Since the International Court of Justice issued its Judgement on 26 February 2007 in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro, and especially so in the past few days, media have published various allegations of an alleged "deal" between the Prosecutor's Office and the Belgrade authorities regarding the disclosure of certain documents, in relation to the ICJ
In the interests of justice and transparency, the OTP would like to state the following:
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY rejects in the strongest terms allegations that the OTP is in any way involved in "concealing documents" from the International Court of Justice or in any "deal" whatsoever with the Belgrade authorities.
First, the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor has no authority or involvement in proceedings before the International Court of Justice. The ICJ and the ICTY are two entirely separate legal institutions - the ICJ deals with disputes between states and the ICTY has jurisdiction to determine the criminal responsibility of individual perpetrators. When it comes to cases before the
International Court of Justice, it is the responsibility of that institution to determine what evidence it will consider and to request documents it deems necessary. This is not and cannot be the responsibility of the ICTY or its Office of the Prosecutor. As can be read in the text of its Judgement, the International Court of Justice chose not to request the documents in
Secondly, at the ICTY, in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and Evidence, only the Judges and not the Prosecutor can decide on the protective measures to keep material from the public. Rule 54bis of the Rules allows a state to apply for protective measures for reasons of national security interests and, in such cases, it is the Judges of this Tribunal, and not a party to
the proceedings that can make such a determination upon examination of all the relevant documents in the case.
In conclusion, any allegation that the Office of the Prosecutor has been involved in hiding evidence is entirely false.