1999, the Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, Mr. Otakar Motejl, paid an official visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mr. Motejl wished to express his country’s commitment to cooperation with the Tribunal and assistance in the discharge of its mandate. He also expressed his personal support for the Tribunal.

Upon his arrival, Minister Motejl and his party visited Courtroom III and attended the beginning of the day’s hearing in the Kupreskic & Others Case.

The Justice Minister, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Netherlands, Her Excellency Mrs. Bambasova, and their aides then proceeded to a series of meetings with the President, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, the Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. Graham Blewitt, and the Registrar, Ms. Dorothee de Sampayo. The discussions focused on the enhancement of the working relationship between
the Czech Republic and the ICTY.

The Minister, who wanted to be provided with an insight into court procedure, met at his request with various Registry staff in charge of the judicial management. Issues pertaining to legal aid for indigent accused persons, the protection of witnesses, the audiovisual equipment and the Detention Unit were then discussed.

His Exellency Mr. Motejl concluded his visit by expressing his wish "that it would be better if the world did not require the existence of international criminal tribunals. However, since the need persisted, the tribunals should possess the scale of authority guaranteeing that war crimes and crimes against humanity all over the world are really punished. The Czech Republic would
like to play its active role in this process."

Minister Motejl indicated that progress was being made in the Czech Republic to develop mechanisms to support the Tribunal. He expressed his opinion that a visit by the President would help to accelerate that progress.

On behalf of the International Tribunal, President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald thanked Minister Motejl for his visit and the support to the Tribunal’s work which it illustrated. The President also pointed out that this first ever visit by a representative of the Czech government expands the scope of the international commitment to the success of the Tribunal.