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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 11th Apr 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 11 April 2001

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

Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 11
April 2001

Time: 11:30


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

There will be an extraordinary plenary session of the judges of the ICTY tomorrow
Thursday 12 April, where modifications will be discussed to the Rules of Procedure
and Evidence following the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1329.
As well as making the necessary preparations for the arrival of the ad litem
judges, the discussions will include the use of Senior Legal Officers for pre-trial
management and the granting of greater powers to the judges.

terms of court documents, on 9 April a motion for separate trial was filed by
Biljana Plavsic, because "she will not have adequate time and/or resources
to prepare for the trial as currently scheduled

also received the Prosecutor’s pre-trial brief in the Bosanski Samac case on
9 April. Copies of both these documents and the latest status of cases fact
sheet will be available after this briefing.

a reminder that Friday and Monday are an official UN holidays.



Jean-Jacques Joris, Advisor to the Prosecutor, made no statement.



for clarification of the issue of greater power for judges, which would be
on the agenda at the next plenary, Landale replied that this issue was, among
other things, to do with being able to regulate the number of witnesses that
either party could call. This would ensure that there was a sensible and appropriate
number of witnesses being called by both parties and not endless lists of
witnesses who might all be testifying as to the same facts. He added that
it was aimed at streamlining the procedures, making them as effective as possible.
Any announcements from the plenary would be forwarded as soon as possible,
he concluded.

Asked whether
the renovation work being carried out in the Tribunal Lobby was being done
in expectation of the arrival of Mr. Milosevic and whether any special renovations
were being made to the Detention Unit, Landale replied that the work in the
lobby had nothing to do with the pending arrival of Mr. Milosevic. He added
that the Detention Unit had the facilities and capability to receive any accused.
Slobodan Milosevic was no different, he concluded.

Asked for
a summary of the results of the visit of the Registrar to Belgrade and whether
there had been any change in the position of Belgrade to the request from
the Tribunal that Milosevic be transferred to The Hague without delay, Landale
replied that he had nothing specific to report. He added, however, that the
Tribunal was watching the situation closely.

The main purpose
of the visit, which was successfully accomplished, was the serving of the
arrest warrant to Minister Grubac, the Federal Minister of Justice, and
obtaining from him the commitment that this arrest warrant would be served
on Mr. Milosevic. Landale could not say at this time whether this had actually
happened, although, obviously, the Tribunal would be keen to find out.

In addition
to that, the Registrar had sought to obtain information as to the precise
nature of the charges against Mr. Milosevic in the district court in Belgrade.
The information gathered from the meetings would be forwarded to the appropriate
people within the Tribunal and an assessment would be made of that information.
The Registrar also discussed the legal obligations the Belgrade authorities
were under and the steps that needed to be taken in order to fulfill those
obligations. As the Tribunal had said on a number of occasions, the authorities
were under the obligation to transfer Mr. Milosevic promptly with due diligence
and at the earliest opportunity, that remained the Tribunal’s position,
he concluded.

Asked what
the Prosecutor’s motives were for her change in position last week concerning
the transfer of Milosevic to The Hague, Joris replied that he had answered
this question last week, however he reiterated the fact that there was no
real change in position. The emphasis was very clear. The legal position was
that Milosevic must be transferred to The Hague immediately. This was the
decision confirmed by the joint communiqué of the Prosecutor and the
President last week, he concluded.

Asked to
confirm that there was no disagreement between the two sides of the Tribunal
on this issue, Joris replied that the Prosecutor’s position had always been
clear, that being a position based on the legal obligation of Yugoslavia.

added that the President had also made it quite clear in the joint communiqué
that he took the same position.

Asked to
comment on the fact that the Yugoslav Government, notably Mr. Djindjic, were
clearly taking the opposite position, Joris replied that Mr. Djindjic had
a political position and the position of the Tribunal was one purely based
on legal principles. The view was based on the Statute and on the firm resolve
of the international community that made it clear that Milosevic had to be
transferred to The Hague. He believed that the legal position should prevail
over political statements.

Asked about
the effect of the proposed new law, Joris replied that that was an internal
legal discussion. As the Prosecutor had explained repeatedly, the law could
clarify some internal procedures in Yugoslavia, as to who was in charge of
what, who was responsible for receiving the request for cooperation and who
was going to actually implement the arrest warrant. The law could be very
helpful in clarifying the procedures, but one this should be made very clear,
the absence of this law, or if the law was flawed, or not passed, in no way
justified imperfect cooperation or the absence of cooperation, he added. Yugoslavia
had to comply and cooperate, with or without a law, he concluded.

Asked whether
this was a conflict between national and international law, Joris replied
that it was not really because the Yugoslav constitution forbade the "extradition"
of Yugoslav citizens to courts of foreign states. He added that in this case
we were not dealing with a court of a foreign state, we were dealing with
an international court and as distinguished lawyers and law experts in Yugoslavia
had rightly pointed out in January and at the end of last year, it would be
possible to cooperate with the Tribunal without a law and without violating
the provisions of the Yugoslav constitution. Beyond the very legitimate and
useful issue of setting procedures for cooperation there was no problem if
there was not a law.

Asked for
details of the copy of the draft law given to the Registrar during his visit
to Belgrade, Landale replied that there were no details that he could give
at the moment. He added that it was given to the Registrar in cyrillic and
it was being translated and examined at the Tribunal. Any comment made would
probably not be made in public, but would be sent back to the authorities
in Belgrade.

whether, if the Prosecutor received no cooperation from the Yugoslav authorities
before her visit to New York in May, she would propose some action to be taken
against the FRY, Joris replied that at this stage it was still speculation.
The purpose of the Prosecutor’s appearance before the Security Council was
to report on her work and progress. Progress depended on the quality of cooperation
the Tribunal received from states. Obviously if there was a case of non-compliance,
it would be appropriate to report this to the Security Council.

Asked if
Milosevic was not in custody by May there could there be a case of non-compliance,
Joris replied that we would see in May. The Prosecutor had always been very
clear in her addresses to the Security Council, she would not fail to be clear
this time either.