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ICTY Press Briefing - 25 March 2009

Date:  25.03.2009
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

The Tribunal’s courtrooms remain very busy this and next week.

Trial Chamber II will render its judgement in the contempt case of Dragan Jokić on Friday 27 March at 9:00 in Courtroom III.

Jokić, a former Bosnian Serb Army officer, is charged with contempt of the Tribunal for knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice by refusing to testify before the Trial Chamber in the case of Popović and others.

The Order in lieu of indictment against Jokić was filed on 1 November 2007. Jokić pleaded not guilty. The hearing took place on 19 November 2007, 10 December 2007 and 15 December 2008.

Jokić was sentenced to nine year’s imprisonment on 17 January 2005 for aiding and abetting the extermination, murder and persecution of Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica in July 1995. His sentence was affirmed by the Appeals Chamber on 9 May 2007. He is currently serving his sentence in Austria.

Another upcoming event for your diaries is the Status Conference in the trial of Radovan Karadžic which is scheduled to take place on 2 April 2009 at 9:00 in Courtroom I.

Rule 98bis hearings in the case of Ante Gotovina and others started last week and concluded this morning. As you know, Rule 98bis allows the Trial Chamber to - at the end of the Prosecutor’s case, and after hearing oral submissions of the parties - enter a judgment of acquittal on any count if there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction. The Trial Chamber will deliver its decision in due course. In a separate decision, Trial Chamber has granted the Defence an additional five weeks for the preparation of its case in relation to 189 killing incidents recently added by the Prosecution to the Indictment. The Defence case is now due to begin on 28 May.

As to the Lukić and Lukić trial, Milan Lukic’s defence case is due to finish on Tuesday 24 March 2009. Any rebuttal or rejoinder evidence will be heard immediately thereafter and will conclude at the latest on Friday 3 April 2009. Parties were ordered to file any requests for rebuttal or joinder by last Friday. Any closing arguments will be heard on 8 April 2009, for which each party will be given 1 hour.

In the trial of Popović and others, the Prosecution today called a third witness, PW-175, as part of the re-opening of its case. The next hearing date will be communicated to you in due course.

As to this week’s schedule:

Vojislav Šešelj returns to the courtroom tomorrow morning for a hearing on administrative issues.

The trials of Momčilo Perišić, Vlastimir Đorđević, Prlić and others and Lukić and Lukić will continue this week and next as scheduled.

Finally, there will be no hearings on Tuesday 31 March due to an international conference on Afghanistan being held in the immediate vicinity of the Tribunal. Following the request of host state and for security reasons the Tribunal will be closed. Hearings will continue as scheduled for the remainder of next week.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

Tomorrow and Friday, Prosecutor Brammertz will be in Belgrade. This is a regular working visit to discuss issues related to cooperation of Serbia with the Office of the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor will meet with representatives of the Serbian authorities at the operational and political level in charge of cooperation.

On 2 and 3 April, a Conference of State and War Crimes Prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will be held in Brussels, Belgium.

The conference is organised by the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor and funded by the European Commission and forms part of the ongoing efforts to further strengthen regional cooperation in matters related to war crimes cases.

The cooperation between the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor and the prosecution authorities in the former Yugoslavia as well as enhanced cooperation among the regional prosecution authorities themselves remains crucial to the continued prosecution of war crimes in the region. This Office continues its fruitful cooperation with local war crimes prosecutors by transferring investigation material and continuing to share accumulated information and expertise.

More details about the conference will be available by the end of the week.

A journalist asked about the report and recommendations of the Archives Commission led by Richard Goldstone. Nerma Jelačić confirmed that the Advisory Committee on Archives (ACA) filed its report at the end of last year. The report together with the recommendations has been forwarded to the UN’s working group on ad hoc Tribunals for their consideration as part of their mandate to deal with residual mechanisms. This was reported to the Security Council by President Robinson in December 2008. The report itself is not public. Asked when the Working Group might decide on ACA report Jelačić replied she could not speculate on dates at this moment

Asked about the recent reports in the Croatian press about the EU’s failure to provide the Defence team of the Gotovina and others case with documents, Olga Kavran responded that she has seen the reports but is not aware of any defence requests on the issue nor is she able to comment on it.