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Weekly Press Briefing - 17 August 2011

Date: 17.08.2011.
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

Welcome back to the Tribunal. Proceedings have resumed this week in the cases of Radovan Karadžić and Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović. Proceedings in the trial of Zdravko Tolimir will resume next Monday.

In the trial of Karadžić, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of a protected Prosecution witness who is testifying about the war-time events in Zvornik. This is the 88th Prosecution witness to testify so far. According to the latest statistics, the Prosecution has used approximately 160 hours so far for the presentation of its evidence, which amounts to over 50  per cent of the total time allocated to its case.

In the Stanišić and Simatović trial, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of a Defence protected witness in closed session.

The re-trial in the case of Ramush Haradinaj and others will commence this Thursday with Prosecution Opening Statements. The pre-trial conference will be held this afternoon at 14:15 in Courtroom I. This is the first re-trial to take place before the Tribunal. In July 2010, the Appeals Chamber ordered a partial re-trial of the case following its conclusion that the Trial Chamber had seriously erred in failing to appreciate the gravity of the threat that witness intimidation posed to the trial’s integrity. According to the Appeals Chamber, the Trial Chamber’s error undermined the fairness of the proceedings and resulted in a miscarriage of justice. All three Accused are to be re-tried on six counts of the indictment relating to the torture and murder of prisoners in the KLA-run camp in Jablanica.

Next Tuesday 23 August, an Administrative Hearing will be held in the trial of Vojislav Šešelj at 10:00 in Courtroom II. At this hearing, further details will be provided regarding the continuation of trial proceedings.

Also next week, a Status Conference will be held in the case of Ratko Mladić, on Thursday 25 August at 14:30 in Courtroom I.

Nine other cases are currently ongoing at the Tribunal and I would like to use this opportunity to update you on where we stand with each:

Regarding pre-trial proceedings in the case of Goran Hadžić, a date for the further initial appearance of the Accused will be announced in due course.

In the trials of Momčilo Perišić and Jadranko Prlić and others, the respective Trial Chambers are now at the judgement drafting stage.

The trial of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin will resume on Monday, 5 September at 9:00 in Courtroom III, with the start of Župljanin’s Defence case. Stanišić’s Defence case closed 20 July. The Trial Chamber has yet to render a decision on the Prosecution Motion to reopen its case in chief to tender into evidence death certificates and other proof of death documents for victims from most of the municipalities from the indictment.

As to the appeals proceedings:

In the case of Vlastimir Đorđević, both parties submitted their final appeal briefs which were filed confidentially on Monday, 15 August. 

In the case of Ante Gotovina & Mladen Markač, both Defence teams filed their appeal briefs on 2 August. The Prosecution has not appealed the Trial Chamber’s judgement.

In the case of Šainović and others, a Status Conference has been scheduled for 13 September at 14:30 in Courtroom III. A date for an appeals hearing in this case, as well as in that of Popović and others will be set in due course.

The appeals hearing in the case of Milan and Sredoje Lukić is scheduled to take place on 14 and 15 September in Courtroom III.

Finally, I would like to inform you that from next week onwards, journalists and members of the public unable to attend the Press Briefing in person will be able to submit questions about any aspects of the Tribunal’s work ahead of each Press Briefing. The Tribunal’s Spokespersons will respond to a selection of these questions during the Press Briefing. Questions will be submitted through a specially designed page on the Tribunal’s website or through Twitter. This initiative will provide larger numbers of journalists and others based outside The Hague with access to our spokespersons. More details will be available in a Press Advisory we will issue this afternoon.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor’s immediate office, made the following statement:

On Tuesday 16 August 2011, the Prosecution filed before Trial Chamber I, a motion to sever the Mladić indictment into two parts and to conduct two separate trials against Mladić instead of one trial. 

According to the Prosecution’s submission, the first trial would deal with the crimes charged against Mladić that relate to the events in Srebrenica in 1995. After the first trial is concluded, the next trial would deal with all of the other crimes in the Mladić Indictment, namely crimes committed during the siege of Sarajevo, crimes committed in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and crimes related to taking UN personnel hostage during the conflict.
The Motion is now pending before the Trial Chamber for decision.


Asked if the separation of cases for the Mladić trial would actually mean two separate trials with two separate opening statements, Kontić stated there would be two separate trials and in the Prosecution’s motion it was submitted that the trial regarding Srebrenica events would start first, and after the Srebrenica trial is concluded the second trial would commence.

Asked if this would mean two separate sentences, Kontić confirmed that there would be two sentences.

A journalist went on to ask the reasoning behind severing the indictment into two parts. Kontić answered that there were a couple of reasons; one being the fact that Mladić was arrested recently in such a late stage of the ICTY mandate. Kontić added that the Prosecution had considered that severing the indictment against Mladić into two trials was the most efficient way to proceed maximizing the prospect of justice being done for all the victims. Kontić said that having two shorter trials instead of one longer trial would allow for the best case management in the specifics of the Mladić case.

A journalist pointed out that Mladić’s indictment was very similar to Karadžić’s indictment asking why the same was not done for Karadžić or was there an intention to do so for Karadžić. Kontić said that the Prosecution did not intend to do the same for Karadžić since the case is already at an advanced stage. One part of the Prosecution case was already completed and the Prosecution was now in the middle of the second part of the prosecution case.
Asked if this was the first time the Prosecution has asked for two separate trials for a case, Kontić stated that it was.

Asked if the Prosecution would consider joining the Mladić trial on Srebrenica with the Karadžić trial since the Srebrenica case for Karadžić is coming up, Kontić said that the Prosecution was not considering a formal joinder between the Mladić Srebrenica part and Karadzic Srebrenica part. Kontić said depending on the decision by the Trial Chamber, the Prosecution was considering whether or not the Prosecution would be able to have the witnesses to come to the Tribunal to testify for both trials at the same time but added that it was too early to speculate.

A journalist asked when the Prosecution was expecting to start the Srebrenica part of the Karadžić case. Kontić said that as it stands now the Prosecution was considering starting the Srebrenica part as of January 2012. Kontić said this would mean finishing prosecution case regarding the municipalities in the Karadžić case before the winter recess.

Asked if this meant that the Mladić trial for Srebrenica would also begin in January 2012, Kontić said it was impossible to say when the trial could start.
Asked how important it would be for the victims to have a short trial, Kontić said that the interest of justice and interest of victims was one of the considerations OTP took into account when filing the motion. Kontić stated that victims have been waiting for 16 years for Mladić to come to The Hague and it would be in the interest of justice and for victims that the trial of Mladić commence as soon as reasonably possible.

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