1 Wednesday, 6 July 2011
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.04 p.m.
6 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is case number
8 IT-03-67-R77.4, in the matter of Vojislav Seselj.
9 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. Good afternoon to
11 Mr. Seselj, are you hearing me in a language you understand?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am hearing you in translation
13 into the Serbian language, which is the only language that I understand.
14 Here they have been inventing some new languages, Croatian, Bosnian, and
15 what have you, but I only understand the Serbian language and I shall not
16 allow my native tongue to be insulted by being designated B/C/S or some
17 similar designations.
18 JUDGE HALL: Well, inasmuch as you do understand me, do I take it
19 that you represent yourself in this initial appearance today?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I shall be representing myself
21 also in all coming cases regarding contempt. I have planned another
22 seven cases, another seven proceedings to take place for contempt of
23 court, in addition to this one.
24 JUDGE HALL: Well, notwithstanding that, you may have heard this
25 before, I would begin by reminding you that you enjoy the right to remain
1 silent at all times during these proceedings. And I will begin by
2 briefly outlining the background to this case and the charge contained in
3 the order in lieu of indictment issued against you, which for simplicity
4 I would refer to as the indictment.
5 On the 24th of July, 2009, in case number IT-03-67-R77.2, the
6 Chamber found Mr. Seselj guilty of contempt for knowingly disclosing
7 confidential information pertaining to three witnesses in a book and
8 sentenced Mr. Seselj to a term of 15 months' imprisonment and ordered him
9 to remove the book from his web site. During the course of the appellate
10 proceedings in that case, the Chamber ordered Mr. Seselj to remove
11 several confidential filings as well as the book from his web site. On
12 the 3rd of August, 2010, the Office of the Prosecutor filed the urgent
13 motion under Rule 77 concerning violation of orders of the
14 Appeals Chamber before the Appeals Chamber, seeking, among other things,
15 an order in lieu of indictment against Mr. Seselj for violating the
16 orders of the Appeals Chamber to remove the confidential filings and the
17 book from his web site.
18 On the 15th of October, 2010, that part of the Office of the
19 Prosecutor's motion was referred to this Chamber. On the 31st of January
20 and the 17th of February, 2011, this Chamber issued orders in case number
21 IT-03-67-R77.3 ordering Mr. Seselj to remove confidential material from
22 his web site. On the 31st of January, 2011, this Chamber issued an order
23 in case IT-02-54-Misc.4 also ordering Mr. Seselj to remove confidential
24 items from his web site. On the 9th of May, 2011, this Chamber issued
25 the confidential decision on failure to remove confidential information
1 from the web site, noting that each of the filings and books that
2 Mr. Seselj had been ordered to remove pursuant to the orders of this
3 Chamber and the Appeals Chamber remained available on the web site and
4 initiating contempt proceedings against him for knowingly and wilfully
5 failing to comply with the Chamber's orders. The indictment was appended
6 to that decision.
7 Mr. Seselj, according to the indictment you're charged with one
8 count of contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under Rule 77(A) and
9 Rule 77(A)(ii) for knowingly and wilfully failing to comply with the
10 Chamber's order to remove confidential information from the web site.
11 At this point I would invite you, Mr. Seselj, to formally
12 identify yourself by name and how otherwise you are known and identified.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am Dr. Vojislav Seselj,
14 university professor and the greatest enemy of the Tribunal at The Hague.
15 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. Is there anything else you wish to add
16 by way of identification?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, there are many things that I
18 could state, for instance, that I'm the only indictee who managed to tear
19 apart the ICTY, that the ICTY has lost all moral and professional
20 credibility in the proceedings conducted against me. I could talk all
21 day long about the results and the successes of my nine-year-long
22 struggle with the Tribunal in The Hague. I'm not sure that you are
23 prepared to listen to all that, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
25 Mr. Registrar, again, I would -- would you be so kind as to read
1 out Articles 20 and 21 of the Tribunal's Statute.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
3 "Article 20: Commencement and conduct of trial proceedings.
4 1. The Trial Chambers shall ensure that a trial is fair and
5 expeditious and that proceedings are conducted in accordance with the
6 Rules of Procedure and Evidence with full respect for the rights of the
7 accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.
8 2. A person against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall,
9 pursuant to an order or arrest warrant of the international tribunal, be
10 taken into custody, immediately informed of the charges against him and
11 transferred to the international tribunal.
12 3. The Trial Chamber shall read the indictment, satisfy itself
13 that the rights of the accused are respected, confirm that the accused
14 understands the indictment, and instructs the accused to enter a plea.
15 The Trial Chamber shall then set a date for trial.
16 4. The hearing shall be public unless the Trial Chamber decides
17 to close the proceedings in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and
19 Article 21: Rights of the accused.
20 1. All persons shall be equal before the international tribunal.
21 2. In the determination of charges against him, the accused
22 shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing subject to Article 22 of
23 the Statute.
24 3. The accused shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty
25 according to the provisions of the present Statute.
1 4. In the determination of any charge against the accused
2 pursuant to the present Statute, the accused shall be entitled to the
3 following minimum guarantees in full equality.
4 (A) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he
5 understands of the nature and the charge of the cause against him.
6 (B) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of
7 his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing.
8 (C) To be tried without undue delay.
9 (D) To be tried in his presence and to defend himself in person
10 or through legal assistance of his own choosing. To be informed if he
11 does not have legal assistance of this right and to have legal assistance
12 assigned to him in any case where the interests of justice so require and
13 without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient
14 means to pay for it.
15 (E) To examine or have examined the witnesses against him and to
16 obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under
17 the same conditions as witnesses against him.
18 (F) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
19 understand or speak the language used in the International Tribunal.
20 (G) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess
22 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
23 Mr. Seselj, would you confirm the information that I have that
24 you are in receipt of the indictment in your own language.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I have received the
1 indictment, but it was as far back as on the 12th of May. So I can see
2 that this provision of the Statute is not being honoured, namely, that
3 there should be no delays in my trial. It was -- it was on the 9th of
4 May that the indictment was issued and it was submitted to me on the 12th
5 of May, so that some two months have already elapsed in fact for this
6 initial appearance of mine to only take place today. It was not
7 scheduled, Mr. Hall, within a reasonable period of time.
8 JUDGE HALL: Your observations about delay are noted, Mr. Seselj.
9 Now, you have the right to have the indictment read out in its
10 entirety or you may choose to waive that right. Which do you prefer?
11 What is your choice?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, I waive none of my
13 rights. I insist that the indictment be read in extenso so that the
14 public would see what it is that the Tribunal does because the public is
15 quite aware of what it is that I am doing but it is not aware exactly
16 what it is that the Tribunal is doing.
17 JUDGE HALL: Well, bearing in mind the public interest in this
18 matter, I am going to invite the Registrar to read out the public version
19 of the indictment.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
21 The Order in Lieu of an Indictment.
22 "Vojislav Seselj born in 1954 in Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, and currently on trial before the Tribunal is charged with
24 one count of contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A) and
25 77(A)(ii) of the Rules as detailed below" --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down for the benefit of the
3 THE REGISTRAR: "Vojislav Seselj was ordered to remove various
4 documents revealing confidential information the number a number of
5 protected witnesses from case number IT-03-67 from his web site. The
6 documents to be removed included three books authored by Vojislav Seselj
7 and five filings made by him in case number IT-03-67-T, case number
8 IT-03-67-R77.3 and IT-03-67-R77.2A. Vojislav Seselj acknowledged receipt
9 of the Appeals Chamber's decision and the Chamber's orders to remove the
10 confidential information from his web site on 5 January 2010 and
11 2 February 2011 and 21 February 2011 respectively. As of 9 May, the
12 three books and the five filings remained available on Vojislav Seselj's
13 web site.
14 "The charges:
15 "By his acts and omissions Vojislav Seselj committed contempt of
16 the Tribunal punishable under this Tribunal's inherent powers and
17 Rule 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules for knowingly and wilfully
18 interfering with the administration of justice by failing to remove from
19 the web site confidential information in violation of orders of the
21 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
22 Mr. Seselj, the Rules provide that in proceedings --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down for the interpreters to finish
24 the reading. Thank you very much.
25 JUDGE HALL: I'm sorry. That under Rule 77(E) you would be
1 called upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each count of the
2 indictment within ten days from the initial appearance. Under
3 Rule 62(A)(iii) you may decide to immediately enter such a plea, and I
4 also need to point out to you that should you fail to enter a plea at the
5 initial appearance or any further appearance, the Trial Chamber under
6 Rule 62(A)(iv) shall enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf.
7 So my question to you now is whether you are prepared to enter a
8 plea today?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, over these nine years I
10 never was a factor who procrastinated proceedings against me. The
11 proceedings were delayed either by the OTP or by the Trial Chamber. I am
12 ready to enter a plea today and I say that I'm not guilty. At the same
13 time, I challenge the right of the Tribunal at The Hague to conduct
14 proceedings for contempt against me because contempt of court proceedings
15 absolutely cannot be conducted for an indictee accused for the gravest
16 crimes and not in the common-law system or in the continental system
18 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. So we have noted that you have entered a
19 plea of not guilty.
20 [Microphone not activated] I'm sorry, my microphone was off.
21 To remind you that you are of course -- it is open to you, of
22 course, to change your plea at any later stage of the proceedings.
23 I return to a matter that I raised at the very beginning, and
24 that is the question of legal representation. Is it the position that
25 you are representing yourself? Would you be so good as to confirm that?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I represent myself in this
2 case as well.
3 JUDGE HALL: Well, I am to remind you that self-representation is
4 a qualified right under the Statute and the Rules provide that the
5 Trial Chamber may, if it decides to do so in the interests of justice,
6 instruct the Registrar to assign counsel to represent your interests.
7 Now, again under the Rules, within ten days of this initial
8 appearance you shall be provided in a language that you understand copies
9 of the supporting material accompanying the indictment.
10 On the 23rd of May you signed a proces-verbal indicating that you
11 received 16 documents which were referred to in the Chamber's decision on
12 failure to remove confidential information from the web site of the
13 9th of July, 2011. Additionally the Chamber hereby directs the Registry
14 to provide the accused with its Rule 33(B) submission dated the 24th of
15 June, 2011, as well as the annexes thereto within ten days from today.
16 And I remind you, Mr. Seselj, that these materials are to remain
18 I am also to remind you that preliminary motions under Rule 72(A)
19 are to be filed within a ten-day period once you have received all of the
20 supporting material in accordance with Rule 66.
21 Mr. Seselj, are you in a position to today to say how long you
22 would need to prepare your defence?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm ready for the trial right away,
24 but there is a problem, Mr. Hall. Whether the problem is solved or not,
25 I'm prepared for the trial. You can schedule the trial as early as
1 tomorrow. I sent a letter to the Registry on the 13th of June in which I
2 informed them that in this third case against me for contempt of court I
3 shall be representing myself and that I have a designated Master of
4 Juridical Sciences, Dejan Mirovic as my legal advisor and
5 Nemanja Sarovic, Bachelor of Jurisprudence, as my case manager. I
6 requested the Registry to make it possible for my legal advisor and for
7 my case manager to visit me immediately prior to my initial appearance
8 and to be present today in the courtroom. I asked that the Registry to
9 that effect pay their travelling expenses. You know that there is a
10 decision by the Trial Chamber in the main case to the effect that the
11 Registry shall finance my defence as of the day of the adoption of that
12 decision to the tune of 50 per cent, which would normally be assigned to
13 the defence of the accused who has an assigned defence counsel. I am
14 contesting this decision of the Trial Chamber, but it has gone into
15 effect and the Appellate Chamber has confirmed it. So that the minimum
16 which was to be observed by the Registry was to pay the travelling
17 expenses of my legal advisor and my case manager in order for them to
18 visit me and to attend this initial appearance of mine here today in the
20 Yesterday I received a letter by Anna Osure, deputy of the Legal
21 Assistance and Detention Affairs Unit and she said, in connection with my
22 letter, that they have taken note of the fact that I shall be assisted by
23 Mr. Mirovic and Mr. Sarovic, but none of the two gentlemen can be allowed
24 access to confidential materials or privileged communication. But we are
25 talking about my legal advisor from the main case, who does already have
1 privileged communication with me and with whom I can establish daily
2 telephone communications by safe telephone under number 9. So he already
3 has privileged status in the main case. He also had such status in the
4 two previous contempt of court cases and now he does not. Nemanja
5 Sarovic has been my case manager for a long time also in the main
6 proceedings conducted against me and also was that in both cases for
7 contempt of court. They say that the Registry should make all the
8 necessary basic checks with positive results, that yesterday on the 4th
9 of July, in other words, they received the results of the basic checks
10 and given specific issues that that raised, they were in no position to
11 admit Mr. Mirovic as a privileged legal advisor until they received
12 additional information.
13 As far as Nemanja Sarovic is concerned, in connection with his
14 status, they are still -- or namely, the President of the Tribunal has
15 still not reached a decision pursuant to my appeal which I filed many
16 months ago which has to do with his status, both in the main proceedings
17 and in these contempt of court proceedings. In the end they say that I'm
18 not entitled to financial resources, as financial assistance in the case,
19 nor to the travelling expenses of my legal advisor.
20 In addition, and I quote:
21 "The Registry has not been satisfied that the initial appearance
22 justifies deviation from the guide-lines of the Registry, especially in
23 the absence of an order by the Trial Chamber for the attendance of your
24 associates in the courtroom."
25 Mr. Hall, in all civilised countries in the world it is the basic
1 right of the accused to have at the initial appearance his legal advisor
2 sitting at his side, whether as defence counsel or legal advisor; that is
3 the fundamental right. And they are denying that right to me here. That
4 is why I demand that the Trial Chamber that you are a member of
5 immediately adopt a decision -- rule in this case and order the Registry
6 to honour the privileged status of my legal advisor Dejan Mirovic and my
7 case manager Nemanja Sarovic, and to make it possible for them to visit
8 me within reasonable intervals of time for the duration of this process.
9 I was never unreasonable in that sense and I was never visited by
10 my advisors more often than once a month even in the main proceedings.
11 And in these secondary proceedings perhaps it will be necessary for them
12 to visit me once or twice during the entire case to assist me.
13 The fact that I have decided to self-represent does not literally
14 mean that I have to be alone. The fact that I am self-represented means
15 that I am the first and the main -- the principal in my defence team but
16 I have to have assistants. In some cases I have to have investigators,
17 et cetera. In this case I probably should not be requiring any
18 investigators. I had a problem in the last case of contempt of court. I
19 brought ten witnesses. I asked the Registry to make it possible for me
20 to prepare, to proof, those witnesses. This Registry prevented
21 Mr. Mirovic and Mr. Sarovic from coming. I never prepared those
22 witnesses at all, in any way. That is scandalous. No matter what the
23 first-instance judgement may be in this process, it has to crumble before
24 the Appellate Chamber when I tell them that I had not been given the
25 chance to prepare my witnesses. These are things which actually
1 discredit the Tribunal much more than I myself am able to discredit it in
2 the courtroom. The Tribunal is discrediting itself the most, very often
3 because of the cavalier attitude of the Registry.
4 That is why I'm asking you as a Pre-Trial Judge and the
5 Trial Chamber that you are a member of to make it possible for me in
6 preparing the main trial to be able to communicate under privileged
7 conditions with my legal advisor, with my case manager, and for the
8 Tribunal to defray their travelling expenses.
9 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. Of course the Trial Chamber is obliged
10 to resolve such matters as remain unresolved and which are properly
11 before it as distinct from those matters which are within the sole domain
12 of the Registry and which have at the other end of the spectrum have not
13 been resolved at the appellate level. So we've noted everything that you
14 would have said today, Mr. Seselj.
15 Are there any other matters you wish to raise before we take the
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Hall, I would like to
18 raise two issues. The first question has to do with the conditions of
19 detention. I am placed on the floor of the Detention Unit where
20 immediately after the -- his isolation was abolished,
21 General Ratko Mladic also arrived. We socialise with him, we play chess,
22 we spent time with him. However, the day before yesterday he had his
23 repeated -- his further initial appearance and he refused any possibility
24 of being represented by anyone from the list of the Registry and insisted
25 on exclusively his two chosen Defence counsel who he trusts. And today
1 the decision arrived that General Mladic should be moved from our floor
2 to some other floor, whatever. It is not of consequence, within the same
3 building. And this decision was motivated by the assumption that
4 General Mladic, by socialising with me and by playing a lot of chess with
5 me, came under my influence and that I actually influenced him to refuse
6 all the attorneys on the list of the Tribunal and to insist only on
7 Milos Saljic, an attorney-at-law from Belgrade, and
8 Professor Alexander Mezyaev from Moscow who he both absolutely trusts. A
9 certain Aleksandar Aleksic was tried to be imposed on him and some other
10 people. It is true, I did say to him, You cannot absolutely have any
11 confidence in anyone from the list of the Tribunal.
12 JUDGE HALL: Apart from the obvious fact that the arrangements at
13 the Detention Centre are the responsibility of the governor of the
14 Detention Centre, my question was I thought you were talking about that
15 you had a complaint in terms of your own detention, if you would confine
16 yourself to that.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I was about to explain that,
18 Mr. Hall. I personally am frustrated by such behaviour. I have some
19 feeling of guilt that Mr. Mladic actually had to be moved on my account.
20 That is what frustrates me and a frustrated person cannot adequately
21 defend himself in court proceedings. I have to steer clear of any
23 Secondly, as you are perhaps the only Judge with whom I shall be
24 communicating as of this July until the summer recess of all of the
25 Tribunal generally, I demand, this being the ninth year that I've been in
1 detention, to be also granted annual leave.
2 JUDGE HALL: Is there anything else that you wish to raise?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This will suffice and I am raising
4 this question of my annual leave before you because probably I will not
5 have any contacts with the Trial Chamber in the main case until the
6 closing arguments. This was announced in their last decision, and who
7 knows when that will be. So I am asking you to grant me annual leave and
8 many indictees here have been granted annual leave, and that was actually
9 the term used in decisions when they were granted provisional releases.
10 Hadzihasanovic, the Muslim indictee, and Kubura, Kubura were -- these two
11 gentlemen were given such leaves.
12 JUDGE HALL: I was going to ask for your assistance in explaining
13 for the purposes of the record and for the -- and so that the Registry
14 would fully understand what you're asking for, but did I understand you
15 to mean what is otherwise referred to as provisional release? Is that
16 what your application is?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm using it in that context and I
18 invoke the fact that that expression was already used for provisional
19 releases in the Hadzihasanovic/Kubura case. That decision also stated
20 that they were being given annual leave for a month. Please bear in mind
21 the fact that I have been here uninterruptedly for eight years and that
22 this has violated all world standards as to the length of detention.
23 Needless to say, there is also the fact that no one can guarantee for me.
24 The only guarantee for me can be me, myself, but you have to deal with
25 that problem. These rules say guarantees must be provided. There is no
1 one who can provide guarantees for me, so there is a legal lacuna there.
2 But you, as the judge in charge, must deal with that legal lacuna in
3 keeping with general legal principles. What if someone is in no position
4 to be provided any guarantees by anyone? I am not going to ask for
5 guarantees from the treacherous pro-Western regime in Belgrade. I have
6 no one else to turn to and I have been here for an accumulated period of
7 eight years of detention.
8 JUDGE HALL: Can you assist me in this regard, Mr. Seselj, should
9 I interpret what you said, orally and without previous notice, to be your
10 application for provisional release or do you intend to file a formal
11 motion seeking provisional release? Did you understand my question?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understand, Mr. Hall, I
13 understand fully. I will file no written application whatsoever. You
14 know that in proceedings an oral application uttered in the courtroom has
15 the same legal force as a written motion --
16 JUDGE HALL: Yes --
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- this has been recorded and it's
18 up to you to decide.
19 JUDGE HALL: Yes, I understand that. I just want to be clear
20 that what you said constitute your oral motion. So the Chamber is seized
21 of it. Thank you, Mr. Seselj.
22 And with that we would adjourn these proceedings to a date to be
23 fixed. Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance
25 adjourned at 3.40 p.m.