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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 12th Jul 2000

ICTY Press Briefing - 12 July 2000

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 12 July 2000

Time: 11:30 a.m.



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

On 10 July, we
received SFOR’s submissions concerning the Defence motion for judicial assistance
in the Todorovic case, which will be of interest to most of you. Copies will
be made available after this.

A scheduling order
was filed on 10 July for the appeal judgement in the Furundzija case. The judgement
will be rendered on 21 July 2000 at 1400 hours.

In the Krajisnik
case, we received on 5 July the defendant’s application for leave to be represented
by experts and attorneys on a pro bono basis at a preliminary motion
hearing. In this application, Krajisnik requests that he be represented, on
a pro bono basis, by the following:

-Professor Ljubisa
Lazarevic, a Professor of Criminal Law at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade
(expert in Criminal Law).

-Professor, Radomir
Lukic, a Professor of Constitutional Law, Dean of the Faculty of Law in
Srpsko Sarajevo (expert in constitutional law and international law).

-Mr. Toma Fila,
an attorney from Belgrade.

-Mr. Igor Pantelic,
an attorney from Belgrade.

-Mr. Miroslav
Vasic, an attorney from Belgrade.

Krajisnik filed
on 8 June 2000, a "Motion Based on the Defects in the Form of the Indictment"
and a " Preliminary Motion as Regards the Jurisdiction of the ICTY".
The preliminary motion hearing is scheduled for 19 July 2000.

There will be
a hearing on the motion for provisional release of Radoslav Brdanin on 20 July

The judges of
the Tribunal are due to sit in plenary session this Thursday and Friday, 13
and 14 July. The plenary session is conducted in private. We will put out a
press release if and when any significant decisions are taken during the plenary.



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor made the following statement:

The Prosecutor
is on leave.

Briefly, I
should like to comment on an article about the Tribunal that appeared in the
Saturday Supplement Magazine of the NRC Handelsblad a week ago. For the most
part, this is an article not worth commenting on. While many from the tribunal
may wish to debate the accuracy and the relevance of the article’s assertions
and quotes, to do so would simply provide more publicity to what I view as an
appalling piece of journalism.

But one passage
of this article, a quote attributed to me, does require a response.

I would like to
apologise for the comment I made last month in the company of several journalists,
including one of the writers of this article, working in the Lobby Press Room,
observing the televised testimony of a Dutch witness in the Krstic trial. Regrettably,
my comment, a failed attempt at humour, was published in this article, and I
apologize sincerely for any harm or offense taken by the witness testifying
or by readers of that comment. I assure you that my comment was not intended
to offend, nor should it be taken as a serious representation of my opinions
or beliefs. The Deputy Prosecutor has spoken to me about this comment. I recognise
the error I have made, and I hope my apology today can help to ease matters.
As a Spokesman I should recognize the power and the danger of the pen.

Graham Blewitt,
the Deputy Prosecutor, made the following statement:

I would also like
to say that it is regrettable and disappointing that a newspaper with such a
good reputation would publish such an article in the first place.

It is obvious
that the two journalists who wrote the comments, and who were given access to
the Tribunal staff for the purpose of writing a serious article about the work
of the Tribunal, took advantage of a situation which gave them behind the scenes
access to the Prosecutor’s Office and her staff. The end product was not a serious
piece of journalism, but instead relied on gossip, rumours and outrageous quotes.
It is interesting to note that the journalists who were given access to a number
of the senior officials in the Tribunal did not take advantage of that rare
privilege. They had the opportunity to write a much more serious article, but
they chose to write a throwaway piece that focuses on the insignificant and
in some cases, the simply untrue.

In fact, the Prosecutor
was so distressed by the tone of the article and especially the printed comment
that Mr. Risley has just discussed, that she sent a letter to the publisher,
saying in part :

every respect the co-operation and assistance my Office has experienced
in the Netherlands over the past six and a half years has been of the highest
order, and that fact should be recognised publicly. Dutch officials deal
regularly with my Office in many spheres of activity. Their professionalism
and competence has always been exemplary. Most recently those qualities
have been demonstrated in the contribution made by Dutch military officers
and by Dutch expert witnesses in the trial of General Krstic (Srebrenica)".

This has been
a disappointing and distressing incident for all concerned. You have just heard
what Mr. Risley said and in conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the comments
in the article in no way represent either the truth or even any official or
unofficial position of the Prosecutor and her staff.



whether the OTP would be calling on any more of the proposed 40 Dutchbat soldiers
to give evidence in the Krstic case, or whether the OTP was already satisfied
with the evidence of the 10 soldiers already called, Blewitt replied that
he did not know which witnesses the team wished to call next.

He added as
in a previous press briefing that the trial was going through a number of
stages, the first being evidence given by surviving victims, followed by the
results of the forensic work carried out in Bosnia. More recently it has switched
to the evidence that implicates General Krstic in the crimes alleged in the
indictment. One of the OTP staff members had given evidence in that regard,
he added.

Blewitt went
on the say that having regard to the phases that this trial was going through,
knowing that the OTP had left behind that particular aspect of the case, he
would assume that there would be no more Dutchbat witnesses called. He would
have to confirm this with the trial team.

He added that
in an attempt to speed up the proceedings before the Trial Chambers here,
time limits were imposed on both the Defence and the Prosecution to present
their cases and it could very well be that a decision had been made not to
call any additional evidence because of such time limits.

Asked to give
the basis for his comments made on a number of occasions that he believed
that Radovan Karadzic would be arrested, Blewitt replied that he could say
nothing on this except that the Prosecutor had this particular issue very
high on her agenda. She met quite regularly with those who had the ability
to effect the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and others, and it was on the basis
of such contacts that the OTP remained optimistic, he concluded.