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Statement by the Prosecutor at today's Press Briefing.

Press Release · Communiqué de presse

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 21 April 1999



Please find attached a copy of the statement by Justice Arbour, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made public at today’s press briefing.


" In the last few days I have met with senior Government Ministers both in Bonn and in London, and I will meet tomorrow with the Minister of Defence of The Netherlands.

I welcome the announcement of the German and British Governments that they will increase their support for our investigative efforts, and in particular that they will provide intelligence-based information to my Office.

We will work very closely with state authorities to ensure that we have appropriate safeguards in place for handling sensitive information and to agree on the best way of turning the information into evidence that can be used in a criminal court, particularly so that we can determine the command structures of military and police forces, and prove the responsibility of military
and political leaders for any war crimes that are being committed.

The world has also heard many of the stories told by refugees. The full picture is only beginning to emerge. The Tribunal’s investigators are now assembling a body of direct witness testimony. Putting these first hand accounts together with information we expect to continue to receive from a variety of Governments, such as imagery for instance, will build strong prosecution
cases. Refugee accounts are critical, but they are not enough on their own. The victims didn’t see the command structures or the people giving the orders at the highest levels. We therefore need the sophisticated kind of assistance that only states can provide.

I find the discussions I had in Bonn and London to be extremely encouraging. We have been steadily building our co-operation with a number of countries, and their decisions to increase our access to sensitive information takes us another important step forward. It should also send a signal to leaders and commanders on the ground who are implicated in the commission of war crimes
that they will be brought to justice".