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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 9 April 2008

Date: 09.04.2008
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Nerma Jelačić, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good morning,

I would first like to address some of the misleading commentaries made in light of last week’s judgement in the case of Haradinaj and others.

The Tribunal is concerned by inaccurate statements made by some officials in Serbia about its witness protection programme in relation to this trial. The safety and wellbeing of all our witnesses have been of paramount importance for the Tribunal for more than a decade now. Such irresponsible statements serve no other purpose than to try and politicise the work of the Tribunal.

Furthermore, let me underline once more: The legitimacy of the Tribunal is embedded in UN Security Council’s Resolutions and – almost 15 years after its establishment – it is somewhat ridiculous to question its existence. The Tribunal is not a political body. Its decisions are made on the basis of evidence laid before it.

On to other developments before the Tribunal this week. Yesterday, the Trial Chamber in the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović ruled with a majority vote – Judge Robinson dissenting – that its stands by its previous decision that Stanišić is fit to stand trial. A written decision expected later today will determine the future course of action in this trial.

On Monday, Slovakia entered into an agreement on enforcement of sentences with the Tribunal. This brings the number of states to which convicts can be transferred to serve their sentence to fifteen.

Also on Monday, the Trial Chamber modified the terms of its previous decision to grant Nikola Šainović temporary provisional release to Serbia so as to allow the accused to attend the funeral of his mother. The accused has been provisionally released yesterday and is to return on 13 April 2008. The strict conditions of his provisional release, which include 24-hour surveillance, remain.

A regional Tribunal Liaison Officer is today meeting with the representatives of Croatian NGOs in Zagreb. The event, organised by the ICTY’s Outreach programme, will be used to present the Tribunal’s work to date to a wide-ranging selection of nongovernmental organisations and address other issues of importance for the group.

In the courtrooms this week: The Gotovina et al. trial resumed on Monday and the third Prosecution witness was introduced this morning. Edward J. Flinn, a former member of the UN-led Human Rights Action Team testifies on the alleged atrocities committed by the Croatian forces in Knin.

Hearings in Šešelj, Delić, and Milutinović et al. cases continue as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Olga Kavran, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


A journalist asked to confirm Prosecutor Brammertz’s planned visit to Belgrade on 15 April 2008. Olga Kavran replied that she could confirm that the Prosecutor intends to visit Belgrade in the near future but could not confirm an exact date yet. She added that it was just a normal course of events in the sense that Prosecutor Brammertz visited Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and intended to visit Serbia in the nearest future.

Asked whether there was any news from the Office of the Prosecutor about an appeal in the Haradinaj and others case, Olga Kavran replied that there was no news. She noted that the deadline to file a notice of Appeal was 30 days from the date of the judgement and 75 days from that date to file an Appeal Brief. She added that the Prosecution was studying the Judgement and had to take several issues under determination before making a decision on whether to file an Appeal. In order to determine whether an Appeal could succeed one has to consider the judgement itself as well as Tribunal’s previous jurisprudence.

Kavran was asked to comment on reports that Brammertz intended to ‘testify to good cooperation’ from Serbia and Kavran replied that she could not. She said that she could repeat what the Prosecutor had said in this respect previously. He would not issue any new assessment unless there was a reason to do so, if there was some significant development. She reminded the journalists that cooperation consists of several elements like access to documents, access to archives, access to witnesses and, of course, the search for the remaining fugitives. She continued to say that Brammertz’s next formal obligation to report on cooperation of states was to the U.N. Security Council which was done on a bi-annual basis. The next written report was due mid-May following which the Prosecutor would travel to New York and report to the Security Council at the beginning of June. She added that she noticed that the media tends to bring the intended visit to Serbia in direct connection with a possible new assessment which was erroneous. The fact that the Prosecutor was traveling on official visits is not necessarily directly linked to a possible new assessment.

Asked whether he would make an assessment if the European Union would ask him to do so after his visit to Serbia, Kavran answered that she could not speculate other than to repeat that, if there were any elements which would justify making a different assessment to the one made in December, the Prosecutor would acknowledge that.

The same journalist asked whether Brammertz recently discussed the cooperation of Serbia with European officials. Olga Kavran replied that as a matter of the normal course of his work the Prosecutor meets with officials from the EU and UN member states and updates them on the many complex issues related to cooperation of states with the Office of the Prosecutor, while they, in turn, inform him of their concerns. She concluded to say that if there was any significant change in his assessment of cooperation this would not be kept from the public.