(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
Judge Claude Jorda, President of the ICTY, reports the Continued Non-Cooperation
by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Security Council
Please find below the full text of President Jorda’s letter to the President of the UN Security Council sent on 23 October 2002.
The Hague, 23 October 2002
Acting within the scope of the powers vested in me and at the request of the Prosecutor, I am officially referring to you the failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to comply with its obligations to co-operate with the International Tribunal in accordance with Article 29 of the Statute.
On 17 October 2002, the Prosecutor, Mrs Del Ponte, informed me that this State was in serious breach of its international obligations in two areas. Firstly, it failed to arrest or transfer the accused in its territory and, secondly, it adopted a law on co-operation with the International Tribunal on 11 April 2002 which violates its commitments towards our institution.
I found the Prosecutor’s arguments to be particularly persuasive and, for this reason, have decided to bring the matter before you.
As regards the first area, the Prosecutor and I are convinced that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is not co-operating in tracking down, arresting and transferring to The Hague certain of the accused and we have strong grounds to believe that this also holds true for other accused as well. May I remind you that 11 accused - namely Ratko Mladic (indicted on 25 July 1995), Miroslav Radic (indicted on 7 November 1995), Veselin Sljivancanin (indicted on 7 November 1995), Gojko Jankovic (indicted on 18 June 1996), Dragan Zelenovic (indicted on 18 June 1996), Dragomir Milosevic (indicted on 24 April 1998), Milan Lukic (indicted on 21 October 1998), Sredoje Lukic (indicted on 21 October 1998), Milan Milutinovic (indicted on 24 May 1999), Vladimir Kovacevic (indicted on 22 February 2001) and Vinko Pandurevic (indicted on 7 December 2001) - have still not been apprehended or brought before the International Tribunal. I wish to state that the indictments, arrest warrants and transfer orders for these accused have been served on the competent authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on several occasions. As yet, we have still not seen any significant reaction on their part.
I therefore conclude that a more than reasonable period of time has passed without the State concerned having reported on the action taken in response to the indictments, arrest warrants and transfer orders issued by the International Tribunal and that, pursuant to Rule 59(B) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, I must therefore bring this matter before you.
Furthermore, may I remind you that, in keeping with the procedure set down under Rule 61 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Tribunal issued international arrest warrants against Miroslav Radic, Mile Mrksic and Veselin Sljivancanin on 3 April 1996, and against Ratko Mladic on 11 July 1996. Following these procedures, the Tribunal established that on each occasion the failure to serve the indictment was due to a failure or refusal of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to co-operate with the International Tribunal.
I further note that, in its resolution 1207 (S/RES/1207) of 17 November 1998, the Security Council itself condemned the failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to co-operate in arresting three of the accused in the case IT-93-13a (known as the "Vukovar" case), that is to say, Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin. Of these three accused, only Mile Mrksic has appeared before the International Tribunal, and that was only after he handed himself in on 15 May 2002.
The Prosecutor and I also wish to state that article 39 of the law on co-operation adopted by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 11 April 2002 contravenes international obligations to provide co-operation since it sets forth that any individual charged by the International Tribunal subsequent to the entry into force of the said law shall be tried by the Yugoslav courts. This is a flagrant violation of Article 9(2) of the Statute which guarantees the primacy of the International Tribunal over the national courts. Furthermore, I underscore that Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence explicitly provides that "[t]he obligations laid down in Article 29 of the Statute shall prevail over any legal impediment to the surrender or transfer of the accused [...] to the Tribunal which may exist under the national law or extradition treaties of the State concerned".
In addition, I wish to notify you that on 21 October 2002 Mrs Del Ponte travelled to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia where she met with Mr. Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Mr. Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, in an attempt to resolve the impasse on these two issues. This final action was to no avail.
As the President of the International Tribunal responsible for the proper accomplishment of the mission you entrusted to it, I must remind you that, on 23 July this year, you expressly mandated us to concentrate our work on the trial of the main civilian, military and paramilitary leaders, in particular, so as to be able to complete our trial activities by around 2008. However, we will be in a position to achieve this only if the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, for that matter, all of the States concerned co-operate fully with the International Tribunal. Any delay in the arrests will irremediably preclude the International Tribunal from completing its work within the anticipated time-frames.
I am bringing this matter before you officially today as I thought that the international community should be informed of the failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to honour its international commitments, at a juncture when the community must take decisions crucial for the future of the country vis-à-vis its accession to the Council of Europe and NATO’s Partnership for Peace.
For all of these reasons, the Prosecutor and I request that you take all the measures necessary in order to force the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to assume fully its international obligations.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this letter.
Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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