note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Date: 14 October 1998
Time: 1:00 p.m.
The ICTY Spokesman,
Jim Landale, began todays ICTY briefing with a Statement from the President
of the International Tribunal on the agreements on Kosovo (Please refer
to Press Release 352-e).
Cerkez case: During the Further Appearance today, both accused pleaded not
guilty to the charges in the amended indictment.
The sentencing hearing is likely to finish at the end of this week.
the planned on-site visit to Ahmici is still going ahead on 20 October 1998.
Further press arrangements can be obtained from the Press Office.
the press that, on Friday 16 October 1998, the General Assembly in New York
would elect three additional Judges for the 3rd Trial Chamber.
He also announced
that 23 October 1998 is UN Day and an official Holiday, and as such the ICTY
office would be closed.
OFFICE OF THE
Taking the floor
on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt
informed the press that visas to travel to the former Yugoslavia had now been
issued. The OTP intended to send their team back to Kosovo, but was waiting
for the outcome of the negotiations currently ongoing before doing so, he said.
the position of the Prosecutor was concerned the fact that the jurisdiction
of the Tribunal might be negotiable, Blewitt answered that, as far as the
Tribunal was concerned, its position was non-negotiable. The mandate was clear
and had been given to the Tribunal by the UN Security Council, he continued,
adding that it was not subject to negotiations.
the Tribunal was aware of the fact that another independent forensic team
(from Finland) was also investigating in Kosovo and whether this was inconsistent
with the work of the Tribunal, Blewitt said that the OTP was in contact with
this team and their work had a common effort. Asked whether this team was
currently in the field, Blewitt answered that he did not know.
the visas were issued, Blewitt answered that two were issued on Wednesday
afternoon (7 October, 1998) and the third sometime after that.
the structure of investigative teams, Blewitt answered that generally they
consisted of 10 people: nine investigators and one criminal analyst. They
were however, very flexible. For example in the execution of a search warrant
a team of 40 was assembled. It depended upon the needs of the mission. The
General Assembly provided for 10 people to investigate Kosovo he added.
Asked how many
people were in the liaison office in Belgrade, Blewitt answered three but,
they were withdrawn due to the threat of airstrikes.
they would go back, Blewitt said they would wait for the 96 hours to be up
and then assess the situation but they would probably return next week.
Dario Kordic had been given assurances on when his trial would take place,
Blewitt answered that Kordic had never been given assurances of that kind.
The prosecution undertook that they were ready to go to trial in three to
five months. When the trial began was a matter for the trial chamber. Filing
motions was an ongoing process and experience showed that motions were filed
all the time.
Asked why the
indictment was amended, Blewitt answered that the original indictment had
six accused and was filed in 1995. Since then things had changed, with new
witnesses and the loss of existing ones. Blewitt predicted that this would
happen many more times.
Asked was it
not unfair for someone who surrendered to the authorities on one set of charges
to then have those charges altered, Blewitt answered that it was not unfair.
Some charges were be added and in other instances charges were dropped, in
any case the basic criminality remained the same. Reformulation of charges
does not place the accused in any further jeopardy.
the health of Todorovic, Landale answered that he will be having a medical
examination in the next few days. More would be known then.
new indictments would always be sealed, Blewitt said there was no set policy
on this matter. An assessment was made as to whether secrecy helped the chances
of capture. Mostly they would keep it secret if it reduced the chances of
a non-violent arrest.
Asked if that
was a change of policy and did this not mean that people could not hand themselves
in, Blewitt agreed that secrecy did take away the opportunity for people to
hand themselves in but, if the sealed indictment did not work, then they were
made public. It was a balance of interests he said. Originally indictments
were sealed to protect witnesses rather than to help arrests. Then they began
releasing indictments but this did not help with arrests.
assurances had to be given to Governments by the Tribunal otherwise no surrenders
would take place, Blewitt said again that no assurances could be given. Blewitt
also said that his office had met with Kordics lawyers and made it clear
that no assurances could be given. Mr Kordic knew that only judges could fix
Asked how far
OTP had gone in appointing a new spokesperson, Blewitt answered that the spokespersons
position was part of the new proposed budget and was being decided on this
week in New York, with Rwanda scheduled for next week. He was expecting to
know soon, he added.
was asked about alternative charging. Blewitt answered that it was a common
procedure. If the prosecution did not have all the elements to prove one charge,
they might have enough to prove another. The accused would only be sentenced
on one set of charges. It gave prosecutors some flexibility, he added.
the Ahmici visit, Landale answered that there would be opportunities for the
media to cover the event. If anyone needed more details they could contact
the Press Office, he said.
will keep the press informed you about the upcoming Press Briefing.