note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
16 May 2001
Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:
Trial Chamber III announced that the trial in the Simic and others case (Bosanski
Samac) would start on Monday 10 September 2001 before a different (as yet unknown)
composition of Judges. It was also announced that the maximum sitting time will
be four hours per day due to Milan Simic's medical condition.
terms of court documents, on 11 May 2001, the Appeals Chamber in the Kupreskic
and others case issued a scheduling order for the hearings this Thursday and
Friday, 17 and 18 May 2001, in which it specified how the hearings will be conducted.
Copies of that will be available after the briefing.
Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), made the following
were informed during our visit to Washington that the United States (US) was
not willing to participate in the Donors’ Conference because when they gave
the certification at the end of March it was given conditionally. Among the
conditions given was the cooperation of Belgrade with the Tribunal. The US is
not willing to participate because Belgrade is not yet cooperating with the
Prosecutor is very satisfied with the declaration she heard from Belgrade and
specifically from the President of Yugoslavia, Mr. Kostunica, who said clearly
for the first time that he is willing to support the law on cooperation and
that he would do his best to adopt it urgently.
The OTP insists on the fact that passing the law is not the main issue, because
from the point of view of the Tribunal the law is not necessary. The main issue
is the cooperation of Belgrade with the ICTY. What is important is that Belgrade
must start to implement the law. The OTP is urgently expecting, not only the
passing of the law, but concrete steps towards cooperation, those steps being,
firstly, the arrest and transfer of people to The Hague. This also involves
transferring those who are already located - Mr. Milosevic who is not a fugitive
but who is already in detention. I must remind you that Mr. Milosevic is in
detention for an investigation and is not already indicted in his own country.
He is already indicted by the ICTY for Kosovo. The ICTY is expecting his transfer
as soon as the law is passed.
second issue is access to the archives, so that the OTP can complete its investigations.
The OTP does not have any access to the archives at the moment.
third issue is access, for the purpose of investigations, to witnesses living
in the territory of the FRY. There have been promises in the declarations from
leaders in Belgrade and from Mr. Kostunica. In their statements we heard that
they were insisting on the fact that they sent the Tribunal documents about
Kosovo. They deny the fact that they are not cooperating at all even in those
investigations where Serbs are the victims and they are always asking that the
OTP completes its investigations into the UCK and the KLA and they are always
upset that the Tribunal has not yet indicted any Albanian leaders of the UCK.
OTP is working on these investigations. They were started before Belgrade began
speaking with the Tribunal, at the time of Milosevic. The OTP did not wait for
the demand from Belgrade to start this investigation. I must insist also on
the fact that the OTP did not receive relevant documents. Those they sent recently
were totally marginal. We believe that Belgrade is in the position to provide
the OTP with very important and significant documents which for the moment we
have not received but we believe we will start to very quickly.
have been asked to make some comments on the ICTR. The Prosecutor when she took
her function as the Prosecutor of both tribunals was not very happy with the
efficiency of the office at the ICTR.
ICTR has a bad image because of its lack of efficiency. The ICTR was often criticised
and most of this criticism was on the basis of inefficiency, so the Prosecutor
decided to contribute to a better image and a better efficiency of the ICTR
by reorganising her own office there.
began last year by restructuring the investigation teams, based in Kigali. This
was successful and the ICTR now has very efficient investigation teams. The
next step was to start the reorganisation of trial teams based in Arusha. In
this case some people did not have their contracts renewed (like in the ICTY,
they have one-year contracts). The only criteria for these changes was efficiency.
Some people have been changed to different positions because they were good
lawyers but not proactive enough in court. Other people were not efficient even
in another position and the Prosecutor did not renew some contracts and we were
accused of racism, but the decision was only on the basis of efficiency.
first person who did not see his contract renewed was, if you want this kind
of example, an American of European descent. The best way to defend yourself
is to attack. There is no other reason than efficiency for these changes. These
people were given a chance to start to work to change their attitudes and did
not and are now gone. The ICTR is not an African Tribunal. It is an International
Tribunal dealing with Africa. Many Africans work at the Tribunal. This is important
because they know the environment and want to take part in international justice.
They want to contribute to it to make sure that genocide such as that which
occurred in Rwanda in 1994 does not occur again in the continent of Africa or
anywhere else. The OTP will hire new people on the basis of their competency
and some of them or many of them will be Africans. There is no basis to attack
the Tribunal for racism. It is absolutely ridiculous.
there were seven senior trial attorneys whose contracts were not renewed,
Hartman said that she would not confirm the exact number because some of the
people did not have their contract renewed and others were leaving on their
own will. The two were mixed to give credibility to this ridiculous attack.
assurances the Prosecutor received from the US concerning their participation
in the Donors’ Conference, and whether the US had said whether it would not
participate at all or were they going to verify Belgrade’s compliance and
consider taking part at a later date, Hartmann replied that the US explained
their position and they said that they were expecting a few things from Belgrade,
one of them being the cooperation of Belgrade with the ICTY. The US repeated
yesterday that they were expecting not only the adoption of the law, but also
the implementation of the law and the beginning of concrete cooperation with
the ICTY. If Belgrade made a good and concrete move the US could participate
with the Donors’ Conference or they could be ready to help in anyway (with
or without the Donors’ Conference) to support Belgrade with economic help.
It depended on the behavior of Belgrade with the Tribunal, but they also had
some other conditions not linked with the ICTY. They insisted yesterday that
it was not only passing the law, but implementing it and they insisted also
that they wanted to see Milosevic transferred to The Hague because he was
indicted by The Hague for the crimes committed in Kosovo, she concluded.
the Prosecutor and US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, talked about arrests
in Bosnia and whether any promises were made, Hartmann replied that the Prosecutor
spoke to Mr. Powell about arrests, as she did during all her visits abroad.
The Prosecutor explained that she wanted more proactive support from SFOR
because there had been no arrests for one year. The only arrest was that of
Obrenovic and the Prosecutor hoped that there would be many more arrests.
Powell was supportive of the idea that it was necessary to have more arrests
and that SFOR must take part in them. The Prosecutor also discussed her idea
to create a tracking team to locate fugitives. She explained that she needed
the cooperation of SFOR for the tracking team because once the tracking teams
located people, they needed SFOR to proceed with the arrests of those located
the Prosecutor had seen a draft of the new law (on cooperation with the ICTY)
and whether the law contained a feature whereby the transfer of suspects would
not have to be automatic, Hartmann replied that the OTP had received a draft
of the law at the beginning of April and had made comments and suggestions.
The OTP did not know at which stage the law was at now and whether they had
taken into account the suggestions of the OTP. The OTP was informed that Belgrade
would surely take into account a part of, or all of the suggestions. The OTP
would see when the law was introduced before the Parliament which draft they
would be using. The OTP would then make comments on the public version of
the law, not on the first draft.
added that the President and the Registrar had also received copies of the
draft law. Along with the Prosecutor, they had also forwarded comments on
the draft, and to reiterate, that they would not make public what those comments
were, but they would be in a position to pass judgement on the final version
of the law. It was clear, however, that the Tribunal expected a law that would
be an accelerator towards cooperation with the Tribunal and not any type of
law that would put any further obstacles in the way of full cooperation with
the Tribunal or acted in any way as a brake in the way of cooperation with
the Tribunal. It had to be something that facilitated full cooperation rather
than the opposite, he added.