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Weekly Press Briefing - 18 April 2012

Date:  18.04.2012
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

Welcome back to the Tribunal.

The President of the Tribunal, Judge Theodor Meron, was in London last Monday to meet with senior officials and a minister of state from the Foreign Office. The President briefed them on developments at the Tribunal and on the transition to the Residual Mechanism. He expressed his gratitude to the British government for their steady support of the ICTY and asked for their continued backing.

I will now turn to developments in the ongoing cases:

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of military expert witness Richard Butler, who is testifying about the structure of the Army of Republika Srpska during the Srebrenica events. The Prosecution is expected to call about 5 more witnesses.

Yesterday, Vojislav Šešelj’s further appearance in his third contempt of court case was held to provide him with an opportunity to enter a plea to the amended order in lieu of indictment, filed publicly on 5 April 2012. The Accused pleaded not guilty to the amendment which relates to his alleged failure to comply with a decision of the Trial Chamber to remove a confidential submission from his website. Šešelj is accused of failing to remove from his personal website confidential information pertaining to protected witnesses in violation of the Chamber’s orders.

As to upcoming key dates:

The pre-trial conference in the case of Ratko Mladić will be held next Tuesday, 24 April at 9:00 in Courtroom III.

The appeals hearing in the case of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač will be held on Monday, 14 May from 9:00 to 18:30. The Judgement in the case was rendered on 15 April 2011. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač were found guilty of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed by the Croatian forces during the Operation Storm military campaign between July and September 1995. They were sentenced to 24 and 18 years’ imprisonment respectively. The third Accused in the case, Ivan Čermak was acquitted of all charges. The Defence’s appeal briefs are available online. The Prosecution did not appeal the judgement.

In the appeals case of Vlastimir Đorđević, the next Status Conference will take place on Friday, 11 May 2012 at 9:30 in CR1; whilst in the appeals case of Nikola Šainović and others, a Status Conference will be held on Wednesday, 16 May at 14:30 in Courtroom III.

Regarding the case of Mico Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, the closing arguments have been scheduled to be held from Monday, 21 May to Thursday, 24 May, from 9:00 to 13:45 in Courtroom III. The Prosecution will start on 21 May and will have six hours to present its arguments, after which both Defence teams will have a total of six hours to present their arguments. Final briefs are expected to be filed by Monday, 7 May 2012.

As to the proceedings in the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, Simatović’s Defence case is expected to resume on Tuesday, 1 May at 14:15 in Courtroom II.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor’s Immediate Office, made the following statement:

I want to confirm that we indeed will have another five to six witnesses in the Karadžić case. Previously I said that we will finish our case by the end of April, and I want to make a small correction: we now expect to finish the case in the first week of May.

Referring to the fact that Richard Butler has testified a number of times in different cases, a journalist asked whether his analysis of the Srebrenica events and the OTP’s theory of the case have changed over time. Kontić replied that the Prosecution has not changed its theory on the case but that over the years, as more material has been made available to the OTP, the testimony of Mr. Butler, as well as his reports, changed. Kontić emphasised that these changes entailed only technical details.

Asked whether the Prosecution was satisfied it had proved all the charges brought against Karadžić, Kontić said that it would not be prudent for the Office of the Prosecutor to discuss the case at this stage. He pointed out that it is now up to the Judges to decide on the course of further proceedings.

Asked what the Prosecutor considers to be the main challenge during Karadžić’s defence case, Kontić replied that the Office of the Prosecutor will need to see how Radovan Karadžić is going to present his case in order to answer this question.

A journalist referred to the Belgrade Daily Kurir quoting Jelačić as saying that Jovica Stanišic had been provisionally released and that the press did not receive any official decision on this issue from the Tribunal. Jelačić stated that she could not exactly remember what Kurir had reported but she confirmed having told the media of the existence of a public redacted version of a decision in this case, without discussing which accused in particular.
Asked whether the Prosecution’s witness list in Mladić’s case will be made available to the public, Kontić stated that, although he will need to confirm this, he does believe that a redacted version of the witness list will be made available.

A journalist asked whether the Office of the Prosecutor could comment on Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vučević’s recent comment that they had managed to reconstruct the movement of Ratko Mladić before his arrest. Kontić said he was not able to comment on this matter.

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