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Weekly Press Briefing - 25 May 2011

The Press Briefing can be viewed on the
ICTY YouTube channel

Date: 25.5.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon, 

Yesterday, Trial Chamber II filed a public redacted version of an order in lieu of an indictment initiating contempt proceedings against Vojislav Šešelj for failing to remove confidential information from his personal website in violation of Chambers’ orders. Šešelj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is on trial before the Tribunal for alleged war crimes committed between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population from large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina, Serbia. This is the third time that Šešelj has been charged with contempt of the Tribunal. The confidential information published by Šešelj on his website includes three books, which he authored, and five confidential filings submitted by him as part of his main trial and two previous trials for contempt of court. The books and filings reveal confidential information about a number of protected witnesses who testified in his main trial. The case will be prosecuted by Trial Chamber II with Judge Kwon presiding. An Initial Appearance at which Šešelj is expected to enter a plea to the charges will be scheduled in due course. 

In the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, the Appeals Chamber on Monday dismissed Simatović’s appeal against the Trial Chamber’s decision denying him provisional release. The Trial Chamber had denied his request on the basis that he had failed to present compelling humanitarian grounds to be released at such a late stage in the proceedings. The Appeals Chamber dismissed his appeal having found that he had not demonstrated any error by the Trial Chamber.

Moving onto the courtroom schedule for the remainder of this week and next:

A Status Conference in the contempt of court case of Jelena Rašić will be held this Friday at 10:00 in Courtroom I. Jelena Rašić, former case manager of Milan Lukić’s Defence team, is charged with five counts of contempt of court for bribing witnesses into making false statements. Her initial appearance took place on 22 September 2010, during which she pleaded not guilty to the charges contained in the indictment.

A Status Conference in the appeals case of Vlastimir Đorđević will be held on Monday, 30 May at 14:30 in Courtroom I.  Đorđević, a former senior Serbian police official, was convicted in February 2011 of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999. He was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment. The Prosecution and the Accused filed their notices of appeal yesterday.

Proceedings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will resume on Tuesday, 31 May at 9:00 in Courtroom I. The Chamber will hear the testimony of Patrick Treanor, a historian who will testify about the Bosnian Serb leadership and the Accused’s position in relation to it.

Hearings in the case of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin as well as Zdravko Tolimir continue this week and next as scheduled. In the Stanišić and Župljanin case, the Chamber is still hearing the testimony of Andrija Bjelošević, former Chief of police in Doboj, in Republika Srpska.

In the Tolimir trial, the Chamber this afternoon will hear the testimony of Dušan Janc, an investigator with the Office of the Prosecutor.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, special adviser to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

On Friday, Prosecutor Brammertz will participate in the 5th regional conference of prosecutors in Brijuni, in Croatia, hosted by the State Prosecutor of Croatia. In addition to the ICTY Prosecutor and the Croatian State Prosecutor, the Prosecutors of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the War Crimes Prosecutor of Serbia will also attend the conference.

The principal aim of the conference is to discuss cooperation in war crimes cases between prosecution offices from the region, the cooperation between the OTP and national prosecutions and concrete cooperation projects to facilitate the exchange of information in relation to war crimes cases.

At the conference, the Prosecutor will once more express the importance and need for improved cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes cases between the different countries and prosecutors concerned.


Asked whether there is any way the Tribunal could access Vojislav Šešelj’s website to remove the confidential content without having to rely on his cooperation, Nerma Jelačić responded that the indictment provides details on the steps which have been taken to have the material removed. Jelačić explained that the removal of information requires the cooperation, if and when possible, of the party that runs the website, the host of the website and also that of the state in which the website is hosted. Jelačić added that this issue has been going on for a while and there have been a number of months during which the Trial Chamber tried various means to have the material removed. This has included court orders being issued to the persons in charge of the content of the website. The Tribunal does not have the means to physically remove the content and has to rely on the cooperation of third parties.

Asked what would happen if Šešelj were to be found guilty of contempt but would still not remove the confidential information from his website, Jelačić responded that she would not be able at this stage to discuss the details that will come out in the course of the trial nor what the possible outcomes might be.

Asked about the status of the investigation into Šešelj’s accusations of witness intimidation by the Office of the Prosecutor, Jelačić responded that the Amicus Prosecutor has been named and that the investigation into the Accused’s allegations is ongoing. Once his report has been submitted, the Chamber will be in a position to make a decision whether there are enough grounds to sustain the allegations. To this date, the report has not been filed, and according to standard procedures, the Tribunal is not in a position to comment whilst the investigation is ongoing and until conclusions have been made.

Asked when the report would be submitted, Jelačić responded that the date was not known.

Asked whether there were any updates on the status of the Haradinaj and others case and whether the re-trial would start in June as announced by the President in last his Completion Strategy report to the Security Council, Swinnen responded that the Prosecution was ready to proceed upon the Order of the Appeals Chamber. Jelačić added that no scheduling order had been filed yet and that pre-trial proceedings were still ongoing. Jelačić said that she was not able to discuss the details of the President’s report until it is made public. Jelačić stressed that in general dates outlined in Completion Strategy reports are estimates put forward by the relevant Chamber, and that there are a number of factors that can influence these dates.