(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
Statement by Justice Louise Arbour, Prosecutor of The ICTY
I was informed yesterday evening in a letter from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in The Hague that I would not be permitted to conduct investigations in Kosovo. Specifically, the Ambassador put it to me in the following terms:
"As you have already been informed, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia does not accept any investigation of ICTY in Kosovo and Metohija generally, nor during your stay in the FR of Yugoslavia."
The letter also informed me that I would be granted a single entry, seven day visa, along with the Deputy Prosecutor, two members of my staff and two security officers, to attend a conference in Belgrade during the weekend, and to meet with government officials, also in Belgrade. My request had been for ten investigators to accompany me to conduct an investigative mission to Kosovo.
I have decided to decline the unacceptably limited visa that was offered to me and I very much regret that I will be unable to attend the important conference to be convened in Belgrade this week end by the Humanitarian Law Center, under the direction of Ms. Nataša Kandić.
I wish to stress once again that my entitlement to unrestricted and unimpeded access to Kosovo is unambiguously expressed in Article 18 (2) of the Statute of this Tribunal which provides that the Prosecutor has the power to conduct on-site investigations. I lead criminal investigations, at the request of the Security Council, in the course of which I must assemble evidence that will meet, in a court of law, a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in a public, transparent and adversarial forum. I intend to continue pursuing all legal means available to me, until I am granted access to the relevant sites, and to the witnesses that I may chose to contact in Kosovo. I will be calling on the various States and international organisations to continue to support these investigative efforts.
In accordance with the applicable legal provisions, I have written to the President of the Tribunal, asking that she notify the Security Council of the failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to comply with its obligations under the Statute in this matter. A copy of my letter is attached.
Letter From Prosecutor Justice Louise Arbour to President McDonald
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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