Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
CHAMBRE DE 1ERE INSTANCE
The Hague, 18 March 1998
TRIAL CHAMBER DENIES
THE DEFENCE’S MOTIONS OF "NO CASE" TO ANSWER
On Wednesday 18 March 1998, Trial Chamber II-quater (consisting of Judge Karibi-Whyte, presiding, Judge Odio Benito and Judge Jan) denied the two Defence’s motions of "no case" to answer.
It also dismissed the motion for provisional release filed by one of the four defendants, namely Zdravko Mucic.
The Trial Chamber’s findings
The Trial Chamber first observed that the Defence’s Motions were both "in the alternative" being prayers for judgment of acquittal or dismissal of the indictment.
The Judges then noted that the two alternative requests "differ in their content":
- a motion for judgment of acquittal "calls for a consideration, even at this stage in the proceedings, of the law and evidence adduced by the Prosecution. The accused persons (...) do not seek to offer any further evidence and are, therefore, closing their case. The Trial Chamber is, accordingly, entitled to consider the innocence or guilt of the accused in the light of the law
and evidence presented to it by the Prosecution".
- a request for dismissal of the indictment is (....) to be considered "on the basis that the Prosecution has not, on the law and the evidence presented before the Trial Chamber, made out a case in relation to the charges at issue for the accused persons to defend themselves against".
The Trial Chamber noted further that the legal distinction between these two alternatives was ignored in the written submissions of the Defence and recalled that in the course of the hearing held on 11 March, the Defence was invited to indicate their choice. "The Defence then indicated that (...) the accused did not seek to close their cases at this time and that the Motions
should be understood as a request for dismissal of all counts of the Indictment".
The Trial Chamber’s ruling
The Trial Chamber concluded that in order to dispose of motions of dismissal of the counts, it "must satisfy itself that, as a matter of law, there is evidence before it relating to each of the offences in question which, were it to be accepted, is such that a reasonable Tribunal might convict".
It also concluded that it actually was "satisfied that there is evidence before it (...) for the accused persons to be invited to make their defence".
Accordingly the Motions to dismiss the indictment were both denied.
Regarding the request for provisional release filed by Defendant Mucic, the Chamber decided that "the matter is not appropriately raised in the present context" and dismissed it.
The full text of this order can be obtained from the Public Information Unit upon request