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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing -13 November 2013

Date: 13.11.2013
Time: 12:30

Registry and Chambers:

Magdalena Spalińska, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

I will first highlight several decisions in the Tribunal’s ongoing cases.

In the case of Radovan Karadžić, this Tuesday, 12 November, President Meron acting in his capacity as President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals assigned Judge Moloto to decide on Karadžić's request to him as President of the Mechanism of 4 November, to consider whether to appoint an amicus curiae prosecutor to investigate possible contempt by former ICTY Prosecutor Del Ponte.

Separately, on Monday President Meron dismissed the Accused’s request of 27 September to him as ICTY President, for an appointment of a Special Chamber to consider whether to appoint an amicus curiae prosecutor to investigate this issue.

I’ll turn now to two early release decisions made public yesterday.

In the first decision, Tribunal President Meron granted early release to Darko Mrđa, effective on 10 October of this year. In this public redacted version of the President's decision, the President cited reasons for the early release including the fact that Mrđa demonstrated signs of rehabilitation and the he had served two thirds of his sentence on 10 October 2013. In addition, in relation to his guilty plea, the President stated that Mrđa had provided substantial cooperation to the Prosecution. The President concluded that "despite the severe gravity of his crimes (to which he pleaded guilty and for which he continues to admit responsibility), Mrđa should be granted early release." On 31 March 2004, Darko Mrđa, former member of a special Bosnian Serb police unit in Prijedor, was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to one count of murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war and one count of inhumane acts (attempted murder), a crime against humanity on 24 July 2003.

Second, a public redacted version of a decision of the President granting early release to Dragan Nikolić, effective 20 August of this year was also issued yesterday. In granting early release, the President considered that Nikolić had served two-thirds of his sentence, had demonstrated signs of rehabilitation and had offered substantial cooperation to the Prosecution. He considered that despite the severe gravity of Nikolić’s crimes, these factors weighed in favour of early release. Dragan Nikolić, former Commander of the Sušica Detention Camp in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina was sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment on 18 December 2003 for persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; murder, rape and torture as crimes against humanity. This sentence was reduced on appeal to 20 years on 4 February 2005.

Now on to the courtrooms, in the case of Ratko Mladić today the Chamber is hearing the testimony of expert demographer Ewa Tabeau. She is the 158th witness called by the Prosecution.

In the case of Radovan Karadžić, witness Slavko Puhalić, former member of the Republika Srpska Army, is giving testimony today about the events in Trnopolje camp. He is testifying pursuant to a subpoena issued on 20 March 2013. This is the 181st witness in the Defense case.

This afternoon, a Status Conference will be held in the Đordević case at 3 p.m. in courtroom II.

And finally, please note that the court will have its winter recess beginning on Monday 23 December 2013 until Friday, 10 January 2014.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Ljiljana Pitesa, OTP Senior Information Assistant, made the following statement:

The first of a series of training sessions on the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS) organized for the judicial experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina by the ICTY's Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and the OSCE mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina started this Monday in Banja Luka. In the course of the next two weeks, two OTP experts will conduct four training sessions in Banja Luka and in Sarajevo for approximately 35 judicial experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The OTP possesses an important collection of material relating to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, including witness statements, documents, video and audio files. The training organized by the OTP provides national prosecutors with remote electronic access to approximately 60 percent of the total of 9,000.000 pages of documents which constitute the OTP's evidence collection.

The involvement of staff of the Office in training initiatives is another important avenue for transferring its expertise to regional prosecutors and others working on war crimes cases, with the aim of enhancing the capacity of national jurisdictions in the former Yugoslavia. With highly relevant experience and knowledge developed over the past two decades, the Office of the Prosecutor is uniquely placed to provide training to its regional counterparts.


No questions were asked.