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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 2nd Mar 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 08 January 2003

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 15.01.2003

Time: 11:30


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

Good morning,

On Monday and
Tuesday, a delegation from the Tribunal comprising the President, the Prosecutor
and other members of the Registry and OTP, were in Sarajevo for a working visit
to meet with representatives from the Office of the High Representative. The
focus of their talks was on the creation of a chamber within the State Court
of Bosnia and Herzegovina that will process war crimes cases.

I can report that
the meetings were a success. The participants were able to reach concrete agreement
on the structure, competence and organisation of the chamber. We will give out
further details in the coming days, however the preliminary project is expected
to be presented to the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council by
the end of the month and to the Security Council possibly in February or March.

The fourth diplomatic
information seminar will be held this coming Friday, 17 January, at which representatives
from the diplomatic missions in The Hague will visit the Tribunal to be updated
on general Tribunal issues and the completion strategy.

In terms of court

In the Prosecutor
v. Tihomir Blaskic:

On 13 January,
we received a Scheduling Order setting a Status Conference in the case for Wednesday
22 January 2003 at 1630 hours.

On 14 January,
we received the "Appellant’s Application for Extension of Filing Deadline
and Page Limits Re: Response to Prosecution’s Rebuttal Evidence and Arguments
in Response to Additional Evidence on Appeal

In the Prosecutor
v. Momcilo Krajisnik:

On 10 January,
we received the "Prosecution’s Second Motion for Judicial Notice of
Adjudicated Facts

On 14 January,
we received the "Application for the Presiding Judge Pursuant to Rule
15 (B) for the Withdrawal of a Judge

In the Prosecutor
v. Biljana Plavsic:

On 10 January,
we received an "Order for Further Submissions". In the Order, the
Trial Chamber noted that Trial Chamber II had ordered Plavsic to testify in
the Prosecutor v. Milomir Stakic and stated "this Trial Chamber considers
it appropriate to allow the parties the opportunity to make submissions to the
Trial Chamber on the revised circumstances and, in particular, the effect, if
any, on the appropriate sentence to be imposed

In the Prosecutor
v. Slobodan Milosevic:

On 10 January,
we received a "Scheduling Order for Hearing on Prosecution Motion for Binding
Order", which was filed on 13 December 2002. The Trial Chamber ordered

"- the Application
shall be served upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

- the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, may, by Friday 7 February 2003 file a written response
to the Application addressing inter alia, any grounds of objection, and

- a hearing on
the Application shall be held on Monday 10 March 2003 commencing at 3 p.m.,
at which both the Prosecution and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, through
its designated senior responsible official, shall appear to address the Application."

Again on 10 January,
we received the "Prosecution Motion For the Admission of Written Statements
In Lieu of Viva Voce Testimony Pursant to Rule 92 bis

And, again on
10 January, we received the "Prosecution Motion for the Admission of
Transcripts in Lieu of Viva Voce Testimony Pursuant to 92 bis (D)

In the Prosecutor
v. Milomir Stakic:

On 9 January,
we received an "Order Summoning Dr. Biljana Plavsic Proprio Motu to
Appear as a Witness of the Trial Chamber Pursuant to Rule 98".

In the Prosecutor
v. Kvocka, Radic, Zigic and Prcac:

On 13 January,
we received the Appeals Chamber "Decision on Momcilo Gruban’s Motion
for Access to Material
". The Appeals Chamber granted the Motion. For
the finer details of the Decision, copies of the Decision will be made available
to you after this briefing.

In the Prosecutor
v. Dragan Nikolic:

On 9 January,
we received the Appeals Chamber "Decision on Notice of Appeal"
rejecting the Notice of Appeal and Rule 127 Motion. Judge Shahabuddeen appended
a Dissenting Opinion. READ

On 14 January,
we received a "Motion for Certification and Relief Under the Provision
of Rules 73 and 127 of the Rules of Evidence and Procedure

In the Prosecutor
v. Blagojevic, Obrenovic, Jokic and Nikolic:

On 10 January,
we received the "Accused Blagojevic’s Response to the Prosecution’s
Pre-Trial Brief Pursuant to Rule 65 ter (F)

Again on 10 January,
we received the "Accused Obrenovic’s Response to Prosecution’s Pre-Trial

On the same day
and in the same case, we received the "Pre-Trial Brief of Dragan Jokic
Pursuant to Rule 65 ter (F) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence

In the Prosecutor
v. Sainovic and Ojdanic:

On 9 January,
we received the "Prosecution’s Notification in Relation to Ojdanic’s
Reply Briefs to His Preliminary Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction:
Kosovo and Joint Criminal Enterprise

Finally, it is
with sadness that I have to announce the death of former ICTY Judge, Judge Wang
at the age of 89. Judge Wang, who was from China, was elected in 1997 as a Judge
of the ICTY, but resigned in March 2000 for reasons of ill-health. Our condolences
are with his family, friends and colleagues.

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

At the beginning
of the year I wish to underline that we still have 24 indictees at large. Two
of these 24 are already involved in a process with the Tribunal. One of these
is Milan Milutinovic – we do not know when he is expected but the process is
on-going in Belgrade. The other indictee is one you already know of, Janko Bobetko,
and you have already been informed of the latest developments in this case.
Twenty two others are still far from the reach of the Tribunal at this moment.
Most of them were indicted during the last century so to speak, some of them
over seven years ago. They are Ljubisa Beara, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Goran Borovnica,
Ante Gotovina, Gojko Jankovic, Radovan Karadzic who was indicted in July 1995,
Vladimir Kovacevic, Milan and Grdoje Lukic, Zejlko Meakic who was indicted in
February 1995, Dragomir Milosevic, Ratko Mladic, Drago Nikolic, Vinko Pandurevic,
Vujadin Popovic, Miroslav Radic, Ivica Raic also indicted since August 1995,
Mitar Rasevic, Veselin Sljivancanin indicted since November 1995, Savo Todovic
indicted since 1997, Dragan Zelenovic and Stojan Zupljanin. Most of these fugitives
are in Yugoslavia or the Bosnian Serb entity in Bosnia and Hercegovina and we
will continue our efforts to apprehend them. A problem which we have regularly
mentioned is the lack of co-operation. Too many of these fugitives have been
at large for many years and we really have to emphasize the obligations of the
authorities to locate and get them to The Hague. The surrender of some of them
cannot prevent the authorities from searching for all of the fugitives and the
transfer of one or two does not prevent the authorities from locating all of
the others. We believe that there are more than 12 fugitives regularly and currently
in the FRY.

In terms of
figures, I wish to give you some background statistics on the Milosevic case
as we are regularly asked for these. This is the sixth time that the proceedings
have been held up because of Milosevic’s condition. The average length of trials
at the Tribunal is around 16 months, although counting in months may not be
the best way to measure the length of a trial. For example, the Milosevic trial
started on 12 February 2002. The Kosovo part of the trial ran until 11 September
of the same year. During those months we had 96 trial days and saw 124 witnesses.
Ninety six days is of course closer to four regular months of work. The Croatia/Bosnia
case cannot be looked at as two separate parts of the trial. You have seen that
during the Croatia stage of the trial, witnesses have also been giving evidence
on Bosnia. The press should therefore not wait for a specific date when we will
exclusively be covering Bosnia. There will be a crime-based evolution from Croatia
to Bosnia, not one based on the direct, personal involvement of Milosevic. We
were authorised to present 177 witnesses for the Croatia/Bosnia part of the
trial which started on 26 September; 106 for Bosnia and 71 for Croatia. We have
a deadline of 16 May 2003 for completion of the OTP case. To date there have
been 40 trial days during which time we have presented 19 witnesses. The figure
of 177 witnesses can change as some witnesses which were planned but have not
yet been given a waiver to testify may be able to testify later if the situation
improves. If this happens, we may be able to withdraw some other witnesses.
As Hildergard Uertz-Retzlaff announced in court, following the testimony of
Milan Babic, we were able to withdraw 14 witnesses. We will do our best to stick
to the deadline of 16 May, though I want to insist that we have to keep in mind
that September 26 to 16 May does not add up to seven months of trial – the number
of actual trial days will be much less as we do not have a full working month.
The Milosevic case is not the longest one though the final statistics will be
made at the end of the trial even though it is a huge case in terms of the period
of time covered by the indictment and the number of places involved.


Asked about
negotiations on the transfer of Milutinovic, Hartmann stressed that no negotiations
were taking place. The journalist asked when he was expected to arrive in
The Hague to which Hartmann replied that she did not know. She insisted that
all indictees have to be handed over to the Tribunal and that the only discussions
which may take place were those related to logistical and technical matters.
She continued that she was surprised at reports on Milutinovic’s possible
release after his hand over to The Hague, stating that such a decision could
only be made by a Trial Chamber. Any discussions between the Tribunal and
the authorities would only be on the details of his transfer.

Landale added
that the issue of provisional release had been raised before and hr reiterated
that provisional release was only granted by a Decision of the Trial Chamber.
Any accused who appeared before the Tribunal could file a motion for provisional
release. In making its decision, the Trial Chamber would take into account
a number of factors such as submissions from the various parties, submissions
from the host nation, from the country from which the person had come and
to which they wished to return. This latter set of submissions could be in
the form of guarantees. The Trial Chamber would take all these submissions
into account before coming to a decision, but there was no automatic right
to provisional release simply because someone had voluntarily surrendered
or because guarantees had been provided by a particular state.

A journalist
asked for clarification on a report in a Swiss newspaper in which the Prosecutor
was quoted as saying that she had ordered a stop to consideration of a formal
investigation into the NATO bombings. The journalist pointed out that there
never was an investigation, only a commission looking into the allegations
and that on a previous occasion the Prosecutor had stated publicly that there
were no grounds for an investigation. The journalist added that it was reported
that the investigation would be stopped because Belgrade had not provided
certain documents. Hartmann answered that there was nothing new to report
on this story confirming that no investigation was instigated as there were
no grounds to do so. The fall of Milosevic provided no extra information from
Belgrade which would authorise the opening of an investigation. She suggested
that the formulation in the newspaper referred to was unclear but reiterated
that the Prosecutor provided no new information.

Another journalist
pointed out, however, that in the article the Prosecutor was quoted as saying
that she was still waiting for certain documents from Belgrade. Hartmann stated
that the Prosecutor was simply reiterating that there were no grounds for
opening an investigation. Hartmann added that at the time, the new authorities
in Belgrade, Kostunica and others, had also asked why there was no investigation
and that the answer then had been that should new elements arise a new assessment
could be made as to the feasibility of an investigation. She stated that no
new evidence or information had been submitted by Belgrade to justify an investigation.

Asked to comment
on the state of Milosevic’s health, Landale stated that it had slightly improved
today, although he still had a high temperature. He added that it should be
clear in the next day or so whether there would be any proceedings on Friday.
In the mean time, Milosevic was being provided with all the necessary treatment
and attention.

A journalist
asked what the exact situation was with Milutinovic and whether there was
any contact with Belgrade regarding his transfer. She wondered whether any
logistical arrangements were being made. Landale answered that the expectation
was that he would be transferred at the earliest opportunity. With reference
to logistical arrangements for a possible transfer, Landale pointed out that
clearly any transfer necessitated such arrangements, but that these were not
discussed in public.

Answering a
question on whether the Tribunal was discussing the logistical arrangements
for a transfer, Hartmann replied in the negative, pointing out that the main
logistical problems had to be dealt with by Belgrade. The actual day of arrival
had to be agreed by the Tribunal and the Registry would then ensured that
this could go ahead.

Landale added
that the Tribunal was ready to transfer any indictee at a moment’s notice
so that any delay in transfer would not be due to the Tribunal not being ready.
That was why the Tribunal called for any arrangements to be made in Belgrade
as quickly as possible so that any transfer could be facilitated in a timely

In answer to
the question as to whether there was a Tribunal representative in Belgrade,
Landale pointed out the Tribunal had an office there.

A question
as to whether Belgrade was blocking the transfer was answered by Hartmann
in the negative. She stated that the Tribunal’s office in Belgrade had been
informed that the process was ongoing and that the transfer would take place
soon although no specific date was available. She stated that the details
would be with Belgrade and that they were not making these public. Landale
added that the Tribunal was confident of a positive outcome in the near future.

The final question
referred to the creation of a special chamber in the state court of Bosnia
and Herzegovina and whether this was discussed during the meetings held on
Monday and Tuesday in Sarajevo. Landale answered in the positive stating that
it had been a working visit between representatives of the Tribunal from the
Registry, the President’s Office, the Prosecutor and the OTP and officials
from the Office of the High Representative (OHR), especially their legal representatives.
They discussed the idea of the creation of a specific chamber within the State
Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to process war crimes cases.

Asked when
such a chamber would be working, Landale answered that he did not know, but
added that more details would be made available as soon as possible.

Hartmann added
that any such Chamber would be set up by the OHR and that the Tribunal was
involved merely because of its expertise in this matter and because of the
possible transfer of some cases. Any questions regarding the details of any
such chamber would have to be addressed to OHR.

Both Landale
and Hartmann stressed that this chamber would not be a "mini-Tribunal"
in Sarajevo, but a Chamber within the State Court to process war crimes cases
as a vital part of the judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Landale added
that once such a chamber was set up and the Tribunal had seen that the necessary
safeguards were in place, then deferral of some of the cases could become
a possibility. Hartmann added that the Tribunal had a very specific mandate
which could not cover all possible war criminals. These cases could be taken
up by the domestic judiciary. The Tribunal had an interest in setting up the
chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina as most of the crimes were carried out there.
She pointed out that the Tribunal’s low level indictees were seen as high
level by the local population as they committed many of the crimes at the
municipal level and therefore needed to be prosecuted. The Tribunal encouraged
international efforts to bring about justice.