Ratko Mladić in the Detention Unit-ICTY

ICTY “Weekly Press Briefing”

Date: 8.6.2011
Time: 12:00

Registry and Chambers:

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

Good afternoon,

On Monday, the Tribunal’s President, Judge Patrick Robinson, addressed the United Nations Security Council and provided an update on the Tribunal’s work and the issues that require the Council’s full support.

According to the Completion Strategy report submitted on 18 May 2011, all ongoing trials are expected to run until 2012, with the exception of that of Radovan Karadžić which is expected to run into 2014. Half of all appeals cases are expected to run beyond 2014, with the appeals case of Radovan Karadžić possibly extending into 2018. The estimates do not include those for the trial of Ratko Mladić as yet.

Further clarification added after the Press Briefing was read out: the Tribunal will have the task of conducting and completing all trials which will be ongoing at the time of the establishment of the Residual Mechanism on 1 July 2013. The Tribunal will have competence to conduct and complete all appellate proceedings for which the notice of appeal against the judgement is filed prior to the commencement of the Residual Mechanism. Any appeals filed after 1 July 2013 will be dealt by the Residual Mechanism.  Further details can be found in the Resolution on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

The President explained that the extended estimates for the completion of appeals proceedings were due to a staffing crisis within the Tribunal. The President urged the Member States to support meaningful steps to address the issue of staff attrition and help the Tribunal complete its work in the most efficient and timely manner.

The President also called on the Security Council’s assistance to establish a trust fund for the victims, which would be funded by voluntary contributions. The President considers a trust fund to be of crucial importance in complementing the work of the Tribunal and ensuring that lasting peace is achieved.

The third issue which the President raised as an area requiring the full support of the Security Council relates to the enforcement of sentences. With up to 40 additional sentences possibly having to be enforced over the next few years, depending on the outcome of proceedings, the Tribunal’s current enforcement capacity is rapidly approaching its limit. The President called on Member States to enter into enforcement agreements with the Tribunal in order to ensure that the enforcement of sentences can be secured and the Tribunal’s mission can be completed successfully.

Moving onto the courtroom schedule:

A further initial appearance in the case of Ratko Mladić has been scheduled to be held on Monday, 4 July at 10:00 in a courtroom to be determined. According to the Tribunal’s Rules, should the Accused fail to enter a plea at his further initial appearance, a plea of not guilty will be entered on his behalf. In the meantime, the Registry continues to work closely with Mladić and provide assistance with regards to the set up of his defence team, medical examinations as well as facilitation of visits.

Due to the number of journalists expected to attend the further initial appearance of Ratko Mladić, there will be an accreditation procedure, further details on which will be sent out closer to the time of the hearing.

A total of three Status Conferences will be held tomorrow, 9 June. A Status Conference will be held at 10:30, in Courtroom III, in the appeals case of Vujadin Popović and others, the seven senior Bosnian Serb Officials who were convicted in June 2010 of crimes committed in Srebrenica.

At 15:00, in Courtroom I, a Status Conference will be held in the case of Ramush Haradinaj and others. The case of the three former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army is currently pending partial re-trial.

The third Status Conference will be held in the contempt of court case of Jelena Rašić at 15:00 in Courtroom II. Jelena Rašić, former case manager of Milan Lukić’s Defence team, is charged with five counts of contempt of court for bribing witnesses into making false statements.

Since Monday afternoon, Trial Chamber II has been hearing the Defence case of Vojislav Šešelj in his second contempt of court case. The Prosecution case was heard on 22 February 2011. Proceedings will resume this afternoon at 14:30 in Courtroom I. Šešelj is accused of breaching protection measures ordered by the Tribunal after disclosing information about 11 protected witnesses, including their names, occupations and places of residence, in a book he authored.

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

In the Karadžić case, the Chamber is currently hearing the testimony of Patrick Treanor, a historian who is testifying about the Bosnian Serb leadership and the Accused’s position in relation to it.

In the Stanišić and Župljanin case, Defence witness Milomir Orasanin, former inspector within the Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska, is currently testifying.

In the case of Tolimir, the Chamber this afternoon will continue to hear the testimony of Ljubomir Mitrović, a former officer in the Republika Srpska Army and President of the Commission for Exchange of Prisoners and Bodies of the East-Bosnian Corps.

A pre-defence conference in the case of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović has been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, 14 June at 14:15 in Courtroom II which will be followed by the start of the Defence case on Wednesday at 9:00 in the same courtroom. The Chamber will first hear the defence case of Jovica Stanišić.

Finally, please note that the Tribunal will be closed this Monday for Whit Monday.

Office of the Prosecutor:

Frederick Swinnen, special adviser to the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

Prosecutor Brammertz is to travel to Budapest next week, at the invitation of the Hungarian EU Presidency. On 15 June, Mr. Brammertz will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Janos Martoniy and other senior officials of the Ministry in Budapest. The purpose is to discuss and provide an update on the cooperation of Croatia, Serbia and BiH with the OTP. This follows the submission of the report of the Prosecutor on 17 May to the UNSC and his address of 6 June to the UNSC.

Questions:

Asked how the integration of Ratko Mladić in the Detention Unit was going, Nerma Jelačić responded that, in accordance with the Tribunal’s regulations, he is still separated from the other detainees. Jelačić highlighted that he is not isolated, contrary to what some media reported. Jelačić explained that it is standard practice for an accused, upon his arrival at the Detention Unit, to spend the first week or so separated from the other detainees in a specific area of the DU where he can be monitored and undergo all medical examinations. This is a routine procedure. Jelačić added that it is anticipated that he will be moved into a residential wing of the DU very shortly, as his integration is running very smoothly.

Asked to specify when exactly he would be moved to a residential wing, Jelačić repeated that it would happen very shortly and that it is standard practice that detainees spend a week or so separated from the other detainees.

Asked to comment on the BBC report that Mladić was held in solitary confinement, Jelačić responded that the reports used inaccurate terminology.

Asked to comment on the Serbian media reports published on Monday regarding Mladić’s health and an alleged hunger strike and whether any information could be provided on the current state of his health, Jelačić responded that the media reports were inaccurate and outdated. Jelačić explained that the Registrar and officials of the Registry have met on a number of occasions with the Accused. In accordance with the Rules, the Registry is currently assisting Mladić with the set up of his defence team and also with regards to his health status. Jelačić reiterated that all proceedings have been running smoothly and that there are currently no threats regarding his health, contrary to what some media have reported. With regards to his health status, Jelačić explained that she is not in a position to provide any details and pointed out that the Accused himself, during his Initial Appearance, asked to go into private session to discuss his health issues. The Registry is still undertaking medical examinations of the Accused and conducting a variety of tests. Jelačić added that, from his appearance in court, it appears that he has neglected his health over the years and reminded that he is 69 years old. Regarding claims the he is terminally ill, Jelačić said that whilst she could not go into any details, the rule is that the doctor of the DU has a duty and obligation to inform the Registrar should there be any indications of a life-threatening situation regarding any of the accused. To date, no such situation has been reported.

Asked whether Aleksander Aleksić was still Mladić’s defence counsel and whether Mladić indicated whether he would want to chose a different counsel, Jelačić responded that Mr Aleksić was named Duty Counsel for the purpose of the Accused’s Initial Appearance as initial appearances always take place very shortly after the arrival of an accused at the Tribunal’s DU. According to Rule 62 ( c ) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, permanent counsel shall be appointed within 30 days from the day of the Initial Appearance either by the Accused himself or by the Registrar. If the Registrar is unable to appoint counsel within 30 days, he can seek an extension. Jelačić added that the Registry has been working very closely with Mladić to discuss the set up of his defence. Jelačić clarified that at this stage, Mladić has not got a permanent counsel yet.

Asked whether Mladić indicated whether he would be representing himself, Jelačić responded that the Accused has 30 days from the day of hos Initial Appearance to inform officially, in writing, the Registry on how he wants his defence team to be set up, including whether he wants to represent himself or not.

Asked whether there were any indications on what grounds his defence would be based and whether he would argue that he is mentally incapable of standing trial, Jelačić responded that it is too early to know more about the Accused’s intentions but that more might be revealed after his Further Initial Appearance on 4 July. Jelačić rejected media reports on the issue are mere speculation. Jelačić repeated that any serious medical situation or life-threatening issues would, according to the Tribunal’s rules, have to be immediately reported to the Registrar. No such reports have been made to the Registrar.

Asked when Mladić would be moved into a residential wing of the DU and whether he would share the wing with Radovan Karadžić, Jelačić responded that she was not able to respond specifically but that according to the rules, he would be moved to one of the three residential wings of the DU. The DU currently accommodates 36 other accused, so there are 12 accused per wing. Mladić will be sharing the residential area with other accused, but Jelačić said she was not in a position to provide any details as to who will be the other accused he will be sharing a wing with.

Asked how Mladić’s trial will affect the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy and the work of the Residual Mechanism, Jelačić responded that the President’s presentation to the Security Council on the latest estimates on the completion of trials did not include Mladić’s trial as it was too early to do so last Monday. The President may be able to provide estimates on Mladić’s trial during his next address either to the Security Council or General Assembly. Frederick Swinnen added that Mladić will not be tried by the Residual Mechanism as he has been arrested more than 12 months prior to the commencement of the ICTY’s Residual Mechanism.

Asked to comment on rumours that Mladić’s trial could start as early as September, Swinnen responded that it is too early to estimate when the trial might start. The Prosecution has to prepare for the trial and it is highly unlikely that it will start in September. It may take several months before it starts.

To see more on this topic, go to ITCY webiste.

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