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ICTY Weekly Press Briefing - 12 January 2011

Date: 12.01.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon and Happy New Year,

Welcome back to the Tribunal. Monday marked the end of the winter recess and the courtrooms will return to their full capacity on Thursday.

Before turning to scheduling matters, I would like to bring to your attention some key developments that occurred during the recess.

On 22 December, the Security Council adopted a Resolution to establish a new body to finish the remaining tasks of the Tribunal after its mandate has been completed. Shared with the Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) will begin functioning on 1 July 2013 for the ICTY. It will have the power, among other things, to prosecute the most senior persons indicted by the Tribunal who are arrested after the completion of its mandate, although it will not be able to raise new indictments.

The Mechanism will also be responsible for the management and preservation of, and access to, the Tribunal’s archives. The Tribunal and the Mechanism will cooperate with the countries of the former Yugoslavia to facilitate the establishment of information and documentation centres by providing access to copies of public records of the Tribunal’s archives.

The Security Council reiterated its call to all States, especially those where fugitives are suspected to be at large, to further intensify cooperation with the Tribunals and the Mechanism and secure the arrest or surrender of the remaining fugitives.

Also in December, the UN General Assembly approved the Tribunal’s revised budgetary estimates for 2011 in full. This will enable the Tribunal to keep some of the posts initially earmarked for abolition in the budget submission for 2010-2011. That submission had to be revised due to movements in the estimated completion dates of certain trials and appeals. The approval will allow the Tribunal to successfully complete the remaining trials and appeals in accordance with highest standards of international justice.

Separately, I am pleased to announce that the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme continues enjoying the support of the European Commission in the next biennium after the EC approved funding of one million euros for the Programme in 2011 and 2012. The EC has been a long-standing and generous supporter of Outreach for a number of years now. The continuation of this partnership will allow the Tribunal to re-energise and further strengthen its efforts to make its work accessible and understandable to audiences in the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the last years of the ICTY’s mandate.

Turning to the key developments in the ongoing cases and the upcoming courtroom schedule:
On Tuesday, an Administrative Hearing in the war crimes case of Vojislav Šešelj will be held at 3 pm in Courtroom I. The Chamber today postponed the date at which the medical experts are to submit their report on the Accused’s health to 15 February 2011. The Chamber ordered the new medical assessment of the Accused in October 2010 to obtain further information on certain aspects of his health which previous reports were unable to address, including the Accused’s heart problems. The new panel includes three experts, including a cardiologist. Previous reports all indicated that his life did not seem to be in danger.
The trial of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin resumed on Monday. The Prosecution is expected to finish its case by Thursday, 27 January. The Pre-Defence Conference is scheduled to be held on 18 March and the opening statements from 25 to 28 March.

The trial in the case of Momčilo Perišić resumed yesterday. The Defence has rested its case. The court will reconvene to hear the evidence of one further rebuttal witness for the Prosecution on a date to be determined. In total, 82 viva voce witnesses have been called by the Prosecution and approximately 22 by the Defence. There have been 198 hearing days since the trial began in October 2008.

Hearings in the case of Radovan Karadžić will resume on Thursday morning at 9 am in Courtroom I. 

In the appeals case of Šainović and others, a Status Conference will take place next Tuesday, 18 January, in Courtroom III at 2.30 pm.

In the case of Prlić and others, all Final Briefs were submitted confidentially to the Trial Chamber earlier this month. Closing arguments will be held in February, starting with those of the Prosecution on Monday, 7 February. The Defence is scheduled to begin its closing arguments on Monday, 14 February and has been given eight sessions to close its case. 

Finally, I would like to provide you with a brief update on the EU-funded War Crimes Justice Project:

Tomorrow and on Friday, there will be a two-day pilot training session for Judges and prosecutors from various county courts in Croatia. The goal of the training is to transfer the Tribunal's institutional knowledge and specialised skills to participants, thereby enhancing their capacity to handle complex war crimes cases.

Two similar trainings took place successfully in Belgrade and Sarajevo at the end of last year and further training sessions are scheduled to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia in the next three months.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Aleksandar Kontić, member of the Prosecutor’s Immediate Office, made the following statement:

Mr. Brammertz, the Prosecutor, will meet with the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels today. The Prosecutor will brief and exchange views with the Committee on the cooperation of the Office of the Prosecutor with States, in particular, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. The meeting will take place between 3 and 4 pm and will be held in camera.


Asked whether Brammertz’s meeting with the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament would be to discuss the report he submitted in December to the Security Council on the progress made towards the implementation of the completion strategy of the Tribunal, Aleksandar Kontić responded that the meeting would indeed be mostly to discuss the report.

Asked how close the Prosecution is to finishing the Sarajevo component of the Karadžić trial, Kontić responded that the Prosecution is very close to concluding it.