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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 18th Nov 1998

ICTY Press Briefing - 18 November 1998

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 18 November 1998

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Jim Landale, the ICTY Spokesman, began today’s briefing by making the following

First, I would
like to draw your attention to Security Council resolution 1207 that was passed
in New York yesterday. The resolution, which was adopted under Chapter VII of
the United Nations Charter, condemned the failure of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (FRY) to execute the three arrest warrants against the former JNA
officers charged with the massacre of unarmed men after the fall of Vukovar
in late 1991. The Security Council also called on the FRY and all other States
that had not already done so, to take any measures necessary under their domestic
law to implement the Tribunal’s Statute. It affirmed that "a State
may not invoke provisions of its domestic law as justification for its failure
to perform binding obligations under international law". The Security Council
reiterated that all States had to cooperate fully with the Tribunal, including
executing arrest warrants and complying with its requests for information and
investigations. In addition, the authorities of the FRY, the leaders of the
Kosovo Albanian community and all others concerned, were called upon to cooperate
fully with the Tribunal’s Prosecutor in the investigation of all possible
violations within her jurisdiction.

The Tribunal welcomes
this latest resolution. It is explicit and unequivocal in what is expected from
the authorities in Belgrade and should leave them in no doubt that the international
community will hold them to their obligations under international law. The ball
is now in their court and we expect them to take immediate action.

We hope to have
copies of the resolution later this afternoon.

The President
of the ICTY is in New York to deliver the Annual Report to the General Assembly.
This will most likely take place tomorrow. Copies of the final report and the
President’s speech to the General Assembly will be available once they
have been presented.

Finally, following
the swearing in ceremony for the new Judges on Monday, the Chambers are in the
process of being reorganized and the assignment of cases is being decided. We
should have a press release detailing the new set up by the end of the week.



Asked how this
latest resolution was different from the previous ones on Kosovo and whether
the Tribunal expected compliance, Landale replied that the Tribunal expected
the FRY to change its position and that this resolution was different since
it was specifically for the Tribunal. He added that the resolution was adopted
under Chapter VII.

Noting that
there was no explicit mention of the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor over Kosovo
even though President McDonald had also addressed the Security Council on
this issue, Landale replied that the FRY was under the obligation to follow
this resolution. Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt added that, if the view
of the Security Council on the Tribunal’s jurisdiction had been different,
the resolution would have been different as well.

Asked whether
any appeals had been lodged in the Celebici Judgement, Landale replied that
he was not aware of any appeals yet.

Asked whether
the Prosecution had decided whether to file an appeal against Mr Mucic’s
sentence, Mr Blewitt replied that they were still considering all aspects
of the Judgement and that all appeals would be filed at the same time. He
added that any appeal could be expected towards the end of the 15 day period,
but repeated that he had already indicated during the press conference on
16 November that they considered Mr Mucic’s sentence to be inadequate.

Asked whether
an appeal would be filed against Mr Delalic’s acquittal, Mr Blewitt replied
that Grant Niemann, had announced in court that the Prosecution wished to
lodge an appeal. He confirmed that position and added that all appeals would
be filed at the same time.

Asked whether
there were any other conclusions in the Judgement that he did not agree with,
for example the nature of the conflict, Mr Blewitt replied that there were
many aspects favourable to the Prosecution reflected in the Judgement, and
that he regarded it a well reasoned Judgement that the Tribunal could be proud
of. The content of the Judgement still had to be analysed however, and Mr
Blewitt added that it would be premature to say which other matters would
be subject to appeal.

Asked why the
Tadic Appeal was taking such a long time, Mr Blewitt replied that he understood
that it appeared as if nothing was going on, but that there had been a series
of filing of motions from the appellant’s side. Mr Blewitt said that
he considered it likely that there would soon be a notification from the Tribunal
on hearing of oral arguments now that the written side of filing of motions
had been completed.

Asked whether
the material that Slobodan Miljkovic’s lawyer had turned over to the
Tribunal had been useful, Mr Blewitt replied that he could not comment on
that since it came in the area of operational and investigative matters.

Asked what
the mechanics were for Kosovo and whether there was a deadline for issuing
the visas, Mr Blewitt replied that the embassy of the FRY still had the application
for visas and that investigators were conducting investigations in other areas
in the meantime.

Asked what
other areas these were, Mr Blewitt replied that there were witnesses outside
of Kosovo who could testify on Kosovo.

Noting that
the FRY had indicated that they were not aware of any outstanding requests
for visas, Mr Blewitt confirmed that all the investigators still had their
passports lodged with the embassy of the FRY.

Asked whether
he and the Prosecutor were still intending to lead the investigations, Mr
Blewitt replied that this was unlikely and that they did not want to inflame
matters. He would be content to have visas issued to the investigators who
could then continue to work.