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Plavsic Case: Closed Hearing on a Motion to modify the Conditions of Detention.

Press Release REGISTRY

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 11 January 2001

Plavsic Case: Closed Hearing on a Motion to modify the Conditions of Detention


On Wednesday 29 November, over 50 Ambassadors attended a Diplomatic Information Seminar held at the seat of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Initiated by the President of the Tribunal with the support of the Prosecutor and the Registrar, this Diplomatic Information Seminar was designed to update the members of the corps diplomatique on the activities of the organs comprising the Tribunal, to inform them about the challenges faced by the Tribunal, and to stress the importance for the Tribunal’s success of cooperation from Member States.


"Without intense cooperation from the countries you are representing, the Tribunal will not be able to accomplish its mission in the shortest possible time, and that would impact on its credibility and dash the hopes created by its establishment" said Judge Claude Jorda, President of the Tribunal.

The collection of evidence, the arrest of accused persons and support for the reforms suggested by the Judges (see Press Release 512 of 20 June 2000) were the main areas of cooperation that the President highlighted. President Jorda said that international cooperation was essential to the ongoing success of the Tribunal: "to demonstrate that international justice can be operational, and to eradicate impunity, regardless of the level of responsibility".


The Prosecutor, Ms. Carla Del Ponte, told the Ambassadors that the work of her Office in Kosovo had been completed and that the exhumation of "almost 4,000 bodies or body parts…gave an excellent picture of the extent and pattern of crimes".

She also reminded the audience of issues raised during her recent visit to New York (see Press Release 542 of 24 November 2000): an extension of the ICTY’s mandate to include crimes against humanity allegedly committed since the end of the Kosovo conflict; the need to freeze the financial assets of the accused and the possibility of making these funds "available to the victims"; and the decline in the number of arrests of accused persons. She concluded by reiterating that "sooner or later, Milosevic must be brought to trial before the International Tribunal" and by asking the Ambassadors for "the support of all your Governments".


Finally, the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Jean-Jacques Heintz, gave a detailed overview of the legal proceedings to date: 17 judgements rendered, of which five have been enforced; five trials ongoing with regard to 12 accused; nine cases at the pre-trial stage concerning 15 accused. He specified that additional figures should also be considered to get a "fairer view" of the intensity of judicial activity: since January 1st, the Chambers and individual Judges have issued 183 decisions and 452 orders; and the number of court sessions, legal filings and transcripts have doubled.

The Deputy Registrar also said that the Registry needed the support of Member States in essential areas such as the enforcement of sentences and the relocation of witnesses. Mr. Heintz specifically asked for financial support for the continuation of the Outreach Programme (designed to foster a better understanding of the Tribunal’s work among the people of the former Yugoslavia) and the establishment of a satellite-link between the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Following these presentations, Ambassadors were given the opportunity to ask questions to the President, the Prosecutor and the Deputy Registrar. This dialogue continued on a more personal basis during the informal reception that concluded the Diplomatic Information Seminar.


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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