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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 12th Dec 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 12 December 2001

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

Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 12 December 2001

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Chartier, Chief of Public Information Services, made the following statement:

the Judges began the last Plenary of 2001. The Plenary started this morning
and will continue until Friday. This is a regular Plenary with the participation
of all of the new permanent Judges and ad litem Judges. I am not aware
of the details of the order of business but two main issues will be dealt with,
firstly, a review of all ongoing operations by the Judges and secondly and probably
more importantly there will be a number of possible amendments to the Rules
to be discussed, considered and possibly adopted. Whatever there contents may
be these amendments are designed to streamline the procedures and to speed up
the proceedings. This Plenary brings to a close a very busy judicial year.

will resume on January 11 2002, however, this afternoon at 2.30 p.m. in Courtroom
I there will be one more court session, to hear Motions for provisional release
filed by Hadzihasanovic, Alagic and Kubura. These Motions were filed confidentially,
so no copies can be supplied, as were the replies by the OTP, however, the matter
will be dealt with publicly this afternoon with a possible Decision to be announced
later today.

terms of documents I would like to single out two Decisions, both made on 7
December 2001 in the Hadzihasanovic and others case. Firstly, a Decision on
a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. Mainly at stake was the issue
of whether superior criminal responsibility was or was not part of customary
international law. The Chamber has not made any determination yet on this issue.
It has instructed the parties to file their arguments on this issue in their
pre-trial briefs so that a determination can be made during the trial. In the
same case, on the same day a Decision on the form of the indictment was filed,
whereby the Prosecutor has been ordered to file "an amended and reorganised
indictment". This document has to be filed by 11 January 2002.

on 7 December, Mucic filed a Motion for provisional release to take care of
his elderly father for a number of weeks. I am not aware of any schedule to
hear this Motion.


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



for a timetable for the start of the joint Bosnia and Croatia trial in the
Milosevic case and whether it would be delayed in any way due to the start
of the Kosovo trial in February, Florence Hartmann replied that at this stage
the OTP had the schedule for the start of the Kosovo trial. The schedule for
the other trial depended upon the Chamber, no other answer could be given
at this time.

Asked whether,
according to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence it would be possible to hold
simultaneous trials in this case, for instance, some time during the Kosovo
trial could the Croatia and Bosnia trial begin, Florence Hartmann replied
that the OTP had different teams working on these cases and that it would
be possible, however, there was also the question of whether it would be possible
for Chambers.

Chartier added that the Rules would allow this theoretically in that there
could be simultaneous proceeding with regards to the same accused in different
cases. He added, however, as Florence had pointed out, that it was a matter
to be determined by the Chamber as these cases were all before the same
Chamber. Various parameters were involved, one being the practical problems
of conducting simultaneous cases involving the same parties.

He added however
that it was necessary first to start with the Kosovo trial on 12 February,
to see how it would proceed and to wait for any additional scheduling orders
with regards to the Bosnia/Croatia case. The first thing would be to wait
for the written Decision following the announcements made yesterday concerning
joinder. He was not sure any indication would be given in it, he concluded.

Asked whether
yesterday, Mr. Nice stated how many witnesses were expected to appear in the
Kosovo case and how long it was expected to last, Florence Hartmann replied
that she did not have the precise figure, but that it would be around 160
witnesses. She added that the OTP expected that for Kosovo they would need
nine months to present their case. This was only an estimate. The OTP was
still waiting for the written Decision of the Chamber. On the basis of the
arguments received, the OTP had the possibility of appealing, she concluded.

Asked whether
the possibility of appealing yesterday’s Decision was still available, Florence
Hartmann replied that the OTP was waiting for the written Decision and arguments.
They did not have enough information to make any decision at the moment.

Asked to
confirm that there was a possibility to appeal, Florence Hartmann replied
that there was.

Chartier reiterated that this was the case. He added that there were no Decisions
being made in the Tribunal at this stage in the proceedings that could not
be appealed, however the appeals were subject to a specific procedure. In
this case any party wishing to appeal had to firstly request leave to appeal.

Asked what
the Tribunal expected for the coming year, Christian Chartier, replied that
the Tribunal expected more arrests, more proceedings, more trials and important

Asked whether
the budget for next year had been finalised, Christian Chartier replied that
it had not been yet as far as he was aware. He added that discussions by the
Fifth Committee had started. The Fifth Committee was the body within the General
Assembly that had the role of reviewing the ICTY budget. The decision making
process had begun two or three days ago, but he was not aware that any final
recommendation had been adopted, he concluded.

Asked whether
the Tribunal had requested an increased budget from that of last year, Christian
Chartier replied that off the top of his head, he believed that the final
recommendation by the ACABQ in New York was something in the region of $230,000,000
for the next two years.

Asked to confirm
that this was a little bit more than last year, Christian Chartier replied
that last year the budget was $96,443,900. The Tribunal still had to wait
and see what would be given, additional cuts could always be made.

Asked whether
the workload had increased by around 50 percent due to the extra trials and
the arrival of Milosevic to the Tribunal, Christian Chartier replied that
it was difficult to encapsulate legal work in figures. He added that the workload
was high, it had increased and was bound to increase further.

Ask to
comment on the point that if there was not, for example, enough budget for
translators, then the concept of fair and speedy proceedings was under doubt,
Christian Chartier replied that this was one of the many aspects which made
the consideration of a budgetary figure very difficult. At all times there
have been a fairly high number of unknowns to take into account, for example,
how many new cases would start in the following year, how many additional
accused would be arrested or surrendered to the Tribunal. The budget request
was based firstly on an assessment of the needs on the basis of the workload
known to the Tribunal, secondly of a projection of the increase in the existing
workload. The Tribunal was always prepared for the possibility that the workload
would explode.

Hartmann added that the OTP had also requested an increase mainly because
of the arrival of the ad litem Judges to the Tribunal. There was now
the possibility of six trials taking place at the same time. This meant that
the OTP required an extra trial team. If it did not receive an increase in
its budget, the OTP did not have the resources for six trial teams. The OTP
could also not risk investigators being switched from the investigating teams
to ongoing trials because it had promised to finish its programme of investigations
by 2004.

Asked to
confirm that all investigations were due to finish by 2004, Florence Hartmann
replied that this was the programme of the Prosecutor. Many reforms had been
made, it would put a great deal of strain on the resources of the OTP for
this to be completed. Having more Judges without the resources being given
the Registry and the OTP would mean loss in the impact of the reforms.

Chartier added that more proceedings meant more translation requests, more
witnesses to be transported and more of everything that made up the life of
this Tribunal.

Asked how
long witnesses remained at the Tribunal, Christian Chartier replied that it
was impossible to say, he added that he could give an average figure, but
it really meant nothing. It depended on the length of the examination, the
length of the cross-examination. There were witnesses brought in because they
were expected in court on a particular day, but for some reason or other this
date could not be stuck to, they would have to stay longer than expected.

Asked whether
their expenses were paid for by the Tribunal, Christian Chartier replied that
their expenses were taken care of from the moment they left their homes, wherever
they were, to the moment they returned to their homes. Expenses covered by
the Tribunal included providing language and medical assistance around the
clock. Whatever the budget was it would be wisely used by the Tribunal. Budgets
had always been lower than the initial requests, however, he added that he
was not aware of any single legal activity which had to be slowed down or
discontinued due to the lack of money, this could not happen. The Tribunal
was confident that whatever it received it could live with it.

Asked whether
the OTP had discussed with the Belgrade authorities the 30 to 35 ‘insider’
witnesses Geoffrey Nice had discussed yesterday in court and how they would
be brought to the Tribunal, Florence Hartmann replied that she could not give
many details on these witnesses. She added that at the Tribunal, witnesses
came on a voluntary basis, there was no obligation. One part of the preparation
of a trial was to test the will of the witnesses and promises made by them
when they made their first statements to be sure that they were still willing
to testify and under what conditions. This was one of the issues that made
up part of the time the OTP needed to prepare for trial. She concluded that
testifying was voluntary and that she could not speak about any negotiations
or details.

Asked whether
the Belgrade authorities were aware of them, Florence Hartmann replied that
she could not reply to this. She did say that not linked to this question,
when a civil servant was involved whether in Belgrade or elsewhere, the ministry
or authorities of that state had to be informed. These states were obliged
to provide assistance but the witness was free to refuse to testify in court.

Christian Chartier
added that concerning witnesses in general, giving testimony was a free choice,
an expression of free will unless they were a witness ordered by the Trial
Chamber to testify. He added that it had happened in the past for example
in the Blaskic case when the Chamber decided for specific reasons that they
wanted to hear a specific person as a witness. The person was under the order
of the Chamber to come to The Hague, he concluded.

Asked what
the procedure was for them to come to The Hague, Christian Chartier replied
that the procedure in this type of case was that a witness summons was issued
to the witness and the witness had to appear.

Asked whether
the countries they were in were obliged to provide assistance, Christian Chartier
replied that they were.

to the defence lawyer of Ademi, the OTP was opposed to the accused’s request
for provisional release. Asked to confirm and explain this, Florence Hartmann
replied that she could not give a reply concerning a final Decision because
the request had not yet been made. It had to be remembered, however, that
another co-accused in Croatia was not arrested by the authorities and was
left to escape the country.

Asked to
confirm that the OTP believed that General Gotovina had escaped, Florence
Hartmann replied that the Prosecutor was very clear in her statement before
the Security Council. Christian Chartier reiterated that the Prosecutor said
that Gotovina was allowed to escape. It was a pretty clear statement, he concluded.

Asked to
clarify that in the Motion for Joinder it stated that the OTP expected some
of the co-accused of Mr. Milosevic had to be present in the detention unit
by 2002, Florence Hartmann replied that in the case of Kosovo, Milosevic was
accused together with four others. It would be reasonable to insist on a separate
trial for Kosovo if the OTP had all the accused together with Milosevic. They
could not be tried for Bosnia and Croatia because they were not indicted for
those crimes. The OTP believed that a separate trial on Kosovo would be much
more justified if the co-accused were all together but this was not the case
and the OTP did not expect to have the four other accused by the beginning
of the trial in February.

Asked whether
there would be a chance to have this as a joint trial now, Florence Hartmann
replied that a trial on the basis of yesterday’s Decision would begin with
one of the accused Milosevic and that she did not know what would happen if
the others came to The Hague.

Christian Chartier
added that the Tribunal had already experienced this kind of scenario in the
past. For instance, in a case where a number of people were accused, a trial
started with a number of the accused in the dock. When others on the same
indictment came into the custody of the Tribunal there were two options, either
they were tried separately or the proceedings were stopped for a number of
weeks and resumed with all of the accused present. It depended upon a number
of factors, mainly the stage the proceedings had reached. Everything was possible.
It could be started with one accused and end with many, he concluded.

Asked whether
it would be more convenient for the OTP to start with all the accused present,
Florence Hartmann replied that it would be more convenient for the whole Tribunal.

Chartier added that they were all accused together, they were accused of the
same charges, ideally they would stand trial together.

Asked whether
there had been any signs from Belgrade concerning these other accused and
their possible arrest and what the current status of cooperation was from
Belgrade and Zagreb, Florence Hartmann replied that there were no special
signs, but that she would be happy for the four in the indictment to be handed
over before the beginning of the trial because it would then make much more
sense to have the Kosovo trial to begin first. There were no changes in cooperation
from Belgrade. The OTP was pleased to see that certain countries were explaining
to the Federal authorities their obligations towards the Tribunal and the
need to hand over fugitives.

Christian Chartier
added that the fact that a date for the Kosovo trial had now been fixed by
the Chamber, would be a very good target date for some authorities to organise
the swift and unconditional transfer of Milosevic’s co-accused. Their obligation
to do so began on 27 June 1999, more than two years ago. Sooner or later all
the accused would have to be in court. It would be in everyone’s interest
to make this day sooner rather than later, possibly before 12 February 2002.

said that there was nothing to say concerning cooperation with Zagreb, things
were as usual.

Asked whether
the Prosecutor had raised the issue of Mladic’s whereabouts, Florence Hartmann
replied that the OTP said that Mladic was still in Belgrade and that he was
not the only one. There were also the three accused from Vukovar who were
still publicly in Serbia and the OTP was still pointing out the problem faced
with federal institutions who were not in the reach of Serbian authorities
and the OTP was still waiting for the full cooperation of Yugoslavia at all
levels, full cooperation of the republics but also of the federal authorities.
The OTP needed access to the military archives in Belgrade, as it did in other
parts of former Yugoslavia. The public in Serbia had to understand that if
the OTP needed to have contact with individuals including civil servants they
were not all suspects. The OTP needed to contact people because it needed
to have different versions of the same story. The OTP needed to listen to
the other side. It was the job of the OTP to have contact with all kinds of
people, and there was no reason to be shocked if the OTP requested access
to military or police officials, she concluded.

Asked what
explanation was given in the refusal, Florence Hartmann replied that no refusal
was given, there were no answers given to the requests. The OTP requested
answers, even a negative one if necessary. At least a negative answer meant
that the request had gone through the process and that there was a refusal,
there could be arguments for that but no reply was worse. Papers appeared
to get lost, some Ministers replied that they had never received arrest warrants,
even when papers were given directly to the office of the Minister in question.
If a Minister changed they had to pass documents on to a successor. These
were not only problems with Yugoslavia but at the federal level there was
a problem of access.

Asked whether
at the level of Serbia the OTP always received a positive reply, Florence
Hartmann replied that she could not say that the OTP always did but the OTP
did not always have a positive answer anywhere, but the situation was improving
in Serbia.

Asked whether
the 35 insiders were part of the witnesses that the authorities gave no answers
about, Hartmann replied that she could not answer questions related to witnesses
and added that there were not only 35 "insiders" for the common
witnesses for the three trials. There were also experts and politicians.

Asked whether
the OTP had discussed with the federal authorities about guarantees of full
protection of state secrets that they believed the Prosecution did not need
to see, according to the Rules, Florence Hartmann replied that as far as she
knew they had never discussed this. The OTP could not enter into deep discussion
on the issue of cooperation as Federal officials refused to speak about details
until they had a legal framework in place.

Chartier added
that under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence a legal mechanism was in place,
providing any state believing that national security interests would be at
stake at any stage of the proceedings could be heard by the Chamber in closed
session to make a submission. There was a legal mechanism designed to consider
the validity of any claim by any state or any concern to their national security,
which was a very legitimate concern. The Tribunal recognised this and had
devised this mechanism which had been applied to other countries in the area,
or outside, such as France.

added one final point, Mr. Milosevic in court yesterday made a comment about
the light on in his cell. As Jim Landale said last week a number of devices
which were put on in Mr. Milosevic’s cell were turned off a number of days
ago, as far as the light was concerned, the accused had been made aware that
to switch the light on or off, the switch was in his cell and he had only
to push the button. He added that he believed that following yesterday’s session
the accused would have been reminded of this.