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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 4 February 2009

Date:  04.02.2009
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

The Tribunal’s President, Judge Robinson, calls on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure that all the necessary support is provided to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other justice institutions so they may continue their vital work.  He also looks forward to the start of the effective implementation of the recently adopted national war crimes strategy.

The Tribunal has made an enormous contribution to the establishment of the rule of law in the region by holding senior perpetrators accountable, by establishing facts relating to the most serious crimes, by assisting the creation of national organs war crimes proceedings and by transferring expertise, evidence and cases to them.

President Robinson intends to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina in the near future in order to further build on these achievements in cooperation with the local authorities. In the meantime he trusts that local politicians will use their authority and fulfill their obligations in advancing the rule of law and supporting both national and international war crimes proceedings.

Turning to key court filings and schedule:

As you were informed yesterday afternoon, the commencement of Florence Hartmann’s trial has been postponed until further notice. This is to allow a ruling to be made on the Defence’s motion for disqualification of two members of the special chamber and of a senior legal officer in charge of the case. We will inform you of the revised start time of the trial as soon as a Scheduling Order has been filed.

On Monday, Bajrush Morina requested the Appeals Chamber to grant him provisional release for the remainder of the duration of the appeals proceeding. The Appeals Chamber has yet to rule on the matter. Morina and his co-accused Astrit Haraqija were found guilty of contempt of the Tribunal on 17 December 2008 for trying to persuade a witness not to testify in the trial of Ramush Haradinaj and others. Morina and Haraqija were sentenced to three months and five months’ imprisonment respectively. The Prosecution and both Defence teams filed their notices of appeal on 2 January 2009. A date for the appeals hearing has yet to be determined.

On to this week’s court schedule:

A Status Conference in the Rasim Delić case will take place on Friday 6 February at 2:15pm in Courtroom II.

The trials of Gotovina and others, Prlić and others, Lukić and Lukić,  Vlastimir Ðorđevic, Vojislav Šešelj and Momcilo Perišić will continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:         

Olga Kavran, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, made the following statement.

The Prosecutor will be in Zagreb, Croatia tomorrow where he will hold working meetings in relation to the request for assistance for documents the Office of the Prosecutor is still seeking in the Gotovina et al. case. He will be meeting with representatives of the Croatian authorities at the operational and political level.


A journalist asked if there was any reaction to yesterday’s BiH court ruling that it had no jurisdiction on the procedure against the people who assisted the escape of Radomir Stanković. Jelačić stated the Tribunal noted yesterday’s judgement but would not comment on it at present. She however reminded the journalists that the Tribunal has consistently voiced its most serious concern with the escape of Radomir Stanković and lack of progress made by the relevant authorities in apprehending him.

The Tribunal has raised this matter with the Security Council as part of its regular briefings. It is unacceptable that Stanković - a convicted war criminal and rapist - remains on the run two years after his escape. The Tribunal will continue to insist that Stanković be apprehended and that justice prevail.

Asked to comment on the Registry's ban of communication between Vojislav Šešelj and Radovan Karadžić as submitted in the Šešelj motion before the Trial Chamber, Jelačić replied that the accused's motion was inaccurate in its claims of a communication ban relating to Karadžić. She said that there was currently no ban on communication between Šešelj and Karadžić but that he would have to follow the same procedures as other indictees if he wanted to speak with the former Bosnian Serb political leader.