1 Wednesday, 26 November 2003
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.00 p.m.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I wish everybody a good
7 afternoon, and the people in the public gallery.
8 I would like to ask the registrar now to call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour, this is case number
10 IT-03-72-I, the Prosecutor versus Milan Babic.
11 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam.
12 I wish to ask the parties for the appearances. Madam.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: For the Prosecution are appearing Sabine
14 Bauer and Alex Whiting. Ruth Karper, the case manager; and my name is
15 Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.
16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Appearances
17 for the Defence.
18 MR. MUELLER: Thank you very much, Your Honour. Good afternoon,
19 thank you for welcoming us. The Defence is represented by my co-counsel
20 Mr. Robert Fogelnest and by myself Peter Michael Mueller.
21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
22 I would like to ask Mr. Babic if he can hear me in a language he
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, sir.
1 I am Judge El Mahdi, Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal.
2 This case has been assigned by an order of the President of the Tribunal
3 to the first Chamber, a decision made by the President of the first
4 Chamber, Chamber I. I have myself been assigned to this case in order to
5 be the Judge for the initial appearance of the accused.
6 I will briefly recall the procedure which has taken place up to
7 now. First of all, the indictment was confirmed on the 17th of November,
8 2003, and as I have mentioned at the beginning, the order of the President
9 assigning this case to Chamber number I is dated 26 November. On the same
10 day, the President -- the Presiding Judge of the first Chamber assigned me
11 to sit for the initial appearance of the accused.
12 I would like to briefly explain what the case is about. First of
13 all, this initial appearance. Initial appearance, as specified in Rule 62
14 in the Rules of Procedure in this Tribunal, which says: Plea, that the
15 Chamber -- Trial Chamber or a Judge thereof must satisfy himself during
16 the initial appearance that the right of the accused to have counsel has
17 been respected, satisfy himself or herself that the right of the accused
18 to counsel is respected.
19 I see that counsel for the Defence are present, are here in the
20 courtroom, so this condition has been fulfilled.
21 The second duty is to read or have the indictment read to the
22 accused in a language the accused understands and satisfy himself or
23 herself that the accused understands the indictment.
24 By the same token, I should also refer to the right of the
25 accused, more specifically the fact that the accused has to be informed
1 that after the indictment has been read to him with the charges against
2 him, he may enter immediately a plea, he or she may have 30 days to enter
3 a plea and say whether he pleads guilty or not guilty on one or more
4 counts of the indictment.
5 Therefore, I wanted all this to be quite clear from the beginning
6 and that the rights of the accused are well understood. I will therefore
7 request, before the reading of the indictment or the counts of the
8 indictment, I would like to ask Mr. Babic to first of all let us have his
9 name, place of birth, year of birth; his complete names, surname and name,
10 and if necessary, the name of his father.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am Milan Babic, son of Bozo, born
12 on the 26th of February, 1956 in Kukar. I am by training a doctor of
13 dental medicine.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. This is
15 precisely what we have here in the indictment.
16 Before the indictment is read or before, rather, the counts of the
17 indictment are read out, I would like to put Mr. Babic on notice about
18 what these counts are about.
19 The Prosecutor of the Tribunal alleges that Mr. Milan Babic is
20 responsible and criminally responsible for those crimes which are
21 represented by Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal. Those are
22 war crimes for Article 3, and crimes against humanity in Article 5.
23 The facts or events took place between the 1st of August, 1991,
24 until 15 February 1992. Broadly speaking, the indictment mentions, and I
25 quote, under individual criminal responsibility, [In English] "Article
1 7(10 of the Statute of the Tribunal, Milan Babic is individually
2 criminally responsible for the crimes referred to in Articles 3 and 5 of
3 the Statute of the Tribunal and described in this indictment. The accused
4 committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or
5 execution of these crimes. By using the word 'committed' in this
6 indictment, the Prosecutor does not intend to suggest that the accused
7 physically committed any of the crimes charged personally. 'Committing'
8 in this indictment refers to participation in a joint criminal enterprise
9 as a co-perpetrator or an aider and abettor."
10 [Interpretation] The indictment also speaks briefly about the
11 events and the allegations against Mr. Babic, to confront him with five
13 Mr. Babic, you retain the right to have the whole indictment read
14 out to you or, if you so prefer and if you have had the opportunity - and
15 I think you did have the opportunity to see and peruse this indictment -
16 maybe you will let the Chamber know whether it is necessary or not to go
17 in detail through the whole indictment but only to let -- let us know and
18 read out only the counts of the indictment which --
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is not necessary to
20 have the entire indictment read out to me.
21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Babic. I will,
22 therefore, now ask for the counts to be read one after the other by the
24 THE REGISTRAR: Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial, and
25 religious grounds, a crime against humanity, punishable under Articles
1 5(h) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] How do you plead, Mr. Babic?
3 MR. FOGELNEST: May I address the Court?
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Yes, of course.
5 MR. FOGELNEST: Please forgive me, this is my very first
6 appearance in this room. It is an honour to appear before Your Honour.
7 With respect to a plea, we would respectfully request that no plea
8 be entered at this time, that Mr. Babic would stand mute, plead neither
9 guilty or not guilty and that the procedures with respect to response to
10 that be followed. We anticipate that the Court would enter a plea of not
11 guilty on his behalf, but we have instructed him not to respond to that
12 question at this time.
13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you. [Interpretation] Therefore, if I
14 understand you rightly, Mr. Babic requests leave to have the 30 days time
15 span before he will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Thank you.
16 This being said, I will ask the registrar to read the indictment
17 in order to satisfy myself that you have heard the charges alleged against
18 you. Yes.
19 So, Madam Registrar, would you please be so kind as to read out
20 the counts of the indictment. Thank you very much.
21 You can sit down, Mr. Babic. [In English] Count, yes.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Count 2: In relation to the conduct described in
23 paragraph 15(a), murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war, as
24 recognised by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,
25 punishable under Articles 3, and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
1 Count 3: In relation to the conduct described in paragraph 15(b),
2 cruel treatment, a violation of the laws or customs of war, as recognised
3 by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, punishable
4 under Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
5 Count 4: In relation to the conduct described in paragraph 15(d)
6 wanton destruction of villages, or devastation not justified by military
7 necessity, a violation of the laws or customs of war, as recognised by
8 Common Article 3(1)(b) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, punishable under
9 Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
10 Count 5: In relation to the conduct described in paragraph 15(d),
11 destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to education
12 or religion, a violation of the laws or customs of war as recognised by
13 Common Article 3(1)(d) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, punishable under
14 Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
16 I would like to remind Mr. Babic, as well as counsel, that
17 Mr. Babic has 30 days following this initial appearance, that is from
18 today, to enter a plea one way or the other. But since those 30 days will
19 end during the end-of-year recess of the Tribunal and in order not to
20 infringe Mr. Babic's rights, then the Chamber grants him until the 15th of
21 January next year, 2004, to enter a plea and to let the Chamber know what
22 is his position in respect to the charges which reproached him.
23 If a party has any question on the Prosecutor's side, Madam, do
24 you have anything to add?
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, not to the initial appearance as
1 such, not to the plea, but I have, of course, questions in relation to
2 subsequent decisions of the Trial Chamber. It relates to the motions that
3 were filed today, both by the Prosecution and the Defence, but these are
4 matters that should be kept confidential and discussed in private session.
5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Therefore, we may request the
6 registrar to have a private session. Would that be enough, private
7 session and not a closed session?
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour. Yes. Yes.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. Madam Registrar,
10 please, we go into private session.
11 [Private session]
12 Pages 8 to 25 redacted, private session
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam Registrar.
23 This having been said, I will let you know what my ruling is as
24 soon as possible, and I believe we have no other matter to discuss now
25 and, therefore, I close this hearing. The meeting is adjourned. In --
1 --- Break taken at 4.07 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 5.30 p.m.
3 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [No interpretation]
4 THE REGISTRAR: Excuse me, there appears to be a difficulty with
5 the translation from French into English.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Is it all right now? Can you hear us?
7 THE REGISTRAR: It's all right now. Thank you.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you. So I have consulted with the Chamber,
9 and I hereby order the detention on remand of the accused until further
10 notice. A written decision will be issued tomorrow.
11 Thank you to everybody. [Interpretation] The hearing is
13 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned
14 at 5.33 p.m.