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Weekly Press Briefing - 30 June 2010

Date:  30.6.2010
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

Yesterday the Appeals Chamber terminated the appellate proceedings in the case of Rasim Delić, the former Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABIH). Delić died on 16 April 2010 while on provisional release in Sarajevo. In the same decision, the Chamber ruled that the Trial Chamber’s Judgement convicting Delić on the basis of superior responsibility, for the crimes committed by the El Mujahed Detachment of the ABiH against captive Bosnian Serb soldiers in central Bosnia, shall be considered final. He was sentenced to three years in the judgement.

This is the first time in the history of this Tribunal and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where an appellant has died before the rendering of the appeal judgement. The Appeals Chamber ruled that the Tribunal’s Statute and Rules of Procedure terminate appellate proceedings when an appellant has died before an appeals judgement is rendered.

On Monday, the President of the Tribunal Patrick Robinson granted Milan Gvero early release, on humanitarian grounds. Gvero was subsequently released from Tribunal custody and returned to Serbia yesterday afternoon.

While noting the gravity of his crimes, the President found that it is in the interest of justice to grant Gvero early release, considering that he has served over two-thirds of his sentence in the Tribunal’s Detention Unit. President Robinson also took into consideration Gvero’s urgent need for open-heart surgery, which he opted to undergo in Serbia. He also cited evidence of rehabilitation on the part of Gvero, as well as his voluntary surrender to the Tribunal.

Gvero was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on 10 June 2010, for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. His co-defendants in the case of Popović and others, as well as the Prosecution, have until 8 September to file their respective notices of appeal.

Meanwhile, President Robinson has appointed the panel for the Appeals Chambers in this case. The Bench is composed of Judges Mehmet Güney, Fausto Pocar, Liu Daqun and Andrésia Vaz, with President Robinson presiding.

Turning to a development in the case of Vojislav Šešelj. The Registry has informed the Accused in writing that if he does not indicate his intention to provide, or make efforts to provide the Registry with the requested documents in relation to the investigation into his indigence, or his financial status, the Registry will be forced to deny the Accused’s requests for funding of his Defence. The Registry noted Šešelj’s long history of non-compliance with requests regarding his financial status.

Moving onto the court schedule:

The case of Momčilo Perišić has adjourned as of last Friday and will resume on 5 July due to issues of witness availability.

Hearings in the trial of Zdravko Tolimir, Radovan Karadžić, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović as well as Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Acting Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, Frederick Swinnen, made no statement.


Responding to a journalist’s request for comment on the allegations that Vojislav Šešelj ordered the assassination of Tomislav Nikolić, Registry and Chambers Spokesperson Nerma Jelačić said that she was aware of the allegations made in the media  and that to her knowledge the Serbian authorities have not confirmed the source of those allegations. She added she could not therefore comment on media speculations. However, she noted that the Tribunal holds in high regard the security in the Detention Unit and in this specific case referred to the Regulations Governing the supervision of visits to and communications with detainees. The rules specify that detainees can make outgoing calls after requesting to do so from the Commanding Officer. Such calls can be recorded and are monitored.