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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 21st Apr 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 21 April 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 21 April 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Christian Chartier,
Head of Public Information acting as Press Spokesman, began today’s briefing
by explaining that today he was replacing Jim Landale, following his departure
for Tirana, Albania where Jim would assist on the media front the investigators
of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP).

Then he made the
following announcements:

First of all,
an update on various developments regarding court proceedings:

1) As you probably
know, the appeal proceedings in the Tadic case are unfolding in courtroom

The hearing
is scheduled to last for two more days. But before it is completed, I would
like to correct some inaccurate press reports stating that Dusko Tadic had
been convicted to a total of 97 years of imprisonment. This is a misrepresentation
of the sentencing Judgement since the Trial Chamber decided that the various
sentences imposed upon the accused would be served concurrently. That means
that the highest penalty, namely 20 years on a count of Crimes against humanity,
will run together with the lesser sentences on the other counts.

The sentences
would only be added together if the Chamber ordered them to be served consecutively.

2) Also in the
Tadic case, or more precisely related to it at least, I would like to remind
you of the scheduling, next Monday, 26 at 10 a.m. of the contempt proceedings
instituted against the accused’s prior counsel, Mr. Vujin.

3) Finally,
in the Radic and others Case, perhaps better known as Omarska/Keraterm case,
the Office of the Prosecutor has filed with the Chamber a request for a binding
order to be issued to the authorities of the Republika Srpska. This request
follows an unsuccessful attempt, by the OTP, to obtain the co-operation of
the said authorities in producing Duty Rosters of the Omarska Police Station
from 1 April throughout 31 December 1992.

Secondly, I would
like to touch upon an institutional matter. I have noticed in various press
articles published over the past days a connection being made between a reported
number of 70 investigators for the OTP and a reported budget of 100 million
dollars. I believe that is a somewhat misleading connection: The number of 70
investigators for the OTP is accurate. However, it is worth bearing in mind
that an Office as the OTP consists of more than investigators: analysts, legal
advisers, trial attorneys, translators, cases managers, and other experts necessary
to conduct professional investigations, to build up solid court cases and to
prepare for prosecutions. So that the number of staff members with the Office
of the Prosecutor totals today 324.This is nearly half of the total number of
ICTY’s staff-members, namely 720, while at the same time, and I am now
turning to the budget figure, the OTP was allocated for 1999 the amount of US
$ 26,835,300. This OTP allocation is approximately a third part of the total
1999 budget for the whole Tribunal, namely not 100 million dollars but US $



Justice Louise Arbour, Chief Prosecutor, made the following statement:

In the last few
days I have met with senior Government Ministers both in Bonn and in London,
and I will meet tomorrow with the Minister of Defence of The Netherlands.

I welcome the
announcement of the German and British Governments that they will increase their
support for our investigative efforts, and in particular that they will provide
intelligence-based information to my Office.

We will work very
closely with state authorities to ensure that we have appropriate safeguards
in place for handling sensitive information and to agree on the best way of
turning the information into evidence that can be used in a criminal court,
particularly so that we can determine the command structures of military and
police forces, and prove the responsibility of military and political leaders
for any war crimes that are being committed.

The world has
also heard many of the stories told by refugees.The full picture is only beginning
to emerge. The Tribunal’s investigators are now assembling a body of direct
witness testimony. Putting these first hand accounts together with information
we expect to continue to receive from a variety of Governments, such as imagery
for instance, will build strong prosecution cases. Refugee accounts are critical,
but they are not enough on their own. The victims did not see the command structures
or the people giving the orders at the highest levels. We therefore need the
sophisticated kind of assistance that only states can provide.

I find the discussions
I had in Bonn and London to be extremely encouraging. We have been steadily
building our co-operation with a number of countries, and their decisions to
increase our access to sensitive information takes us another important step
forward. It should also send a signal to leaders and commanders on the ground
who are implicated in the commission of war crimes that they will be brought
to justice.



Asked for the
reason why a few weeks ago OTP was not satisfied with State cooperation compared
to the situation now, Arbour answered that this should be seen in context.
She said that at the beginning of the NATO air strikes there had been public
statements by spokesman for NATO and by state spokesmen to the effect that
certain sources had evidence about war crimes but that they had experienced
that certain information was put in the public domain before handed over to
the Tribunal. Justice Arbour said that they had alerted these people for the
need for caution in referring to actions as war crimes. She added that these
misunderstanding had been corrected and that OTP was now satisfied.

Asked if Justice
Arbour had a broad idea when the first Kosovo indictments could be expected
and whether these would be sealed indictments, Arbour answered that sealed
indictments were issued under court order and that the need for sealed indictments
were tied to arrest opportunities, witness protection and preservation of
evidence and that she needed to demonstrate to the confirming judge that an
open indictment would be counterproductive. She added that she would leave
it to speculation whether certain high level indictments would be issued under
seal and that she did not want to indicate how she would proceed. Arbour said
that this would also depend on the Judge and that it was not inconceivable
that she would have different stategies.

Asked what
topics would be discussed with the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands,
Mr Frank de Grave, Arbour answered that she would raise the same issues she
had raised in Bonn and in London regarding the form of providing assistance,
not only in gathering of information but also that there would be no duplication
of work. Arbour added that there were also operational matters to be raised,
with the Netherlands as the host country of the Tribunal, and that she wanted
to discuss a longer term of assistance, in particular what the Tribunal’s
role would be if and when an international presence would be on the ground
in Kosovo.

Asked if she
could give any indication when the first Kosovo indictments would be issued,
Arbour answered that she would not give any indication. She added that generally
speaking it would be imprudent and unfair to give a time limit.

Asked if Justice
Arbour was cautious in announcing indictments because the announcement of
the Arkan indictment did not work as a deterrent, Arbour answered that deterrence
was a difficult thing to measure because how could you measure something that
did not happen. She said that personally she was persuaded that the strongest
deterrent would be the arrest of all remaining indictees in Bosnia and that
she believed that this would sent a sobering signal. Revealing the existence
of the Arkan indictment was a judgement call in the hope that it would deter
the persons associating with him and that it would deprive them of any possible
claims of innocent association with him.

Asked if Justice
Arbour while visiting NATO last week had brought up the subject of arresting
the remaining indictees in Bosnia and whether she had received any indication
if they would be willing to do so give the dangerous reaction that could be
expected from the Serbs in Republika Srpska, Arbour answered that she has
pressed the arrest agenda strongly. She said that she could not comment on
how that had been received, but that she was not unaware of speculations about
the consequences. She added that in the past people had been proven wrong
about the possible negative consequences that had been predicted as a reaction
to an arrest.

Asked if Justice
Arbour expected the United States to turn over evidence they had concerning
the war in Bosnia and in Croatia now that they were turning over information
regarding Kosovo, Arbour answered that she expected to have a satisfactory
relationship of trust where information would be provided that would be beneficiary
for the past and for the future. She said that she was confident that there
would be and increase in access to sensitive information.

Asked if technically
it would be possible that in the Tadic case, the trial proceedings could be
re-opened after the contempt proceedings, Chartier answered that the Appeal
Chamber had made it clear that the contempt proceedings would be dealt with
in due time and that the Appeals Chamber would make the appropriate ruling.