(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
Statement by Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for The former Yugoslavia.
The Prosecutor is deeply alarmed at the decision of the Chambers of this Tribunal to release two of the accused, Simo Zaric and Miroslav Tadic, in what is commonly referred to as the Bosanski Samac case.
The Prosecutor has at all times strenuously opposed the application by these two accused for their provisional release, despite the fact that they both surrendered voluntarily to the Tribunal in February 1998. The Prosecutor has been ready to proceed to trial in this case since early 1999 and in fact joined with the defence counsel in November 1999 in seeking an early trial date before the Trial Chamber.
When the Trial Chamber ordered the provisional release of the two accused on 4 April 2000, the Prosecutor immediately lodged a notice of appeal. In rejecting the Prosecutor’s appeal today, the Appeal’s Chamber does not give any reasons for its decision.
The Prosecutor is concerned that the provisional release of these accused will have a very negative impact on the victims and witnesses in this case. This concern is heightened by the fact that both accused were convicted and sentenced in absentia in March 1994 by the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for offences covered in the Prosecutor’s indictment before this Tribunal. The accused Zaric had been sentenced to death, but such a sentence would now be one of 40 years, following the constitutional changes in that country. Even though the Tribunal has primacy in this case, it nevertheless highlights the seriousness of the charges and allegations against these accused.
The Prosecutor will monitor closely the activities of the two accused, who will be returned to Republika Srpska, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If there is any suggestion that they, or persons on their behalf, are interfering with witnesses or evidence, the Prosecutor will not hesitate to seek the re-arrest of the accused. Having regard to the fact that Republika Srpska has never surrendered any fugitive to this Tribunal it is likely that the Prosecutor will have to turn to SFOR to re-arrest these accused if they refuse to return to the Tribunal for trial when required.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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