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Visit of the President and Prosecutor of the ICTY to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Press Release PRESIDENT

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

The Hague, 14 June 2002

Visit of the President and Prosecutor of the ICTY to Bosnia and Herzegovina

The President of the ICTY, Judge Claude Jorda, and the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, along with the Deputy Registrar, Bruno Cathala, will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from 17 to 21 June 2002 in order to hold discussions on the possibility in the future of the Tribunal deferring some of its cases to the national authorities.

The Tribunal delegation is due to meet with representatives of the BiH State Presidency, the BiH State Council of Ministers, the Republika Srpska Presidency and Government, the Federation Presidency and Government, and the BiH State Parliament, as well as Judges and Prosecutors from both Entities. The delegation will hold separate meetings with the High Representative, Lord Ashdown, and other members of the international community.

During the visit, the delegation will gather information on the operation of the judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina and any difficulties it has encountered in trying war crimes. In addition, it will initiate a dialogue with the national and international political and judicial authorities on proposed measures to successfully complete the Tribunal’s mandate.

These new measures, in keeping with the programme the President and Prosecutor presented to the United Nations Security Council in November 2001, are focused on two major themes: increasingly concentrating on prosecuting the highest-ranking political and military leaders and, under certain specific conditions, deferring some cases involving intermediary-level accused to the national authorities.

In order to guarantee that international humanitarian law is applied uniformly on a national level, the President and Prosecutor are advocating that a chamber with jurisdiction to try the accused deferred by the International Tribunal be established within the State Court. They are suggesting that local prosecutors, judges and court personnel receive training in international humanitarian law, a field which is constantly evolving and increasingly complex. Lastly, bound by the spirit of the International Tribunal’s Statute to ensure that the domestic trials are conducted in accordance with international norms for the protection of human rights, the President and Prosecutor would support some involvement of international judges and observers.

During the visit the delegation will also reiterate the international obligations of the national authorities to arrest all individuals indicted by the Tribunal, especially the highest-ranking political and military leaders, and to co-operate in handing over evidence.



International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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