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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 23 October 2013

Date: 23.10.2013
Time: 12:30

Registry and Chambers:

Magdalena Spalińska, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

Today I will run through a series of case-related updates.

On Monday Stojan Župljanin filed a motion to vacate the Trial Judgement in his case following the decision of a Special Chamber of 28 August 2013 that Judge Frederik Harhoff demonstrated an unacceptable appearance of bias in favour of conviction in a private letter he circulated on 6 June 2013. Also on Monday, Župljanin requested that Judge Liu Daqun recuse himself from consideration of the motion to vacate the Trial Judgement, on the grounds that the Judge had already expressed his views on the issue on his ruling on Judge Harhoff’s disqualification from the Seselj case. Yesterday President Meron withdrew from consideration of the requests due to a conflict of interest and referred them to Judge Agius for appropriate action. Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, two high level Bosnian Serb officials were each sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment on 27 March of this year for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between April and December 1992 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Judge Harhoff was a member of the Trial Chamber in this case.

Turning to the case of Goran Hadžić, last Thursday the Prosecution concluded its case-in-chief with the testimony of witness Ljubo Pribudić. In its case, the Prosecution called 81 witnesses who appeared before the Trial Chamber, and submitted the evidence of an additional 45 witnesses in written form pursuant to Rules 92bis and quater.  The Prosecution tendered 3,025 exhibits into evidence and used approximately 180 of the 185 hours allocated by the Trial Chamber to present its case, which began on 16 October 2012.

In the case of Radovan Karadžić, last Friday the Accused filed an amended Rule 65ter list of witnesses and exhibits. The confidential list has 91 proposed new witnesses to testify in relation to Count 1 which deals with the charge of genocide in the municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Accused is also seeking to recall 46 Defence witnesses who have already testified, in relation to the same Count and has asked for an additional 100 hours for the examination of these 137 witnesses.  This trial will resume next Tuesday 29 October at 9am in Courtroom I.

Also last Friday, the Chamber, appointed by President Meron, concluded that Karadžić's motion of 27 September, requesting the appointment of a Special Chamber to decide whether to investigate possible contempt by former Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, should be dealt with by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (or MICT). The request was therefore referred to the President. In his request of 27 September, Karadžić stated that according to a Wikileaks cable, Carla Del Ponte disclosed confidential witness information from the Slobodan Milošević case to US representatives in 2004.

In the case of Ratko Mladić, Presiding Judge Orie stated on Monday that the Prosecution is expected to rest its case in November 2013.  The Chamber expects that the Prosecution's case will be closed by January 2014, after all pending evidentiary motions have been decided upon.  Judge Orie advised the Defence that they should be ready to make any Rule 98 bis submissions towards the end of January or early February.  Should there be a need for a Defence case, Judge Orie advised that the Defence should be ready to start its presentation of evidence around February-March 2014.  A Scheduling Order with exact dates will follow in due course. This case resumes this Friday 25 October at 9:30 in Courtroom I and continues next week as scheduled. The Tribunal will be closed tomorrow for UN Day.

Finally, this week the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme has awarded prizes to the winners of a national essay-writing competition held in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first prize went to student Maja Graca from ‘Meša Selimović’ Gymnasium in Tuzla, BiH. This autumn, 135 young people from across BiH submitted essays on the topic ‘Should we hold trials for war crimes committed during an armed conflict?’ The competition was designed to encourage young people to voice their opinions about the work of the ICTY and its relevance to their communities.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor’s Immediate Office, made no statement:


A journalist asked for an update on developments in the case of Vojislav Šešelj and in particular why it was taking time to appoint a new judge following the disqualification of Judge Harhoff. Spalińska stated that the next step in this case would be the appointment of a new Judge and that this decision was pending with Judge Agius and was expected in due course.

Asked whether she was aware of a forthcoming 98bis motion in the Hadžić case, Spalińska replied that she was not aware of any such motion.

Asked for information on next steps with regard to Radovan Karadžić’s request for the appointment of a Special Chamber to decide whether to investigate possible contempt by former Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Spalińska reiterated that a decision on this issue was now pending with the MICT President, Judge Meron. Asked whether President Meron could appoint a MICT Chamber to consider the request, Spalińska confirmed that this was indeed a possibility.

In response to a request, Spalińska undertook to provide information to journalists on the roster of Judges elected to the MICT. This can be found on the MICT website via the following link: -  http://www.unmict.org/judges.html