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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 21st Feb 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 21 February 2001

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

Weekly Press Briefing

21 February 2001

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

you are no doubt already aware, on Monday 19 February, President Claude Jorda
accompanied the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, to Brussels where they met with
Lord Robertson, the Secretary-General of NATO, Romano Prodi, the President of
the European Commission, and Javier Solana, the High Representative for the
Common Foreign and Security Policy.

he said in the press briefing that followed the meetings, Judge Jorda participated
in the meetings in his capacity as President of the Tribunal to voice his support
for the Prosecutor’s call to the European Union to encourage better state cooperation
with the Tribunal and for the arrest of those indictees still at large. President
Jorda is of the view that it is important in his capacity as the guardian of
the Statute of Tribunal to stress better state cooperation, which is at the
root of international criminal justice.

Jorda took the opportunity to mention that the lack of arrests in the past months
was contrary to the extensive reforms undertaken in the Tribunal over the past
year to ensure that the Tribunal can accomplish its mission as soon as possible.

with regard to those ongoing reforms, President Jorda is in New York this week,
where he will continue to discuss the arrangements for the ad litem judges
with various people in the Secretariat, in the General Assembly’s Budget Committee
and in the Management Division.

Thursday and Friday this week the Tribunal will be hosting an official visit
by a high-level Swiss parliamentary delegation, consisting of eight people.
The delegation, which is headed by Peter Hess, the President of the Swiss Lower
Chamber, and Francoise Saudan, President of the Swiss Upper Chamber, is expected
to meet with, among others, representatives from the Office of the Prosecutor,
the Registrar, Mr. Hans Holthuis, and with the Vice President of the Tribunal,
Judge Mumba.

the Galic case, pursuant to an order of the Trial Chamber on 20 February, the
Prosecution filed its provisional pre-trial brief in order to facilitate discussions
between the parties on issues raised in the brief.

also received yesterday a decision from Trial Chamber II in the Talic case on
"Objections by Momir Talic to the Form of the Amended Indictment".
Copies of those court documents will be available to you after this briefing.

a few reminders:

Judgement in the case against Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic,
commonly referred to the ‘Foca rape camp trial’ in the media, will be rendered
by Trial Chamber II, comprising Judge Mumba (presiding), Judge Hunt and Judge
Pocar, tomorrow, Thursday 22 February 2001 at 2 p.m.

Judgement in the case against Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez will be rendered
by Trial Chamber III, comprising Judge May (presiding), Judge Bennouna and Judge
Robinson next Monday 26 February 2001 at 2 p.m. in courtroom I.

also a reminder that the hearing on the Jelisic appeal is scheduled to take
place on 22 February 2001 at 10 a.m.

are, of course, invited to attend all of these hearings.

we have, as usual, the latest status of cases fact sheet for you after this.


Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

Prosecutor has taken note of the recent opening of a criminal investigation
by the Croatian judiciary against former general Mirko Norac for alleged crimes
committed in Gospic, Croatia in 1991.

view of the fact that no indictment had been issued against Mr. Norac, and based
on Rule 9 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Prosecutor
has decided not to seek deferral of the case to the ICTY.

prosecution of Mirko Norac - for the events which occurred in Gospic in 1991
and for any other alleged crime committed between 1991 and 1995 on the territory
of the Republic of Croatia - is thus the responsibility of the relevant judicial
authorities of Croatia.

the limits of her power, the Prosecutor will assist the investigating and prosecuting
bodies in Croatia by providing all useful evidence she may possess in relation
with Mr. Norac.

Prosecutor expresses her satisfaction about this further positive development
of cooperation between her Office and the Government of Croatia.



Asked whether
the statement by the Prosecutor meant that the OTP would not be bringing a
case against General Norac, Hartmann replied that the statement meant that
based on Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Prosecutor had
decided not to seek deferral of the case to The Hague.

Asked whether
the statement by the Prosecutor was issued to facilitate General Norac’s arrest
in Croatia, Hartmann replied that there was no deal or arrangement in place
between the Tribunal and the Croatian Authorities. The OTP was working on
the basis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal.

She said that
the Statute of the Tribunal allowed for this type of situation to be possible
when there was good cooperation between a country and the ICTY, as was the
case with Croatia.

Another point
to make was that General Norac was not already indicted by the Tribunal. This
situation would not be possible in a case where the Tribunal had already indicted
a suspected war criminal.

Asked to confirm
that the OTP was investigating crimes committed in Gospic, Hartmann replied
that the OTP had many investigations in Croatia, some of which were confirmed
publicly. She would not give further details.

She added
that, even if the OTP was investigating crimes in the region where General
Norac could be involved, General Norac was not already indicted by the Tribunal.

All pressure
on the Tribunal to let an indicted person be tried in a local court, (Milosevic
for example) was futile. If a person was already indicted by the Tribunal,
they must face trial in The Hague.

Asked whether
this meant that it was anticipated that somebody else would be indicted for
crimes comitted in Gospic, Hartmann replied that the OTP never gave information
about investigations. The OTP was working on many investigations in Croatia
and some people could be indicted. The OTP was continuing investigations in
Croatia, she concluded.

Asked what
the Prosecutor saw as the ‘good cooperation’ from Croatia which led her to
make this statement, Hartmann replied that after the visit by the Prosecutor
to Zagreb in January cooperation from Croatia was back on track. Things were
going well, she said.

The ICTY would
not be able to try all war criminals from the former Yugoslavia and it was
important to encourage and to support domestic courts to take on part of this
work. She repeated the fact that this was only for people not indicted by
the Tribunal.

It was important
to support a country or state trying their own suspected war criminals. In
this case Norac, a Croat, was under investigation by Croatian authorities.
It was important to encourage this kind of initiative, she concluded.