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Weekly Press Briefing - 1 February 2012

Date:  01.02.2012
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Nerma Jelačić, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

Yesterday the Trial Chamber accepted the plea agreement filed jointly by the Prosecution and the Defence in the trial of Jelena Rašić for Contempt of the Tribunal, at a hearing at which the Accused pleaded guilty to all five counts of contempt. Rašić pleaded guilty to knowingly and willingly interfering with the Tribunal’s administration of justice by procuring a false witness statement from Zuhdija Tabaković from Višegrad in exchange for €1,000 in cash. Rašić also pleaded guilty to inciting Tabaković to offer bribes and to procure false witness statements from two other individuals. Tabaković was convicted of contempt of the Tribunal on 15 March 2010 and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. The date of Rašić’s Judgement Hearing will be announced in due course.

I will turn now to the upcoming courtroom schedule:

The trial of Milan Tupajić, charged with contempt of the Tribunal for failing to testify in the trial of Radovan Karadžić, will commence on Friday, 3 February at 09:00 in Courtroom I. One hearing has currently been scheduled for this trial. The Defence will call Milan Tupajić as its only witness. The Chamber is not expected to call any witnesses.

Next Tuesday, an administrative hearing in the case of Vojislav Šešelj will be held at 14:30 in Courtroom III to discuss issues pertaining to the Accused’s health. I will remind you that the parties have until Sunday, 5 February 2012 to submit their final briefs to the Chamber, which will be followed by the closing arguments on 5 March 2012.

Proceedings in the trials of Radovan Karadžić, Zdravko Tolimir as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

In the trial of Karadžić, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Jean-René Ruez, former ICTY lead investigator of the Srebrenica events.

In the trial of Tolimir, witness Petar Škrbić, former Assistant Commander of the Army of Republika Srpska's Main Staff in charge of Organisation, Mobilisation and Personnel, is testifying.

In the trial of Stanišić and Simatović, witness Aco Drača is currently testifying. He was a member of the State Security Service of the Serb Autonomous Region (SAO) of Krajina in Croatia during the relevant period.

An invitation was sent this morning to all journalists to attend the launch of the Manual on International Criminal Defence which will take place this coming Monday at 18:00 in the lobby of the Tribunal.

The Manual was produced by the Association of Defence Counsel practising before the ICTY together with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, UNICRI, as part of the War Crimes Justice Project. It provides an overview of the most effective practices developed by defence counsel representing accused before the ICTY. The President of the ADC-ICTY, Jelena Nikolić, the Vice-President of the ADC-ICTY, Colleen Rohan, and Judge Roberto Bellelli, Legal Adviser to the Italian Embassy in The Hague and UNICRI, will address the guests on the occasion of the launch.

I’ll turn finally to activities organised by the Tribunal’s Outreach programme. The Programme yesterday organised the premiere of the ICTY Outreach Programme’s feature-length documentary "Sexual Violence and the Triumph of Justice" at the Humanity House in The Hague was attended by some 100 guests, including journalists, academics, senior officials from other courts in The Hague and Embassy representatives. The screening of the documentary which depicts the Tribunal’s historic role in the prosecution of wartime sexual violence, was followed by a round table discussion. Similar events will be organised in the countries of the former Yugoslavia in the coming weeks.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor's Immediate Office, made no statement.


Asked to confirm whether the ban on Vojislav Šešelj’s privileged communication with his legal advisors has been lifted as his party recently claimed, Nerma Jelačić confirmed that the Registrar informed Šešelj, in a letter dated 27 January 2012, that he would suspend, for the time being, his decision on monitoring his privileged communication. Providing further information on the reasoning behind the Registrar’s decision, Jelačić explained that a few days prior to the Registrar’s letter, the Trial Chamber in charge of the case issued a decision rejecting the Prosecution’s motion to admit as evidence in the case the Amicus Curiae report into allegations of contempt by OTP staff members, which meant that the production of evidence phase in this case was now officially closed. The Registrar had suspended Šešelj privileged communication with his legal advisors due to his concerns that he was abusing his privileged communication to leak protected information or have it published by his associates elsewhere. With the evidence phase concluded, the Registrar’s concern has been somewhat alleviated. Jelačić however stressed that, in accordance with the Rules of Detention, the Registrar does remain in a position to change his decision at any time should the disclosure of confidential information continue.

Asked how much money Karadžić would now receive in light of the President’s decision filed yesterday regarding the remuneration of his defence team, and how many team members he has, Jelačić first clarified that it is Karadžić’s legal advisors who are paid, not himself. Jelačić explained that until yesterday’s decision, he was allocated 750 remunerable hours per month to be shared by 6 people on the team. In light of the higher scope and complexity of his case in comparison to other cases, the President yesterday granted an additional 270 remunerable hours per month. His team members are paid at different rates, between 16-27 Euros per hour. Given Peter Robinson’s expanded role in his capacity of Legal Assistant, which includes responsibility normally assumed by co-counsel in a case where an accused is represented by counsel, he is paid at a higher rate of 71 Euros per hour, which is the usual hourly co-counsel rate. Jelačić said that the Office of Legal Aid and Defence is now determining the appropriate implementation of the decision.


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