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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 4 July 2012

Date:  4.07.2012
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers: 

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

Good afternoon,

I’ll turn directly to next week’s schedule in the courtrooms. In the case of Ratko Mladić, next Monday 9 July, the presentation of the Prosecution’s evidence will begin at 1:00pm in Courtroom I and will continue every afternoon that week. Background information on the first witnesses to be examined by the Prosecution is now available on the relevant case page of the ICTY website.

Also next Monday, in the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, the Chamber will call one witness who will be examined under the pseudonym CW-1. Trial sessions will be held daily next week from 8:00 to 12:00 in Courtroom II.

In the case of Momčilo Perišić, a status conference will be held tomorrow, 5 July at 15:30 in Courtroom I.

Finally, the launch of the Arusha Branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) was marked on Monday by a ceremony held in Arusha, Tanzania. The Hague Branch of the MICT, which will take on functions derived from the ICTY, will launch on 1 July 2013. The website of the Mechanism is now available at www.unmict.org.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

The OTP took note of the decision of the Trial Chamber pursuant to Rule 98bis on 28 June. 

The Trial Chamber held that there was sufficient evidence to support charges against Karadzic on 10 of the 11 counts.  These counts include some of the most serious possible crimes:  particularly the crimes against humanity of persecution, extermination and murder carried out in the municipalities between March 1992 and November 1995, inflicting terror during the shelling and sniping during the siege of Sarajevo, the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 and taking UN personnel hostage.

The Trial Chamber dismissed one count in the indictment, relating to genocide for the crimes committed in 1992 in the municipalities. The Prosecution will appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision to acquit Karadzic on this count. The Prosecution will file its appeal with the Appeals Chamber in accordance with the usual procedure for appealing a judgement. 

In addition, yesterday, the Prosecution filed a motion before the Trial Chamber for certification to appeal, in the event that it is required. In its motion for certification, the Prosecution set out its view that there are grounds to appeal the Trial Chamber's findings on Count 1, including in relation to the Trial Chambers factual assessment of the evidence, its application of the legal elements for genocide and joint criminal enterprise liability, and its application of the legal standard required pursuant to Rule 98bis.

Asked if the Prosecution’s reason for filing a certification to appeal the Rule 98bis decision in the Karadzic case was due to uncertainty about whether it could appeal the judgment directly, Swinnen responded that the OTP believed that it would be appropriate to appeal the decision directly (in accordance with Rule 108 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence). Moreover, there were precedents. However, out of abundance of caution, the OTP was also seeking certification in the event that the Chamber believed it was required.

Swinnen also confirmed that should the Rule 98bis decision be considered the same way as a judgement, then regular deadlines and procedures for appeal would apply. Thus, the OTP would have 30 days to file the notice of appeal and 75 days for the appeal. Swinnen added that a Notice of Appeal would be filed soon.

Asked why the Rule 98bis decision, if it was a regular judgment, was not provided in written form since judgments and the reasoning for the judgements are normally provided in written form, Swinnen said that initially 98bis procedures were in writing, but that those were changed in order to speed up proceedings. Thus, Rule 98bis decisions are now oral proceedings and decisions. Swinnen added that there is also a will to move forward in this case. The defence case is coming up and that is why the OTP will not take the full 30 days to file the notice of appeal and even appeals brief. The notice will be filed in the next days. Swinnen concluded that it is up to the judges to determine what the applicable procedure would be in this case.

Asked if the first witness in the Prosecution’s case against Mladić would be Elvedin Pašić and what he would be testifying about in the case, Swinnen confirmed this and said that Pašić, the first witness, is a victim, who will testify about crimes committed in municipalities (such as Grabovica) in Bosnia in 1992. Pašić is one of the victims who has testified in previous cases (Milošević and Krajišnik). A description of his testimony and those that would follow was sent to the media. The following witnesses will include a senior UN official, a British ex-military expert and a former Dutchbat officer. Swinnen said that they would testify during the first segment of the case, during which the prosecution will provide an overview of the case and produce evidence of specific crimes that occurred over the breadth of the entire conflict. Specific segments would then follow: crimes committed during the shelling and sniping of Sarajevo, crime of hostage-taking, crimes in the municipalities beginning in 1992, the genocide in Srebrenica.

A journalist pointed out that the OTP first announced that twenty-four witnesses would be testifying in the first segment of witnesses, covering all areas in the Mladic case, and now it’s only seven. Asked if after the summer recess the OTP would be going back to the segment covering the overall case, Swinnen said he thought it would go back to the overall segment. However, at this stage, only these seven witnesses were confirmed. This is because of limited amount of time before recess and due to discussions with Chambers and the Defence about the preparation for the case and disclosure issues. Swinnen said that he could say with certainty that these seven witnesses would be coming in the next days and then the OTP would determine who will be coming afterwards.

Asked if the OTP was reviewing the evidence in the municipalities segment of the Mladic case considering the Rule 98bis decision in the Karadzic case, Swinnen said that since the OTP was appealing the 98bis decision, its position in other cases to date remains unaffected.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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