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Statement on behalf of Agim Murtezi

Press Release . Communiqué de presse

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


The Hague, 25 February 2003


The Tribunal’s Public Information Services (P.I.S.) issue the following statement at the request of the Defence Counsel of Agim Murtezi


"My name is Stéphane Bourgon. I am the Defence Counsel assigned to represent Mr. Agim MURTEZI, who was arrested by KFOR in Kosovo on 17 February 2003, transferred into the custody of the International Tribunal on 18 February and who appeared before Trial Chamber I on 20 February 2003.

I make this statement on behalf of Mr. MURTEZI.

Appearing before a Judge of Trial Chamber I, Mr. MURTEZI pleaded "NOT GUILTY" to the seven charges laid against him in the Indictment signed by the Prosecutor on 24 January 2003 and confirmed by a different Judge from Trial Chamber I on 27 January 2003.

Further to his initial appearance, Mr. MURTEZI claimed that he is NOT the person referred to in the Indictment.

This is without a doubt an exceptional situation which requires immediate attention by all those involved. The Judge who presided at the initial appearance of Mr. MURTEZI, the Prosecutor and the Registrar of the Tribunal, were informed of Mr. MURTEZI’s claim on Friday 20 February 2003.

Amongst other steps taken since then, Mr. MURTEZI has exceptionally consented to be interviewed by the representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor under caution, that is, as a suspect pursuant to Rules 42 and 43 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Tribunal. This interview began on Friday 20 February and was concluded today, Tuesday 25 February

Further to this interview, Mr. MURTEZI has provided information that will facilitate the work of the Prosecutor in making further inquiries in Kosovo regarding his claim that he is not the individual referred to in the Indictment.

In order not to impede the work of the representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor in doing so, it is not possible to reveal any of the arguments put forward by Mr. MURTEZI at this time. It is expected however that both co-accused who appeared before Trial Chamber I on 20 February 2003, Mr. Haradin BALA and Mr. Isak MUSLIU, will come forward later this week to say that they do
not know Mr. MURTEZI.

For the time being, Mr. MURTEZI’S priority is to ensure that the information he provided to the representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor is confirmed at the earliest possible opportunity so that he can be released as quickly as possible.

Mr. MURTEZI believes in the work of this Tribunal but he takes the view that any time spent in custody is a serious violation of his fundamental rights as a human being."