Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Since the ICTY’s closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals.

 Visit the Mechanism's website.

Weekly Press Briefing - 17 November 2011

Date:  17.11.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

The Trial Chamber yesterday ordered the Registry to appoint a medical expert in order to conduct a complete medical examination of Ratko Mladić. The report, which must be submitted by Tuesday, 6 December 2011, is to provide a comprehensive assessment of Mladić's current health condition and medical history, including the background to and current status of any health condition predating his transfer to the Detention Unit. The medical expert is to assess whether and to what extent his current health condition is related to his medical history. A full report on Mladić’s health will assist the Chamber in assessing whether and to what extent his health condition could affect preparations for his trial. The examination will also help the Chamber to evaluate and decide on any future motions or requests made by the parties in relation to Mladić’s health. The next Status Conference in this case will be held on 8 December 2011.

Last Thursday, Ljubomir Borovčanin, former Deputy Commander of the Republika Srpska Ministry of Internal Affairs Special Police Brigade, was transferred to Denmark to serve his 17-year sentence for crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims during and following the fall of the Srebrenica and Žepa enclaves in July 1995. Borovčanin was one of seven former high-ranking Bosnian Serb military and police officials convicted in the case of Popović and others. Borovčanin did not appeal his 17-year sentence, which was rendered on 10 June 2010.

Yesterday, Vojislav Šešelj appealed before the President to urgently annul the Registrar’s order regarding the monitoring of his communications with his team of legal advisors. This follows last Thursday’s Trial Chamber decision that dismissed Vojislav Šešelj’s request to sanction the Registry for ordering the monitoring of his communications with his team of legal associates. This monitoring order followed the Registrar’s finding that reasonable grounds existed to believe that Šešelj abused his privileged communications with his legal associates to facilitate the disclosure of confidential information on his website in violation of judicial orders.

Staying with Vojislav Šešelj, a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf at his further appearance in his third contempt of court case last Friday after he declined to enter a plea. Šešelj is accused of failing to remove confidential information from his personal website about a number of protected witnesses who testified in his main trial before the Tribunal for alleged war crimes.

Also on Friday, in the case of Goran Hadžić, the Trial Chamber denied the Defence's motion alleging defects in the indictment. Hadžić’s Defence had argued that the indictment was vague in respect of certain allegations of individual criminal responsibility regarding his alleged contribution to a joint criminal enterprise to remove non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia. The Chamber found that the indictment provided Hadžić with enough detail to inform him clearly of the nature and cause of the charges against him and enabled him to prepare a defence.
In the case of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markać, the Appeals Chamber issued a decision yesterday denying Gotovina’s renewed request for a binding order to Serbia to produce documents relating, amongst other things, to the departure of Serb civilians from the Krajina region in August 1995. The Appeals Chamber found that Gotovina had provided very limited justification for seeking the order and that the Trial Chamber had already reviewed extensive evidence on this topic. In light of this, the Appeals Chamber was not convinced that the new evidence sought would decisively impact the Trial Chamber’s findings.
Turning to the upcoming courtroom schedule:

The trial in the contempt of court case of Dragomir Pećanac has been scheduled to start on Monday, 28 November 2011. Pećanac, former Security and Intelligence Officer of the Main Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska, is charged with contempt of the Tribunal for failing to comply with, or to show good cause why he could not comply with, a subpoena in which he was ordered to testify in the case of Zdravko Tolimir. Pećanac entered a plea of not guilty at his further initial appearance which was held on 19 October 2011.

Proceedings in the trial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović adjourned on Tuesday after the testimony of the only available defence witness for the week concluded. The trial will resume this Monday, 21 November at 15:00 in Courtroom III for a Rule 54bis hearing.

Proceedings in the trials of Radovan Karadžić as well as Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin continue this week and next as scheduled.

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Ewan Brown, a military expert witness testifying about military developments in the area of Bosanska Krajina.

In the Stanišić and Župljanin trial, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Obrad Bubić testifying about the events in that took place in Kotor Varoš.

Finally, I would like to note the success of the Tribunal's two-day Global Legacy Conference which concluded yesterday. The Conference brought together over 350 leading academics, judges, practitioners, state representatives and members of civil society. It provided participants with a unique opportunity to engage in discussions about the global impact of the work of the Tribunal on international humanitarian law and international criminal procedure, as well as the potential of its jurisprudence to shape the future of global justice and the advancement of human rights.

The conference marked Judge Robinson’s last day in office as the Tribunal’s President. Judge Meron took officially his function as the Tribunal’s President this morning, for a term of two years.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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


Asked to comment upon the warrant issued by the Appeals Chamber for the arrest of a journalist and former OTP spokesperson Florence Hartmann, and whether this meant that the Tribunal now has a new fugitive at hands, Nerma Jelačić said that she would not be able to say much more than is written in the Order but that it may be too premature to use such terminology. Jelačić explained that the Appeals Chamber dealing with the case has asked the government concerned to inform the Registrar if they are unable to carry out the order and why.

Asked to further clarify the title and contents of the order, Jelačić stated that the warrant of arrest had been issued following the non payment of fine imposed by the Trial Chamber and confirmed by the Appeals Chamber.

Asked whether the Tribunal has heard anything from France about Ms. Hartmann’s whereabouts, Nerma Jelačić responded that there have been no other public filings on this matter so far.

Asked whether Serbian doctors have concluded examining Ratko Mladić in the Detention Unit, Jelačić confirmed that the Tribunal facilitated a visit by a team of specialists of his choice to see and examine him in the Detention Unit this week. She said that for security reasons she was not in the position to specify exactly on which days the visit took place, but confirmed it was scheduled to take place this week. Jelačić added that a number of specialists have seen him in the presence of Dutch doctors who have been treating him since his arrival in the Detention Unit, but said she was unable to disclose the findings of the Serbian doctors. Jelačić also emphasised that this was not the first time such a visit was taking place, explaining this visit was completely in keeping with the practice of the Tribunal. Jelačić further explained that the doctors were able to examine Mladić but could not prescribe any treatment for him. Jelačić added that the team of Serbian specialists may submit a report on their findings to the Tribunal’s Registrar if they wished to do so.

Asked what the potential consequences would be if the medical examination determined that Mladić was too ill to stand trial, and whether the trial could be cancelled, Nerma Jelačić replied that an answer to that question at this time would require too much speculation. Jelačić added that the order signed by Judge Orie made it clear that the Chamber wanted a team to be appointed to examine the Accused in order to assess his health status, not only in order to assess his fitness to stand trial, but to obtain a full overview of his medical condition. This is a completely separate matter from the visit of the specialists of the accused’s choosing. Jelačić stressed that Mladić has been arrested at an advanced age, 16 years after he was indicted many of which he spent on the run, which carries health consequences. He arrived with a number of pre-existing medical conditions, many of which have been or are being treated in the Detention Unit since his transfer. Jelačić said that Mladić continues to receive all the necessary medical care. She also stressed that, at this stage, the Tribunal has not yet received any findings from the doctor to the effect that Mladić was not fit to stand trial. She explained that the pre-Trial judge has asked for the full picture, so that he could make an informed decision. He was also fully aware of the amount of speculation in the media about Mladić’s health, not only in the region, but also internationally. Jelačić reminded the press that this was something Judge Orie had noted at the Status Conference last week.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

For more information, please contact our Media Office in The Hague
Tel.: +31-70-512-8752; 512-5343; 512-5356 Fax: +31-70-512-5355 - Email:
press [at] icty.org ()
Follow ICTY on
Twitter and Youtube