The ICTY president declared that he has no jurisdiction and dismissed the motion filed by the defense of the former Herceg Bosna prime minister to appoint a panel of judges to consider if the Trial Chamber in the case against the six former Herceg Bosna leaders is capable of producing a fair judgment

Patrick Robinson, president of the TribunalPatrick Robinson, president of the Tribunal

ICTY president Patrick Robinson declared that he has no jurisdiction to rule on the motion filed by the defense of Jadranko Prlic, former Herceg Bosna prime minister. The accused wanted the President to consider if the Trial Chamber in the Prlic case is "functioning properly and is capable of deliberating as a collective body’.

Prlic’s defense counsel Michael Karnavas asked that the motion be considered either by a panel of judges or the Bureau, which consists of the ICTY president, vice-president and the presiding judges of the three main trial chambers. According to Karnavas, there are ‘irreconcilable differences, bordering upon antipathy’ among the judges in the Prlic case, which ‘raises doubts regarding their ability to

function as a collective body" when deliberating over evidence and reaching the verdict of guilt or innocence. "A stay of the proceedings should be considered if it is determined that the moral integrity of the proceedings will be undermined”, Karnavas has proposed.

Dismissing the defense motion, President Robinson noted that under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, he lacks jurisdiction to interfere with the work of the Trial Chamber, which "shall ensure that a trial is fair and expeditious and that proceedings are conducted in accordance with the Rules, with full respect for the rights of the accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses’.

According to the Rules, the president shall ‘preside at all plenary meetings of the Tribunal, coordinate the work of the Chambers and supervise the activities of the Registry, and issue practice directions’ and consult the Bureau ‘on all major questions relating to the functioning of the Tribunal’. In light of all that, the ICTY president considers he lacks jurisdiction to rule on Prlic’s defense motion.

Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic are on trial for the crimes against Muslim civilians in Central Bosnia and Western Herzegovina in 1993 and 1994. As alleged in the indictment, the crimes were committed as part of a joint criminal enterprise headed by the Croatian president Franjo Tudjman.