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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 27th Feb 2002

ICTY Press Briefing - 27 February 2002

note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
a summary.

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 27 February 2002

Time: 2 p.m.


Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Welcome to
the new 2 p.m. slot. I will run through a few scheduling issues and them we
can go straight on to questions. Next week the Milosevic trial will continue
in Courtroom I, the Galic trial in Courtroom II and the Brdanin and Talic trial
in Courtroom III. Please bear in mind that the Milosevic case will sit from
9 a.m. until 1.45 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week.

Just as a reminder,
General Galic is on trial for crimes related to the siege of Sarajevo. It is
alleged in the indictment that as the Commander of the Sarajevo Romanija corps
between about 10 September 1992 and 10 August 1994 he was in charge of the shelling
and sniping campaign of the civilians of Sarajevo. He has been charged with:

- Four counts
of crimes against humanity

- Three
counts of violations of the laws or customs of war

Also just a reminder
on the Radoslav Brdanin and Momir Talic case. They have been charged on the
basis of their individual criminal responsibility and superior criminal responsibility

- Genocide

- Crimes
against humanity

- Violations
of the laws or customs of war

- Grave breaches
of the 1949 Geneva Conventions

The closing arguments
in the Vasiljevic case will take place on 5 and 6 March starting at 2.30 p.m.
in Courtroom I.

Again, by way
of a reminder, Vasiljevic has been charged along with Milan and Sredoje Lukic
on the basis of their individual criminal responsibility with:

- Crimes against
humanity and violations of the laws or customs of law, which covers exterminations,
persecutions, murder and violence to life and persons against the non-Serb
population in and around Visegrad in 1992.

The trial commenced
on 10 September 2001. Both Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic are still at large.

In terms of court
documents with regard to the Milosevic case:

On 19 February
we received an order from the Trial Chamber dealing with the Accused’s right
of silence and the conduct of cross-examination.

The same day,
we received the Trial Chamber’s Decision on the Motion for Provisional Protective
Measures pursuant to Rule 69.

Also on 19 February,
we received the Trial Chamber’s Decision Granting Protective Measures for Individual

On 20 February,
we received the amici curiae brief on Rule 92 bis procedure

Also on 20 February,
the Prosecution’s second report concerning disclosure and application for leave
to call witnesses.

Finally, yesterday
26 February, the Prosecution’s Response to the "Amici Curiae Brief
on Rule 92 bis Procedure" and Motion for Admission of Statements
Pursuant to Rule 92 bis was filed.

With regard to
other cases:

On 15 February,
we received the Prosecutor’s response to the Motion of the Accused Mladen Naletilic
for Judgement of Acquittal.

On 18 February,
the Pre-Appeal Judge in the Kordic and Cerkez case, Judge David Hunt, issued
an Order to File Amended Grounds of Appeal.

We have copies
of the second amended indictment in the Nikolic case. A further initial appearance
will be held on Monday 18 March in Courtroom III.

In the Celebici
case, we received on 25 February an order from the Appeals Chamber designating
Judge David Hunt as a Pre-review Judge, following Hazim Delic’s Motion for the
Review of Proceedings, which was filed confidentially on 15 January 2002.

Also in the Celebici
case on 25 February, we received the Prosecution’s consolidated response brief
to the appellant’s briefs.

Copies of all
those documents will be available after this.

Finally, in order
to help you keep on top of developments in all cases at the Tribunal, I remind
you all that we produce a Weekly Update, a Status of Cases fact sheet and the
Monthly Judicial Supplement.


Florence Hartmann,
Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor made no statement.



whether the Press Briefings would be at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays from now on,
Landale replied that for the time being it was impossible to hold the Press
briefing at 11.30 because of the Milosevic trial, ongoing procedures in Courtroom
II and the issue of the 30 minute delay. A number of journalists were watching
the proceedings in the lobby on the 30 minute delay. Until advised otherwise
the new time for the briefings would be 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Asked whether,
because the Vasiljevic closing arguments would take place in Courtroom I,
the Milosevic case would be held in another courtroom, Landale replied that
the Vasiljevic proceedings would take place in the afternoon. He added that
this was the reason for the half day in the Milosevic case.

On the issue
of Milosevic receiving assistance during his trial, a journalist asked whether
Milosevic could receive phone calls during the breaks in the trial or in his
cell at the Detention Unit, and whether he had received any visits from lawyers
in the last two weeks, Landale replied that in terms of communication Milosevic
could use the phone to talk to his associates in Belgrade, both in the Detention
Unit and in the Tribunal building during breaks in the trial and during lunch
breaks. Those communications were monitored. He could also receive documentation
via the fax in the Detention Unit and this was also monitored. Milosevic could
be brought documents which were also monitored. Landale concluded that Milosevic
had the ability to receive information via these means.

A journalist
commented on the fact that Milosevic appeared well briefed on the occupations
of and other details concerning some of the witnesses that were not raised
by the Prosecution. Asked where he received this information from and whether
he was privy to records from Belgrade, Landale replied that he could not be
more specific than he had been on this issue. Milosevic had and could communicate
with his associates, he concluded.

added that for his cross-examination of witnesses, Milosevic had looked in
advance at information provided by the OTP. The OTP had not yet cross-examined
the accused. Later on during the trial the OTP would be in a position to ascertain
whether the information he had was really fact or not, she concluded.

Asked what
the Judges could do following the Rules of Procedure and Evidence concerning
Milosevic’s request for release, Landale replied that the issue of provisional
release was raised again this morning orally by the accused and the Judges
replied that they had taken note of the request and would get back to the
accused. There was little more he could add on this matter.

Concerning equality
of arms, Mr. Milosevic had chosen to defend himself and he was clearly doing
that now. He was cross-examining witnesses, he was receiving help as he was
allowed to from associates in Belgrade. He added that Milosevic had not taken
up the opportunity to hire expert defence counsel to help him go through the
disclosure documents. It would always be the preference of the Tribunal for
him to hire defence lawyers in order for him to go through the Prosecution’s
supporting material, however, he had chosen not to do so, which was his right.

Landale went
on to say that the other issue to be stressed was that the burden of proof
lay on the Prosecution to prove the case and not on Milosevic to prove his
innocence. He had and was using every opportunity to defend himself and was
given every right and every mechanism to do so.

Asked whether
the word ‘associates’ meant people in The Hague or in Belgrade, Landale replied
that it was his understanding that it related mainly to people in Belgrade.
He added that he believed that there was also a member of his party observing
proceedings and that he had contact with him.

Asked whether
they could also get in contact by phone, Landale replied that they could.
He added that if they asked they could possibly have a visit too, he did not
believe that they had asked for one.

Asked whether
there were any provisions for the case to be tried with a different composition
of Judges, for example if a Judge was taken ill or resigned, Landale replied
that only under very exceptional circumstances, for instance there was a case
in the past where a Judge was taken ill. Under those exceptional circumstances
another Judge was assigned to the case.

Asked whether
there was any possibility of withdrawing Judge May as was being speculated
in the Belgrade press, Landale replied that this report was without foundation.

Asked to
comment on reports from Banja Luka which stated that there was a joint proposal
made by the Tribunal and the United States to Mr. Karadzic to drop charges
of genocide in exchange for testimony in the Milosevic trial, Hartmann replied
that these were just allegations from the press. This information was not
coming from the OTP and was without foundation. There was no deal. There was
an indictment against Karadzic as there were indictments against other accused
individuals and the authorities had to comply with the Tribunal to locate
fugitives to arrest them and to send them over to The Hague. There were no
deals made concerning indictments. The only way for an accused to challenge
an indictment was to be in court to defend themselves.

Asked for
an indication of how the Prosecution case would progress in general terms
in relation to what types of witnesses were likely to appear next, Hartmann
replied that she could not comment much on these issues because of the protection
of witnesses. She would not go into any discussion of the significance of
a witness because it was an absolutely subjective matter. She could only say
that the OTP would mostly see crime based witnesses until the Easter break
- mostly, not exclusively. Crime based witnesses were direct eyewitnesses.
The OTP was now dealing with deportation. The villages mentioned would also
be returned to, with other witnesses on the issue of mass killings. Deportation
would be a topic ongoing until next week, she concluded.

Asked whether
there was any way of knowing what witnesses to expect after next week, Hartmann
replied that she did not know. She added that the disclosure of witnesses
was very dangerous. The policy was not against the media, the priority of
the Tribunal was that of protecting the witnesses. The information could not
be disclosed, she concluded.

Asked whether
the OTP was preparing for the eventuality that some of the Rule 92 bis
witnesses would come to The Hague, Hartmann replied that the problem was
not that of bringing the people who had given a written statement to court.
The OTP had been in contact with them and could ask them to come, but this
could mean that the trial would last many years. The OTP had been requested
by the Chamber to be efficient and the OTP would wait for a ruling on this

Asked to
confirm that the OTP did not count on any Rule 92 witnesses appearing in court,
Hartmann replied that the 92 Rule existed. The OTP used the Rule according
to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and if there was another decision the
OTP would deal with the issue in another way.

Asked whether
Milosevic had not been in contact with his lawyers recently because he was
not allowed to or because he had not requested to, Landale replied that he
was not aware of any requests to see Mr. Milosevic. He would check.

Asked to
find out when the last contact took place, Landale said that he would find

Asked whether
the OTP had any negative experiences when witnesses had been influenced, Hartmann
replied that in the case of Milosevic, the Tribunal was aware of public threats
against people able to testify against him, through his party for instance.
She could not speak about other kind of threats.

Asked whether
these threats were made against people who had already testified, Hartmann
replied that they were general threats. There was a pressure, this was why
the Tribunal was in The Hague. It was difficult to try high-ranking people
like Milosevic, people higher up the chain of command meant more difficulties
for the witnesses. The Tribunal had to prevent the risk of this pressure.
She added that she hoped she would not have to give any concrete examples
of threats. She hoped the Tribunal would be able to avoid any problems.

Asked whether
general threats were made before a trial began or whether there were any specific
ones, Hartmann said that she could refer only to the public threats and not
give any details on other threats. The Tribunal had to take care, as with
all the trials, there were protected witnesses and closed sessions, this was
not specific to the Milosevic case, however, in the Milosevic case, special
care had to be taken because there could be more pressure than in other cases.

Asked whether
the Tribunal intervened with the Dutch authorities on the issue of Mira Markovic’s
visa, Landale replied that the Dutch authorities had made their position clear
on the visa issue pertaining to her last requested visit. Mira Markovic would
probably be visiting next on 7 March and a couple of times after that.

Asked whether
the Tribunal had a contract with the Dutch authorities concerning defendant’s
visits, Landale replied that through the Registry, the Tribunal was in constant
contact with the host nation with regard to visits and specifically with regard
to visits from Milosevic’s wife. It was fair to say that up until now the
Tribunal had expressed its ability to be flexible and to accommodate these
visits, but it was not just up to the Tribunal, it was firstly up to the Dutch
authorities, he concluded.