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Vladimir Kovačević to stand trial in Serbia following Appeals Chamber decision

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 28 March 2007

Vladimir Kovačević to stand trial in Serbia following Appeals Chamber decision

The Appeals Chamber today dismissed Vladimir Kovačević’s appeal in its entirety against the Referral Bench's decision of 17 November 2006 to refer his case to the authorities of the Republic of Serbia. This is the first case referred by the Tribunal to Serbia in accordance with Rule 11bis of the Tribunal’s Rules.

On 1 December 2006, the defence filed its notice of appeal stating the Referral Bench erred as a matter of law and fact in: holding that the defence posed no objection to the referral proceedings; identifying the applicable Serbian Law; failing to give weight or sufficient weight to relevant considerations pertaining to the Appellant’s mental health when discussing the monitoring of proceedings; and failing to consider the defence’s written and oral submissions addressing the specifics of the Appellant’s case in light of his mental disease.

Pursuant to the Referral Bench’s 17 November 2006 Decision, the Registrar now has to transfer the accused and the Prosecution has to hand over the material supporting the indictment and all other appropriate evidence to the relevant authorities the Republic of Serbia, within 30 days.

In addition, the Prosecution has to file an initial report to the Referral Bench on the progress made by the Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia in the prosecution of Kovačević six weeks after the transfer of the evidentiary material and thereafter every three months.

The Prosecution will also be required to continue its efforts to ensure the monitoring and reporting on the proceedings of this case before the competent national court in Serbia in accordance with the agreement it has with OSCE, which will conduct the monitoring.

Kovačević was provisionally released to Serbia in June 2004. In April 2006, the Tribunal found him unfit to enter a plea or stand trial. The Referral Bench concluded that mechanisms exist in Serbia for the ongoing monitoring of Kovačević’s health and resumption of proceedings against him should he become fit to stand trial.

The ICTY has to date transferred nine accused to Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial and referred one case involving two accused to Croatia.

The full text of the Decision can be found at http://www.icty.org/x/cases/kovacevic_vladimir/acdec/en/070328.pdf