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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 11th Aug 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 11 August 2000

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 11 August 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


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

On 6 August 1999,
the Registrar of the Tribunal decided to withdraw the assignment of Defence
Counsel to Mario Cerkez, Drago Josipovic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic,
Zoran Kupreskic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic in light of the financial
support which they are presumed to have received from an organisation named
"Hrvatski Uznik u Haagu" ("Croatian Prisoners in The Hague").

According to media
reports, at the beginning of this year and on 18 June 1999 "Hrvatski Uznik
u Haagu" raised funds for the detainees, particularly through an auction
of art works held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, totalling an estimated
4,300,000 DM.

During the auction
of 18 June 1999, a letter signed by the accused was read out in which they expressed
their gratitude for the support lent to them.

The background
to this is that following their surrender to the custody of the International
Tribunal, all accused informed the Registrar that they did not have sufficient
means to pay for legal assistance and requested her to assign Counsel to them.
After examining a declaration of means signed by each of the accused concerned
and additional documentation obtained at the Registry’s request, it was
determined that they all lacked sufficient means to retain Counsel, and accordingly
Counsel was assigned to each of them.

Pursuant to Article
19 of the Directive on the Assignment of Defence Counsel, the privilege of the
assignment of Defence Counsel ends when information obtained shows that the
accused persons have sufficient means to retain Counsel privately.

Invited by the
Registrar to comment, the accused claimed that their financial situation has
not substantially changed since the recent events. However, the Registrar considered
beyond reasonable doubt that a considerable sum of money has been made available
to the accused and that in consequence their state of indigence ended
at the very latest on 18 June 1999.

After the notification
of the withdrawal of the assignment of Counsel, all the costs and expenses incurred
by the representation of the accused shall cease to be met by the Tribunal.

Moving on, I’d
first like to remind you that Vinko Martinovic’s initial appearance will
be on Thursday at four o’clock in Courtroom I appearing before Trial Chamber
I, that is Judge Jorda Presiding and sitting alone. You are all, of course,
invited to attend.

Second, a Congressional
Delegation from the United States will be visiting the Tribunal at 3 p.m. on
Monday, 16 August. The delegation is made up of the House Judiciary Committee
Chairman, Henry Hyde, and representatives Roscoe G. Bartlett, Ken Calvert, Mel
Watt and Jesse Jackson Jr. The delegation is meeting Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald,
the President of the Tribunal, and will be given a tour of one of the courtrooms.
There are no media opportunities scheduled as yet.

Finally, Drago
Josipovic, Zoran Kupreskic and Mirjan Kupreskic have requested leave to appeal
Trial Chamber II’s decision of 30 July not to grant them provisional release.

Copies of these
documents are available, as ever, for those who want them after this.



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

Concerning the
recent surrender of "Stela" by the Croatian Government, the Prosecutor
earlier made it clear that she would be prepared to withdraw her request to
the President of the Tribunal concerning the non-compliance of Croatia, if Croatia
complied with a number of requests for assistance that have been outstanding
for many months. Those matters were presented in Zagreb in the form of a consolidated
request, including many requests for information concerning "Operation
Storm". Croatia has consistently refused to answer those requests and its
position has not changed in the last few days, despite encouraging signs of
improvement, including the surrendering of "Stela". The Prosecutor
would not be withdrawing her complaint to the President unless the Croatian
authorities showed that they were complying with all of her outstanding requests,
including those related to "Operation Storm".

A Tribunal exhumation
team in Bosnia would continue working throughout the rest of the summer at several
sites in north-eastern and north-western Bosnia.



Asked whether
the suspects had the right to appeal against the withdrawal of their funding,
Landale confirmed that they could appeal to a Trial Chamber, however, he added
that they had not yet indicated that they would do so. The decision had been
made on 6 August and came into effect from the time they received notification,
he added.

Asked whether
there was any news about the appointment of Carla Del Ponte, Risley responded
that the Security Council would deal with this as ordinary business today
or tomorrow. A press release would follow, he added.

Asked what
would be the Prosecutor’s final day at the Tribunal, Risley responded
that it would be in early September. He added that a date had not yet been
finalised, that the Prosecutor was presently on holiday and that she would
return for a few weeks before leaving.

Asked when
the new Prosecutor would take up her position, Risley replied that it could
be as early as 15 September.

Asked whether
Justice Arbour had suggested Carla Del Ponte as a candidate to the UN Secretary-General,
Kofi Annan, Risley responded that he was not aware that she had.

Asked whether
the fact that Carla Del Ponte was a Prosecutor and not a judge would make
any difference, Risley replied that the charter was relatively broad with
regard to candidates for the position and that it was an issue for the Security
Council to consider.

Asked whether
there was a strong chance that the OTP would amend the indictment against
the five Serbian officials indicted in connection to Kosovo, Risley responded
that Prosecutor Arbour, while in Pristina approximately one month ago, had
said very publicly that she was considering expanding the indictment against
Milosevic and his four associates to include the crimes of genocide and extermination
as a crime against humanity. While she had not yet indicated her decision,
she had clearly signaled that this was a major consideration for the OTP.

Asked whether
the Tribunal had any figures of bodies believed to be connected with Srebrenica,
Risley replied that the UN Spokesperson in Sarajevo yesterday gave a status
report on the exhumations of one particular site in north-eastern Bosnia connected
to the Srebrenica exhumations in general and that at that site over 250 bodies
of victims had been exhumed and documented. The exhumation team that completed
the work would continue to work at several other sites. The OTP was reluctant
to provide specific numbers until investigations were completed especially
in connection with the Srebrenica investigations. However, he concluded that
the fact that such a large number of bodies had been found in one grave site
that had clearly been disturbed and robbed was a significant find that brought
the whole investigation forward quite dramatically.

Asked whether
secondary grave sites had been found, Risley responded that there were still
many sites within the objectives of the investigation teams. Investigations
were not near to completion on this matter, he added.

Asked whether
this was the largest find, Risley responded that with regard to Srebrenica
he believed it was.