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Weekly Press Briefing - 26 October 2011

Date: 26.10.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Martin Petrov, Chief of the Registrar’s Office, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Judge Antonio Cassese this weekend. Judge Cassese was the Tribunal’s first president from 1993 to 1997 and a leading figure in the development of international criminal and humanitarian law.  His death is a great loss. A book of condolences is available in the lobby of the Tribunal for Judges, staff and visitors of the Tribunal to sign.
I will now turn to some recent developments:

In a special plenary held last Wednesday, Judge Theodor Meron and Judge Carmel Agius were elected as President and Vice-President for a two year term starting on 17 November 2011, to succeed President Patrick Robinson and Vice-President O-Gon Kwon. 

The Tribunal’s President, Judge Patrick Robinson, on Friday denied Dragan Zelenović’s motion for early release having found that while Zelenović had demonstrated some - albeit very limited - rehabilitation and cooperation with the Prosecution, the high gravity of his crimes and the fact that he has not yet served two-thirds of his sentence weighed against granting his request. Zelenović, a former Bosnian Serb soldier, was transferred to Belgium on 27 February 2008 to serve his 15 year sentence of imprisonment for torture and rape of women and girls in the town of Foča in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1992.  On 17 January 2007, Zelenović pleaded guilty to seven counts of rape and the Trial Chamber sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment on 4 April 2007, which was later affirmed by the Appeals Chamber.

In the case of Ratko Mladić, the Prosecution filed last Thursday the third amended indictment in accordance with the Trial Chamber’s decision granting the Prosecution’s motion to add to the charges crimes committed in the village of Bišina in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. A further initial appearance will be held on Thursday, 10 November 2011, to enable the Accused to enter a plea on the new charge. It will be followed by a Status Conference in the case.

Moving to the courtroom schedule:

The Judgement in Vojislav Šešelj’s second contempt of court case will be rendered on Monday, 31 October at 8:00 am in Courtroom I. Šešelj is accused of breaching protection measures ordered by the Tribunal by disclosing information about 11 protected witnesses, including their names, occupations and places of residence, in a book he authored. The Order in lieu of an indictment was filed on 4 February 2010 and the trial commenced on 22 February 2011 and ended on 8 June 2011.

Hearings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will resume this afternoon with the testimony of Ivo Atlija who will be testifying about the events that occurred in the area of Prijedor during the indictment period.

Proceedings in the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj and others will resume on Monday 31 October at 14:15 in Courtroom I. Hearings were adjourned to secure the presence of prosecution witnesses scheduled to testify.

Hearings in the cases of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović will resume on Tuesday, 8 November.

Finally, I would like to bring to your attention the closing event of the War Crimes Justice Project which took place this morning in Sarajevo, where representatives from judiciaries across the region met with the ICTY and other Project partners to celebrate the Project’s many achievements. The War Crimes Justice Project, a four-million Euro project funded by the EU, was launched in May 2010 and co-ordinated by the OSCE/ODIHR in partnership with the ICTY and UNICRI. Its goal was to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and materials from the ICTY to legal professionals in the former Yugoslavia by translating much of the Tribunal's case files into the region's local languages and by enabling the exchange of knowledge and expertise between ICTY officials and national legal professionals. The beneficiaries have hailed the Project’s success in achieving its goal of helping local judiciaries strengthen their capacities at handling war crimes cases. The closing event has been followed by a final peer-to-peer meeting between Judge Fausto Pocar, Judge Liu Daqun, Judge Frederick Harhoff and Judge Árpád Prandler and judges from national judiciaries to share experiences in adjudicating war crimes cases.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

The Prosecutor, Mr. Brammertz, will be in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a working visit next week, from 31 October to 2 November 2011. He will have a number of official meetings, including, with the BiH Presidency, the office of the State Prosecutor and Special Department for War Crimes and representatives of the international community.

The topics to be discussed include the cooperation between the OTP and BiH, the cases and investigation files transferred to BiH, the progress in the prosecution of war crimes cases in BiH and the implementation of the War Crimes Strategy.

The mission is undertaken in preparation of the next report to the UN Security Council. The report will be submitted to the Council mid-November.

During the visit, there will be a press opportunity. We will inform the media in due course about the event.

Turning to the questions received as part of the Interactive Press Briefing, “Ask the Tribunal”, Martin Petrov responded to the following question:

Asked how video recording of hearings in the case of Vojislav Šešelj could be accessed, Martin Petrov explained that AV recordings of public hearings are not available online due to the sheer volume of videos that would have to be uploaded for every single case. Members of the public can however request the Media Office to provide them with the AV recordings of specific trial days, providing details as to the reason for their request, and the format and language they would like the footage to be in. Petrov pointed out that key videos in some of the ongoing cases, including initial appearances and judgements, are already available on the Tribunal’s YouTube channel and that the Communications Service is working towards having all key hearings in all past and ongoing cases uploaded in the coming months.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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