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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 16th Feb 2000

ICTY Press Briefing - 16 February 2000

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 16 February 2000

Time: 11:30 a.m.



Christian Chartier, Head of Public Information Services made the following

It is my pleasure
to update you on a number of interesting developments:

A Scheduling Order
is being prepared by Trial Chamber I (Judge Rodrigues, Judge Riad and Judge
Wald) for the commencement on Monday 28 February of the trial of Miroslav Kvocka,
Milojica Kos, Mlado Radic and Zoran Zigic.

The four accused
are charged with Crimes against Humanity and Violations of the Laws or Customs
of War for their alleged participation in the crimes committed in the Prijedor
area, and more specifically in the camps at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje
in 1992.

According to the
indictment, Kvocka was the first commander of the Omarska. Kos and Radic were
shift commanders of guards at the Omarska camp. Zigic is alleged to have entered
all three camps to abuse, beat, torture and/or kill prisoners.

The crimes they
are alleged to have committed, individually and in the case of Kvocka, Kos and
Radic as superiors, include murders, torture, beatings, rapes and psychological

Copies of the
indictment are available. Also available are copies of the Prosecution’s pre-trial
brief. The four Defendant’s pre-trial briefs are being filed and will be made
available in due time.

Kvocka and Radic
were detained by SFOR on 8 April 1998, Zigic surrendered voluntarily one week
later, and Kos was detained by SFOR one month later. The four accused have entered
not-guilty pleas.

In the "FOCA"
case, Trial Chamber III (Judge Hunt, Judge Mumba and Judge Pocar) issued a Decision
on Tuesday 15 February joining the trial of Zoran Vukovic to the trial of Dragoljub
Kunarac and Radomir Kovac. This means that Vukovic will stand trial with Kunarac
and Kovac as of Monday 20 March.

This Decision
follows Vukovic filing a Motion indicating that he will be ready for trial on
20 March and that he waives his right to preliminary motions on the indictment.

This Motion was
granted for the following main reason: The allegations against the applicant
generally concern torture and rape that were committed during an armed conflict
in mid-1992 in Foca municipality against various women at various locations.
The allegations leveled against the two co-accused significantly overlap with
those against the Applicant, in some cases involving the same victims, the same
time frames and the same locations.

With regard to
Radomir Kovac, on 7 February he filed a request for the assignment of Mr. Milan
Vujin as his Counsel. However on 14 February, the Registry refused to assign
Mr. Vujin. The Decision reads that: "the interests of justice do not
permit the assignment of a counsel who has been convicted of contempt of the
Tribunal, notwithstanding an application for leave to appeal against the convicting

In the Naletilic
and Martinovic case, Trial Chamber I yesterday issued a Decision denying Martinovic’s
objection to the indictment on 15 February. I just received this Decision this
morning and had no chance to go through it. However copies are being made and
I‘ll refer you to the full text of this decision.

Finally, I would
like to turn now to the Appeals Chamber:

In the Aleksovski
case, Zlatko Aleksovksi filed on 10 February a request for direct release.

In the Celebici
case, the Appeals Chamber has granted a Motion by Landzo’s Defence to admit
as additional evidence the opinion of Francisco Brenes, a member of the Costa-Rica
Bar Association, to testify on the second ground of Appeal, namely the alleged
ineligibility of one of the members of the Trial Chamber to serve as a Judge
following an election as Vice-President of Costa Rica.



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), made the following

Madame Carla Del
Ponte is in Arusha today.

The OTP has
received a report from the Government of Croatia regarding the medical condition
of Naletilic "Tuta". It is likely that the Prosecutor will ask the
Registrar to dispatch a medical team to Zagreb to verify the present condition
of "Tuta".

The Prosecutor
has noted that an agreement has been reached with the Government of Croatia
formalizing the status of the Prosecutor’s Liaison Office in Zagreb. We had
sought this formal agreement for the past two years and last week, the Government
agreed to it and signed what essentially is a contract. This is a small but
important concrete step in relations between the Government of Croatia and the

Finally, the
Prosecutor notes the promotion of the Chief of Staff for the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia’s Military Forces to his present position as Defence Minister.



whether the Blaskic Judgement would be rendered on 29 February, Christian
Chartier replied that although he was aware of a number of speculative dates
being circulated, no scheduling order had yet been issued, therefore no official
date could be given for the Judgement. He concluded that any date between
the end of next week (when Judge Jorda would be back from Arusha) and the
middle of March, could be a real possibility. As soon as a scheduling order
was issued, it would be distributed.

Asked whether
there was any news from the Registry concerning the Directive from the Trial
Chamber concerning Mr. Vujin, Christian Chartier replied that Mr. Vujin had
appealed against the convicting Judgement. It was in this judgement that the
Appeals Chamber invited the Registry to consider striking Mr. Vujin off the
list of Defence Lawyers, he added. Meanwhile, the Registry would not be assigning
him to any defendant, not withstanding any appeal.

Asked whether
there was a date set for the beginning of the Krstic trial, Christian Chartier
replied that he was once more aware of a number of dates being circulated,
however, no Scheduling Order had yet been issued. He noted that a document
issued by Trial Chamber I estimated that the Trial could begin around mid-March,
but no date had yet been set.

In addition
to this Christian Chartier remarked that March appeared to be a very busy
month for the Tribunal, with the start of at least two new trials, Kvocka
and others and Foca. He added that Kordic and Cerkez would also be ongoing
and the Krstic trial could begin. The appeals proceedings of Furundzija were
due to commence 2 March and if Blaskic judgement was not rendered in February
it would probably happen in March.

Asked whether
Mr. Kovac had requested Mr. Vujin as his Defence Lawyer from the outset of
his Trial, Christian Chartier confirmed that that was the case. He recalled
that this assignment had been refused because of the then ongoing contempt
proceedings. Now the accused was aware of the outcome of the contempt proceedings,
however, he again filed a request, which was once again turned down, he concluded.

Asked before
which chamber the possible appeal by Mr. Vujin would be heard, Christian Chartier
replied that it would be before the Appeals Chamber in another composition.
This was based on the fact that although it was an Appeals Chamber decision,
it was a basic right to have any legal decision reviewed. The Appeals Chamber
had to be seen in two instances, firstly as the Appeal Chamber making the
first instance decision and secondly an Appeals Chamber hearing a possible
appeal. This stage had not yet been reached. It was only an application that
had to be considered by three judges and no decision had yet been made as
the three judges were now in Arusha, he concluded.

Asked for information
on the contents of the medical report on "Tuta" and why a medical
team would be sent, Paul Risley replied that for obvious reasons the OTP did
not wish to publicly comment on the contents of a privileged medical report,
however, he noted that the OTP took the report very seriously. The OTP accepted
the broad outline of the report and the conclusions of the several doctors
and medical professionals from the hospital in Zagreb, he concluded.

Paul Risley
went on to say that the OTP, more than any of the parties involved, were interested
in maintaining the health of "Tuta" to the extent that he would
be able to be transferred to The Hague in order to stand trial. He added that
the status of his health was of extreme importance to the OTP. The purpose
of dispatching a medical team to Zagreb was to explore different methods of
maintaining his health and his condition, progressing towards a positive health
status and effecting his transfer to The Hague and perhaps to a Dutch medical

There was an
obvious urgency to transfer all persons awaiting trial in The Hague, however,
the OTP would certainly place the first priority on the health of the indictees,
he concluded.

Asked whether
there had been a previous visit by a group of doctors, Paul Risley confirmed
that this was indeed the second visit.

Christian Chartier
added that the first time was in November/December 1999. The medical team
dispatched, reported within days that the health of the accused did not permit
safe transportation to The Hague.

Asked whether
this visit could be seen as a test of the new Croatian Government’s attitude,
Paul Risley replied that he thought not. He believed that this was truly a
medical situation and one where the Tribunal had to rely on medical professionals
both in Croatia and a team provided by the Registrar.

Asked whether
it would be the same team as the last time, Christian Chartier replied that
that was up to the Registrar, however, he saw no reason why not, unless there
were indications in this report by Croatian physicians that the ailments were
different from the first time. The team was an ad hoc team addressing specific
health concerns, he added. If the Tribunal had any indications that the health
situation required other physicians and dependent upon the availability members
of the first team, it could lead to changes, however, it would still be a
Tribunal team reporting to the Tribunal.