Transcript of the Joint Press Conference by EU Special Representative/High Representative Miroslav Lajčák and ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte

EU Special Representative/High Representative, Miroslav Lajčák:

Good morning. It is good to see you. So, we just finished our discussion with the Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Del Ponte. Of course, the topic was the current state of cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Hague Tribunal. I will let Ms. Chief Prosecutor provide her assessment of this cooperation.

What I would like to say is that this is a good opportunity for me to stress, once again, how important full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal is for your country. It is very important for the past, it is important to ensure that justice is served and it is important to know, to find out the complete truth about the recent history of this country. At the same time, full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal is also of crucial importance for the future. As you know very well, it is one of the key provisions for the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union.

So, this is why it is important for all of us to do our utmost to make sure that we have achieved full cooperation and I have assured Ms.Del Ponte of my resolve to do my best from my side to contribute to the full cooperation. I stress that for this office, the Office of the High Representative, as well as the Office of the EU Special Representative and for me personally, full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal is one of the priorities of my mandate, of my mission here. 

So, Ms. Del Ponte please…

Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Carla Del Ponte:

Thank you High Representative. It is the first time that I meet with the High Representative here and I was very pleased that even after a few days he is fully aware of the situation and all the challenges and problems here. So I think we will have very good contact in achieving full cooperation.

As you know, I have only four other important fugitives, and if I think as Prosecutor that Karadžić and Mladić are still at large and that this Tribunal was created for the most responsible, I think that we must achieve that these four fugitives are arrested.

I informed the Security Council and the European Union about the good cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina and in particular, with Republica Srpska. As you know the arrest of Tolimir and the transfer of Tolimir to the Tribunal is extremely important, and we hope that we can continue and achieve full cooperation. But, in my view, full cooperation is seeing the four fugitives in The Hague.

Thank you.


Christian Science Monitor:

In autumn 2005 we saw you give a clean Bill of Health to Croatia even though Ante Gotovina had not been arrested. A couple of weeks later he was arrested and it turned out that you had made a big leap of faith with Sanader. I am just wondering, are we seeing the same variant with Serbia now?

Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Carla Del Ponte:

We are not in the same situation, but of course we are now working with Serbia to locate all the fugitives. At that time full cooperation was because Croatia located Gotovina. So, let us say that I have the same parameter – that full cooperation is the fugitives in The Hague or the fugitives located.

The Scotsman, Christian Jennings:

At least 18 of your senior staff have said that they will resign if and when Serge Brammertz takes over as Chief Prosecutor. What sort of signals do you think this gives about the ability of the ICTY to fulfill its mandate?

Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Carla Del Ponte:

I do not know that and I hope that my people will stay with whoever will be the new Chief Prosecutor. So, what you are telling me is new. I know that my people sent a letter to the Secretary General to indicate what, in their view, is the best solution. It was the Secretary General who made the proposal to the Security Council, and then it is the Security Council. What I wish is that my people will stay and work and work – work to achieve and accomplish the mandate from the Security Council.

Local media – we would like a question from the local media now.

Journalist #3:

The Mothers of Srebrenica have declared that your presence is unwanted at the funeral of 400 Srebrenica victims, which will take place tomorrow. They issued this statement a few days ago. Are you aware of this? If you are, how do you comment their statement and what do you think led them to make such a public statement?  

Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Carla Del Ponte:

I am not aware of that and I do not know from whom it is coming…The Mothers of Srebrenica? I see. I will meet with them. I think that I was trying during the year to explain that it is not the Prosecutor who can arrest Karadžić and Mladić. The Prosecutor expects the national authorities to do this with international help. So I will do the same, I will try to explain to the Mothers of Srebrenica that I still hope to get all the fugitives. I will go to Srebrenica of course – if I can fly to Srebrenica. I think that when I am there I will have full comprehension from them.  

High Representative, Miroslav Lajčák:

Friends, thank you for your attention. Due to Ms. Del Ponte’s schedule we cannot offer you any more time. However, I will meet with you again later on today.