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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 10th Mar 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 10 March 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 10 March 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Today, Jim Landale, the ICTY Spokesman, made the following announcements:

In the Kordic
and Cerkez case: On 2 March, Trial Chamber III dismissed five defence motions.
The motions, all of which were originally filed on 22 January, are as follows:

-The Kordic
Defence motion to strike the amended indictment for vagueness.

-The Cerkez
Defence Application for a Bill of Particulars.

-The Joint Defence
motion to strike counts 37 and 40 for failure to plead all required elements
under Article 2(D).

-The Joint Defence
motion to dismiss the amended indictment for lack of jurisdiction based on
the limited jurisdictional reach of Articles 2 and 3 (of the Statute).

-The Joint Defence
motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, portions of the amended indictment
alleging "Failure to Punish" liability.

On 9 March, the
Prosecution in the Kordic and Cerkez case filed "The Prosecutor’s
Motion on Trial Procedure"

In the Aleksovski
case: On 5 March, Trial Chamber I ordered that the closing arguments of the
Prosecution and the Defence be presented before the Trial Chamber on 22 and
23 March respectively from 1400 hrs to 1800 hrs instead of 0900 hrs to 1300
hrs, as was previously advertised.

It also announced
that 16 March would be the latest date by which the parties may correct or supplement
their closing briefs in order to take into account new evidence that arose out
of two decision by the Trial Chamber on 22 October 1998. The first decision
was "to allow evidence to be admitted into the record, confirmed by
the Order of the Appeals Chamber…for the admission into evidence of the
testimony of Admiral Domazet given in the case ‘The Prosecutor v Tihomir

The second decision
of the same day related to "the admissibility of certain documents as
evidence….by which the Trial Chamber admitted the testimony of ‘Witness

In the Furundzija
case: The Appeals Chamber decided on 5 March to "suspend the briefing
schedule in the appeal on the merits pending a response of the Bureau on the
Post-Trial Application and subject to further order of this Appeals Chamber"

In reaching their
decision, the Appeals Chamber considered, among other things: -that "a
reponse of the Bureau to the Post-Trial Application could have a significant
effect on the necessity of briefings at this stage;"
and that "the
Bureau has not yet responded to the Post-Trial Application":

Finally, just
to let you know that there will be no Blaskic hearings on Monday. The next session
is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, to be followed by a full day of hearings
on Wednesday.

As I’ve already
said, copies of all the relevant documents I have mentioned can be obtained
from us on request.



Justice Louise
Arbour, Chief Prosecutor for the ICTY, began by saying that she had been away
since 1 February and that she had spent most of her time in Africa, Canada and
New York.

Her trip to Africa
had focused mainly on the office in Kigali and she had met with members of the
government. She had also attended the swearing in of three additional judges
in Arusha. Justice Arbour said she was looking forward to an increased pace
in trial proceedings as a result of the influx of resources.

In Canada she
had met with the Canadian Foreign Minister Axworthy, who expressed an interest
in ensuring that the ICTY could do its work in Kosovo. The Prosecutor had raised
her concern that the Tribunal’s mandate was properly expressed in the military
annex to any peace agreement. The Foreign Minister had been very supportive,
she said.

In New York, most
of her discussions had been linked to her Africa trip but there was also ongoing

Interest in the
ICTY, particularly concerning the Kosovo investigations.

Continuing, the
Prosecutor said that the main issue she wished to raise today was the question
of the peace talks. Nothing had changed: the mandate given to the Tribunal by
the Security Council under Chapter VII was legally not dependent on the acknowledgement
of the parties to the peace agreement. However, it would be helpful if the mandate
was expressly endorsed by the parties to cooperate with the ICTY and, reflected
full access for Tribunal investigators to Kosovo. She said that she had been
led to believe that the wording in the body of the agreement did contain undertakings
on behalf of the KLA and FRY to fully cooperate with the ICTY. The Prosecutor’s
concern was aimed at another important party to the agreement: a possible military
annex whereby parties agree to any military peacekeeping force. At the minimum,
she said that she was looking for the language contained in the Dayton agreement,
but hoped for more explicit language as to the mandate of the military force,
not only limited to the apprehension of war criminals but also giving full assistance
to the Tribunal in order to secure access to sites, executing court orders and
compliance with the assistance required by the prosecution. The language in
the military annex should empower the force to do what the parties fail to do



Asked what
response the Prosecutor had received from the Security Council in New York,
Arbour answered that she had not addressed the Security Council, but that
she had raised this issue at a press briefing last Friday at Headquarters.
She explained that she had written a letter to Foreign Ministers Védrine and
Cook at the outset of the talks in Rambouillet, putting down concerns they
should have on the impact of a possible agreement on the Tribunal. She added
that it was worrisome that people were negotiating issues relevant to the
Tribunal’s work without any input from the Tribunal and she said that
she had made it clear that she would not be satisfied with an agreement that
had no explicit language in a military annex.

Asked whether
she had received any feedback on the talks in Rambouillet, Arbour answered
that she had not seen the text yet dealing with that part, but that she had
seen the text dealing with the undertakings of the parties regarding their
cooperation with the ICTY, which she found satisfactory. Regarding the mandate
for the military alliance, she said that she had not been given reasons to
be concerned.

Noting that
Milosevic had been sceptical about a military force and that this would be
increased if he viewed it as an ICTY police force, Arbour responded by saying
that the peace deal would not stand or fall with the power given to the military

Noting that
Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain had threatened to indict Milosevic and
whether it was helpful when politicians threatened something only the Prosecutor
could, Arbour answered that she had not seen the wording. In general, such
threats were not helpful, unless it was suggested that everything would be
done to facilitate the work of the Prosecutor, such as supplying the Prosecutor
with evidence.

Asked for a
reaction to the resolution adopted by the Croatian Parliament and the recent
criticism toward the work of the Tribunal, Arbour answered that she had not
seen the actual text of the resolution and that she was therefore reluctant
to comment. From what she had seen in the press, the criticism was unfounded,
especially accusations that the Tribunal was politicised. She added that she
welcomed support from Croatia regarding the Tribunal’s effort to have
Serbia transfer the three JNA officers and that she welcomed Croatia’s
initiative to keep this point on the agenda.

Asked whether
there had been a reaction to the applications for visas for Kosovo, Arbour
answered that, ever since the issue had been raised and particularly after
her efforts to reach Racak, there had been an exchange of correspondance with
Minister Knezevic, but that at this point full unimpeded access to Kosovo
had not been granted.

Asked whether
the OTP had taken not of reports that men had been separated from women and
children yesterday in Kosovo, Arbour answered that she had requested the OSCE’s
fullest cooperation within their capacity and that she was depending on third
parties for information. She added that she was looking to the OSCE verifiers
for their observation on all matters.

Asked whether
there was any indication when Naletilic and Martinovic would be handed over
to the Tribunal, Arbour answered that she had not received any answer to the
request for transferal, but that she had no particular reason for concern.
She added that, on the issue of transfer of indictees to the ICTY, Croatia
had a respectable record and that it had played a significant role in encouraging
voluntary surrenders.