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2005.12.16. – FENA

15.12.2005 (17:38)

NEW YORK/THE HAGUE, December 15 (FENA) – Address by Carla Del Ponte,
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia to the Security Council:

“It is a great
honour to be here again to provide an assessment on the progress
made in the implementation of the completion strategy. A written
assessment has previously been distributed, and I intend to concentrate
today on the major issues.

For six years now, I have had to report
to the Council that the failure to bring Radovan Karadzic and Ratko
Mladic into
the custody of the Tribunal is the major impediment
to the success of our work. As we advance in the implementation
of the completion strategy, it is becoming every day more crucial
to bring these two indictees to The Hague, because any further delay
will impact on the strategy.
On 13 June, I presented
my last assessment to the Council, and it was cautiously optimistic.
There was a momentum at that time, and it was legitimate to believe
that the issue of fugitives could be resolved once and for all in
a matter of a few months. The Serbian Government, in particular,
had raised expectations that Ratko Mladic would be transferred to
The Hague before the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, on
11 July, or at the latest at the beginning of October. This did
not happen, as we all know. There was also hope that, once Mladic
would be in The Hague, efforts would focus on Radovan Karadzic.
As far as I know, there is no reliable or confirmed information
on either of these two accused, and I am not aware of any credible
attempt to locate and apprehend them.
The Office of the Prosecutor has no explicit mandate to arrest indictees.
However, the Tribunal, and in particular its Prosecutor, has a responsibility
to ensure that arrest warrants are executed and that indictees are
tried. Since trials in absentia are not permitted at the ICTY, the
accused must be brought to The Hague, either through arrests or
voluntary surrenders. In 2001, I decided to begin carrying out small-scale
tracking activities for a combination of reasons. First, many arrest
warrants were left unexecuted at the time: 24 accused were at large.
Second, I was not receiving any information from the other relevant
actors. Finally, since the completion strategy was being developed
at the time, it became clear that the arrest of fugitives would
be a key condition for a successful implementation of the strategy.
It was therefore essential for the OTP to build a small but effective
in-house capability.
Our tracking activities
are meant to remain of a mainly co-ordinating nature, because my
Office cannot and will not build up the technical and human resources
that would allow us to carry out sophisticated intelligence operations.
Despite our limited resources, we were successful on a number of
occasions in locating fugitives. But when significant resources
are required, we have to turn to the relevant States, inside and
outside the region, or to NATO and EUFOR, previously to SFOR, in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are systematically passing our information
to these national and international bodies. Unfortunately, we rarely
get any feedback on the information we provide, and it is only recently
that my office has begun to receive some information. As far as
I know, neither these States nor international organisations have
ever managed to come close to arrests of Karadzic or Mladic, and,
until recently, they have been unwilling to provide the ICTY with
useful information on these fugitives or to coordinate efforts.
I could give many examples to illustrate this dysfunctional situation,
but this is not the place or the time to go into detail. After ten
years of failures, it is however legitimate to ask ourselves: what
did we do wrong? What can we do better?
It is obvious to all
informed observers that, in the first years after the indictments
were issued, there was no political will, either from the local
authorities in Republika Srpska or in Serbia, or from the international
forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to arrest Karadzic or Mladic.
It was perceived that arrest operations against either of them could
undermine the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the security
of the international troops there. It is in particular well documented
that, two years after they were indicted, Karadzic and Mladic were
moving freely in Republika Srpska. Karadzic was giving interviews
and running party and State business with the full knowledge of
the international community. Mladic even participated in military
ceremonies. From 1998 onwards, Karadzic’s movements became more
discreet, and his whereabouts became unknown, while Mladic probably
moved his permanent residence at that time to Serbia. Efforts were
made in 1998 and 1999 to arrange for Karadzic’s voluntary surrender,
but eventually he broke all contacts. It is only after the fall
of Milosevic, in 2000, that the international community expressed
the political will to bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice. However,
this political will was never translated into the creation of the
effective operational instruments that would be necessary for this
purpose. What are the principal shortcomings?
First, the circulation
of information among the interested actors, domestic and international,
is inadequate. Intelligence gathering efforts are carried out at
the national level, and the products of intelligence are jealously
guarded by the various national authorities for themselves. Generally,
information, especially when it is relevant, is not shared with
other actors, and certainly not with my Office. As a consequence,
we cannot compare sources and knowledge which would allow us to
make progress towards locating Karadzic or Mladic. It was only after
cumbersome procedures and long delays that, recently, my Office
was finally given partial access to useful information obtained
by NATO or, previously, SFOR. These materials are of interest in
drawing a profile of Karadzic’s or Mladic’s movements, contacts
and networks. Sometimes, my Office found out about the existence
of key documents seized by the international forces in Bosnia and
Herzegovina through the media. The reasons given for these unhelpful
practices are the necessity to protect sensitive sources and methods
of work, as well as the suspicion that such documents or intelligence
could be leaked should it reach the Office of the Prosecutor.
A high degree of confidentiality
is an understandable condition for intelligence activities, when
an early disclosure could threaten the lives of individuals involved
or jeopardize arrest operations. However, most of the information
collected in the course of search operations, or intelligence-gathering
activities, are not that sensitive operationally. Still, they are
rarely shared with others. Furthermore, over recent years, the Office
of the Prosecutor has proven that it can handle intelligence adequately,
so as to facilitate surrenders by national authorities. Data provided
by my Office prompted the surrenders of Ljubisa Beara , Momir Nikolic
and Milan Lukic, to name just a few, and you may remember that my
staff took pictures of Goran Hadzic while he was tipped off and
My second point is that,
beyond the sheer sharing of data, there is also a lack of coordination
of efforts which has counter-productive effects. In Bosnia and Herzegovina,
for instance, since we were unable to know who is doing what to
track Karadzic and Mladic, we have asked the local authorities to
implement certain surveillance measures. At that point in time,
and without consulting or informing my office, a third party interfered
to request these authorities to discontinue these measures. My attempts
to receive explanations were never answered. Such communication
gaps feed the confusion and cannot lead to positive results. Karadzic,
in particular, is fully aware of the unorganised way in which the
international community is proceeding against him, and he is taking
full advantage of it. In an undated letter that reached my office
only recently, but that was probably written shortly after he disappeared,
one of his close supporters wrote to him: "I found out from
a source that SFOR forces take action in certain cases exclusively
on the basis of approval by their governments and not from some
center. That should be taken advantage of. (…) Exclude any kind
of communications except through couriers. I think that, from what
can be found in various manners, some action aimed at capture is
nevertheless of a limited nature and they will avoid risky, spectacular
actions." He planned well, indeed.
Third, the capture of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic is no longer
such a high priority for the international community that it would
justify allocating substantial technical and human resources to
it. Most international intelligence assets have left the Balkans.
Therefore, we have principally to rely on the local authorities
in Republika Srpska and Serbia and Montenegro to carry out the arrests.
Until recently, there was no political will on either of these parties
to go aggressively after Karadzic and Mladic. At the rhetorical
level at least, this has changed now, and there are numerous statements
by Serb and Bosnian Serb political and even religious leaders saying
that Karadzic and Mladic must be brought to The Hague. These intentions
at the top have, however, not necessarily filtered through all the
layers of the institutions involved.
To sum up this most crucial issue, my main partners in the hunt
for Karadzic and Mladic are now the Governments of Serbia and Montenegro
and the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international
community, through conditionality, is providing political incentives
for the local authorities to arrest these indictees. On operational
issues, however, the involvement of the international community
has been minimal, at least over the past two years. I am ready to
provide more details to the Council, but they should not be discussed
in a public session.
On the basis of this
assessment, I would like to offer a few suggestions, as possible
remedies, that I have been pursuing over the past months despite
my limited resources.
First, mechanisms must
be set up or revived that offer the possibility for meaningful planning
and exchanges of information between those involved in intelligence-gathering
activities. The relevant national authorities, inside and outside
the region, and international organisations, including the ICTY,
should join forces in setting up such a framework for sharing information
on Karadzic and Mladic. Since last spring, I have taken the initiative
to encourage Serbia, Montenegro and the relevant services in Bosnia
and Herzegovina to intensify their co-operation, both among themselves
and with my Office. This has already produced some results, but
further energy should be put in this effort. I would expect all
international assets present in the region to take part as well
in this coordinated effort. International actors must finally co-operate
with each other, and with the ICTY, sharing promptly information
on the location of fugitives, but also co-ordinating operations
against fugitives or their support networks. I have developed a
fruitful relationship at the highest levels with the civilian and
military leadership of NATO in this context, and the situation has
begun to improve very recently.
Second, the current efforts
aimed at breaking the support networks protecting Karadzic and Mladic
must be further aggressively pursued. My Office is in contact with
NATO and EUFOR in Sarajevo, and we are working on a joint programme
in this context. However, this strategy will be much more likely
to bear fruit should it be complemented by efficient intelligence
and operational activities. Furthermore, it comes very late in the
day. Such comprehensive strategies should have been put in place
long ago!
Third, the States of
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro must be made accountable
for their failure to bring Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to
justice. At the end of the day, the responsibility is theirs, and
the international community will increasingly want to limit its
involvement to a supportive role in this process. Experience shows
that the political pressure from the European Union and the United
States is the most significant factor encouraging the States of
the former Yugoslavia to transfer indictees to The Hague. The first
half of 2005 has demonstrated how efficiently international pressure
works. Unfortunately, a number of deadlines have passed in the second
half of the year, including the commemoration of Srebrenica, the
anniversary of the Dayton-Paris accords, the beginning of negotiations
between the EU and Serbia and Montenegro, but no progress has been
recorded on Karadzic and Mladic. As the two most important leaders
responsible for the worst crimes are still at large, the international
community must remain fully committed.
As the Prosecutor of
the ICTY, I am expected to do my utmost to bring all indictees to
justice. However, there is no domestic judicial system where the
prosecutor has such limited coercive powers and cannot instruct
police forces to collect intelligence or arrest accused individuals.
Let me stress that, under Article 29 of the Statute, all States
are legally obligated to comply without undue delay with any request
for assistance. Moreover, Resolution 1534 of the Security Council
of 26 March 2004 "calls on all States to intensify cooperation
with and render all necessary assistance to the ICTY, particularly
to bring Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, as well as Ante Gotovina
and all other indictees to the ICTY". If the States having
the power to locate them are not interested in providing information
or otherwise co-operating with my Office in the search, then it
certainly makes the fulfilment of the Tribunal’s mandate impossible.

This assessment reflects
the situation regarding Karadzic, Mladic, and the other fugitives
who are within the reach of Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and
One fugitive who is not
within reach of Serbia and Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina
is Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former police general from Serbia indicted
for crimes committed against Kosovo Albanians in 1999. In June 2004,
my Office informed the Russian authorities of Djordjevic’s exact
address in Moscow. We received a response in August saying that
Djordjevic had not been detected at that address, but that the investigation
work was continuing. In June of this year, my Office passed information
to the Russian authorities, according to which Vlastimir Djordjevic
was residing in Rostov on the Don. On 21 July, the Embassy of the
Russian Federation informed me that checks were made and that no
documented record of his stay in the Rostov region could be found.
I wish to urge the Russian authorities to continue their search,
as they have promised, because the trial of Djordjevic’s co-accused
is due to start towards the middle of next year. Otherwise, this
accused would have to be tried separately, with the resulting waste
of resources.
Djordjevic is not the
only accused who had fled to Russia. Other accused, such as Gojko
Jankovic, Vujadin Popovic, and, most recently, on 13 September,
Sredoje Lukic, were brought to The Hague from Russia thanks to the
assistance of the Serb and Bosnian Serb authorities. In June, I
also passed information to the Russian authorities on another accused
at large, Dragan Zelenovic. My Office had located him on the territory
of the Khanty-Mansijk Autonomous District, where he was residing
under a false identity. My Office received an answer on 21 July
saying that he had not been found, but that the search was continuing.
He was arrested there on 22 August and is now awaiting his transfer
to The Hague. I call upon the Russian authorities to accelerate
the procedure so that he can arrive in The Hague in the near future.

Another accused awaiting
his transfer to The Hague is Milan Lukic. Thanks to the good co-operation
between the authorities of Serbia, Croatia and Argentina, Milan
Lukic was arrested in Buenos Aires on 8 August. I also urge the
authorities of Argentina to transfer him to The Hague as soon as
The three other remaining fugitives, Goran Hadzic, Zdravko Tolimir
and Stojan Zupljanin are all within reach of the authorities of
Serbia and Montenegro. Tolimir should be tried together with his
eight co-accused for the crimes committed in Srebrenica. Like Djordjevic’s,
his transfer is urgent, because the trial is due to open also towards
the middle of next year. Regarding Zupljanin, my plan is to have
a joint trial with an accused who has already appeared before the
ICTY, Mico Stanisic.
Serbia and Montenegro’s
cooperation has, unfortunately, deteriorated in the past months.
There is no serious, well-articulated action plan on the fugitives.
Moreover, there is a lack of co-ordination between the State Union
authorities and the two Republic’s Governments, and the rivalry
between the involved agencies is palpable. The information passed
to my Office is scarce and unconvincing. The Army of Serbia and
Montenegro continues to hamper, both actively and passively, the
co-operation of Serbia and Montenegro with the ICTY. Serbian civilian
authorities admit today that the Army as an institution was protecting
Ratko Mladic until as late as at least May 2002. They contend it
is not the case anymore. However, on other issues, like the access
to military documents, for instance Mladic’s military and medical
files, or documents related to Kosovo, the military authorities
of Serbia and Montenegro obstruct co-operation with my Office despite
the admirable efforts of the National Cooperation Council’s President,
and the assurances given to me by the civilian authorities. I would
note that on my recent visit to Belgrade the authorities again gave
assurances that we would be given full access to these materials,
but it remains to be seen if these assurances will be honoured.
However, in view of the authorities’ unwillingness thus far to provide
me with these materials, I have requested the Chamber to issue binding
orders. The irony is that some of these materials are sometimes
being produced by Defence witnesses in the Milosevic case. From
whom did they obtain them, if not from those who refuse to provide
them to us?
In Kosovo as well, my
Office encounters difficulties in accessing documents from UNMIK.
They are at times redacted or delivered in such a way that they
cannot be used in court. The co-operation provided by UNMIK in the
protection of witnesses has also been sometimes less than optimal.
Furthermore, my Office is not convinced that UNMIK is properly exerting
its control over the conditions set by the Chambers for Haradinaj’s
provisional release.
Indeed, as was also noted
by Ambassador Kai Eide in his recent report, the intimidation of
witnesses is a grave problem in Kosovo. It is widespread, systematic,
and it has a very serious impact on court proceedings at the ICTY.
In the Limaj et al. case, several witnesses eventually refused to
appear and testify in front of the court, or withdrew or changed
their testimony because they were intimidated or afraid. This may
have influenced the outcome of the first instance judgment, which
was rendered on 30 November.
The arrest of the remaining
six fugitives and the access to key documents and witnesses are
issues deeply affecting the completion strategy. They are largely
beyond our control, even though my office continues to use all means
at its disposal to try to make progress towards their arrest. We
are confronted with powerful structures that see no interest in
co-operating with the ICTY.
Among the issues which are under the control of the ICTY, let me
mention three areas where significant progress was achieved since
my last report.
First, we have continued
to pursue consistently our policy of referring cases involving mid-
and low-level perpetrators to the domestic jurisdictions. Three
cases involving four accused have already been transferred to the
State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Croatia. Six other
motions involving twelve accused are pending before the Chambers.
We are also preparing for the transfer of non-indicted cases to
Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be up to the local
judiciaries to decide whether to complete the investigations and
prosecute the cases.
Second, we have undertaken
to save time and resources by proposing to the Chambers to join
certain cases where there are similar crime bases. One motion involving
seven accused, including Djordjevic, who is at large in Russia,
was approved by the Chambers on 8 July. Another motion involving
nine accused, including Tolimir who is at large in Serbia, was approved
by the Chambers on 21 September. Both trials are scheduled to begin
towards the middle of 2006. On 19 July, the prosecution filed a
third motion requesting the joining of three cases involving four
accused. The Trial Chamber denied this motion on 10 November. As
a result, three trials will have to be conducted instead of one.

Third, we have taken
steps to adapt the structure and management of the Office to the
evolution of the completion strategy. 2006 will be the busiest period
in the Tribunal’s history. In 2006, we expect to have some 33 accused
on trial as opposed to 12 in 2005. Despite this increased activity,
significant reductions in staff were made in the Office of the Prosecutor
following the achievement of the first phase of the completion strategy.
The size of the investigation division has been reduced by 37% or
79 posts. Furthermore, in the context of the 2006-2007 budget, the
redeployment of 15 posts from the investigation division to the
prosecution division and the appeals section has been proposed.
This move is aimed at addressing the increased trial activities
and the growing appeals work load. The budget also foresees a reduction
of non-post items, such as travel, resulting from our efforts to
streamline our processes. The proposed OTP budget for 2006 and 2007
reflects an overall net reduction amounting to over $11 million
or 13.7%.
I wish to express my
thanks to the Governments of Croatia and Spain for having brought
Ante Gotovina to The Hague. My gratitude also goes to the European
Union and its Member-States for having provided the ICTY with the
political support that contributed so much to this result. Gotovina’s
arrest will also be positive for the completion strategy. I will
request the Chambers to join his case with Cermak and Markac, two
other former Croatian Generals who are presently on provisional
release. Thereby, we will save a substantial amount of court time
and resources.
On 29 September, the
Croatian authorities provided me with undisputable evidence
that Ante Gotovina was in Spain. Contacts were established immediately
by Croatia with the Spanish authorities and we quickly learned that
he was in the Canary Islands. I had told the Council in June that
full co-operation by Croatia meant that either Gotovina would be
in The Hague or that Croatia would provide me with actionable intelligence
on his whereabouts. Since this later condition was met, I was pleased
to inform the European Union Task Force on Croatia, on 3 October,
that, indeed, Croatia was fully co-operating with us. For operational
reasons, however, details were kept among a small circle in Zagreb,
Spain, and The Hague. As you all know, he was arrested on the Tenerife
island on 7 December. The successful outcome of this operation shows
that this methodology was the right one.
This can serve us as
a model to overcome the difficulties we meet in Bosnia and Herzegovina
and in Serbia and Montenegro. The key to success was a combination
of international incentives, provided mainly by the European Union’s
consistent policy of conditioning EU accession to the full co-operation
with the ICTY, and an effective joint operational plan between Croatia
and the ICTY. The United States have also provided valuable support
by insisting that Croatia could not join NATO before Gotovina would
be in The Hague. Except for Spain, since the end of September, there
was no involvement of outside actors. After the European Union,
in March of this year, postponed the beginning of the accession
talks with Croatia, the authorities drew an operational plan together
with the ICTY and its implementation started in April. The operation
was coordinated on the Croatian side by a very limited number of
highly motivated, highly professional individuals under the leadership
of the State Prosecutor, who had received the proper, strong backing
from the political leadership. They were entitled to instruct all
relevant services. A solid relation of trust, based on full transparency,
was established with my Office, where, also, only a small number
of individuals were involved, first and foremost the Chief of my
Investigation Division. Since the operation was launched, we received
well over 100 reports from different Croatian agencies which were,
for the most part, of a good professional quality. These reports
were reviewed in The Hague, suggestions were made so as to direct
further action. This mix of political will and operational effectiveness
leads to results.
For ten years, we have
been facing grave systemic deficiencies in the efforts made to capture
Karadzic and Mladic. There is no co-ordination mechanism, there
is not even the desire to co-ordinate the various activities, not
to speak about sharing the most basic information.
For ten years, the international
community has been playing cat-and-mouse with Karadzic and Mladic.
And for much of this time, the cats chose to wear blindfolds, to
claw at each other, and to allow the mice to run from one hole to
another. It is time now for the cats to remove their blindfolds.
It is time for the international community and the local governments,
especially in Serbia and Montenegro and the Republika Srpska, to
take concerted action to find the places where these fugitives are
hiding and to arrest them and turn them over to the ICTY, so it
can administer the justice the Security Council promised the people
of the former Yugoslavia in 1993. It is time now for the cats to
stop suffering the ridicule of the mice, Carla Del Ponte said.
(Fena) jc
               one more proof that
Ivo Sanader is traitor

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