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Weekly Press Briefing - 16 June 2010

Date:  16.6.2010
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Nerma Jelačić, Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

This Friday the President and the Prosecutor of the ICTY will present their reports on the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy to the United Nations Security Council in New York. The reports, filed every six months, set out both the measures that have been taken and remaining actions required to meet the completion strategy. A press release with links to  the full report and speeches, will be made available on Friday afternoon.

The presentation of evidence in the trial of Gotovina and others concluded last Friday. The trial of the three Croatian Generals, Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak and Mladen Markač, charged with crimes committed during the 1995 Operation Storm military offensive in Croatia, commenced on 11 March 2008. The Prosecution rested its case on 5 March 2009 and the defence case started on 28 May 2009. The last Defence witness was called on 19 January 2010. Following Chamber’s granting of the Prosecution request to re-open its case, 3 further OTP witnesses were heard on 2 and 3 June. On 10 June, Čermak’s Defence called two witnesses in rebuttal. Within a total of 303 trial days, 81 OTP witnesses testified and 57 Defence witnesses testified (25 for Gotovina, 19 for Čermak and 13 for Markač). Seven Chamber witnesses were called. The schedule for the presentation of the parties’ final arguments will be announced in due course.

Last Thursday, the President denied Dragan Zelenović’s application for pardon or commutation of sentence. Zelenović, a former Bosnian Serb soldier, was transferred to Belgium on 27 February 2008, to serve his 15 year sentence of imprisonment for torture and rape of women and girls in the town of Foča during 1992. The Belgian authorities recently notified the Tribunal that Zelenović would become eligible for early release on 21 August 2010 under Belgian law, having then served one-third of his sentence. The President indicated that the Tribunal’s practice is to consider the eligibility of a convicted person only after he has served two-thirds of his sentence, which will be on approximately 21 August 2015 in this specific case. Moreover, the President is of the view that the gravity of Zelenović’s offences is high and that this is a factor that weighs against his request.

Hearings in the trial of Momčilo Perišić, Zdravko Tolimir, Radovan Karadžić, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović as well as Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Olga Kavran, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked if Milan Gvero will be released soon following his conviction of five years last week, Jelačić responded that Gvero’s Defence filed a motion yesterday, 15 June, for early release. Jelačić said it is now before the Tribunal’s President, and it would be subject to his decision.

Responding to a question on whether Momčilo Krajišinik has applied for early release, Jelačić said that it is not the ICTY’s practice to comment on applications for early release. It is only once the decisions are filed by the President that such details would be released.