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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 2nd May 2001

ICTY Press Briefing - 2 May 2001

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

Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 2 May 2001

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

closing arguments in the Krstic case have now been rescheduled for 5 to 8 June.
The final briefs are to be filed by 29 May.

sentencing hearing in the Todorovic case will now begin at 0900 hours on Friday
4 May, instead of 0930 hours as previously advertised in the update.

27 April we received the Defence Brief on sentencing in the Todorovic case.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) filed their brief on 17 April 2001.

the Simic and others case, on 27 April we received a joint statement of admissions
by the parties and matters that are not in dispute filed jointly by the OTP
and the Defence.

the Plavsic and Krajisnik case, we received on 27 April the Trial Chamber’s
decision on her motion for a separate trial, filed on 9 April. In the decision,
the Trial Chamber denied the motion considering that the accused had not raised
any new relevant arguments since the Trial Chamber’s joinder decision of 23
February 2001, in which it stated that there would be "no conflict of
interest in joining the trials and that to do so would be in the interests of



Jean Jacques Joris Advisor to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

Prosecutor will be travelling this afternoon to Paris, where she will meet with
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vedrine, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Richard
and the Minister of Justice, Madame Lebranchu. They will discuss subjects of
mutual interest including the arrests of fugitives in Bosnia and the present
status of cooperation between Belgrade and the ICTY.



whether it was just a coincidence that the Prosecutor was visiting Paris just
two days after the visit by the Prime Minister of Serbia, Joris replied that
it was a coincidence. He added that the OTP had been trying to schedule the
trip to Paris for the last month and a half. There was agreement on the principle
of a visit, however, there were some difficulties on both sides to find a
date. The visit was confirmed on Friday of last week and for this reason it
was not mentioned in last weeks’ press briefing, he concluded.

Asked whether
the French Government was playing an intermediary role between Belgrade and
the Tribunal, Joris replied that France was not assuming the role of intermediary
between the Tribunal and Serbia. He added that it was an interesting hypothesis,
but one which was, to his knowledge, without foundation.

A journalist
pointed out that the Prosecutor had been quoted as saying that she wished
to establish an ICTY OTP ‘tracking team’ modeled on a similar team in the
Rwanda Tribunal. Asked how this team would work, and what differences there
would be between this team and an investigator who through the course of their
investigations also gathered information concerning the whereabouts of suspects
and who had in the past assisted SFOR and other authorities, Joris replied
that he could not make any comment about the ‘tracking team’ in Rwanda as
he worked specifically for the ICTY and he was not aware of the specifics.
He went on to say that the Prosecutor had been discussing the idea before
calling it a ‘special taskforce’. Because it was difficult, with SFOR operating
under military rules of engagement, to detach a small group of people dedicated
solely to the purpose of locating fugitives, why not establish a group that
would operate not along military rules of engagement but rather as a police
force? That was the idea that was being discussed by the Prosecutor, NATO
officials and with some countries. The Prosecutor expected some answers on
those questions. These people would not be in charge of carrying out the arrests
themselves, but strictly with locating the fugitives precisely and quickly.

Asked who
would be in control of this team, the Tribunal or NATO, Joris replied that
the Tribunal would be in control of the team. The team would be under the
responsibility of the Tribunal but the arrests would remain under the responsibility
of SFOR. This was all being discussed, so the final outline (if the idea was
accepted) could be slightly different.

Asked whether
the International Police Task Force (IPTF) had a role of this kind, Landale
replied that the IPTF was unarmed and did not have an executive mandate.

Joris added
that the IPTF were slightly different. Their responsibilities did not cover
the location of fugitives. He added that the term ‘police task force’ was
given to the general idea previously, now the Prosecutor favoured the expression
‘tracking team’ because that was what the team would be about. Not police,
because they would not be carrying out the arrests, solely locating people.
Like a scouting group, he concluded.

whether this addressed the central problem that SFOR did not wish to arrest
these people and therefore what would the new team achieve, Joris replied
that when the Prosecutor asked the question why fugitives were not arrested,
why was it that Karadzic and other fugitives were still at large after five
to six years, the answer she received was that these people were moving quickly,
they knew the terrain and they were protected so it was hard for SFOR to locate
them. The obvious answer was that the OTP would help SFOR to locate them.
It was not a matter of political will, since SFOR was ready to carry out the
arrests. Other explanations might be valid, however, he could not speculate
on this. The official answer received by the Prosecutor was that the fugitives
could not be located, so the OTP wished to see if it could help in locating

Asked why
the Prosecutor did not just ask the politicians why they did not wish to arrest
the fugitives, Joris replied that this question was asked systematically to
politicians and to Governments and the answer consistently given was that
everyone was ready to arrest the fugitives, however they were hard to locate.
There was no reason for the Prosecutor to doubt that. If the problem was one
of locating the fugitives then the OTP wished to see how this situation could
be solved. Obviously a tracking team would be such an answer. He speculated
that, if the tracking team told SFOR where a fugitive was and nothing was
done, then this would be a different situation, he concluded.

Asked whether
this tracking team was only mandated for Bosnia and why, when it was reported
that most fugitives had left Bosnia for Serbia, Joris replied that the whereabouts
of those inside Serbia was well known so it was not a matter of locating most
of them.

Asked whether
this also included Bosnian Serbs, Joris replied that it did. Some were moving
back and forth and did not have known whereabouts, or stable addressees in
Bosnia or Yugoslavia, but many of them were living publicly, so there was
not the problem of locating and tracking them.

Asked where
the teams would come from and whether they would be armed, Joris replied that
there were some ideas of how the idea could be implemented, however, this
was subject to discussion and he could not comment further.

Asked whether
they would come from the OTP or the UN, Joris replied that the idea would
be under the responsibility of the Prosecutor, something along the lines of
the tracking team in Rwanda, but obviously the situation was different so
there would be a necessary cooperation and coordination with SFOR.

Asked whether
these discussions had just taken place within the OTP or with others, Joris
replied that discussions had taken place with NATO and the main participating
states in SFOR.

Asked how far
the OTP would depend on outside authorisation or consent to take some of the
OTP investigators and put them on that specific task of locating fugitives,
and whether there was a problem of the Tribunal’s mandate or to get the permission
for them to walk around armed in Bosnia or a problem of cooperation, Joris
replied that the idea was that the OTP did not have a judicial police and
could not send armed people to perform the arrests themselves. The idea was
not only to have an idealistic interest in knowing where the people were but
in securing their arrests. He added that that was why a close coordination
with SFOR would be important.

While accepting
the idea of a task force, was it not more a question of political will as
to whether arrests took place and what did the Tribunal really gain from such
a task force, Joris replied that there was political will to arrest fugitives
and there were technical difficulties in locating them, this was the answer
the Prosecutor had been receiving all along.

Asked whether
it was time to abandon the idea of having these fugitives arrested, Joris
said that the Tribunal was certainly not going to abandon the idea of having
these fugitives arrested.

Asked whether
the Prosecutor would discuss the tracking team with the French, Joris replied
that she would.