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Weekly Press Briefing - 27 October 2010

Date: 27.10.2010
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

I will turn directly to recent developments on the issue of Mladić’s notebooks:

In the case of Vojislav Šešelj, the Trial Chamber on Friday stayed its decision on the Prosecution motion to admit into evidence 13 extracts of Mladic’s notebooks, on the basis that it could not determine the reliability and probative value of these. Among other factors, the Chamber pointed to General Manojlo Milovanović’s statement that he was not able to recognise the handwriting on some of the extracts. The Chamber also pointed to uncertainties regarding the period in which the notebooks were written. The Chamber therefore ordered that an independent expert be nominated to determine whether Mladic is the author of the notebooks and when these were written. The Chamber granted the Prosecution’s request to include on its 65ter list of witnesses General Milovanović and OTP investigator Erin Gallagher and tender their statements into evidence.

Onto the courtroom schedule:

At the end of yesterday’s Status Conference in the re-trial of Haradinaj and others, the Chamber asked for a shortened operative indictment to be filed by 28 October. The Prosecution’s list of witnesses and exhibits is to be filed by 30 November 2010. The date of the next Status Conference will be set in due course.

Hearings in the case of Radovan Karadžić, Momčilo Perišić, Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, Zdravko Tolimir as well as Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović continue this week and next as scheduled.

I would like to provide you with an update on the latest developments in the War Crimes Justice Project - a joint ICTY, OSCE/ODIHR and UNICRI initiative to ensure an effective transfer of know how and materials from the Tribunal to the national judicial systems in the region. The 4 million euro project financed by the European Union held its first defence advocacy training with the Criminal Defence Section of the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OKO) in Bijeljina. The three-day training was led by the Tribunal’s Judge Moloto. An additional training on defence tactics in complex war crimes will be held this Friday, 29 October in Banja Luka.

A three-day peer-to-peer meeting of national prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina will also take place this week as part of the same project. The meeting, starting today and ending on Friday, 29 October, will be held as part of the annual conference of the prosecutors’ association in Neum. For more on the WCJP please refer to the Tribunal’s webpage http://www.icty.org/sections/Outreach/CapacityBuilding.
While on the topic of knowledge-sharing, last week a number of experts from the Tribunal’s Chambers, Registry, Prosecution as well as defence counsel practicing here took part in a training held for the Judges and staff of the War Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda. The training was organised by the International Center for Transitional Justice, in partnership with the Grotius Center of Leiden University with the objective to share expertise knowledge in international law best practices. The lectures included discussions on the difficulties in investigating crimes, the potential mass of relevant information, and the specificities and intricacies of relevant legal standards as well as challenges of outreach and victim and witness protection.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, Special Adviser of the Prosecutor, made no statement.


Asked if a date could be confirmed for the Prosecutor’s visit to Belgrade, Swinnen confirmed that the Prosecutor would be in Belgrade on 15 November. It is the last in a series of visits that included Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, prior to submitting his report to the UN Security Council. Swinnen added that the Prosecutor will meet with representatives from the Government, judicial authorities and operational services to discuss cooperation of Serbia with the Office of the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor will then submit his report to the Security Council.

A journalist asked if the spokesperson had a comment on speculation this weekend about the alleged death and/or health problems of Radovan Karadžic. Jelačić reported that she was happy to confirm that Radovan Karadžic was alive and well and continued being active in this week's trial proceedings. Jelačić added that allegations published in some media reports yesterday were speculative and untrue. She furthermore addressed the claims in those reports that the accused's daughter flew into The Hague urgently by adding that to her knowledge she had paid him a regular visit arranged and approved by the ICTY well in advance of last weekend.

With regards to this and earlier rumours about the accused's health status, Jelačić said once again she would like to underline that the Tribunal was unable to discuss in public the health status of a particular accused, but was proud of the high level of care available to all its detainees. She added that it should be noted that in the past when there were negative health developments for an individual accused which could have an impact on his ability to attend the trial, the Tribunal made public as much relevant information as possible without infringing on the accused's right to privacy and in accordance with its policy on judicial transparency.

Referring to a Trial Chamber decision in the Šešelj case last Friday, a journalist asked if an expert was to inspect all of the Mladić notebooks or just the ones admitted in the Šešelj trial. Jelačić said that the decision from last Friday was a decision made in the Šešelj case only. She pointed out that other Chambers had made decisions already in some cases. For example, in the Karadžić case, the Trial Chamber approved the OTP request to add them onto its list of exhibits on the basis of the information provided in the motion. So this decision was related to the Šešelj motion on the Mladić notebooks and handwriting experts would be appointed.