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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 22nd May 2002

ICTY Press Briefing - 22 May 2002

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

ICTY Weekly Press

Date: 22.05.2002

Time: 10:30 a.m.


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

First, a reminder
that the initial appearance for Dusko Knezevic will be held on Friday at 12.45
p.m. in Courtroom I before Judge Robinson.

In terms of
court documents:

In the Milosevic
case, on 17 May 2002, we received the "Reasons for Refusal of Leave
to Appeal from Decision to Impose Time Limit
" from Judge Claude Jorda,
the Presiding Judge of the Bench of the Appeals Chamber and President of the
Tribunal. Copies will be available after this.

Also on 17
May 2002, we received Trial Chamber II’s "Decision on Prosecution’s
Motion for Joinder
", which orders that "the accused Vidoje
Blagojevic, Dragan Obrenovic, Dragan Jokic and Momir Nikolic be jointly charged
and tried
". Copies will be available after this.

On 21 May 2002,
we received Milojica Kos’ "Brief on Appeal Withdrawal Filed on 14 May
2002", which states that
"Mr. Milojica Kos hereby confirms
that he withdraws his appeal from Trial Judgement dated 2 November 2001, and
that he will not file any Appeal Brief against the above mentioned Judgement

Also on 21 May
2002, we received the Appeal Brief for Zoran Zigic. This is a particularly lengthy
document, so it will only be available from the Press Office on request.

On 21 May 2002,
we received the English translation of the "Application for Leave to
Appeal Against Judge Schomburg’s Decision on the Disqualification of a Judge
Dated 3 May 2002
" in the Brdjanin and Talic case. The original in French
was filed on 10 May 2002.

Finally, and also
21 May 2002, in the Milorad Krnojelac case we received the "Defence
Re-filed Notice of Appeal
". This follows an Order from the Pre-Appeal
Judge, Theodor Meron, issued on 7 May 2002. Copies will be available after the

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


Asked whether
an updated version of the overview of the results of the Kosovo exhumations
was available, Hartmann replied that the figures were provided two years ago,
but she had these documents at her disposal and would be happy to provide them

Asked whether
there was an updated version of the overview, as the exhumations were still
ongoing, Hartmann replied that the OTP was not conducting anymore exhumations
in Kosovo. This was announced at the beginning of 2001. It had conducted exhumations
during the second part of 1999 and during 2000, however, it did not have the
resources to follow these up.

The OTP was proceeding
in the same way as it did in Bosnia, meaning it conducted exhumations linked
with its investigations following the OTP’s mandate. The OTP did not have a
mandate to exhume all victims, its work depended upon the needs of the investigations.
The OTP would have contact with other structures during its work, if information
linked with an investigation emerged. For example, in Bosnia, at the end of
the Foca case the Bosnian Commission for Missing Persons located a mass grave,
which contained persons, mentioned as missing in the Indictment. This was the
first time the bodies had been located. The OTP followed up on jobs in that
manner. It did not have teams in the field because it did not have the resources
to do so, she concluded.

A journalist
commented on the fact that yesterday US Secretary of State Powell stated that
there was substantial improvement in the cooperation from the FRY to the Tribunal
concerning access to the archives. Asked for the OTP’s opinion on this, Hartmann
replied that the OTP could not make any comment on the decision itself as
it was a political decision.

As far as the
OTP was concerned it was informed that the US Administration had decided on
the certification after receiving a concrete programme for full cooperation
from Belgrade. The Yugoslav authorities had obviously committed themselves
to the US Administration on the international obligation that existed on the
basis of the Tribunal Statute and the Security Council resolutions. The OTP
was thankful to the US Administration for its support in making efforts to
get full cooperation from the states in the region.

For the moment
the OTP had seen only voluntary surrenders, which was the individual decision
of the accused themselves. The OTP was still waiting to receive answers to
the pending requests related mostly to access to different archives at the
Republic and Federal level, and access to witnesses. The OTP had not yet received
these answers, however it had been informed that the National Council for
Cooperation which was recently established in Yugoslavia had reviewed all
the requests sent in a long time ago and would give answers quite quickly.
The OTP would see if it received those announced results quickly.

The OTP expected
the Belgrade authorities to arrest remaining fugitives. Although five had
surrendered voluntarily, there was a long list of fugitives, most of them
currently residing in Yugoslavia, who remained at large. The OTP expected
them to be arrested, she concluded.

Asked to comment
on reports that only five or six of the suspects still at large remained in
Yugoslavia, Hartmann replied that the OTP submitted 25 indictments and arrest
warrants to Yugoslavia. One of these accused had died, meaning that there
were 24 arrest warrants in Yugoslavia. This did not mean that all 24 were
still in Yugoslavia, however, the documents were served there as even if they
were not currently in Yugoslavia, they could return to the territory at some
point. She added that she did not know about the list published yesterday,
but she believed that there were many more fugitives in Yugoslavia than the
number given, she concluded.

Asked whether
anyone from the OTP had recently travelled to Belgrade and if so who had they
talked to and whether they had discussed cooperation concerning the archives
and access to witnesses, Hartmann replied that the OTP had an office in Belgrade
and had representatives in the field. She could not say who from the OTP was
travelling to Belgrade, it was not a public matter unlike the very visible
visits made by the Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor. The OTP had regular contact
and followed up on all requests made, as it was very important for the completion
of the work of the Tribunal. The OTP had been waiting for so long that it
now had daily contact concerning the requests. Due to these regular contacts,
the OTP knew that they had been reviewed in the last days, she concluded.

Asked whether
the OTP had no access at all to the archives and witnesses or just no access
to specific key archives and witnesses, Hartmann replied that as for the archives,
the OTP had no access to what the OTP called archives, meaning documents from
institution such as the VJ or MUP. She added that it was provided by the Statute
of the Tribunal that the OTP had the right to ask for access to the archives.
Not allowing this was an obstruction by Yugoslavia. Two articles of the new
internal law provided for this, but with no results. The OTP had always said
that the law was not necessary, however, even with the law the Tribunal still
had no results. The OTP asked for access to the archives through precise very
targeted requests. The OTP had to solve this problem.

As far as the
witnesses were concerned, the OTP could contact them directly, but it had
sent a list of more than 100 people to the Belgrade authorities, due to the
fact that they needed to be located or because they were former civil servants.
The OTP could contact witnesses directly but sometimes required the support
of the authorities. It did not mean that the OTP was just waiting. If another
possibility arose, it would be used. The OTP had a legal framework to ask
the authorities to assist them in gaining contact with witnesses and to have
them located to establish this contact, she concluded.

Asked by
what arrangement Knezevic surrendered, Hartmann replied that she could not
give details about the process, as it was confidential. However, she could
say that the RS authorities were not involved.

During the
initial appearance yesterday it was announced that the Martic Indictment would
be amended. Asked whether there would be serious amendments, Hartmann replied
that, as already announced when he arrived in The Hague, the investigations
concerning Martic did not only relate to what happened at the beginning of
May 1995, but were extended to other events. The only information she could
give was that he was already mentioned in the Milosevic Indictment as a member
of a ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’. Other indications could not be provided.

Asked for
an update on the situation relating to the Batajnica sites, the military sites
around Belgrade, Hartmann replied that it was an investigation being conducted
by the local authorities in Belgrade and that the question should be asked to
the Belgrade Prosecutor.