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Weekly Press Briefing - 22 September 2010

Date: 22.9.2010
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

First, I would like to announce the launch of a major project aimed at providing practical support to legal professionals in the former Yugoslavia handling war crimes cases.  The launch will take place next Tuesday in Belgrade, where the President of the Tribunal, Judge Patrick Robinson and Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of ODIHR will present the project.

The Tribunal will implement this 18-month programme, titled “War Crimes Justice Project”, together with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and OSCE field operations in the region.  The Project was made possible through the generous support of the European Union.

The purpose of the Project is to facilitate the transfer of the Tribunal’s unique institutional knowledge and specialised skills to jurisdictions in the region and ensure that those jurisdictions have access to the Tribunal’s relevant materials in a useable form.

Media are invited to attend the launch. All details will be provided in a Press Advisory that will be sent to you later today.

Onto the cases:

A new contempt of court case in the case of Milan and Sredoje Lukić commenced this morning. Jelena Rašić, former case manager of Milan Lukić’s Defence team, is charged with five counts of contempt of court for bribing witnesses into making false statements.

Among these witnesses was Zuhdija Tabaković who was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment on 15 March 2009, after confessing to having agreed to sign and testify to a false statement in favour of Milan Lukić. Tabaković received 1,000 euros in exchange for this statement. He also admitted that he found two other men who were willing to put their names to and sign two further pre-prepared statements in exchange for the same amount.

Rašić was transferred to the Tribunal’s Detention Unit on Monday. The Indictment against her was filed confidentially on 9 July 2010 and confirmed on 26 August 2010. The indictment will be sent to you as soon as the confidentiality has been lifted.

Onto recent developments in the Prlić and others case:

Last Thursday, President Robinson, in his Decision on Jadranko Prlić’s Motion for the disqualification of Judge Prandler, indicated that the Motion should have been addressed to the Presiding Judge of the Chamber to which the case is assigned, and not to him. The Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber III is Judge O-Gon Kwon. Judge Kwon will now confer with Judge Prandler on the merits of the motion and report back to the President.

Pending a ruling on the matter, the Trial Chamber on Monday granted Prlic’s request for a temporary suspension of proceedings.

As to the upcoming courtroom schedule:

The Review Hearing in the case of Veselin Šljivančanin has been set for Tuesday, 12 October 2010 from 14:30 to 18:10. The Courtroom has yet to be confirmed. In September 2007, Šljivančanin, a former senior officer of the JNA, was found guilty of aiding and abetting torture of non-Serb prisoners-of-war taken from Vukovar Hospital to a farm near Ovčara and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The review is related to the conviction for aiding and abetting the murder of prisoners of which he was found guilty by the Appeals Chamber in 2009. His sentence was consequently increased to 17 years’ imprisonment. During the Review Hearing, the OTP will call expert witness Reynaud Theunens. 

Elsewhere, a Status Conference in the case of Haradinaj and others will be held tomorrow at 3pm in Courtroom I.

Hearings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will resume next Monday at 9 a.m. in Courtroom I with the testimony of Patrick Van Der Weijden, a sniping specialist.

Hearings in the case of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, Zdravko Tolimir, Momčilo Perišić as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked when the testimony of Michael Rose in the trial of Radovan Karadžić will take place, Nerma Jelačić responded that the exact date has not been confirmed but that the full list of upcoming witnesses is available on Karadžić’s page on the Tribunal’s website.

Asked whether any more indictments for contempt in the Lukić and Lukić case are expected, Nerma Jelačić said she could not speculate about this. As usual, should any more individuals be accused of contempt and arrested in any case, the Tribunal would inform the public as soon as practicable in accordance with its policy of judicial transparency.

Asked about Šešelj’s comments during yesterday’s administrative hearing regarding his health, Nerma Jelačić stated she could not comment on issues that were pending before the Chamber. However, in general, she stated on behalf of the Registry that all Accused at the Detention Unit are provided with the highest level of health care. She reminded though, that in general every individual has the primary responsibility for his well being and that no one can be forced to have medical treatement. The Registry and the Detention Unit are able to provide adequate treatment to all Accused be it within the Unit or elsewhere once a health problem is identified.

Asked about Judge Antonetti’s comment that a special panel would be appointed to examine Šešelj’s health, Nerma Jelačić responded that she was unable to provide more details on this.