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Statement by the Office of the Prosecutor.

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 17 December 1999
PR/ P.I.S./ 455-e

Statement by the Office of the Prosecutor

The Prosecutor, Madame Carla Del Ponte, is not surprised by SFOR’s announcement today that the Bosnian Croats have been attempting to carry out surveillance of Tribunal staff operating in Bosnia.

It is clear that the Tribunal has been targeted for espionage for some time and it appears that this espionage has been officially sanctioned. This activity demonstrates the lengths to which political and government leaders throughout the former Yugoslavia are prepared to go to avoid investigation by this Tribunal.

Without going into any details about the Tribunal’s security arrangements, the Prosecutor notes that procedures do exist to protect our staff and information. And with regard to the so-called Operation Puma, the Prosecutor is satisfied that her investigations were not compromised in any way.

The Prosecutor condemns this outrageous behavior which represents a blatant contempt of the Tribunal’s work and its jurisdiction, as well as being in breach of the UN Charter and the UN Convention on Privileges and Immunities.

All parties in Bosnia must work with the Tribunal in bringing perpetrators of war crimes to justice, otherwise achieving true and long term reconciliation will remain only a dream.

The Prosecutor commends SFOR for its work in exposing the unlawful and contemptuous behaviour of the Bosnian Croats.