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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 12 June 2002

Please note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely a summary.

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing
Date: 12 June 2002
Time: 11:00 a.m.

Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good morning,

The President of the ICTY, Judge Claude Jorda, and the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, along with the Deputy Registrar, Bruno Cathala, will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) next week in order to hold discussions on the possibility in the future of the Tribunal referring some of its cases to the national authorities.

The Tribunal delegation is due to meet with representatives of the BiH State Presidency, the BiH State Council of Ministers, the Republika Srpska Presidency and Government, the Federation Presidency and Government, and the BiH State Parliament, as well as Judges and Prosecutors from both Entities. The delegation will hold separate meetings with the High Representative, Lord Ashdown, and other members of the international community.

A more detailed press release on the visit will be put out in the next day or so.

As you should all be aware, the Appeal Chamber, consisting of Judges Jorda (Presiding), Shahabuddeen, Guney, Schomburg and Meron, will render its Judgement in the Prosecutor v. Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic today at 4.30 p.m. in Courtroom I.

We put out a detailed press release on the case on 7 June 2002. Additional copies will be available after this.

In addition, we have for you copies of the joint notice of appeal, the pre-appeal briefs for Kunarac and Kovac (Vukovic’s was filed confidentially), the Prosecutions consolidated response, and the defence request for provisional release for Kunarac.

In terms of other court documents:

First, there have been a number of filings with regard to the issue of provisional release.

On 4 June we received the "Renewed Motion for Provisional Release" in the Krajisnik and Plavsic case.

On 5 June, we received the "Defence Motion for Provisional Release" from Nikola Sainovic.

On 6 June, we received the " Defence Motion for Provisional Release" from Momcilo Gruban.

On 7 June, we received "General Dragoljub Ojdanic’s Motion for Provisional Release"

On 11 June, we received "the Accused Obrenovic’s Motion for Provisional Release".

By way of reminder, there are also provisional release decisions pending for Pasko Ljubicic and Mile Mrksic.

Copies of all of those motions will be available after the briefing.

On 6 June, we received the English version of the 30 May Decision from the President of the Tribunal, Judge Claude Jorda, rejecting Zdravko Mucic’s request for immediate release that was filed on 4 March 2002.

On 6 June, we received a similar request for early release from Milojica Kos, again addressed to the President of the Tribunal.

On 7 June, we received Trial Chamber II’s "Decision on Motion to Set Aside Confidential Subpoena to Give Evidence" in the Brdjanin and Talic case.

On 7 June, we received "Decision on Interlocutory Appeal Concerning Rule 92 bis (C)" in the Galic case.

Copies of all the documents will be available after this.

In terms of other court scheduling, there will be a status conference in the Kordic and Cerkez case on Friday 14 June at 3 p.m. in Courtroom I.

Florence Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked to comment on the report in Belgrade newspapers that four senior members of the Serbian Socialist party had been requested to meet with representatives of the Tribunal Hartmann replied that some people had received requests to meet with representatives of the Tribunal. However the Tribunal requests meetings with a number of people as part of on-going investigations conducted, it did not necessarily mean that the people were suspects only that they were able to provide the Tribunal with one aspect of the investigative picture. If a person was a suspect then the request was formulated in such a way that the person was aware they were a suspect and they thus had the right to bring a lawyer with them to the interview. The interviews were only part of the usual course of action for Tribunal investigations where the OTP had to talk to different people, it was not an attack on Serbian people as a whole, she added.

Asked if the interviews were related to the Milosevic trial Hartmann replied that she would not comment on this question.

Asked about the visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and if the delegations would be going with proposals that go beyond the ‘Rules of the Road’ scheme Landale replied that the visit was going with the specific aim of referring cases of individuals indicted by the Tribunal to an appropriate court in Bosnia in order for them to try and prosecute that case. What was being discussed was mid level, intermediary level individuals and this was in keeping with the proposals, put forward by the President and the Prosecutor in November 2001 before the Security Council to increasingly focus on prosecuting high up the chain of command. Also the visit was, under specific circumstances, to explore the possibility of referring cases to the domestic courts. The visit would be an opportunity for the delegation to meet a broad spectrum of concerned individuals to get their views and to find out how their prosecution of war crimes cases had been proceeding and any problems that may had been encountered. Also, to look at the possibilities of referral and the chance of a division of the new State court of Bosnia prosecuting serious violations of humanitarian law. Obviously a number of issues would arise from attempting to do that and that was why the visit was arranged, he added. Asked how this court would work procedurally Landale replied this issue was precisely why the meeting was taking place, to look at all the procedural issues which uphold the rights of the accused, the rights of a fair trial and ensure that any procedures that do take place were undertaken properly in accordance with international law. Before any specific proposals or answers were given, meetings with all those concerned would have to take place, he added.

Asked if the Prosecutor was trying to get Richard Holbrooke as a witness in the Milosevic case Hartmann replied that this was a confidential matter.

Asked about the visit from the High Representatives of Croatia with Carle Del Ponte on Tuesday 11 June Hartmann replied that this meeting was part of regular working meetings between Croatia and the Tribunal. The purpose of this visit was related to the initiative of the Croatian judiciary to try middle and low level war criminals in their own country. They wished to access information and databases from the Tribunal that had been collected during investigations into high level people.

Asked if this was related to cooperation between the Tribunal and Croatia in the Milosevic case Hartmann replied that they were not related, the meeting was about future access Croatia may have to some of the Tribunals relevant files and information that could be used in future war crimes cases. Croatia was obliged to provide the Tribunal with any documents they requested and was not dependent on this cooperation, she added.

Asked if what was being proposed in Bosnia was an experiment Landale replied that it was not an experiment but what was appropriate in terms of the types of cases that could be considered for deferral and the types of judicial mechanisms and structure which might properly be able to receive such cases and indictments drawn up by the Tribunal.

In Serbia or Croatia there was no such low or mid level people indicted by the Office of the Prosecutor, Hartmann added.

Asked if this possibility to try low level indictees in their own country create problems with the international justice and the ICC Landale replied that no it did not. The creation of the courts was very important for the development of the rule if law in the Former Yugoslavia for their courts to be able to handle the prosecution of war crimes cases. The Tribunal was never established to investigate and prosecute every perpetrator of a war crime committed since 1991 in the territory of the Former Yugoslavia, it was set up to work hand in hand with domestic courts to bring justice and prosecute war crimes cases. This would be an important development in building that system, he added.

Asked if the problems mentioned by Hartmann a few weeks ago about accessing documents in Serbia had been resolved Hartmann replied that it was not a problem of accessing databases but a problem of compliance, the Tribunal had not received all the information they were looking for. In Serbia it seemed they thought the Tribunal wanted access to the archives however what the Tribunal wanted was access to precise requests however the Tribunal had not yet received all the answers from Serbia in regards to their pending requests.

Asked if the new commission established in Serbia, provided for in the new law of cooperation between FRY and the Tribunal, changed in any way the way in which requests from the Tribunal were being dealt with by the Yugoslav authorities Hartmann replied that the commission, since being established, had reviewed the Tribunal’s pending requests and isolated those that could be dealt with and those that could be problematic. The question was difficult to answer and in the coming weeks the Office of Prosecutor would see what kind of documents they receive, it was still too early to say, she added.