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Justice Arbour's Statement

Tribunal Update 20: Last Week In The Hague (17-22 March, 1997)

Reports that these cases are being prosecuted in Germany because the ICTY's case-load is too heavy, are, according to Justice Arbour, "simply not correct". She said equally erroneous are press suggestions that the Tribunal has somehow "failed" to prosecute these cases itself.

A statement issued on March 19 by the Office of the Prosecution, explains that the International Tribunal and national courts have "concurrent jurisdiction", and that the establishment of the Tribunal "has not affected the obligation under international law for national authorities to apprehend and prosecute, under their own domestic legislation, persons who have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law. The prosecution of such cases is not the exclusive domain of the ICTY, although the Tribunal can exercise primacy over national court."

In the cases of Djajic and Jorgic, the statement goes on to say, the Prosecutor concluded that it was not appropriate to seek a deferral. The prosecutor never discloses her reasons not to seek deferral in a particular case, and no reliance can be according to the OTP statement - placed on reports purporting to place those reasons in the public domain.

Concluding her statemment, Justice Arbour commends the fact that Germany has investigated and is prosecuting these and similar cases.

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