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Prosecutor seeks assurance from President Milosevic regarding Kosovo investigations

Press Release

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 15 October 1998

Prosecutor seeks assurance from President Milosevic regarding Kosovo investigations

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has made the following public statement:

"Following reports that the US envoy Mr Richard Holbrooke was not able to obtain any concessions from President Milosevic on Tuesday regarding the jurisdiction of this Tribunal over events in Kosovo, I wish to make a strong and unequivocal statement regarding this Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

On 25 May 1993 the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 827 which created this Tribunal, giving it jurisdiction to prosecute persons responsible for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, as well as other serious violations of international humanitarian law, committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991, which includes Kosovo. Consistent with the initial resolution, the Security Council has since reaffirmed this jurisdiction in resolutions 1160 of 31 March 1998 and 1199 of 23 September 1998.

The jurisdiction of this Tribunal is not conditional upon President Milosevic’s consent, nor is it dependent on the outcome of any negotiations between him and anyone else. It is for the Judges of this Tribunal to interpret such jurisdiction and for the Security Council to modify or expand.

Today I have forwarded a letter to President Milosevic informing him that it is my intention to resume investigations in Kosovo at the earliest opportunity. In respect of the next investigative mission to Kosovo, it is my intention to lead the team, which will include the Deputy Prosecutor, senior staff in my Office, together with eight other members of my team which is investigating crimes falling within this Tribunal’s jurisdiction that have allegedly occurred in Kosovo during 1998.

I have also informed President Milosevic that is my intention to visit the areas where some of the alleged crimes have been committed, to meet with government and other officials, and to meet with other organisations which may assist my investigations. In accordance with normal practice investigators will also gather any relevant evidence and interview potential witnesses.

Finally, I have sought an assurance from President Milosevic that visas will be forthcoming to enable my investigations in Kosovo to continue forthwith."

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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