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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 16th Jun 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 16 June 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 16 June 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Today, Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following

In the Celebici
case, Landzo’s second motion to preserve and provide evidence has been
granted in part. This referred to his defence counsel’s assertion that
the Presiding Judge had been asleep during substantial portions of the trial.

In the Krstic
case, a memorandum has been filed pursuant to the Trial Chamber’s 6 May
1999 Decision on the Defence preliminary motion on the form of the indictment.

Finally in the
Simic case, the opening day of the trial has been postponed pending the outcome
of outstanding motions from Stevan Todorovic and Miroslav Tadic. The trial was
due to start next Tuesday, 22 June 1999.



Mr. Graham Blewitt, the Deputy Prosecutor, made no opening remarks and agreed
to answer questions.



Asked whether
the investigation teams were in Kosovo and if not when they were planning
to go, Blewitt replied that a few staff were already in Kosovo making preparations
for the forensic investigators. KFOR’s delay in setting up their headquarters
had delayed the Tribunal, he said. KFOR had offered logistical support for
the teams in the form of shelter and catering and this was essential for the
teams who might be based in the area for some weeks. He then said that countries
who had offered teams had been asked to standby. Once the headquarters were
established and sites had been made safe by KFOR then the teams would go.
The delays both worked to the Tribunal’s advantage and disadvantage,
in that the extra time meant more time to assemble teams, but at the same
time the delay also meant returning refugees might reach crime sites before
the Tribunal, he said.

Asked whether
the teams on standby could move into the region at short notice, Blewitt replied
that most national forensic teams were currently on stand by in their own
countries, although some elements of those teams were in the region.

Asked how many
people the Tribunal were sending to the region, Blewitt answered that the
number changed on a daily basis, but that there were currently approximately
40 on people on standby.

Asked how many
there might eventually be, Blewitt replied that the Tribunal had permission
from the Secretary-General to take on up to 300 staff who would be expert
staff on mission for the Tribunal.

Asked about
last week when 12 sites for investigation had been mentioned and asked whether
more had been added, Blewitt replied that there were more than 12 sites, but
that he could not comment on how many. He added that, as anticipated, new
sites were being uncovered all the time which were being assessed as they
were brought to the Tribunal’s attention. Some sites might warrent new
investigations although the Tribunal had a limited ability to do so.

Asked whether
any forensic teams had visited sites yet, Blewitt answered that some investigators
had been, but that it would be wrong to say that investigations had begun.
They were there undertaking preliminary tasks, he added.

Asked about
the British investigator Mr Gowan, Blewitt replied that Mr Gowan had been
appointed by the British Government as a liaison officer between the ICTY
and the British Government. He was in the region with a British forensic expert
who would lead the British team, he said.

Asked which
countries had agreed so far to send teams, Blewitt replied that there were
negotiations in progress with many countries, but those who had already agreed
included France, UK, USA, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

Asked how many
people would comprise a full team, Blewitt said there was no set number, but
they had originally planned for 20-25 which would include logistical people
and explosives experts among others. However, it seemed less likely now that
they would need teams that big now, more likely that teams would comprise
of eight to 12 people, he said. He went on to say that each site might require
different compositions of teams although there were core elements such as
police who were expert in photographing scenes of crimes. The Tribunal hoped
to have 12 teams with 14 as a maximum, he said.

Asked how the
Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) could prevent mistaken identification and mistaken
arrests, Blewitt replied that before an arrest was made consultation took
place between the OTP and the arresting organisation in order to establish
identification. This might mean witnesses would identify pictures of the accused,
he said.

Asked what
the time frame for the investigations would be, Blewitt replied that they
had to finish by the onset of winter before surface evidence such as bullet
casing and bone fragments could perish or be disturbed. Exhumations, he said,
were not an immediate priority.

Asked whether
the Tribunal had received full support from the forces in Kosovo, Blewitt
replied that KFOR had been prepared to do whatever they could.

Asked whether
the number of investigators offered so far meant that the Tribunal had got
less support than anticipated, Blewitt explained that this was not the case
as the teams were not now to be as large as had at first been anticipated.

Asked when
the teams would go in, Blewitt replied that the teams were ready to move on
KFOR’s indication. This could be as soon as 24 hours but not more than
48 hours.

Asked whether
TV crews at sites and refugees returning was a problem for the Tribunal, Blewitt
replied that it was a problem as it potentially made it difficult to maintain
credibility of evidence retrieved from these sites.

Asked generally
what the expectations were of Tribunal now, Blewitt replied that the Tribunal
would do what it was mandated to do, although the scale of the work might
mean that the Tribunal could not investigate them all. Blewitt went on to
say that that did not mean that perpertrators would not be brought to justice,
but it would take time. The indictment of Milosevic and others could contribute
to an eventual government and if the new government was a democratic one then
they would have to work hard to be accepted by the international community.
To do this they would have to undertake investigations themselves and take
responsibility, he said. The whole process could take years but the Tribunal
was taking a lead, he added.

Asked what
other arrangements the Tribunal could make in the event of teams not being
able to investigate, Blewitt answered that cooperation could be established
with other organisations such as the Red Cross, OSCE and KFOR or by the use
of observers.