Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Since the ICTY’s closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals.

 Visit the Mechanism's website.

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 31st Mar 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 31 March 2004

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

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

Date: 31.03.2004

Time: 12:00


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

Good afternoon,

On 29 March, Trial Chamber III issued an Order in the Milosevic
case pursuant to Rule 15 bis (D) in which, noting the resignation
of Judge May effective 31 May, the remaining Judges unanimously
decided to continue the proceedings with a substitute Judge. Judge
Robinson and Judge Kwon also noted that at a hearing on 25 March
2004, the President of the Tribunal had sought the consent of the
Accused to the continuation of the proceedings with a substitute
Judge, and that the Accused did not consent.

On 26 March, Trial Chamber III granted a Prosecution Motion to
suspend the contempt proceedings against Dusko Jovanovic, filed
by the OTP confidentially on 25 March 2004, until such time as the
Trial Chamber issued its decision on the Prosecution Motion to Withdraw
the Indictment against the Accused, which was filed on 23 March
2004, also as a confidential document.

This afternoon at 3 p.m. the Judgement in The Prosecutor v.
Darko Mrda
will be rendered by Trial Chamber I in Courtroom
I. During the sentencing hearing for Darko Mrdja, which was held
on 22 October 2003, the Prosecution asked for a sentence of 15 to
20 years, while the Defence asked for a sentence of a maximum of
15 years.

Darko Mrdja pleaded guilty on 24 July 2003, five days before the
opening of his trial. You are all of course welcome to attend.

With regard to the rest of the court schedule and in addition
to the ongoing trials:

Tomorrow, 1 April, the sentencing hearing in The Prosecutor
v. Milan Babic
will begin in Courtroom I at 9 a.m. It is scheduled
to finish on Friday.

Trial Chamber II will hold a hearing tomorrow on the Applications
for provisional release filed by Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac on
12 March 2004 respectively. According to the Trial Chamber’s Order,
a representative from the Government of the Republic of Croatia
and the parties to the Applications may be heard.

There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Radislav
before the Pre-Appeal Judge, Judge Meron, tomorrow starting
at 5 p.m. in Courtroom II.

There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Milomir
before the Pre-Appeal Judge, Judge Meron, on 5 April
starting at 9.30 a.m. in Courtroom II.

There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Mitar
on 6 April starting at 9 a.m. in Courtroom III.

There will be a Pre-Defence Conference in The Prosecutor v.
Blagojevic et al
7 April. Vidoje Blagojevic’s case is due to
commence on 14 April.

There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Momir
before the Pre-Appeal Judge, Judge Guney, on 8 April
starting at 3 p.m.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor,
made no statement.


A journalist asked whether there was any documentation on the motion
to suspend the contempt proceedings against Dusko Jovanovic. Landale
answered that a document was available confirming that the proceedings
had been suspended pending a decision on the motion to withdraw
the indictment. He added that he would get the document for the

Landale was asked to clarify whether the trial in the Milosevic
case would indeed continue despite Milosevic’s lack of consent to
continue the trial with a replacement Judge. Landale explained that
the Rules of Procedure and Evidence stated that following Milosevic’s
lack of consent and the decision by the remaining Judges to continue
the trial with a replacement Judge, both parties had the opportunity
to appeal to the full bench of the Appeals Chamber.

In answer to a question as to when the Milosevic trial was due
to continue, Landale stated that the trial would resume on 8 June
when Milosevic was scheduled to begin his defence case.

A journalist asked why it was decided that it was in the interests
of justice to continue the trial despite Milosevic’s lack of consent
to continue with a replacement Judge. Landale answered that he had
not seen any document with detailed reasons for the decision to
carry on with a substitute Judge. The order referring to the continuation
of the trial mentioned that the Trial Chamber had come to its decision
unanimously and it noted the hearing in front of the President in
which Mr. Milosevic was asked whether he gave his consent and to
which Mr. Milosevic did not respond.

A journalist asked Hartmann whether there was any contact with
Belgrade on cooperation or on arrest of fugitives. The journalist
noted that some US officials had been in Belgrade yesterday and
wondered whether the OTP had had any contact with them. Hartmann
answered that the situation with Belgrade was quite worrying as
cooperation has been frozen for some time. She noted that in the
months preceding the appointment of a new government, the outgoing
administration did not want to take any initiatives and that the
new government had still frozen cooperation. No fugitives had been
arrested and there was no information on who would be appointed
to the National Council for Cooperation, the body dealing with requests
from the OTP. Any requests the OTP had made for cooperation had
not been heeded and there were several outstanding requests, some
pending for over a year. She added that this lack of cooperation
was in breach of Article 29 of the Statute which requested states
to cooperate with the Tribunal.

Landale added that President Meron was concerned about the current
situation with regard to Belgrade’s relationship with the ICTY.
The President was looking into and reviewing the whole question
of Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal, he stated.

A journalist asked for Hartmann’s reaction to the fact that in
the Sentencing Judgement yesterday, Presiding Judge Schomburg was
very critical of certain aspects of the Prosecution’s decisions,
particularly the fact that Deronjic was not indicted for Srebrenica
despite the fact that enough material was available. Hartmann stated
that in order to submit an indictment, certain criteria had to be
fulfilled. There was sufficient evidence which could be submitted
to the Trial Chamber against Deronjic covering the period of 1992
and Bratunac but, without going into details, the OTP was not able
to meet the criteria for any other period where Deronjic was allegedly
present and involved in crimes.

Regarding the meeting by the Croatian Minister of Justice with
the Prosecutor today, Hartmann stated she had no information of
such a meeting today. She added that the Croatian Minister of Justice
would be visiting the Tribunal tomorrow. She believed the Minister
was visiting at the request of the Defence in the context of the
motions for provision release by Cermak and Markac in order to provide
the guarantees necessary for provisional release. Hartmann added
that the Minister was meeting the Prosecutor and other Tribunal
officials tomorrow.

The final question regarded a new law passed by the Serbian parliament
to provide financial help to detainees in The Hague. The journalist
wondered whether this could be considered helpful and whether there
were any comments or a Tribunal position on the matter. Landale
stated that there was no Tribunal position on this as yet. He added
that the Tribunal wanted to see what the law specifically entailed
before taking a decision or articulating a stance. Landale reiterated
the President’s concern with the Tribunal’s relationship with Belgrade.

Hartmann stated that the OTP was not competent to discuss internal
Serbian politics and that it was up to the Serbian government to
decide whether they wanted to spend public money on education, on
health or on persons accused of grave breaches of International
Humanitarian Law.

Landale added that any Tribunal position would consider how such
a law could affect the indigent status of the accused.


The Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj

26 March 2004 "Motion no. 30".

30 March 2004 "Scheduling Order."

The Prosecutor v. Naser Oric

26 March 2004 "Public Redacted Version of "Decision on
Interlocutory Appeal Concerning Rule 70" Issued on 24 March

The Prosecutor v. Milan Babic

24 March 2004 "Defence Motion Pursuant to Rule 89(F) for the
Admission of Witness Statements."

29 March 2004 "Decision on Defence Motion for Admission of
Witness Statements and to call Witnesses."

29 March 2004 "Defence Submission to Supplement Defence Motion
Requesting the Trial Chamber to Admit the Witness Statements into

The Prosecutor v. Mrksic et al.

30 March 2004 "Decision on Mrksic Defence Request for Review
of the Registrar’s Decision of 6 October 2003."

The Prosecutor v. Hadzihasanovic/Kubura

26 March 2004 "Additional Clarification on Joint Defence Motion
for Judicial Notice of Adjudicated Facts at the Request of the Trial