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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 4th Oct 2000

ICTY Press Briefing - 4 October 2000

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

Weekly Press Briefing

4 October 2000

11:30 a.m.



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

I would like to report to you that the Judges of the ICTY were in London over
the weekend for a meeting with the Judges of the ICTR. The meeting was organised
by the Office of Legal Affairs in New York and was held in the presence of Mr.
Ralph Zacklin, the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy to the Under Secretary-General
for the Office of Legal Affairs.

meeting was held to discuss a number of issues of common concern to the Judges
from both Tribunals and recognition was given to the importance of harmonizing
the rules between the two courts.

the Judges examined the binding nature of Appeals Chamber’s procedure; how best
to expedite the pre-trial period, trial and appeals; and the role and authority
of the Judge during proceedings. The President’s proposal for ad litem or
ad hoc Judges was also discussed.

the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, is
visiting the Tribunal. He will meet with President Jorda and the Registrar,
Dorothee De Sampayo. We will endeavor to give you a read out of those meetings
later in the day.

last Friday and Saturday, there was a very successful symposium held in Mostar
under the auspices of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme. There were around 70
participants from around the Federation, mainly judges, prosecutors, and defence

symposium, that was organized by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, was extremely well received and there was much enthusiastic
discussion of many different Tribunal related issues, especially the Rules of
the Road and the independent role of the Judges. As with other symposia in the
region, the event was supported by the Danish Peace and Stability Fund of the
Danish Foreign Ministry.



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made the following

Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor are in Sarajevo today. They have been there
since Monday. Over the past three days they have met with the High Representative,
with the new SFOR Commander and with other officials of the international community.

Prosecutor was scheduled today to have a meeting with representatives of the
Mothers of Srebrenica. This group came to The Hague about eight months ago and
the Prosecutor met with them here. At that time the Prosecutor promised that
she would meet with them in Bosnia.

the Prosecutor will be in Banja Luka. She will meet with Prime Minister Dodik
and various relevant members of his Government.

will be in Kosovo on Friday and again will meet with the OTP’s team members,
who are very near to completing this summer’s exhumations programme in Kosovo.
She will also meet with several of the international teams who are completing
their work in Kosovo. She will be back at the Tribunal next week.



Asked for a comment
on the suggestions made by the UN Special Human Rights Envoy, Mr. Dienstbier,
concerning giving Slobodan Milosevic immunity, Risley replied that the Prosecutor
had made it very clear that this Tribunal and the OTP had no intention to
change or challenge the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and four members
of his cabinet as it stands, for crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999.

He added that
he could not speak or comment on the words of another UN official, therefore
questions on that matter should be addressed to the source.

Landale added
that if these reported comments were accurate they were extremely disturbing.
He added that this was directly contrary to the jurisdiction and the mandate
handed down to the Tribunal by the Security Council.

Asked about the moral argument
of this question and whether it would be better for the future stability
of Serbia to negotiate a deal, Landale replied that the Tribunal could not
talk for the political or diplomatic efforts that might be going on separate
to the Tribunal.

He added, however, that
what he could say was that the legal basis for indictments and for prosecuting
individuals who had been charged with committing grave breaches of international
humanitarian law was very clear.

The Tribunal had
to point out the legal basis of its indictments and point out that it was
not possible for anyone, not an individual, a state, or a group of states
to negate an indictment by the Tribunal. It was up to the Prosecutor to request
any withdrawal to a Judge and it was then up to the confirming judge to consider
any withdrawal. That had not happened and he believed it was not about to
happen, he concluded.

Asked whether, even if Milosevic
was only staying in power in order to avoid prison this would not change,
Landale replied that legally speaking an indictment, once it was issued
and confirmed by an independent Judge of the Tribunal, could not just be
ignored or withdrawn. The indictment stood unless it was withdrawn by the
confirming judge at the request of the Prosecutor.

Risley added that
the Prosecutor had said last week that it was also quite likely that Milosevic
might find himself indicted for additional crimes committed during the conflict
in both Bosnia and Croatia. He added that to underscore the severity of the
Tribunal’s view of Slobodan Milosevic as an actor in the conflict that was
created in Yugoslavia, he said.

Asked whether the Prosecutor
would ask Russia to arrest Milosevic if he accepted his invite to Moscow,
Risley replied that the Prosecutor would. He added that Milosevic was a
fugitive from this court and that any country Milosevic might travel to
would be requested to make the arrest of a fugitive from the Tribunal.

Landale added that Russia
was legally obliged to detain and transfer any individual indicted by the
Tribunal to The Hague.

Asked what steps if any the
OTP was taking to prevent the escape of Milosevic to another country, Risley
replied that the Prosecutor was very aware of the current political crisis
in Yugoslavia. The Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor had made very clear
in their discussions with officials of countries that border on the former
Yugoslavia and other countries their responsibilities under international
law to bring about the arrest of any person under indictment by this Tribunal.
The current political crisis in Yugoslavia might result in the exposure
of individuals under indictment who were fugitives of this court, that might
result in the arrest of some of these individuals, he concluded.