Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 14 February 2003
THE FOURTH DIPLOMATIC SEMINAR HOSTED BY THE ICTYFOCUSED ON THE "COMPLETION STRATEGY"
On 14 February 2003, more than 90 representatives from diplomatic missions to the Netherlands gathered at the seat of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for a Diplomatic Seminar.
This Seminar, the fourth such meeting organized by the International Tribunal, was designed to update the members of the corps diplomatique on the activities of the organs comprising the Tribunal. More specifically, this Diplomatic Seminar focused on the "completion strategy".
THE PRESIDENT UPDATES THE AUDIENCE ON THE COMPLETION STRATEGY
In his opening address, the President of the International Tribunal, Judge Claude Jorda, reiterated the components of the completion strategy, namely the concentration of the Tribunal’s resources on the prosecution and trial of the highest-ranking political and military leaders, and the possibility of the Tribunal deferring some of its cases to the State Court of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. He recalled the formal steps that had led to the endorsement of this strategy by the Security Council, and to the discussion with the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia on the establishment of a Specialized Chamber within the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (see Press release 723).
The President informed the audience about the next round of talks with the OHR, to take place in the Tribunal on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February, "to finalize a detailed project" for the Specialized Chamber. This project would then be presented to the Security Council and to the Peace Implementation Council.
The President concluded by expressing the hope that the first cases could be transferred in the course of 2004. To date, seven cases, concerning 13 indictees (including fugitives and persons in the Tribunal’s custody) have been provisionally identified.
THE PROSECUTOR IS "NOT SATISFIED AT ALL WITH THE LEVEL OF COOPERATION BY SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO AND THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA"
The Prosecutor followed up by saying that her office’s priority was the completion by the end of 2004 of investigations concerning between 35 and 40 suspects in what she called "leadership investigation". Ms. Del Ponte added that, additionally, a special team was dedicating time and efforts to investigate the five cases in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
whose deferral to the ICTY jurisdiction was ordered on 4 October 2002 (see Press Release 700).
The Prosecutor went on to say that the task of her office was "more and more complex" and that "full cooperation is needed" to carry out in the given timeframe the full investigation programme outlined above. Ms. Del Ponte said that she was "not satisfied at all with the level of cooperation by Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro. I still need full access to evidence
and full access to documents. I am sorry to say that this cooperation is not forthcoming. This is a worrying failure to comply with international obligations".
With regard to the fact that more than 20 accused are still at large, she singled out the continued flight of Radovan Karadzic, General Ratko Mladic and General Ante Gotovina. She also said, concerning General Janko Bobetko, that beyond the health situation of the accused, "the issue of principle is that Croatia refuses to serve the indictment: a State cannot decide which
indictment is to be served and which is not!"
THE REGISTRAR ENCOURAGES MEMBER STATES TO PAY THEIR ASSESSED CONTRIBUTIONS
Concluding the Seminar, the Registrar, Mr. Hans Holthuis, thanked the diplomatic representatives for the support extended by their countries in the successful discharge of the Tribunal’s mandate. He more specifically referred to enforcement agreements and to witness relocation agreements.
Turning to Defence and Legal Aid matters, the Registrar discussed the appointment of an investigator to ensure legitimate use of the legal aid provided to indigent accused; he also told the diplomatic representatives that he very much welcomed the fact that the "Defence Counsel Association [was] growing fast in scope and number of members". Mr. Holthuis announced that his
office would shortly approach all the persons who are currently on the list for possible assignment to an ICTY case in order to remind them that membership of the ICTY-ADC was a requirement. This exercise would also enable his office to "update the list".
Finally, touching on financial issues, Mr. Holthuis "encouraged all Member States to effect their assessed contributions to the budget as early as possible" and reminded them that a number of important programmes, such as the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme, were funded on voluntary contributions.