note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Weekly Press Briefing
Landale, Spokesman for Registry and Chambers, made the following statement:
There will be
an extraordinary plenary session of the Judges of the ICTY this coming Monday
30 September 2002 in the afternoon. At the plenary, the Judges will discuss
further the possibility of referring certain cases to national courts. In addition,
they will discuss amending Rule 11 bis of the Rules of Procedure and
Evidence, following the official endorsement in July by the President of the
Security Council of the Tribunal’s completion strategy.
As you should
all be aware, the start of the "Croatia" and "Bosnia and Herzegovina"
part of the Milosevic case will take place tomorrow at 0900 hours in courtroom
I. Both the Prosecution and the Accused will be given up to three hours to deliver
opening statements on this part of the case. This will be transmitted live.
Once the first witness takes the stand, we will revert to the 30-minute delay.
I hope you submitted your accreditation forms by yesterday’s deadline.
Those of you who
have been granted accreditation can pick it up here after the briefing, which
will save you coming back this evening.
In terms of court
We have copies
of the indictment against Janko Bobetko, which was unsealed last Friday evening,
as well as copies of the "Decision on Review of Indictment and Order
for Non-Disclosure" and the arrest warrant.
On 17 September,
in the Prosecutor v. Ojdanic, we received a Decision from the Deputy Registrar,
Bruno Cathala, which assigned Mr. Visnjic as counsel to the accused. It also
set out the extent of legal aid which Mr. Ojdanic can expect from the Tribunal.
On 17 September,
in the Prosecutor v. Sainovic, we received a Decision from the Deputy Registrar,
Bruno Cathala, which assigned Mr. Fila as counsel to the accused. Again, the
extent of legal aid to be given by the Tribunal is set out.
In terms of the
court schedule, one other item of note:
In the Prosecutor
v. Ljubicic, tomorrow 26 September, there will be a second initial appearance
at 2 p.m. in courtroom II.
I would like to introduce you to our new colleague Jane Pocock, who has joined
the press office to replace Rebecca Cuthill.
Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made no statement.
to a journalist, comments were made over the last few days in a Dutch daily,
saying that Mr. Wladimiroff would resign. Asked to confirm this and for a
comment on the issue, Landale replied that he was not aware of the article
and that it was the first he had heard of an article suggesting that Mr. Wladimiroff
might resign. He added that there was another issue pending before the Judges
of the Trial Chamber with regard to comments attributed to Mr. Wladimiroff
in The Haagsche Courant, he would look into this issue, he added.
reports that Mr. Mesic would testify in the Milosevic trial, a journalist
asked for a comment on any other witnesses who would testify in the Milosevic
case over the coming days. Hartmann replied that it was impossible to give
out any witness lists. This had been the case up until now and was something
that would not change, no new approach would be introduced concerning witnesses.
In relation to Mr. Mesic, she believed that more information could be available
to a journalist, Mr. Blewitt had informed the press that the number of witnesses
who would testify in the Croatia/Bosnia part of the Milosevic trial was approximately
177. Asked to confirm those figures, Hartmann replied that this was the information
given during the public hearings. There would be 177 witnesses in court for
Croatia and Bosnia. There would be 71 witnesses for Croatia and the rest for
Bosnia and Herzegovina. This could change, the current situation was, that
of the 250 witness the OTP suggested to bring to court, 177 had been authorised.
to elaborate on Monday’s Plenary session on the deferral of some specific
cases to national jurisdictions, Landale replied that the Tribunal had been
looking at the issue of deferral for some time. The idea was to defer some
mid and low level cases to national courts in the region.
that could happen, the Tribunal and the Judges had to be absolutely satisfied
that the conditions existed for full and fair trials to be carried out, with
all the appropriate protection in place for witnesses and participants of
added that he might have been misleading, when he said ‘specific cases’, because
at the moment the Tribunal was talking about the general principle of the
idea of deferral. What the Tribunal was concentrating on at this time was
the possibility of a Chamber of the New State Court of Bosnia being able to
handle specific cases and at this moment the focus was on Bosnia.
was still broadly at the discussion stage. He added that there were no specific
cases at this time and it would not be for every case, only cases that were
appropriate to transfer to national jurisdictions and also appropriate because
the necessary safeguards would be in place before they had been transferred.
for an update on the status of the Bobetko case, Hartmann replied that the
situation had not changed. The Prosecutor had the Indictment against Janko
Bobetko confirmed by a Judge of the Tribunal. It was a legal document of the
Tribunal. Croatia had no choice but to act upon it, because the indictee Bobetko
was residing in Croatia.
OTP expected Croatia to arrest Mr. Bobetko. She would not comment on all that
she had heard in the media over the last days, she could only say that the
OTP had not received any official response from Croatia until now.
OTP did not have any official information concerning the position of the Croatian
Government. It was clear that they had not moved on the arrest warrant because
Janko Bobetko was still at his home. All of the stories in the press in Croatia
about the possibility of the Constitutional Court of Croatia challenging the
Indictment were absolutely ridiculous.
Government could challenge an Indictment, it was a legal document from the
court. It was surprising that any comments had been made on the Indictment
of Mr. Bobetko relating to the sentences on Medak Pocket military operations
when the Ademi Indictment mentioning in exactly the same way the military
operations of Medak Pocket in Croatia in September 1993 was accepted and acted
upon by the Croatian authorities. The only solution for the Croatian authorities
was to arrest Bobetko and to start the proceeding relating to his transfer
to The Hague.
added that on behalf of the Tribunal, he fully supported what Florence had
said. He added that the obligations under international law were absolutely
clear. The authorities in Zagreb had the obligation to apprehend and transfer
Mr. Bobetko without undue delay and that was what the Tribunal expected to
journalist commented that if a State such as Croatia would not transfer Mr.
Bobetko to The Hague they would also be unlikely to try him under their own
jurisdiction. Asked how the issue relating to Mr. Bobetko would impede on
the idea of transferring cases to national jurisdictions, Landale replied
that he did not believe in going too far down this road. Under international
law the Tribunal had primacy over national courts. It was clear in this case
that an Indictment had been issued by this Tribunal along with an arrest warrant.
The Tribunal expected the authorities in Zagreb to act on those two documents
and transfer General Bobetko at the earliest opportunity. This was not an
issue which the Tribunal was discussing with regards to possible deferral.
Bobetko had to be brought to The Hague.
whether, given the fact that Bobetko was 83 and that his doctor was reportedly
concerned for his health, this would require any special measures to be taken,
Landale replied that if there was an issue with his health then the authorities
in Zagreb needed to give the Tribunal any information they possessed. They
needed to give the Tribunal the doctors’ reports and all information they
had so that it could be looked at by the Judges.
whether this would happen before the transfer, Landale replied that if there
was such an issue that they were concerned about, they needed to communicate
it to the Tribunal. He did not believe that had happened.
what this issue meant for the relations between the Tribunal and the Croatian
authorities, Hartmann replied that the OTP had good relations with Croatia
meaning that the OTP had good cooperation from Croatia. There was a big problem
with regards to Ante Gotovina and now there was a new problem with regards
to Mr. Bobetko. If the Croatian authorities carried on not complying with
the orders of the Tribunal, the OTP would not stay silent and would inform
Chambers of the situation. In the meanwhile, the OTP called on Bobetko, Gotovina
and the Croatian authorities to do what was done for Ademi who was also a
General of the Croatian army.
to confirm or deny the existence of other Indictments against the members
of joint criminal enterprise from the Milosevic Indictment, Hartmann replied
that these allegations would neither be denied nor confirmed, she had no comment.