Please note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely a summary.
ICTY Weekly Press Briefing
REGISTRY AND CHAMBERS
Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement
Happy New Year and welcome the first regular press briefing of 2004.
As we begin the New Year, I feel it might be helpful to briefly reflect on 2003. The past year has proved to be pivotal in the realm of international justice, with, aside from the achievements at the ICTY, important progress made at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and towards the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Cambodia.
It is worth noting that the experience that the ICTY has gained in the last 10 years in making international justice work has been invaluable both to the international legal institutions that I have mentioned, and to the continuing development of fair and impartial war crimes courts in the former Yugoslavia.
In terms of the bare statistics that I have, the Tribunal accomplished a great deal in 2003. Eleven judgements were rendered by either the Trial Chambers or the Appeals Chamber (out of a total of 44 so far at the ICTY); the Chambers and Registry issued 539 Decisions and 325 Orders; 424 witnesses testified (out of a total of 3,181); six new indictments were issued against 12 individuals; 15 individuals were transferred into the custody of the Tribunal; and four individuals were transferred to serve sentence.
Above and beyond the raw data, the Tribunal has been deeply involved in a number of other areas vital to the promotion of the rule of law across the former Yugoslavia.
The President of the Tribunal, Judge Theodor Meron, with the support of a number of ICTY staff, has been and continues to be deeply involved in the establishment of the special War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Furthermore, the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme participated in 26 major events in 2003, such as seminars, conferences and training programmes, which included 17 group visits to the Tribunal. These were targeted mainly at local legal professionals from the region, reflecting the effort invested by Tribunal in assisting national judiciaries in the former Yugoslavia over the course of 2003.
In addition, the Public Information Section arranged 216 visits to the Tribunal with over 5,000 participants made up of students, legal professionals, military and police personnel and community groups.
Looking ahead to 2004, there is still much to be done. The Tribunal is focused on achieving the goals outlined by the Security Council in resolution 1503 of August of last year, namely to complete trials by the end of 2008 and appeals by 2010, and will continue to work at maximum capacity, conducting up to six trials a day in its three courtrooms.
However, it is worth stressing once again, that in order to successfully complete its mandate, the Tribunal has to have full cooperation from the states of the former Yugoslavia and the continued support of the international community. First and foremost, this means the apprehension and transfer of those still at large, especially Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina.
The Tribunal will continue its efforts to promote and support the ability of courts across the former Yugoslavia to try intermediate and lower-level individuals charged with war crimes and will look at the possibility, pursuant to the relevant rules, of transferring such ICTY cases to those courts once they have reached the applicable international standards, as envisaged by Security Council resolution 1503, while the Tribunal will continue to focus its attention on trying the most senior political and military leaders here in The Hague.
There will only be long lasting peace and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia if war criminals are tried and punished. The culture of impunity is being gradually dismantled and the ICTY has spearheaded this process through removing some of the most senior war criminals from society and ending impunity, bringing justice to thousands of victims across the former Yugoslavia, preventing revisionism and removing the stain of collective guilt from communities across the region.
With regard to the court schedule and in addition to the ongoing trial s
By our calculations there are 15 more court days for the Prosecution to present its case in the Milosevic trial. This means, on the current schedule and barring any unforeseen developments, that they will wrap up their case on 17 February.
There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Stanisic and Simatovic on 20 January between 3 and 4.30 p.m. in Courtroom II.
There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Milutinovic et al on 21 January between 3 and 4.30 p.m. in Courtroom II.
There will be a status conference in The Prosecutor v. Milan Martic et al on 22 January between 2.30 and 3.30 p.m. in Courtroom II.
The accused are to be present at all three status conferences.
There was no representative from the Office of the Prosecutor today.
Asked whether the comment made about the courtroom schedule holding up to six trials a day included new trials, Landale replied that at least a couple of trials were almost ready to start and when the press office had received the scheduling orders they would be announced to the public.
Asked, since there were only 15 days left in the Prosecution’s case, whether a decision had been taken by the Judges on the duration of the break between the Prosecution and Defence cases in the Milosevic trial and whether there was an outstanding appeal, Landale confirmed that there was an outstanding appeal by the amici curiae. He added that at the moment the decision stood for there to be a three month period from the end of the Prosecution’s case-in-chief to the start of Milosevic’s defence case.
Asked whether the Halilovic trial was scheduled to commence on 22 January, Landale replied that the original scheduling order was for 19 January, but that date had been set back.
Asked whether the Tribunal was to work with a lower budget in the New Year as compared to past years and what the consequences were, for example, re-organisation or staff cutbacks, Landale replied that at the moment it was being looked into. He said that it was a complex issue for many reasons, such as the US dollar/Euro exchange rate. Landale added that a breakdown of the final result of the budget was being worked on and that he would pass on the information as soon as he had something concrete. He confirmed that there had been a reduction in the budget, but did not want to comment further until it became clear exactly what it was. With regard to re-organisation, listing priorities, and rearrangement of staffing, Landale stated that that was a work in progress, but at the moment there was a period of reflection and clarification going on with regard to the budget.