Case No. IT-02-60-A

IN THE APPEALS CHAMBER

Before:
Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision:
8 September 2005

PROSECUTOR

v.

VIDOJE BLAGOJEVIC
DRAGAN JOKIC

__________________________________________

DECISION ON JOKICíS MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME

__________________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Norman Farrell

Counsel for the Appellants:

Mr. Vladimir Domazet for Vidoje Blagojevic
Ms. Cynthia Sinatra for Dragan Jokic

1. The Appeals Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("International Tribunal") is seised of appeals from the Judgement of Trial Chamber I in the case of Prosecutor v. Blagojevic et al., Case No. IT-02-60, rendered orally on 17 January 2005 and in writing on 24 January 2005 (ďJudgementĒ). Appeals have been filed by both Appellants, Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic, as well as by the Prosecution.

2. I, Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen, was designated Pre-Appeal Judge in this case by an "Order Assigning Judges to a Case Before an Appeals Chamber," filed on 14 February 2005.

3. As recounted in more detail in prior decisions, "the appeals process in this case has been delayed by several necessary extensions of time."1 Most recently, in the Decision of 21 July 2005, the deadline for the filing of Jokicís Appeal Brief was set for 13 September 2005. Meanwhile, the deadline for the filing of Blagojevicís Appeal Brief was set for 13 October 2005, while the Prosecution was directed to file a combined response brief within 40 days of the filing of Blagojevicís Appeal Brief and 70 days of the filing of Jokicís Appeal Brief.

4. In an Additional Motion for Extension of Time filed on 2 September 2005 (ďMotionĒ), Mr. Jokic now seeks a further extension of three weeks, to 4 October 2005. He explains, inter alia, that the daughter of his lead counsel, Cynthia Sinatra, was recently seriously injured and requires constant care. In its Response, filed on 6 September 2005, the Prosecution concurs that this constitutes "good cause" for an extension of time within the meaning of Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules"), and I agree.

5. Mr. Jokic advances additional reasons for the extension of time, related to the disclosure of certain new materials by the Prosecution. This is the third time he has raised these same points. Two previous decisions, including one filed just two days before this motion was filed, have held that the potential availability of new evidence that might be used in a motion filed under Rule 115 of the Rules does not constitute good cause for an extension of time.2 Counsel is advised that the matter has been settled.

6. The Prosecution contends that to the extent the Motion reflects these additional, invalid reasons for an extension of time, the length of the extension should be reduced from the three weeks requested. The Motion does not explain to what extent the requested extension is based on each stated reason. However, in light of the severity of Ms. Sinatraís daughterís injury, a three-week extension is of appropriate length, and it need not be reduced simply because the Motion also referred to invalid grounds for an extension.

7. On 7 September 2005, the Prosecution filed a Further Response to Jokicís Additional Motion requesting that, if Mr. Jokic is granted an extension, the deadline for its own consolidated Response Brief be pushed back as well. In effect, because the Response Brief is currently due within 70 days of the filing of Mr. Jokicís brief and within 40 days of the filing of Mr. Blagojevicís briefódates which would have been the same under the current filing schedule, but which would fall 21 days apart if Mr. Jokic is granted the extension he seeksóthe Prosecution is requesting an extension, to 61 days, of the time it is allocated to respond to Mr. Blagojevicís brief. It does not, however, provide any explanation as to why there is "good cause" for such an extension.

8. The submissions of the parties have not demonstrated any reason that the extension granted to Mr. Jokic necessitates pushing back the deadline for the Prosecutionís consolidated Response Brief. Pursuant to the Decision of 21 July 2005, the Prosecution had been allocated 70 days to respond to Mr. Jokicís briefóresulting in a deadline of 22 November 2005 if Mr. Jokic had filed on 13 September 2005. This deadline of 22 November 2005 is still 49 days after the new due date of Mr. Jokicís brief, which is longer than the 40 days provided by Rule 112 of the Rules for response briefs. The earlier allocation of 70 daysí time had not been based on a showing by the Prosecution that it could not respond to Mr. Jokicís brief in the usual 40 days. Instead, the additional 30 days were granted solely for the purpose of facilitating synchronization among the appeals, so that the Prosecution could file a consolidated response to both Mr. Jokicís and Mr. Blagojevicís briefs. That goal of synchronization can be accomplished here by reducing the amount of time allowed for the Prosecution to respond to Jokicís brief to 49 days. The Prosecution is of course free to file its own motion for an extension of time to file the consolidated response brief if it believes that it can demonstrate good cause.

DISPOSITION

The Motion is GRANTED, and Mr. Jokic is ordered to file his Appeal Brief by 4 October 2005. The Prosecution is ordered to file its consolidated response brief within 49 days of the filing of Mr. Jokicís Appeal Brief and within 40 days of the filing of Mr. Blagojevicís Appeal Brief.

 

Done in English and French, the English text being authoritative.

_______________________
Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Pre-Appeal Judge

Dated 8 September 2005
At The Hague
The Netherlands

[Seal of the International Tribunal]


1. Decision on Appellantsí Motions for Extensions of Time in Which to File their Responses to the Prosecutorís Appeal Brief, 31 May 2005; Decision on Blagojevicís and Jokicís Motions for Extension of Time to File Their Appeal Briefs, 21 July 2005 ("Decision of 21 July 2005").
2. See Decision of 21 July 2005; Decision on Dragan Jokicís Supplemental Motion for Extension of Time to File Appeal Brief, 31 August 2005.