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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 8 July 2009

Date:  08.07.2009   
Time: 12:00
Registry and Chambers:

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

The Tribunal welcomes the decision of the UN Security Council to extend the terms of office of the judges serving at the ICTY. The Security Council yesterday unanimously adopted resolution 1877(2009), by which the terms of office of newly assigned Appeals Judges, permanent trial and ad litem judges were extended until 31 December 2010 or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner. The terms of office of the other Appeals Judges had already been extended to 31 December 2010 by resolution 1837 (2008). The resolution also contains a provision indicating that the terms of office of the Appeals Judges will again be reviewed prior to 31 December 2009. In the same resolution, the Security Council decided that one additional ad litem judge may be appointed as a temporary measure, to enable the International Tribunal to assign a reserve judge to one of the trials.

As for courtroom activities, last Friday, the Appeals Chamber issued a public redacted version of its judgement of 25 June affirming the conviction of Dragan Jokić for contempt of Tribunal. Earlier this year, Jokić was sentenced by the Trial Chamber to four months’ imprisonment for refusing to testify in the Popović and others trial. Jokić will serve his sentence in Austria to run consecutively to the war crimes sentence he is already serving there.

In another contempt case before the Tribunal, closing arguments were heard in the case of Florence Hartmann. The arguments concluded with the prosecutor calling for the accused to be fined in the range of 7,000 to 15,000 Euro. The defence called for an acquittal.

In the case against Prlić and others, the Trial Chamber on Friday rejected Jadranko Prlić’s request to reopen his case in order to adduce further viva voce testimony from Dr John R. Schindler, a former US National Security Agency intelligence and counterintelligence officer, who wrote a book on the rise of Jihad in Bosnia. The book was published in 2007, a year prior to the start of Prlić’s defence case, and the Trial Chamber found that the defence failed to provide sufficient evidence that it had done all it could to identify the book on time in order to present it during the case proper.

As to this and next week’s court schedule:

On Monday, in the Popović and others case, the reopening of Milan Gvero’s defence case was completed. Tomorrow, the trial will continue with the examination of Sreten Milošević, who will testify in Drago Nikolić’s defence case, following a subpoena issued by the Trial Chamber on Friday.

In the case of Vojislav Šešelj, the testimony of Trial Chamber witness VS-027 began yesterday and is expected to continue today at 14:15 in courtroom II. The testimony is being given in closed session.

A status conference will be held on Thursday 16 July before the Appeals Chamber in the case of Boškoski et al. at 14:30 in courtroom II.

The trial of Momčilo Perišić has been canceled for the remainder of the week and will continue on Monday, 13 July. The trials of Vlastimir Ðorđević, Prlić and others as well as Gotovina and others will continue this week and next as scheduled. The trial of Stanišić and Simatović will resume on Wednesday, 15 July at 14:15 in courtroom I.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Olga Kavran, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked about the recent reports in the media that Judge Bonomy invited Prosecution during the last Status Conference in the Karadžić to think about dropping either Srebrenica or Sarajevo charge of the indictment, Nerma Jelačić responded that at no point did Judge Bonomy invite the Prosecution to drop the 'Srebrenica or Sarajevo counts' as reported by the media. The Prosecution was told that they may need to start thinking about how to reduce the length of the trial and a number of possibilities were mentioned, including reducing the number of crime sites and not proceeding on certain counts. These were simply hypothetical examples to illustrate the application of the Rules. The Tribunal's rules stipulate that the Trial Chambers can invite the Prosecutor to reduce the number of counts or crime scenes charged in the indictment in the interest of a fair and expeditious trial and issue any appropriate orders.

Asked whether there were any news regarding the resumption of the Prosecution case in the Šešelj trial, Nerma Jelačić responded that no decision has been made so far on this issue.

Asked why there were no Liaison Prosecutors from Kosovo to the Tribunal, Olga Kavran responded that, as part of the project in the Office of the Prosecutor, Liaison Prosecutors were sent from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to the Tribunal as the local judiciaries in these countries are working on war crimes cases and investigations transferred to them by the ICTY as well as on many of their own cases. Asked whether any war crimes cases were transferred from the ICTY to Kosovo, Olga Kavran responded that no cases have been transferred pursuant to Rule 11bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and that she could not discuss whether the Prosecution is providing material and evidence to the Kosovo judiciary, as this is information the Prosecution cannot disclose. She explained that Prosecution cooperates with any investigative authority that has opened a war crimes investigation and believes that the OTP may possess useful evidence. They then submit a request for assistance and the Prosecution responds to such requests but cannot disclose any related information to the public. When an indictment is issued locally, the local authorities have in the past disclosed the fact that investigations were based on or assisted by information obtained from the ICTY. All questions related to the local war crimes cases should be directed to the local judicial authorities.