(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
President Cassese assured of the cooperation of the Russian Federation
On 18 March 1996 the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia met with the Minister of Justice, Mr V. Kovalev and some senior officials including the Director of International Legal Affairs, Mr Y. Boulanov.
In the course of a cordial exchange of views, the Minister of Justice expressed his full support for the International Tribunal which, in his view, constitutes a major factor for strengthening peace and security in the region.
Asked by President Cassese whether the Russian authorities were about to enact implementing legislation of the Tribunal's Statute for the purpose of complying with orders and requests of the Tribunal, the Minister stated that it was the view of the Russian authorities that no such legislation was needed: indeed, under the Russian Constitution international treaties and obligations take priority over national legislation.
Mr Kovalev further stated that his Ministry would soon propose candidates for positions still to be filled in the Tribunal. He also assured President Cassese that he would second a few lawyers to the Tribunal in the near future.
Winding up the meeting, the Minister of Justice expressed the hope that such constructive meetings would be renewed so as to ensure closer co-operation of the Russian Federation with the International Tribunal.
The President of the Tribunal also met with the First Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Russian Federation together with five Deputy Prosecutors-General including the Chief Military Prosecutor. They discussed matters relating to the co-operation of the Russian Procuracy with the International Tribunal. The First Deputy Chief Prosecutor expressed the full support of his Office to the International Tribunal and assured President Cassese that he would see to it that suitable candidates apply for the existing vacancies in the Tribunal in the near future. He also promised to endeavour to second a certain number of Prosecutors to the Tribunal's Office of the Prosecutor for short periods of time, with the specific task of helping to implement the Rome Agreement of 18 February 1996.
On 19 March the President of the International Tribunal then met with Mr Evgeni Primakov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, who was assisted by Deputy Foreign Minister N. Afanasievsky, the Minister's Chef de Cabinet, Mr R. Markaryan, the Deputy Director of the Legal Department, Mr Roman A. Kolodkin and other senior officials.
During the meeting some crucial aspects of the activities of the International Tribunal were discussed. Emphasis was laid on the importance of strict impartiality in the action of the Tribunal. At the end of a cordial and in-depth exchange of views, Minister Primakov assured President Cassese of the Russian Government's further co-operation with the Tribunal.
Mr Cassese also had a separate meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister N. Afanasievsky. They had the opportunity of thrashing out various issues relating to the role of the Tribunal in the peace process as well as issues relating to co-operation between the Russian Federation and the Tribunal. In this connection, Mr Cassese raised, among other matters, the question as to whether the Russian Federation is prepared to have persons convicted by the Tribunal serve their sentences in Russian prisons. Mr Afanasievsky promised that the Russian authorities would consider the matter most carefully.
In addition, Mr Cassese met with a number of Members of the Russian Parliament (State Duma) led by MP Glotov. Mr Cassese brought them up to date with the activities of the Tribunal and answered questions relating to the proceedings of the Tribunal.
Finally, the Tribunal's President held a meeting with a few distinguished professors of international law, led by the President of the Russian Association of International lawyers, Prof. A. L. Kolodkin and including Prof. I. Lukashouk, member of the United Nations International Law Commission. Various problems relating to the recent activity of the Tribunal were discussed and President Cassese provided information on the latest developments in the Tribunal.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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