Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
|OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR
|BUREAU DU PROCUREUR
The Hague, 21 March 2001
Please find below the full text of the statement given by the Prosecutor of the ICTY, Carla Del Ponte, at the Press Conference on 21 March 2001 with the President of the ICTY, Judge Claude Jorda, Mr. Grubac, the Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Mr. Batic, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Serbia.
STATEMENT BY THE PROSECUTOR, CARLA DEL PONTE
I am very pleased that I could meet again, here in The Hague, Minister Grubac, Minister Batic and the special advisor to the President of Yugoslavia, Mr. Nalic. I feel encouraged by our discussions. They were most fruitful. Serious work has been done in Belgrade on the draft law for the implementation of cooperation. And the Yugoslav authorities had promised that they will consult
us on this issue.
I also took note with satisfaction that the Yugoslav Government had given all the necessary authorization for our office in Belgrade. The Yugoslav authorities have decided also to allow investigation activities on the territory of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), the hearing of witnesses and access to documents and archives necessary for the on-going investigations of my
Concerning the arrest and surrender of the accused presently on the territory of FRY, Minister Batic confirmed that the Belgrade authorities will take measures to expel non-Yugoslav citizens indicted by the Tribunal. Minister Grubac listed all the problems Yugoslavia is now facing, and he received my full understanding. But I wish to emphasise that cooperation and international
justice are key elements of stability and an important step to build democracy in the whole region.
Good progress has been made on many fronts to enable future cooperation. I have received very encouraging indications, but now I wait for concrete results of our excellent discussions. I hope we will have something substantial very soon and that the process of arresting and transferring fugitives will begin soon.
Finally, I take this opportunity to inform the media that two new investigations have been opened - for possible violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity. The first involves allegations about the activities, against Serbs and other minorities, of unidentified Albanian armed groups in Kosovo from June 1999 until the present.
The second investigation involves allegations about the activities of members of the self-styled "Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac" (UCPMB) in southern Serbia from November 1999 until the present.
I would like to thank the Yugoslav and Serbian authorities who have come to The Hague and held discussions with us over the last two days.
In answer to a question asked about the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, the Prosecutor responded:
As you already know, the jurisdiction of the Tribunal extends to the whole of the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, covers crimes committed during an armed conflict and is not limited in time.
The jurisdiction of the ICTY covers on-going events in Kosovo, south Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because the continuing violence in each area does indeed satisfy the legal criteria for the definition of "armed conflict" for the purposes of crimes set out in the statute of the Tribunal.
This is why I am intitled to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law that may occur during such conflict, and can announce today that I have formally opened two investigations in those regions.