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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 20 August 2009

Date:  20.08.2009   
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

Christian Chartier, acting Spokesperson for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:

Welcome back to the Tribunal. I hope you enjoyed a restful break and that you returned with the necessary energy.

I have two pieces of news for you:

Firstly, the defence for Milan Lukić filed this morning their Notice of appeal against the Judgement of 20 July finding the accused guilty on 21 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and sentencing him to life imprisonment. The Notice of appeal reads, in part: (quote from par.6)

“Mr. Milan Lukić appeals the manner in which the trial was conducted and the resultant decisions and ultimate Judgement which cumulatively constituted an error of law. (…) The Appeals Chamber should reverse the Judgement of the Trial chamber and find him not guilty. In the alternative (…) the Appeals Chamber should reduce sentence handed down to Mr. Milan Lukić or grant opportunity for retrial that affords him due process of law and maintains all rights afforded to him under international law.”

Also, and that happened yesterday, Trial Chamber III (Judge Bonomy, Judge Stole and Judge Harhoff) issued an Order scheduling the commencement of the trial of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin.  

The trial, originally scheduled to begin on Monday 31 August has been rescheduled for Monday 14 September, at 14:15. The pre-trial conference is now expected to be held on Friday 4 September at 14:15 in Courtroom I. 

Mićo Stanišić, who has been on provisional release since 10 July 2008, has been ordered to return to the Detention Unit on 31 August.

Mićo Stanišić became, in 1992, Minister in the then newly established Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (RS MUP).  Stojan Župljanin was Chief of the Regional Security Services Centre (CSB) of Banja Luka, a member of the Autonomous Region of Krajina (ARK) Crisis Staff, and an advisor for internal affairs to the President of Republika Srpska. They stand accused of involvement in a campaign to eliminate and permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the areas over which they presided between April and December 1992.

When this trial starts, only two accused will be awaiting their trial: Zdravko Tolimir and Radovan Karadžić.

Courtroom activity has been busy since the end of the summer recess with two Status Conferences held in the trials of Vojislav Šešelj and Radovan Karadžić. The trials of Vlastimir Ðorđević and Prlić and others resumed on Monday. Momčilo Perišić’s trial resumes this afternoon and that of Gotovina and others on Monday morning. Hearings in the Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović’s trial will be held next week Wednesday and Thursday at 14:15 in Courtroom II.

In relation to the Stanišić and Simatović trial, the Tribunal learnt during the court recess with sadness the death of Zoran Jovanović, Lead Counsel for Frank Simatović. So far, no new Lead Counsel has been assigned but we will inform you of it in due course.

And finally, I would like to announce that Ken Roberts has been appointed as the new Deputy Registrar. Mr Roberts (from Canada) has been a long-term ICTY staff member having worked at the Tribunal since 1998. He currently is the Senior Legal Officer of the Appeals Chamber. His appointment as Deputy Registrar will be effective as of Tuesday 1 September 2009.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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

The Office of the Prosecutor welcomes the first group of Visiting Young Professionals from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia who have recently joined the OTP. Young professionals from Montenegro are also expected to arrive soon.

While at the Tribunal, they will assist the OTP in basic case work involving evidentiary as well as legal matters.

The purpose of this program is the education and training of young professionals from the former Yugoslavia with a special interest in war crimes adjudication as an investment in the future capacity of these countries to effectively deal with complex war crimes cases.

The Visiting Young Professionals Program was initiated by the OTP and is funded by the European Commission.

A journalist asked about the courtroom webstream which is not working outside of Holland and whether it will be fixed soon. Christian Chartier responded that the AV unit is looking into it and will endeavour to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Asked whether today was Judge Bonomy’s last appearance in court, Christian Chartier responded that his departure from the Tribunal was mentioned in a resolution by the Security Council passed on the 7 July 2009, resolution 1877. This resolution also took note of the resignations of Judge Shahabuddeen and Judge Van den Wyngaert.

In the meantime, three new permanent Judges have been appointed to replace them. The name of Judge Burton Hall (The Bahamas) was indicated in Resolution 1877. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced yesterday the resignation of Judge Howard Morrison (United Kingdom) following his appointment as a permanent ICTY Judge. The Secretary-general also appointed Judge Guy Delvoie (Belgium).

The three new permanent Judges will be sworn in on 2 September. In due course, the Media Office will release biographical details and their assignments to various Chambers, which is a decision to be made by the President of the Tribunal, Judge Patrick Robinson.

Asked about the impact of Judge Bonomy’s departure on the Karadžić case, Christian Chartier added that continuity will be ensured and Judge Bonomy’s departure will have no impact on the further course of the proceedings.

Asked about the meaning of Judge Bonomy’s statements during the Status Conference that Karadžić’s case is ready for trial and that he will write a report to the President regarding the commencement of Karadžić’s trial, Christian Chartier responded that his understanding is that as part of his final work, Judge Bonomy will report to the President in which he will put forward recommendations as to the further course of the case. Christian Chartier added that it will be up to the new Trial Chamber, which will be composed very soon, to announce the start of the trial.

Asked whether there will be another pre-trial conference before the start of the Trial, Christian Chartier explained that there could be further Status Conferences and definitely one pre-trial conference before the actual start of trial.

Asked whether Judge Bonomy’s departure implies that the entire Trial Chamber will be reappointed, Christian Chartier responded that he does not expect the entire Chamber to be replaced.

Asked whether Judge Bonomy left because his term has come to an end, Christian Chartier recalled that Resolution 1877 of 7 July said that Judge Bonomy had resigned. Asked whether he resigned for personal reasons, Christian Chartier said that such was his understanding.