Federal Office of Justice

Handing over of judicial assistance documents in the Milosevic case

Assets to remain blocked

Press Release, FOJ, 14.06.2002

Berne, 14 June 2002. The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) delivered the first batch of judicial assistance documents in the Milosevic case to the Yugoslav authorities today. The three persons concerned – representatives of the former regime – are suspected of unlawful enrichment during the execution of their offices.

In the context of a criminal proceeding against the former head of state, Slobodan Milosevic, and other representatives of his regime, the Yugoslav authorities submitted various requests for judicial assistance to Switzerland last year. The FOJ had the defendants' accounts blocked and ordered the release of banking documents. After the banks had submitted a first batch of documents, the FOJ was able to order the handing over of the documents to the Yugoslav authorities; the orders were issued in late April 2002 and have meanwhile become executable. The FOJ will issue the remaining final orders in the course of the summer.

9 million to remain blocked – no Milosevic assets

Pending the judicial assistance proceeding, some 9 million CHF will remain blocked in four banks in Zurich, Geneva and Lugano. The Yugoslav authorities may demand the handing over of these assets on the basis of a final and executable forfeiture order.

On the basis of a request for judicial assistance by The Hague War Crimes Tribunal, Switzerland ordered the blockage of any assets owned in Switzerland by Slobodan Milosevic and by another four persons charged with war crimes as early as 1999. This blockage remains in force: any individuals and entities who hold or manage such assets must report this to the FOJ without delay. To date, the FOJ has not received any such reports.

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