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Weekly Press Briefing - 2 November 2011

Date:  02.11.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Martin Petrov, Chief of the Registrar’s Office, made the following statement:

Good afternoon,

I will first turn to the latest developments in the contempt of court cases and war crimes trial of Vojislav Šešelj:

Last Friday, the Registrar notified Šešelj that his communications with his team of legal associates will be subject to monitoring for a period of 30 days. This follows the Registrar’s finding that reasonable grounds exist to believe that Šešelj abused the unmonitored communication means available to him for contacts with his legal associates to facilitate the disclosure of confidential information on his website in violation of judicial orders. Šeselj will be able to continue communicating with his recognised legal advisors through visits, telephone calls, and written correspondence, but such communications will be monitored. The decision was taken in accordance with the Tribunal’s Rules of Detention and is also consistent with international standards. The Registrar will review the decision after a period of 30 days. Šešelj has a right to appeal the decision to the Tribunal’s President.

Last Monday, the Trial Chamber delivered its judgment in Šešelj’s second contempt of court case and convicted him to 18 months’ imprisonment for disclosing confidential information pertaining to 10 protected witnesses in a book he authored. Šešelj is to serve his sentence concurrently with that of 15 months imposed on him on 19 May 2010 when he was convicted also for disclosing confidential information on protected witnesses.

In his third contempt of court case, the Trial Chamber on Friday issued an amended Order in lieu of indictment which now includes four instead of three books authored by the Accused, in which he discloses confidential information on protected witnesses. A further initial appearance will be held this Friday, 4 November 2011 at 15:00 in Courtroom I to provide the Accused with an opportunity to enter a plea to the amended indictment.

Moving to the contempt of court allegations of intimidating and bribing witnesses that Šešelj raised against the Office of the Prosecutor, the report of the Amicus Curiae in charge of investigating these allegations was filed last Wednesday in a public redacted form. After reviewing the statements of the individuals on whose claims Šešelj based his allegations, and interviewing, among others, the investigators, prosecutors and other individuals implicated by Šešelj, the Amicus concluded that Šešelj’s allegations were unfounded. The Amicus found that some of the statements obtained by Šešelj were exaggerated, whilst others were demonstrably false. A number of witnesses were found not to have ever been interviewed in the Šešelj case and for some there was no evidence they were ever contacted by the Prosecution.

Moving now to Šešelj’s main war crimes trial, the Trial Chamber has scheduled the closing arguments for 5 March 2012, allocating 10 hours to both the Prosecution and Defence. The final trial briefs are due by 5 February 2012.

And finally, in the case of Ratko Mladić, the Prosecution filed yesterday a list of known victims in relation to scheduled incidents in the third amended indictment. This followed the Trial Chamber’s Decision of 13 October on the Defence’s preliminary motion objecting to the form of the second amended indictment. In this Decision, the Trial Chamber affirmed that the identities of victims are not material facts, but that as this information will assist the Defence preparations, the Prosecution is obliged to provide it. In its submission, the Prosecution sets out that the lists provided do not represent the entirety of the victims of the crimes listed in the indictment and that more information will be forthcoming.

Turning now to the courtroom schedule:

In the trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Trial Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of a protected witness who is testifying about Manjača camp. His testimony will be followed by that of Nenad Krejić, former Chief of the public security section in Skender Vakuf, in the region of Banja Luka.

This afternoon, the testimony of a protected witness from Kosovo who was a former detainee at Jablanica camp will resume in the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj and others.

Next Thursday, 10 November, a Status Conference will be held in the case of Goran Hadžić at 15:00 in Courtroom III.

Also on Thursday, a further initial appearance will be held in the case of Ratko Mladić at 16:00 in Courtroom I to enable the Accused to enter a plea to the amended third indictment, which added crimes committed in the village of Bišina in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995, to the charges against Mladić. The further initial appearance will be followed by a Status Conference.

Before concluding, I would like to bring to your attention a three-day visit of Serbian Judges’ Associates of the Belgrade High and Appellate Courts' War Crimes Departments to the Tribunal which started yesterday. The visit has been organised by the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia. It takes place as part of the Tribunal’s ongoing efforts to strengthen cooperation and knowledge sharing with members of the judiciary in the former Yugoslavia.

Finally, please note that the Tribunal will be closed next Monday for Eid al-Adha.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

The Prosecutor, Mr. Serge Brammertz will travel to Serbia for a working visit on 8 an 9 November. He will meet with President Tadić, Minister Ljajić Chairman of the National Council for Cooperation with the ICTY, Prosecutor for war crimes Vukčević and operational services. The purpose of the visit is to discuss ongoing cooperation with Serbia prior to submitting his next report to the UNSC.


Asked from when Vojislav Šešelj’s privileged communications with his legal associates would be monitored, Petrov explained that the decision of the Registrar became effective last Friday and will be enforced for a period of 30 days after which the decision will be reviewed. Petrov explained that Šešelj can in the meantime appeal that decision and the President could theoretically overturn it earlier. Petrov added that it is a judicial matter and that he cannot comment any further on it.

Asked whether the 30 days referred to working or calendar days, Petrov clarified they were calendar days.

Asked whether Šešelj’s lengthy response to the decision could be considered as an appeal, Petrov said that Šešelj has submitted two documents, one of which was submitted to the Trial Chamber and the other one to the President. Under the Rules of Detention, the President has jurisdiction to review such matters, which essentially constitute restrictions of a detainee’s rights, and therefore the appeal should be appropriately directed to the President. Petrov added that he could not comment on the submission which was made to the Trial Chamber and what the Chamber may do with it.

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