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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 14 October 2009

ICTY Weekly Press Briefing                                           
Date:  14.10.2009
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

I would like to address some erroneous reports on the Appeals Chamber decision on the commencement of Radovan Karadžić’s trial. The Chamber yesterday ordered the Trial Chamber in the Karadzic case to delay the commencement of trial until one week after the Prosecution files the marked up indictment it was ordered to submit at the Pre-Trial Conference. The “marked up” indictment refers to the operative indictment – the one which will be used at trial – to be filed by the Prosecution reflecting the reduced size of the case. This follows the Trial Chamber’s acceptance of the Prosecution’s proposals for shortening the indictment.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed in all other respects the Accused's appeal against the Decision on Commencement of Trial noting that it appeared to be based on a number of erroneous assumptions. Among others, it dismissed Karadžić's contention that the Trial Chamber did not give appropriate consideration to the size and scope of the case against Karadžić, as well as his claim that as a self-represented accused he faced particular difficulties in reviewing the material. The Appeals Chamber noted that Karadžić had a relatively large group of paid and unpaid advisors, and while it may have taken some time to recruit these advisors and they may not be able to work on every trial issue he would wish, these advisors are a source of significant support and their limitations are linked to Karadžić’s choice to be self-represented.

According to the Appeals Chamber, a defendant who decides to represent himself relinquishes many of the benefits associated with representation by counsel.

To further clarify the 'one week' time frame quoted in the particular Appeals Chamber decision, this means that at the very latest, the trial will start on 26 October. The exact date depends on how soon the OTP files its “marked up” indictment. The Trial Chamber is expected to issue a scheduling order on the start of trial soon.

Also yesterday, the Appeals Chamber rendered its decision on Karadžić’s appeal against the Trial Chamber’s Decision on the alleged Holbrooke agreement. The Appeals Chamber dismissed the Appeal in its entirety, finding that ‘even if the alleged Agreement were proved, it would not limit the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, it would not otherwise be binding on the Tribunal and it would not trigger the doctrine of abuse of process.’ The Appeals Chamber however added that Karadžić may present during the course of his trial evidence supporting the allegations, which could be considered for the purpose of sentencing.

As regards the upcoming courtroom schedule:

A Status Conference in the case of Zdravko Tolimir will be held on Thursday, 22 October at 10:00 in Courtroom III.

The trial of Vlastimir Ðorđević will resume next Tuesday, 20 October. The Prosecution case is drawing to a close and it is expected that the remaining witnesses will have testified by the end of the month.

The trial of Prlić and others was adjourned yesterday with the Praljak Defence resting its case. The trial will resume on Monday, 26 October when Milivoj Petković’s Defence case will commence.

The trial of Momčilo Perišić and Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović remain adjourned until further notice.

Hearings in the trials of, Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin as well as Gotovina and others continue this week and next as scheduled.

Office of the Prosecutor:

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


A journalist asked whether the OTP will use the time provided by the Chamber to file its “marked up” version of the indictment by Monday, 19 October. Olga Kavran answered that there is no indication to the contrary but that the journalists will be informed through the usual channels as soon as the indictment is filed.

Asked whether the Trial Chamber will issue a Scheduling Order only after the 19 October deadline passes, Nerma Jelačić responded that this was not necessarily the case and that the decision is in the Trial Chamber’s discretion.