Press Release · Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 31 July 1996
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT VISIT TO THE HAGUE BY DELEGATION FROM REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
On Monday 29 July 1996 the Minister of Justice of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Marko Arsovic, arrived in The Hague in connection with an official visit to the Tribunal. Mr Arsovic headed a delegation comprising the Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Goran Neskovic, who has been appointed by the Government of Republika Srpska as the official liaison person between that
Government and the Tribunal, and Mr Igor Pantelic, a lawyer from Belgrade, who has been appointed by the Government of Republika Srpska as an adviser to the delegation during the visit to The Hague.
The delegation headed by Mr Arsovic met with officials from the Registrar's office on Monday 29th, with officials from the Prosecutor's office on Tuesday and Wednesday and with the Vice-President of the Tribunal, Judge Karibi-Whyte on 31st July. The meetings provided for an exchange of views in relation to several important issues, including all aspects of co-operation with the
There was agreement that it is essential for the re-establishment of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the creation of a lasting peace in the region, that all perpetrators responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law, be brought to justice, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The delegation and the Prosecutor's office
acknowledged that all parties to the conflict have been involved in atrocities and in this regard the Prosecutor, acting in an open minded and even-handed manner, is prepared to consider all evidence which may be submitted and which would tend to identify the individual responsibility among the higher echelons of the political and military leadership on all the sides. There was also
agreement that Republika Srpska and the Tribunal would co-operate to bring to justice all such perpetrators, both before the Tribunal and the National courts, in an unbiased and professional manner ensuring that all such perpetrators would receive a fair trial.
The delegation urged the Prosecutor to intensify the investigation and prosecution of cases involving Serbian victims and undertook to provide to the Prosecutor the relevant evidence and witnesses. In this regard the delegation requested the Prosecutor to investigate several mass grave sites and to initiate several new investigations in which Serbs were the alleged victims. To
facilitate the Prosecutor's investigations within Republika Srpska, there was agreement that steps would be taken for the Prosecutor of the Tribunal to open a liaison office in Bijelina.
It is not appropriate to go into further details regarding the contents of the meetings but to end speculation it is appropriate to indicate that the discussions did include the question of surrender of indicted accused to the Tribunal, and although it was considered by the delegation that there were some legal obstacles in that regard, they would do all that they could to fully
co-operate with the Tribunal to bring all perpetrators to justice.
The meetings were conducted in a frank, open and co-operative manner and are expected to lead to improved relations and an increase in trust. The visit was regarded by all involved as being both rewarding and productive.