note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
29 November 2000
Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers made the following statement:
morning, as I announced last week, a diplomatic information seminar is being
held here at the Tribunal for the diplomatic community here in The Hague and
other representatives of UN Member States. The Ambassadors will be briefed by
President Claude Jorda, the Prosecutor and the Deputy Registrar, who will update
the attendees on the challenges facing the Tribunal and will underline the fact
that cooperation and support from all States is essential to fulfill the Tribunal’s
a three-day plenary session of the Judges of the Tribunal will begin this afternoon.
This is one of the regular twice-yearly plenaries held at the Tribunal, and
will focus on the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence. We will inform
you in due time of any decisions made during the plenary.
the Naletilic and Martinovic case, we have received a pre-trial brief for Naletilic
which you can pick up after this. We expect to receive a pre-trial brief for
Martinovic in due course.
addition, Trial Chamber I denied, on 27 November, Naletilic’s request to be
given the opportunity to take a lie detector test. In coming to its decision,
the Trial Chamber stated that "the consensus in the scientific community
and in the domestic jurisdictions surveyed is that polygraph examinations are
an unreliable indication of credibility and that, accordingly, it is not an
expense that is necessarily and reasonably incurred." Furthermore, the
Trial Chamber noted that the introduction of such evidence is unlikely to expedite
the proceedings and that ultimately, it is for the Trial Chamber to determine
the credibility of the witnesses and the accused.
the same case, the Trial Chamber, on 27 November, granted a Prosecution motion
to admit transcripts and exhibits tendered during the testimony of certain witnesses
in the Kordic and Cerkez case and Blaskic case. According to the Trial Chamber,
these materials are relevant to facts in dispute in the present case, namely
the existence of an international armed conflict, the applicability of the Geneva
Conventions of 1949, and whether there was a widespread or systematic attack
against the civilian population.
in the same case, on 28 November, the Trial Chamber granted the Prosecutor’s
motion to amend count five of the indictment to add a reference to Article 52
of the Third Geneva Convention, which prohibits dangerous and humiliating labour.
The Trial Chamber further ordered the accused to enter a plea to this charge
at the pre-trial conference scheduled to take place on 7 December.
Hartmann, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), made no statement.
a representative from the Host Nation had been invited to the Diplomatic Seminar,
Landale replied that he believed so, as the invitations had gone to the diplomatic
community as well as some other representatives of UN member states.
there was any news of new evidence coming from Zagreb for the Kordic and Cerkez
case, Hartmann replied that receiving evidence was a process that happened
all the time, not only for this case but also for other cases. She added that
evidence was sure to continue to come after the end of the Kordic and Cerkez
trial. It was impossible to say precisely when, where or what would come,
the Tribunal had received any reaction from Zagreb following criticism of
Croatia’s cooperation with the Tribunal, Hartmann replied that it was not
for the OTP to comment on the reaction of Croatia.
the Naletilic and Martinovic case was the first time that a Trial Chamber
had given a ruling about the admissibility of a lie detector test, Landale
replied that, as far as he knew, it was.
Asked for further
details of what would be discussed during the Plenary, Landale replied that
the Plenary would mainly focus upon the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, as
before, looking at ways the procedures could be streamlined and made more
effective to speed up the whole process.
The Judges would
look at possible amendments to that effect and then decide whether to adopt
those amendments. In the past, the Tribunal had published a list of amendments
to the Rules and it was expected that this would happen again, if appropriate.
Asked how the
Prosecutor and President regarded the reception they received in New York,
in particular from the Security Council, Landale replied that the President
had been received positively.
He added that,
speaking for the President, the points he made in his speeches were taken
on board and would hopefully help in a effort to support the proposals that
the President (on behalf of the Judges) had put before the Security Council
and the working group set up by the Security Council to look at some of the
additional resources requested by the President. Landale added that these
included the issue of ad litem Judges and additional Judges for the
Appeals Chamber. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, a favorable response
would come from the Security Council on those matters, he concluded.
there was any news about the budget, Landale replied that it was early to
comment at this stage. He added that by the end of the year the Tribunal would
have a better idea.