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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 10th Feb 1999

ICTY Press Briefing - 10 February 1999

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 10 February 1999

Time: 11:30 a.m.


Jim Landale, the ICTY Spokesman, began today’s briefing by making the following

For those who
weren’t here, the US First Lady, Hillary Clinton, paid a visit to the Tribunal
on Sunday afternoon, where she met the President, Registrar and Deputy Prosecutor.
She also took the opportunity to have a look round the facilities in Courtroom
III, which was partially paid for by the US Government.

On 6 February
1999, the defence in the Krstic case submitted an application to Trial Chamber
I requesting that the deadline for the submission of preliminary motions be

In the Kordic
and Cerkez case: on 4 February, Trial Chamber III ordered the Republic of Croatia
and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to disclose to the Prosecution
all the documents concerning or related to Mario Cerkez, except two, listed
by the Prosecutor in a confidential Annex attached to the Prosecutor’s
applications to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the production of those
documents which was made on 25 January 1999. Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
were ordered to comply "as soon as possible and no later than within
60 days of the date of the order."
The documents were judged to be
"specific, relevant and not unduly onerous." The two documents
that were rejected did not "meet the criteria of relevance"
as set out in the Appeals Chamber Judgement of 29 October 1997 on the Request
of the Republic of Croatia for Review of the Decision of Trial Chamber II of
18 July 1997 in the Blaskic case.

Also in the Kordic
and Cerkez case: on 8 February, the Defence for Kordic and Cerkez submitted
a motion requesting that the accused "be released from detention pending
commencement and completion of their trial."
In the motion the Defence
argued that Rule 65 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence "violates
settled principles of international law generally and the Tribunal’s Statute

On 8 February,
the Prosecutor submitted its pre-trial brief in the Kunarac case, along with
a Submission related to Admissions made by the Defence.

Copies of all
the documents I have mentioned are available on request.

At last week’s
briefing I mentioned the visit by a delegation from the Republika Srpska to
the Tribunal and read out a list of members of that delegation. However, this
list was an out of date version and did not include the participation of the
RS Minister of Interior, Mr Svedoja Novic, and the RS Minister of Health, Mr.
Zeljko Rodic. My apologies for that.

Finally, on the
deferral issue: The deadline expires on 12 February (the request was submitted
by the Registry to the Embassy on 14 December and the clock started ticking
the following day.) If, on Friday there has been no compliance on the part of
the authorities in Belgrade, under Rule 11 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure
and Evidence, "the Trial Chamber may request the President to report
the matter to the Security Council".



Mr Graham Blewitt, Deputy Prosecutor, made the following announcements:

Yesterday, the
OTP received written confirmation from the US State Department that they would
donate US $ 1.5 million to the ICTY Trust Fund for the exhumations programme,
which is half of the funding required in order to proceed.

The Republika
Srpska delegation’s visit, headed by the Justice Minister and which took
place at their request, was meant to enhance cooperation. The meetings were
productive and I am looking forward to a higher level of cooperation. A liaison
officer, appointed by the Republika Srpska, will be stationed in The Hague,
which means that all parties will be represented here.

Regarding the
Prosecutor’s visas, there have been no movements at all. I expect the reason
for this is being negotiated in France. Meanwhile, the visa requests remain
lodged with the FRY embassy.

Lastly, the Registrar
has written to Croatia under Rule 59 of the ICTY’s Rules of Procedure and
Evidence, requesting advice on the request that Naletelic and Martinovic be
surrendered to the Tribunal.



Asked if the
deadline mentioned earlier referred to the Vukovar case and asked for a comment
from the Tribunal on this, Landale answered that it did concern the Vukovar
case but that the Tribunal would not have a reaction until the deadline had

Asked about
the content of the letter from the Registrar to Croatia, Mr Blewitt answered
that to date the Registrar had received no advice on what the intentions were
of the Croatian authorities and that under Rule 59 of the Rules of Procedure
and Evidence Croatia had an obligation to report what action had been taken.

Asked whether
he expected compliance from Croatia, Mr Blewitt answered that, despite recent
media reports, he had no reason to believe that Croatia would not comply.
He added that they had complied with such requests in the past, for example
with the Aleksovski case.

Asked whether
during the talks with the delegation from Republika Srpska the willingness
to arrest and turn over indictees was mentioned, Mr Blewitt answered that
he found it inappropriate to comment on that, but that it had been a topic
of discussion and that he was pleased to hear that there was no indication
of legal or constitutional impediments to handing over of persons indicted.
No obstacles were identified apart from the fact that they had to bear in
mind the political situation in the Republika Srpska.

Regarding the
"Vukovar three" it was said that it was the longest lasting story
of non-compliance and that after Friday’s deadline another letter could
be sent to the Security Council. Asked whether in the long run this repetition
could undermine the credibility of the Tribunal and whether there were any
discussions with member states on this, Mr Blewitt replied that the question
of credibility could arise with the repetition of letters sent to the Security
Council with no real action being taken. On the other hand, the letters built
up a case of non-compliance. He added that generally speaking, discussions
were taking place but that ultimately it was a question for the President.

Asked if, with
regard to the Kosovo investigations, OTP had received any report from the
Finnish forensic experts, Mr Blewitt answered that investigations were continuing
including leads being followed outside Kosovo. Regarding the Finnish group,
the OTP would receive the final report upon completion.