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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 9 January 2013

Date:  9.01.2013
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

Welcome back to the Tribunal after the winter recess. I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy New Year to you all.

Activities in the courtrooms resumed on Monday, with the continuation of the presentation of the Prosecution evidence in the case of Goran Hadžić. Hearings will resume tomorrow at 9:00am in Courtroom II.

Hearings in the trial of Ratko Mladić will resume tomorrow with the testimony of Patrick Van der Weijden, who will be the 58th witness to testify on behalf of the Prosecution. Van der Weijden is an expert in the use of snipers and his testimony will primarily be about the sniping incidents during the war in Sarajevo.

Proceedings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will resume next week, on Tuesday 15 January at 9:00 in Courtroom I. The next witness is expected to be Milosav Gagović who will be testifying about events during the war in Sarajevo as a former Yugoslav Army officer. He will be the 52nd witness to be called by the Defence. On 14 December of last year, the Accused filed a revised list of witnesses he intends to call for his Defence case. The list numbers approximately 390 witnesses. The Accused’s appeal of the Decision granting him 300 hours for the presentation of the Defence case is currently pending before the Appeals Chamber. 

Two Status Conferences will be also held this week: the first on Thursday, 10 January at 14:30 in the appeals case of Šainović and others; followed by a second in the appeals case of Popović and others on Friday, 11 January at 9:30.

Turning to some key developments which occurred during the winter recess:

Vidoje Blagojević, a former Bosnian Serb Army commander sentenced in 2007 to 15 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in Srebrenica, was granted early release and returned to Belgrade from a prison in Norway. The release follows the 3 February 2012 decision of the Tribunal’s President Judge Theodor Meron. The President considered several factors when evaluating the application. While finding that Blagojević’s crimes were of extremely high gravity, the President considered his good behaviour during detention which demonstrated a degree of rehabilitation that weighed in favour of his early release. The President concluded that Blagojević’s request should be denied at the time, but that he should be granted early release effective from 31 December 2012. On 4 December 2012, the President issued an order granting the request of the Norwegian authorities to effectuate Blagojević’s release on 22 December 2012, due to logistical difficulties in facilitating the release on 31 December 2012.
In the case of Zdravko Tolimir, the parties have been ordered to file their notices of appeal by 12 March 2013. On 12 December 2012 Tolimir, former Assistant Commander and Chief for Intelligence and Security of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army, was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 1995 after the fall of Srebrenica and Žepa in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

No appeals were filed by any party following the delivery of the acquittal judgement in the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj on 29 November 2012. Consequently, the judgement is final and the case is now completed.

In line with the Tribunal’s completion strategy, the field offices in Zagreb and Pristina closed on 31 December. The offices were instrumental in bridging the gap between the Tribunal and the region and actively engaged with local partners including national bodies, civil society, and victims associations.  The offices played an important role in judicial liaison matters, capacity building of national courts, and in outreach activities. The field offices in Belgrade and Sarajevo will remain open and continue supporting the work of the Tribunal and encouraging regional dialogue about the ICTY’s legacy.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor, made no statement.


No questions were asked.


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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