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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 6th Oct 2004

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 22.05.2003

Time: 12:20


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

First, you
all should have received our press release on 20 May from the President of the
ICTY, Judge Theodor Meron, welcoming the unanimous adoption by the Security
Council on 19 May of resolution 1481 amending the Tribunal’s Statute to enhance
the powers of ad litem Judges.

Next, you will
all have been busy yesterday on a number of fronts. In addition to Milan Kucan’s
testimony in the Milosevic trial, you should have seen that Trial Chamber I
(Judge Liu, presiding, Judges Vassylenko and Argibay) entered a finding of guilt
for Dragan Obrenovic on Count 5 of the Second Amended Joinder Indictment as
part of a Plea Agreement between the Prosecution and Dragan Obrenovic.

you should also all be aware that Miroslav Radic at his initial appearance yesterday
afternoon entered not-guilty pleas to all six counts in the Indictment against

On behalf of the
Outreach Programme, the Tribunal was pleased to participate in a three-day training
event dealing with the application of International Humanitarian Law for legal
professionals from Serbia that took place in Palic, Vojvodina, between 8 and10

The event, organised
by the International Bar Association and the Humanitarian Law Center, with the
additional support of the Tribunal's Outreach Programme, aimed to provide training
for judges, prosecutors, attorneys and police investigators from Serbia and
Montenegro and other newly formed states on the territory of the former Yugoslavia
in how to apply International Humanitarian Law and to better enable them to
conduct domestic trials for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Four representatives
of the Tribunal took part in the training which is the first of three such events
planned to take place in the months ahead.

Among the court
documents we have received since the last briefing, the following are brought
to your attention:

From the Appeals

In The Prosecutor
v. Slobodan Milosevic
on 21 May the Appeal Chamber (Judge Meron, presiding,
Judges Pocar, Shahabuddeen, Hunt and Guney) issued an "Order Granting
Extension of Time
", in which the Appeals Chamber granted the "Prosecution’s
Motion for an Extension of Time for the Filing of its Interlocutory Appeal
filed on 13 May 2003, and denied the "Prosecution’s Second Motion for
an Extension of Time for the Filing of its Interlocutory Appeal
" filed
on 19 May 2003". The Appeals Chamber ordered "the Prosecution to
file its Interlocutory Appeal on Wednesday, 21 May 2003
". Judge Hunt
appended a dissenting opinion and Judges Pocar and Shahabuddeen appended a joint

On the same day
in The Prosecutor v. Milutinovic, Sainovic and Ojdanic the Appeals Chamber
(Judge Shahabuddeen, presiding, Judges Pocar, Jorda, Hunt and Gunawardana) issued
its "Decision on Dragoljub Ojdanic’s Motion Challenging Jurisdiction
– Joint Criminal Enterprise
", in which the Appeals Chamber dismissed
the appeal. Judge Shahabuddeen and Judge Hunt appended separate opinions.

In terms of other
court documents:

On 16 May, in
the The Prosecutor v. Momcilo Krajisnik we received a "Motion
for an Order and Direction
", from Momcilo Krajisnik’s former lead counsel,
Deyan Brashich.

On 16 May, in
the The Prosecutor v. Radovan Stankovic Trial Chamber I (Judge Liu, presiding,
Judges El Mahdi and Orie) issued its "Decision on Prosecution’s Motion
for Judicial Notice Pursuant to Rule 94(B)
", in which the Trial Chamber
allowed the motion with respect to a number of proposed facts listed in the
Decision, "subject to the qualifications expressed in the accompanying
", and denied the Motion in all other respects.

On 19 May, in
The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic we received the "Prosecution’s
Second Motion for an Extension of Time for the Filing of its Interlocutory Appeal

Again in the Milosevic
case and on the same day, Trial Chamber III (Judge May, presiding, Judges Robinson
and Kwon) issued its "Scheduling Order for Hearing on Prosecution Motion
for Binding Order
". This followed the "Prosecution’s Request
for a Further Hearing Concerning the Production of Documents by Serbia and Montenegro
filed on 9 May. The Trial Chamber ordered that a hearing be held on Tuesday
3 June 2003 commencing at 3 p.m., at which both the Prosecution and Serbia and
Montenegro, through its "designated senior responsible official"
should appear to address the Prosecution’s application.

On 20 May in the
Milosevic case, we received the "Prosecution Motion for the Admission
of Testimony Pursuant to Rule 92 bis (D)

In the same case
and on the same day we received the "Prosecution Response to the 6 May
Submission by Serbia and Montenegro Regarding Outstanding Requests for Assistance

The following
day, on 21 May, in the Milosevic case, we received the "Amici Curiae
Reply to Prosecution Motion for the Admission of Evidence-in-Chief of its Witnesses
in Writing

On 16 May in the
Prosecutor v. Blagojevic, Obrenovic and Jokic, we received the "Prosecution’s
Notice of Filing Additional Transcript to Accomany Rule 92 bis Motion

On 19 May in the
same case, we received "Vidoje Blagojevic’s Expedited Motion to Compel
the Prosecution to Disclosure its Notes From its Discussions with the Nikolic
Defense Team and During the Negotiating & Debriefing Sessions with Accused
Nikolic Resulting in the Agreed Facts in Support of the Guilty Plea Agreement
of Accused Nikolic
" and "Request for an Expedited Open Session

On 15 May, in
the Prosecutor v. Dragan Nikolic we received "Annex B – Admitted,
Undisputed and Contested Facts, Pursuant to Rule 65 ter (E) (i) ICTY RPE

On 20 May, in
The Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj, we received a letter from the Registrar,
Hans Holthuis, in response to Seselj’s "Petition no. 10 – To the Tribunal
" dated 24 April 2003.

Copies of all
the documents I have mentioned are available to you on request.

Florence Hartmann,
Spokeswomen for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made no statement.


In reference to
the plea agreement in the Obrenovic case a question was asked as to how the
OTP would deal with other defendants who would like to do the same in exchange
for dropping counts or giving evidence. Hartmann replied that the modalities
of the plea agreement were established by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
It was an agreement between both parties on trial and acceptance was on a case
by case basis. It was not a matter of bargaining, it was an agreement and the
Rules were very precise.

The journalist
added that there seemed to be some kind of bargaining since an accused would
plead guilty and the OTP would drop five or six counts. Hartmann replied that
the fact that some counts had been withdrawn by the Prosecution from the Indictment
would never affect the facts the OTP wanted to establish. This would only affect
the legal qualification of the charges brought against an individual but never
the facts.

In answer to a
question as to whether Biljana Plavsic was still in the Hague and if she was
when could she be expected to be transferred to serve her sentence, Landale
replied that Plavsic had not yet been transferred, but added that he predicted
that this would happen in the near future. He would let journalists know once
the transfer had taken place.

Asked whether
there was any news on when Stanisic and Simatovic would arrive in The Hague
and whether there would be a chance that they would testify against Milosevic,
Landale replied that the Tribunal was confident of cooperation on the part of
the authorities in Belgrade and that he was confident that the transfer would
happen in due course. Hartmann added that members of the joint criminal enterprise
could have been informed about the dealings of the other core members and could
bring evidence, therefore they would be contemplated by all parties as potential

Asked to confirm
that Biljana Plavsic would be transferred to Sweden to serve her sentence as
had been reported, Landale replied that no comments would be made on any potential
transfer of someone who had been convicted and sentenced by the Tribunal as
to which country they would be serving that sentence in until that individual
was transferred. He added that this was obviously for security reasons.

A journalist asked
whether anything could be said about Carla Del Ponte’s visit to Belgrade, Hartmann
replied that the Prosecutor was pleased to hear in Belgrade that both the Prime
Minister and the President were explaining publicly the importance of bringing
all accused to justice. She continued to say that the Prosecutor had said that
she expected concrete steps and the realization of the promises made by them.

Asked whether
it was true, as reported in the press, that the OTP would defer some of its
cases to Belgrade and whether these cases were: 1) cases already under the jurisdiction
of the Tribunal or 2) investigations which had already been carried out but
would not been prosecuted by the Tribunal or 3) investigations that the Tribunal
would like to be carried out by Belgrade, Hartmann replied in general that the
Tribunal would always encourage, on the principal of concurrent jurisdiction,
the local judiciaries to initiate war crimes cases. The OTP had a mandate for
the higher level cases and when established by the Security Council it was clear
that immunity to the other war criminals was not granted. An International Tribunal
could not deal with all cases and the local judiciaries could. It was a moral
obligation to their future generation. The Tribunal was encouraging the establishment
of a Chamber for war crimes within the State Court in Bosnia. The OTP was not
happy to hear in Sarajevo that it would not be operational before the second
half of 2004. The OTP would hope that some efforts would be made that it could
be operational before then. Regarding Serbia the Prosecutor heard that they
were working on war crimes law and she encouraged this effort. In the course
the "Sabre" operation the OTP had expected that this Serbian Police
operation would at the end result in catching also war criminals. This had not
been the case, which was a pity, but some of the people that had been arrested
were linked with war crimes, for instance the killings of Ovcara, Vukovar. This
was the reason why the OTP had offered to give evidence on the low-level perpetrators
who were arrested. Therefore the OTP gave to the State Prosecutor in Belgrade
eight boxes of evidence. This did not change the status of the three co-accused
in the case of Ovcara before the ICTY. The OTP did not contemplate deferring
this case to Serbia. This is why the OTP had requested the arrest of Sljivancanin.
Not only of Sljivancanin but of all 18 other fugitives who were currently in
Serbia or often crossing into Serbia.

Landale added
that on the issue of deferral of cases where an indictment had been confirmed
by a Judge of the ICTY, approval would have to be given by the Judges, in accordance
with Rule 11bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. He continued that before
the Judges would defer a case to either the State Court in Bosnia, or courts
in Croatia or Serbia or wherever, they would have to be absolutely satisfied
that the necessary safeguards were in place to protect witnesses and the make
sure that the trial would be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.