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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 1st Mar 2000

ICTY Press Briefing - 1 March 2000

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

ICTY Weekly
Press Briefing

Date: 1 March 2000

Time: 11:30 a.m. 


Jim Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers made the following statement:

Firstly, the recently
arrived Judge Fausto Pocar of Italy has been assigned to sit on the Appeals
Chamber. He will take the place of Judge Tieya Wang.

Secondly, Trial
Chamber III issued a decision on 28 February rejecting an application by Stevan
Todorovic to reopen the Trial Chamber’s decision of 27 July 1999 which held
that the ICRC had a right to non-disclosure in judicial proceedings of information
in the possession of its employees relating to its activities.

The 27 July 1999
decision was related to a witness who was a former employee of the ICRC, whom
the Prosecution has intended to call and who was prepared voluntarily to give

Todorovic had
in the meantime sought assistance from the ICRC and had applied for the ICRC
Decision to be re-opened and set aside. The application was dismissed by the
Trial Chamber because Todorovic was not party to the original decision. Both
the ICRC and the Prosecution had opposed the application.

We also trying
to make copies of the pre-trial briefs for the upcoming Krstic case, the Kunarac
Kovac and Vukovic case and the defence appeal brief in the Furundzija appeal.

Finally, a
reminder that the appeal hearing in the Furundzija case will take place tomorrow
2 March at 1000 in Courtroom I, and the Judgement and Sentence in the Blaskic
case will be handed down at 1030 this Friday, 3 March. You are of course invited
to attend both of those.



Paul Risley, Spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), made no statement.



Asked whether
there was any news on "Tuta", Landale replied that the medical team
visited "Tuta" at the end of last week. He added that the Tribunal
was now waiting for the full written report from the team to be submitted
to the Registrar. The next move would be based on what was contained in the
report. Any decision would be taken in close consultation between the Registrar,
the Prosecutor and the President, he concluded.

Asked when
the report was expected, Landale replied that it could well be submitted in
the coming days.

Asked whether
this week in the Kvocka case was the first time an accused had given testimony
in this way and what was due to happen next, Landale replied that as far as
he knew this was the first time the Tribunal had defendants testifying before
the Prosecutions case in chief. He added that the projected timetable for
Kvocka and Radic would be three days on the stand each and then the continuation
of normal proceedings. Essentially this was a time saving device proposed
by the Defence for both of these accused. Agreed facts would not have to be
revisited by the Prosecution, he concluded.

Asked in
what way this procedure would be time saving, Landale replied that this could
prevent the Prosecution having to run through the entirety of their case only
for the Defendants to say that they were not disputing certain facts or that
they admitted certain facts. Some material might not have to be covered twice,
he concluded.

Risley added
that it was his understanding that the Prosecution would present its case
following the two three day blocks of testimony from the two individuals
the Prosecution would start with its case. He did not believe that the Prosecution
would do its cross-examination immediately following the three days of testimony.
He believed that the OTP would reserve the right till the end of presenting
their case. That was a decision to be made by the senior trial attorney,
he concluded.

Asked for
clarification on the Prosecutor’s proposal that parts of trials could take
place in the former Yugoslavia, Landale replied that there had been discussions
on the possibility of holding hearings in the former Yugoslavia, however,
he cautioned that this depended on a variety of factors which would determine
whether it would be possible to go ahead with the proposal. The first being
finance to support the operation of having a portion of the proceedings outside
of The Hague and there were also security considerations that had to be taken
into account for, amongst others, the witnesses and the detainees themselves.
This was not something scheduled to take place in weeks or months, it was
something being looked at in the long term.

Risley went
on to say that there were two very separate proposals and that they should
not be confused, as some of the Croatian media seemed to have done. The Prosecutor’s
remarks in Arusha last week were not to support placing cases before the national
courts. The proposal was for sittings of the Tribunal trials to take place
within the regions of the two tribunals, either in Arusha or the former Yugoslavia.
This had to be budgeted for and the issues of security and cost of moving
the court would have to be taken into account, he concluded.

Asked whether
the whole Trial Chamber would be moved under the Prosecutor’s proposal, Risley
said that it was a logistical and administrative matter entirely different
from the larger idea raised of domestic courts conducting entire trials, which
was a more long-term issue. He would give an update on it.

Asked whether
there were any examples in Croatia or Bosnia where trials had taken place
in front of national courts, Risley said that he was not aware of any. He
added that the OTP’s Rules of the Road program existed for the most part for
Bosnia and if there were examples, Bosnia was where they would be found.

Asked for
an updated estimate of victims in the Krstic case, Risley replied that it
would be the intention of the Prosecution to release very specific and detailed
evidence and information on the opening days of the trial. Some of the documentation
and results of the forensic investigations over the past five years would
be given.

Asked whether
figures had been given in the past, Risley replied that they had, however,
in this case he did not wish to preempt the Prosecution.

Asked how
long the opening statement would take, Risley replied that it would take at
least a day. He added that it might be possible to provide a written text
of the opening statement.

Asked whether
there had been any developments between The Hague and the Croatian Authorities,
Risley replied that there was nothing to report on this issue. Informal contacts
continued with the Government.

Asked for
an explanation of the fact that a deadline for documents requested from Croatia
concerning the Kordic case had expired on the 28 February, Risley replied
that there were several ongoing matters that deserved urgency however his
understanding was that the Prosecutor would bring up the issue with the Judges
in this case and that it would then be a matter for the Registry He believed
nothing had happened yet.

Asked for
a comment of the visit by President Chirac, Risley replied that the Prosecutor
was pleased with meetings that Tribunal officials held with the President
and that a separate private meeting was very positive.

added that the meetings with the Registrar and President were also very positive.