1 Friday, 4 November 2011
2 [Further Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.59 p.m.
6 JUDGE HALL: Good afternoon. Mr. Registrar, would you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Good afternoon,
9 Your Honour. This is case number IT-03-67-R77.4-I, in the matter of
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Seselj, would you be so kind as to confirm that
12 you can hear the proceedings in a language that you understand?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can follow the proceedings
14 but exclusively in Serbian and at the moment I'm receiving Serbian
16 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
17 And for the record, would you please identify yourself.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Dr. Vojislav Seselj, university
19 professor and the biggest enemy of The Hague Tribunal.
20 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. This, of course, is not new to you, but
21 for the record, I'm to inform you that under the Statute and the Rules of
22 Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal, you, Mr. Seselj, have the right
23 to remain silent at all times during these proceedings.
24 The Trial Chamber has been informed that you did not promptly
25 receive the decision dated the 21st of October of this year, whereby the
1 Chamber amended the Order in Lieu of Indictment, issued on the
2 9th of May, 2011. However, the Chamber has been informed that you did
3 receive the decision and signed for it on the 1st of November, 2011.
4 And unless you have something -- an observation to make about
5 that, I will continue.
6 The background to today's hearing is as follows: The Order in
7 Lieu of Indictment issued on the 9th of May charges Mr. Seselj with
8 contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 67 [sic] for failing to comply
9 with orders to remove from his website, inter alia, three of books which
10 include -- which allegedly include confidential information.
11 At an Initial Appearance on the 6th of July of this year,
12 Mr. Seselj pleaded not guilty to this charge.
13 On the 15th of July, 2011, the Chamber ordered Mr. Seselj to
14 remove from his website by the 8th of August a fourth book, which
15 allegedly also contains confidential information. This was not done, and
16 in the decision of the 21st of October referred to earlier, the Chamber
17 amended the Order in Lieu of Indictment to include Mr. Seselj's failure
18 to comply with the order of the 15th of July.
19 In addition to what I've said, the Trial Chamber will use this
20 opportunity as a Status Conference in the present case.
21 By Rule 50, if an amended indictment includes new charges and the
22 accused has already appeared before a Trial Chamber in accordance with
23 Rule 62, a further appearance shall be held as soon as practicable to
24 enable the accused to enter a plea on the new charges. Therefore,
25 because today's hearing concerns the amended charge of contempt of the
1 Tribunal, as set out in the said Order in Lieu of Indictment of the
2 21st of October, 2011, specifically insofar as it now charges you with
3 contempt for failing to comply with the order of the 15th of July, 2011.
4 By Rule 77(E), in relation to contempt proceedings, an accused
5 will be called upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each count
6 of the indictment within ten days of the Initial Appearance. And
7 pursuant to Rule 62(A)(iii), an accused may decide to immediately enter
8 such plea.
9 Mr. Seselj, if you do not enter a plea today, the Trial Chamber
10 would be obliged to enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf under
11 Rule 62(A)(iv). So, I would first ask whether you have read and
12 understood the contents of the amended Order in Lieu of Indictment dated
13 the 21st of October, 2011.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, I have received this
15 Order in Lieu of Indictment. I have read it but I didn't comprehend it.
16 The reason being because the Registrar has deprived me of my privileged
17 communications with my legal counsel. As far as I know, ever since the
18 high Tribunal was established, it never happened that an accused appeared
19 for the first time without first being given the possibility to exercise
20 a right to legal aid should he wish to do that.
21 I am in need of legal assistance. I have my legal advisors, but
22 I am prevented from communicating with them in a privileged manner or, in
23 other words, in the manner that is practiced worldwide. On several
24 occasions I served prison terms in the old Yugoslav Titoist communist
25 regime, but even then I had never been deprived of the right to have my
1 privileged communications with my Defence attorney. They did wire-tap
2 me, which I later found out from my dossier, they even listened into my
3 privileged communications with my lawyer, but they didn't dare use that
4 against me.
5 However, in this particular instance, we have something that
6 didn't even exist in Hitler's judiciary. We know that Hitler killed
7 millions of people without trial. However, if we -- if he decided to put
8 them on trial, he respected the procedure. We can see that from the case
9 of the famous Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov and his trial.
10 For the umpteenth time I am faced with a problem posed by the
11 Registrar. He is interfering in the proceedings, which he mustn't do.
12 Based on his suspicion that I may have abused my communication with my
13 legal advisor, he issued an order to the effect of what is going to be
14 put up on my site and he also rendered a decision to deprive me of my
15 communication with my legal advisor. Only on the basis of his suspicion.
16 If he has proof that this is true, then a legal advisor is liable for
18 For five years I was deprived of receiving visits by my wife
19 because the Prosecution was suspicious of me sending some information via
20 her to Belgrade. Then there was this journalist, Anastasijevic or
21 whatever his name was, said that it was me who ordered a grenade to be
22 planted at his window. You know that Tomislav Nikolic, the famous
23 traitor, said two years ago that I had ordered his assassination, and
24 later on the competent judicial organ issued an order stating that there
25 was no base to that.
1 In international criminal law, one of the human rights that
2 enjoys the highest degree of protection is the right to legal aid which
3 involves a privileged communication with people providing legal
4 assistance. Therefore, I believe that conditions are not being met today
5 for this Initial Appearance.
6 Secondly, on Monday you told me and read to me the judgement
7 based on the previous contempt of court trial. I decided to appeal this
8 judgement, but how can I do that if I don't have any legal assistance?
9 My aim is to prove that no reasonable trier would render such a judgement
10 that you and Mr. Morrison delivered. In this proceedings as well, I need
11 and must prove that you are not reasonable people because you are
12 rendering unreasonable decisions. I need to arrange with my advisors to
13 check the -- your background, the background of Judge Morrison, so that
14 we can maybe find out -- and Judge Kwon as well, that there is something
15 in your past that must be held against you.
16 Based on international common law, I'm entitled to have access to
17 all the information pertaining to the previous judgement and my appeal.
18 How can I do that? I have no Internet access. I have no communication
19 with my advisor. Well, you can tell me now, you can call them on a
20 land-line, but they are going to listen into those conversations. And,
21 Mr. Hall, I don't want you and your colleagues, Mr. Morrison and
22 Mr. Kwon, to know in advance what I managed to discover about you which
23 will prove that you were not reasonable people, and to find out which
24 argument I was going to use or not. Maybe I would discover some
25 abhorrent arguments that I would discard and not use them, but I don't
1 want you to know what kind of dilemmas I'm facing. When I decide to file
2 an appeal against your judgement, I'm going to move for your
4 And thirdly, if you say that if I don't enter a plea today you
5 will enter a plea of not guilty and this is contrary to the rules of
6 procedure and then within ten days you will have to set up a new
7 appearance. Perhaps I can enter a plea today but I cannot do that
8 because I have no communication with my legal advisors. I need to
9 consult them about everything. And only after that can I enter a plea.
10 I'm not going to exercise my rights to remain silent. This is an
11 active Defence case, not a silent case, but before that occurs I need to
12 have legal assistance. If Tomislav Nikolic managed to deceive the whole
13 Serbian public and all of that was published on front pages in Serbia, to
14 the effect that it was I who ordered his assassination from The Hague,
15 and then later on it turned out that Tomislav Nikolic was just a liar and
16 that I had never sent such an order from The Hague, and if it turned out
17 that all the previous suspicions and assumptions were baseless, how can
18 you then take the Registrar's word when he says he is a suspicious
20 For nine years Mr. John Hocking has been denying me various
21 rights and that goes back even to the time when he was not a Registrar,
22 when he was only a Legal Officer for Detention Unit or legal aid unit.
23 How long is this going to take? And how long will I be obliged to bear
25 Everybody can have their suspicions but we have to deal here only
1 with solid evidence and nothing else. Does the Registrar have any proof
2 that I abused my legal advisors? If he has this kind of evidence, then
3 he can say this so and so cannot be his legal advisor any longer. But he
4 prefers to deprive me of my possibility to present my case based solely
5 on his suspicions. This is what I wanted to say.
6 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. If I may summarise what I understand you
7 to have just said, it is that you have certain -- you've indicated
8 certain things about your intention to appeal a decision that was
9 rendered. That is a separate case and I will say nothing further about
10 that. You will act as you are best advised to do.
11 In terms of your complaints about the Registrar not having --
12 well, having failed to provide you with such legal representation as is
13 necessary -- legal assistance, I should say, as is necessary to enable
14 you to deal with this matter, everything that you have said, of course,
15 has been stated in open court on the record, and the Registrar is thus
16 informed of your position and he will no doubt act accordingly and, if
17 necessary, make a report to the Trial Chamber.
18 But I will continue with the present proceedings and the next
19 thing that I must inquire of you is whether you waive the right to have
20 the Order in Lieu of Indictment read out. It is your right to have it
21 read out in its entirety. What do you choose?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do not waive my right to
23 anything, Mr. Hall. In fact, I insist that the Order in Lieu of
24 Indictment be read to me in its entirety. When I read, I didn't
25 understand it. Perhaps I won't understand it today either, but before
1 you permit me to plead, I would like to be able to have normal
2 communication with my legal advisors. And of course I expect you to read
3 the Order in Lieu of Indictment right away and then I will decide whether
4 I will plead guilty or not guilty. I know the way I work.
5 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
6 JUDGE HALL: I would now ask the Registrar to read out the public
7 version of the Order in Lieu of Indictment. Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 This is the Order in Lieu of an Indictment.
10 Vojislav Seselj, born in 1954 in Sarajevo, Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and currently on trial before the Tribunal is charged
12 with one count of contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A) and
13 Rule 77(A)(ii) of the Rules as detailed below.
14 The factual allegations.
15 Vojislav Seselj was ordered to remove various documents revealing
16 confidential information about a number of protected witnesses from case
17 number IT-03-67 from his website. The documents to be removed included
18 four books authored by Vojislav Seselj and five filings made by him in
19 case number IT-03-67-T, case number IT-03-67-R77.3, and case number
21 Vojislav Seselj acknowledged receipt of the Appeals Chamber's
22 decision and the Chamber's orders to remove the confidential information
23 from his website on 5 January 2010 --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the Registrar kindly slow down in
25 reading. The French booth does not have the document. Thank you.
1 THE REGISTRAR: -- 2 February 2011, 21 February 2011, and 18 July
2 2011 respectively.
3 As of 9 May, the four books and the five filings remained
4 available on Vojislav Seselj's website.
6 By his acts and omissions, Vojislav Seselj committed contempt of
7 the Tribunal punishable under this Tribunal's inherent powers and
8 Rules 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules, for knowingly and willfully
9 interfering with the administration of justice by failing to remove from
10 the website confidential information in violation of orders of the
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Mr. Seselj, although we know your answer from your lengthy
15 earlier statement, I am, in order to keep the procedure on track, now
16 formally required to point out to you that having been charged with one
17 count of contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under Rule 77, for
18 knowingly and willfully failing to comply with the Tribunal's order to
19 remove confidential information from your website, ask you whether you
20 plead guilty or not guilty. And do I correctly infer from what you have
21 said that you will not enter a plea today?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, how can I plead when I
23 did not understand? I did not understand anything of what the Registrar
24 read and I did not understand your last sentence. I need legal
25 assistance in order to be able to understand that and you are not
1 providing me with legal assistance. How can I plead about something that
2 could cost me a sentence of seven years' imprisonment and I did not
3 understand what I'm being charged with? I did not understand and I
4 cannot understand without legal assistance. I require legal assistance.
5 I require the legal assistance of those legal experts in whom I trust.
6 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. Well, I would repeat what I said
7 earlier, that under the Rules you have ten days within which to so enter
8 a plea.
9 Pursuant to Rule 66(A)(i) and 77(E), you are -- you are required
10 to be provided in a language that you understand copies of the supporting
11 material accompanying the indictment, and since you already signed
12 several proces-verbal confirming reception of the relevant material
13 supporting the amended Order in Lieu of Indictment, the Trial Chamber
14 need not order the Registry to provide you with any further material.
15 The trial in this matter, should a trial having regard to the --
16 such plea as is entered have to be scheduled, will be scheduled in
17 co-ordination with other cases before the Tribunal. And the -- I'm not
18 unmindful, Mr. Seselj, of what you would have said earlier about the
19 difficulties that you have not having the benefit of such legal
20 assistance as you would require. But nevertheless, I would ask whether
21 you are in a position to indicate today how long it would -- you would
22 need to prepare a defence? If you are able to answer.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, that's impossible. I
24 have already indicated that I intend to request your disqualification, as
25 well as the disqualification of O-Gon Kwon and Howard Morrison,
1 argumenting that you are not able to reach a reasonable judgement. And I
2 have evidence that you in previous cases did not behave reasonably and
3 reach reasonable judgements.
4 But first of all, I need to consult with my legal assistants. I
5 don't know which arguments I'm going to employ. And your intention to
6 complete these proceedings very quickly will not be able to happen
7 because, first of all, I'm going to submit my submission, then the
8 president of the Tribunal will review it and then a special commission
9 will have to be formed. It's a long procedure and it will have to be
10 respected all the way. But before we even begin such a procedure, we
11 have to reinstate my privileged communication with my legal assistants,
12 my legal advisors.
13 JUDGE HALL: I note your response, Mr. Seselj.
14 The next thing that I must inquire of you having regard to the
15 nature of this exercise is whether you have any complaints or
16 observations to make about the conditions of your detention, and whether
17 you have -- whether there are any health concerns that you have with
18 which you wish to bring to the attention of the Trial Chamber.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not going to speak about my
20 health but I do have some problems in detention. Again some newspapers
21 are busily writing about how we, The Hague prisoners, are living well in
22 detention, how we are cooking, frying, preparing food in all sorts of
23 ways and so on and so forth, and that some of us are actually enjoying
24 very much the preparation of food, and this really muddies our reputation
25 us Hague suspects, the accused, because we are entitled to the
1 presumption of innocence and the fact that we are being tortured every
2 day by food that is given to us every day that even pigs would not eat
3 and that we have to throw out every day and then we manage in best way
4 that we can. Some people cook, some people don't. Somebody cooks
5 sometimes for me, but most often, I have to open tins of food. And
6 nobody is doing anything to resolve this matter of food so that the food
7 is adequate for human beings.
8 The accused or -- who are just three metres away from us, those
9 from the ICC have incomparably better food than we do. The food for the
10 prison guards is also incomparably better than what we are receiving.
11 What we have is food prepared several months earlier, frozen, reheated,
12 and quite terrible. Nobody is able to eat it. In detention, those who
13 do not have money to buy the food are going hungry. There are people who
14 are starving in prison or they are in a position to beg others who do
15 have some money to help them. That is becoming completely unbearable.
16 And I forgot to say another thing, a few years ago we also
17 objected to the bad food and then they brought some independent expert
18 from Sweden. He was brought by the then Registrar Hans Holthuis or
19 Holthuis or whatever his name was, and that monster from Sweden ate
20 something in front of us which we did not even -- we couldn't even watch
21 it we were so disgusted. And I think somebody here at the Tribunal
22 should bring samples of that food that we are getting in the
23 Detention Unit every day so that this matter can be resolved once and for
24 all. We are subjected to the most serious torture by being denied food
25 and that is why we have to deal with it in the best possible way that we
1 can. Many have had medical problems because of this.
2 JUDGE HALL: Again, the Registrar would have the benefit of your
3 complaints made today on the record and would investigate and as
4 necessary make a report to the Chamber.
5 Is there anything else that you wish to raise today, Mr. Seselj?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, I do not wish to start any
7 issues today because I would not be able to complete them. So all that I
8 wish to say for today I have said.
9 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
10 Before we adjourn, there's just one other thing I have to point
11 out, and I'm not forgetting everything that you have said earlier about
12 your inability to deal with the procedural aspects of this matter until
13 you would have had the benefit of the assistance -- legal assistance that
14 you need, but nevertheless, I'm obliged to point out to you that in these
15 proceed, preliminary motions under Rule 72(A) are to be filed within
16 10 days from receiving the supporting material.
17 And with that, we will rise. Thank you.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.30 p.m.